“Backed by a barrage of rockets, Hamas militants have stormed from the Gaza Strip into nearby Israeli towns, killing dozens and abducting others in an unprecedented attack, which has now triggered a full-blown war in the Middle East. Now Arab Israeli relations are at a new low “.
The Israel-Palestine Conflict is one of the longest ongoing conflicts in the world. The Two-nation theory is widely accepted to be the amicable solution to the conflict. Although multiple efforts have been made to implement the solution, the failure of the numerous treaties due to Conservative Israeli Governments proves that an alternative approach is key. This Paper reflects on the origins and evolution of the conflict and looks into specific areas of Why Arab states have decided to disassociate from the conflict and how it affects the Palestinian cause. Literature Review and Qualitative analysis of previous work is the methodology used in this paper. Major Findings include that Palestine being in Apartheid and in the threat of being annexed (Amnesty International UK, n.d), puts the implementation of the Two Nation solution in a question mark. The Recommendation in the paper provides a unique approach focused on working on the Arab immigration and refugee policy as an alternative to the existing solution. The new approach may completely change the paradigm of how the conflict is viewed and may help in the improvement of Palestinian lives, by providing them with refuge, opportunities, and better standards of living by allowing them to get out of apartheid and find new homes.
The Holocaust, without a doubt, was one of the worst events to ever occur in human history. It’s ironic though, that a community that faced such cruelty and torture well beyond imagination, would choose to do something similar, if not worse, to another unfortunate group. The question of Palestine has plagued West Asia, which is more commonly known as the Middle East for almost a century now. Over the years a lot has changed, and the most significant change of them all is: that what was once an Arab-Israeli Conflict has now become an Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It did not happen overnight; it was a slow yet steady process owing to various factors. This paper aims to study those factors and the consequences that have come as a result of this change post-2020 in specific.
It is imperative to understand the background or context of this conflict before delving into studying the changing relationships between the Arab nations and Israel, what has come to be known as normalization. The Israel-Palestine conflict can be traced back to a decision made by the United Kingdom, in the same way, most conflicts worldwide can be. The Balfour Declaration issued by the British Government in 1917 essentially became the Magna Carta for the foundation of the Jewish State of Israel. The Israel Palestine Conflict isn’t a typical territorial dispute, like that of Kashmir nor is it like the China-Taiwan Conflict or even the Sri Lankan civil war. Rather, it is a lot more complex and tyrannical than that. In a sentence, The Israel-Palestine conflict can be called legitimization and condonation of modern-day, colonialism, racism, and ethnic cleansing.
What is now Israel, along with the West Bank and Gaza Strip was during the early 20th Century a part of the powerful Ottoman Empire. The Entire land mass was recognized as Palestine alone. Israel then was nothing but an idea, an idea that called for a Nation or homeland state for Jews from all over the world. This idea was called Zionism. Theodor Herzl is considered to be the formal founder of Zionism as a movement. Zionism as a political movement called for the creation of a separate homeland for the Jews. Palestine was chosen as the ideal location to create this homeland based on the ostensible historical relationship with that landscape. If Historical Relationship is a good enough factor for the creation of a separate nation, whether the international community, specifically the West, would agree to the creation of a Red Indian State carved out of the United States of America or an Aboriginal State carved out of Australia is a question that is quizzical in nature. Herzl did everything in his capacity to make his idea or dream materialize, founded the Zionist Organization in 1897 and tried to persuade the Ottoman ruler Sultan Abdul Hamid II, five years later to allow Jews from around the world to migrate and settle in Palestine and eventually found a Jewish state. But to his dismay, the Sultan declined his offer to consolidate the Ottoman Debt and refused to sign a charter that would allow Jews to move towards Palestine.
Zionism wouldn’t have succeeded in its vision and aim if it weren’t for the fall of the Ottoman Empire after the First Great War, which is more commonly known as World War 1. World War 1 was fought between the Allied Powers (Great Britain, France, Russia, and The United States) and the Central Powers (Austria-Hungary, Germany and the Ottoman Empire). Before the War itself was won, The United Kingdom, France, and Russia decided to carve up the territory of the Ottoman Empire for themselves through the Secret Skyes-Picott Agreement (1916). Major Parts of Palestine were to be under French control according to the Secret Treaty. At this point, the Zionists were lobbying heavily for a separate Jewish State and they believed that persuading the United Kingdom to support their cause would be the starting step in realizing their dream. And the Credit for successfully wooing the Brits is given to Chaim Weizmann who took over the Mantle of the Zionist Organization, although Nahum Sokolow played a very crucial if not the most crucial role in persuading the Allied Powers to support the Zionist cause.
Although attributed as a lone-standing act of the British Government, the Balfour Declaration is not as it seems. The United Kingdom would not have been able to make this declaration without the approval of its allies with whom it was fighting the Central powers. Historical data suggests that The Balfour Declaration came only as a culmination of the support for the Zionist Cause by all of the Allies (Kramer, 2017).
The Reason for Britain and its allies’ support of the Zionist cause is often ignored, deemed insignificant, or is rather purposefully hidden as a historical fact. Some scholars believe that the Allied powers sympathized with the Zionists to get their support against the Central powers in the First World War. But that would be an overestimation of Jewish influence. Why the Allies would support The Zionists remained for a long time an Imponderabilia of International politics.
Some may argue that the Allies supported the Zionists as they would have a stronghold over the resources and oil in that geographical region. However, sources show us that Palestine does not necessarily have that much oil when compared to other Middle Eastern States. A Spiritual or religious take may also be considered, the Allied Powers being Predominantly Christian sided with the Zionist Cause, as they share scriptures. But there are no Empirical facts to substantiate this argument.
The only real probable cause that is evident as to why the Allies would side with the Zionists is to ensure that they consolidated influence and power in the Middle East, upon giving the Gulf States their independence. To be more precise the West wanted to consolidate control over the Suez Canal. We see historical sources stating that Sokolow managed to convince the British Government by assuring to protect the Suez Canal on behalf of the West and also act as a mediator between the Muslims and the West. This argument put forward by the Zionists struck a Chord with the British and their allies as a result of which we can see the Balfour Declaration came into being. (Kramer, 2017)
The importance of the Suez Canal cannot be emphasized enough. It is the shortest trade route connecting the East and the West (Suez Canal Authorities, 2017). The Western Powers could not risk the control of the Suez Canal falling completely into the hands of the Arabs and the Muslims who were bitter and hostile towards the West. The West did not want a repeat of Constantinople. But in all of this chaos, the Palestinian people’s rights and wishes were completely forgotten and ignored. They became insignificant casualties of the international power struggle.
Based on the Balfour Declaration and changes made to the Sykes-Picot Treaty. Palestine was to be governed by the United Kingdom under the Mandates System of the League of Nations in the 1940s. Jewish immigration to Palestine against the wishes of the people of Palestine kept happening nevertheless, as a result of which the Palestinians began to retaliate violently. The Zionist side fought back with extremist groups of their own. This culminated in the United Kingdom handing over Palestine and its ongoing conflict to the United Nations stating that it was getting out of hand. The United Nations came up with Resolution 181 (II) which the Palestinian side along with the whole of the Arab League rejected. And finally in 1948 when Israel declared its independence, the five Arab States of Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq invaded the newly founded Israel state and what was left of the Mandate Palestine. The War ended with Israel having a decisive victory.
Currently, 3 out of the 5 Countries that invaded Israel have made peace with it and have fully recognized it as a sovereign nation with the right to exist. Many of the Arab League’s member nations which were vehemently against the idea of its existence have initiated the normalization process with Israel, with a few like the UAE and Bahrain already completing it. The West had a critical reason to sympathize with the Zionists. The Arab world which once vehemently opposed Israel, now coming forward to make peace, the nature of it, and the reasons behind it, are what this paper will delve into.
A full detailed account of the Israel-Palestine conflict by the United Nations helps us comprehend the background of the conflict, how the conflict came to be, and the various underlying factors and causes. It traces the various stages of the peace process over time down to the current situation in which we find the two conflicting parties. It describes the conflict in detail by splitting it into 5 distinct periods. From 1917-1947 (British mandate), 1947-1977 (Partition plan, 1948, 1967, 1973 wars, inalienable rights), 1977-1990 (Lebanon, ICQP, Intifada), 1990 (The Peace Process of the 1990s), 2000-Present (Second intifada, separation wall, Road Map, etc.). These Five distinct periods and the important events that took place have been described and explained in Detail (United Nations Organization, n.d).
The Arab Peace Initiative proposed the formation of a Palestinian state first along the lines of 1967 and then peace with the whole Arab world, for Israel. Although there was this construct of an Arab boycott of Israel, lines of communication between the Arab states and Israel are not new. With the onset of the Oslo Accords, the lines of demarcation between the Arabs and Israelis were further blurred. The Gulf Cooperation Council is far from a unanimous block, the nature and scope of relations with Israel vary from state to state. Saudi’s interest is to confront adversarial regional forces like Iran. While States like Oman are part of the Non-Alignment Movement and have a major stance on Neutrality. Qatar on the other hand has a completely different stance and it takes a more active role in peace efforts. Qatar tends to oppose the Saudi-UAE nexus and normalizing ties with Israel, but it also could follow if the benefits of it are irresistible. Kuwait as well is starkly different and is opposed to relations with Israel. Its politically more representative government can be attributed as a major reason. The powerhouses in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE focus more on coalition building than peacebuilding. They wish to maintain close ties with Washington through Tel Aviv, the aid Egypt gets from the US after the signing of peace treaties entices both the UAE and Saudi Arabia. This is as far as the governments are concerned as far as public reaction goes. The Arab opinion index suggests that there is overwhelming opposition to the recognition of Israel, but since most of these nations are undemocratic, public opinion does play much of a role. (Rahman, 2021)
Evidence suggests the effects of the Abraham Accords signed in 2020 between Israel and UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, and potentially Sudan, are not that great and results are very mixed. New opportunities have opened up for defence and security cooperation among the signees to counter the threat imposed by Iran and improvements have been made in terms of the foundation of the Negev Forum. But the Accords have failed to bring in any new members for normalization, nor has it in any way improved the condition of the Palestinian population and cause. Saudi has opened up its airspace but the Accords have not pursued it to completely normalize ties. Qatar on the other hand opposes the Accords strongly and calls for a revival of the Arab Peace Initiative. Except for Morocco, the majority of the public in these countries are against Israel (Guzansky, 2022).
The Palestinian Cause
The Palestinian cause has evolved into a very complex and controversial issue because of the different interpretations of the cause itself. The key actors who need to be taken note of are the Palestinian Authority led by the Palestinian Liberation Organization, Hamas, and the State of Israel. Of course, international actors like the US, the UK, and their allies fuel the flames of this conflict. It is important to understand who these actors are, why they’re important, and what they aim to do.
The Palestinian Liberation Organization
The Palestinian Liberation Organization is considered to be the sole representative of the Palestinian cause. However, this was not the case during its inception. When it came into being in 1964, it was termed a terrorist organization because of the clauses in its founding charter. The PLO failed to recognize Israel’s right to exist and vowed to destroy Israel by taking up arms and establishing a true, complete Palestinian state that encompassed the territorial boundaries that belonged to it before the establishment of Israel. The PLO brought together multiple pro-Palestine political and militant groups under one banner of which Fatah was the most influential. The co-founder of Fatah, Yasser Arafat went on to become the chairman of the PLO and was a pioneer for the Palestine cause. The founding document of the Palestine Liberation Organization illustrates the aims and principles of the organization, helps in understanding the demands of the Palestine Liberation Organization, their interpretation of the Palestinian cause, and also their stance on Israel’s right to exist as a nation. The Charter originally contained 33 Articles but later amendments were made to change certain objectives of the organization. The most crucial change is the recognition of Israel’s right to a peaceful existence. The Palestinian Authority which is headed by the PLO has come to be observed as the sole representative of the Palestinian population.
Only in 1993 at the onset of the Oslo Accords did the PLO change its stance and amend its charter. As part of the accord, the PLO recognized Israel’s right to exist and agreed to the Partition resolution of the United Nations. With the coming of the Oslo Accords, a new Palestinian Authority was established, multiple members of the PLO were against the Oslo Accords as a new Authority would downplay the importance of the PLO, but they were pacified when Arafat was made President of the Palestinian Authority as well. Israel on the other hand recognized the PLO as the Sole representative of the Palestinian people and cause. The establishment of the Palestinian Authority and the rising popularity of other more radical groups like Hamas took a toll on the influence of the PLO at the local level, but the current Palestinian Authority President is still from the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization, n.d).
Hamas is another organization that claims to represent the needs and interests of the Palestinian people. Disillusioned with the passive stance and efforts of the PLO, Hamas was founded in 1987 during the First Intifada or Uprising. It was founded by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin who believed in the concept of holy war. He functioned as the spiritual leader of Hamas until his assassination by Israeli forces in 2004 through a missile strike. Hamas declares the Balfour Declaration to be null and void and argues that Israel cannot be justified through any legitimate or legal means. Hamas aims to annihilate Israel and establish a Palestinian state on the lines of the British Mandate. And Hamas believes that there is no room for compromise, they vehemently oppose the Two Nation Principle proposed by the United Nations as well. To realize its vision of establishing a complete and free Palestine Hamas advocates and condones armed struggle resorting to extremely violent acts like Suicide bombings. Hamas has had a recent upsurge in popularity, as a result of which they gained control over the Gaza Strip. Since 2006 they have controlled the strip de facto without opposition as a result of ousting the Fatah. (The Islamic Resistance Movement “Hamas”, 2017)
Israel, founded upon Zionist Principles, does not respect or recognize the Palestinian cause. Under Former Prime Minister Rabin, Israel recognized and respected the Palestinian cause, at least to some extent. Peace and a resolution to the conflict seemed quite possible. But since his assassination and the political landscape shifting more towards right-wing extremism, it has become very clear and evident that Israel no longer subscribes to the Two Nation Theory or the Palestinian Cause. The illegal settlements in the West Bank and the blockades of Gaza in all forms prove that Israel plans on usurping what is left of the Palestinian territories as well. Israel has not backed down from its expansionism. Multiple Palestinian households, neighbourhoods, and farmlands have been vacated forcefully. The Abraham Accords of 2020 signed between Israel and the UAE is what has temporarily halted the complete annexation of the West Bank by Israel. The recent shift and recognition of the Israeli capital from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem make it clear that Israel is not concerned about the resolutions passed by the United Nations. Israel believes that it has a divine right to the land as it is their promised land according to their religious scripture, the Torah. Israel also claims that they have historical relevance or connection with the land as it was their homeland until Jerusalem fell to the Romans, and the Jewish exodus happened. Apart from the 2 million Palestinians residing in the West Bank, the illegal settlers who are about 600,000 in number, have integrated so well with Palestinian households which makes it nearly impossible to segregate these households or neighbourhoods, which is exactly what Israel wants (Bishara, 2022).
The United States of America
The Middle East has always been crucial for the interests of the United States. Successive administrations have pursued interrelated goals like securing vital energy resources, preventing Soviet and Iranian influence, securing Arab allies, countering terrorism, promoting democracy, and reducing refugee flows. Ensuring Israel’s survival and security has always been paramount to secure these interests, as no other nation would be as loyal to the US as Israel.
The United States has been involved in efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but it has never let Israel face flak for its actions or even condemned its actions. Israel is the US’s greatest stronghold and sphere of influence in the Middle East so it has always ensured that any peace negotiation or treaty is of more benefit to Israel than reaching a fair or just resolution. Some experts claim that the US interest in resolving the conflict has waned in recent years. Since the start of the Arab Spring in 2011, the wars in Syria and Yemen, Iran’s nuclear push to establish its dominance in the region, and terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda and ISIS have posed more immediate threats to US interests. Additionally, most Arab states have moved on from the conflict and have started prioritizing their national interest over Pan-Arab interests. This makes the Israeli-Palestinian conflict less of a priority for the U.S.
It is less known that the United States has been a central player in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for more than half a century. It became involved shortly after World War II, joining the United Kingdom in a 1946 inquiry committee that recommended one hundred thousand Holocaust survivors to relocate to Palestine, which they claimed then would be neither a Jewish nor an Arab state. The United States went on to become the first country to recognize Israel as a sovereign nation in 1948 (U.S Holocaust Memorial Museum, n.d.).
The US has been involved in brokering major peace deals between the Arabs and the Israelis. In recent times the most important peace deals that the U.S. has brokered are the Abraham Accords signed between importantly, Israel and the UAE, and Israel and Bahrain.
Although the US has been involved in all of these efforts it has always used its veto powers in the UN Security Council to prevent any sort of sanction or resolution from being passed against Israel. Under the Trump Administration, the U.S. recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved its diplomatic mission there. The highest amount of financial aid also goes from the US to Israel. All these acts prove to be counterproductive in providing justice and fair opportunities for both parties (Robinson, 2022).
The United Kingdom
Any discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict is never complete without the United Kingdom. The Balfour Declaration was the life source of the present-day state of Israel, as discussed earlier. Currently, The United Kingdom’s stance on the Israel-Palestinian conflict is claimed to be relatively neutral. The United Kingdom does not seem to have an exceptionally close tie with Israel like the U.S.A., but that doesn’t mean The UK Stands for the Palestinian cause. The UK has blatantly ignored that it is responsible for this chaos just like numerous other conflicts. The UK has refused to recognize Palestine’s statehood although it has been voted to do so in the House of Commons.
“In October 2014, the House of Commons voted in favour of the following:
That this House believes that the Government should recognize the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel, as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution. This vote was not binding on the Government.” (Parliament of UK, 2014)
The UK also abstained from voting in the General Assembly Resolution that granted Palestine Non-Member observer status. In recent months, the UK has continued to reiterate its long-standing position that it would only recognize a State of Palestine at the “right time” in the peace process with Israel. In February 2021, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said:
The UK will recognize a Palestinian state at a time of our choosing, and when it best serves the objective of peace. (Parliament of UK, 2014)
In September 2020, the Government said: We are clear that we want to see the creation of a sovereign, independent, and viable Palestinian state – living in peace and security, side by side with Israel. The UK will recognize a Palestinian state at a time when it best serves the objective of peace. Bilateral recognition in itself cannot end the occupation. Without a negotiated settlement the occupation and the problems that come with it will continue. We continue to work closely with international partners strongly advocating a two-state solution and encouraging a return to meaningful negotiations. (Parliament of UK, 2014)
The UK has long emphasized that it supports the two-nation solution but it has not taken any actions or initiatives to see this materialize. The UK seems to have a contradictory stance, it claims it would recognize a Palestinian State only when it best serves the objective of peace. But Peace can only be achieved when Israel and Palestine are on level ground and for that, Palestine needs the recognition of not only the UK but also the rest of the international community. The United Kingdom though plays a more significant role in making progress due to its historic connection with the conflict itself. As much as it says it is dedicated towards peace and a two-state resolution unless starts with the bare minimum of recognizing Palestine as a state not much can be achieved. The UK claims to be a neutral actor in the conflict while evidence suggests otherwise.
Future of the Palestinian Cause
Although there are different narratives or interpretations of the cause that are available, the essence of it remains the same, the Palestinian cause is the creation of a separate nation or country for the Palestinians, a Palestinian State. Having its own territory, population, government, and most importantly, internationally recognized sovereignty.
It is the boundaries and areas of this Palestinian state that are disputed and interpreted differently. But the essence of the cause remains the same throughout, except with Israel. Their interpretation of the Palestinian cause has changed over time along with their administration. Under pacifist leaders like Rabin, the cause was acknowledged but in current times with right-wing radicals like Netanyahu in control, the cause seems to have no recognition whatsoever.
The Palestinian Authority agreed to have a Palestinian State created along the lines of 1967. But Hamas and other militant groups have rejected this and demanded a Palestinian state on the lines of British Mandate Palestine. The international community and important actors like the US and the UK have reiterated that they are committed to solving the issue by creating a state along the lines of 1967. But as mentioned earlier constant Israeli expansionism and settlements are rapidly displacing Palestinians and it has seriously affected the demographics of the would-be Palestinian state.
The only real leverage Palestinians had to materialize their cause was the support of the Arab world. But with constant normalization processes and with the onset of the Abraham Accords of 2020, Palestine has lost its major beacon of hope. The Arab states making peace with Israel of course could be lauded as bringing peace to the region, provided the Palestinian cause was fulfilled. The death of Yasser Arafat and the lack of a subsequent strong charismatic leader, overwhelming corruption within the Palestinian Authority, Shifting Israeli demography and political ideologies, and Israeli settlements made it virtually impossible to distinguish Palestinian and Israeli territory which helped conclude that the Palestinian cause, that is the demand for a separate state is virtually dead, if not already.
With the death of the two-nation resolution, studies from both reliable independent think tanks and the UN itself show that Palestine is now in a state of Apartheid (UN, 2022). Four major features help in determining that Palestine is in apartheid, them being: Fragmentation, Dispossession, Segregation, and Deprivation (Amnesty International UK, n.d). The United Nations repeatedly termed Israel’s expansionism and colonialism as illegal and violative of basic human rights, but due to Israel’s close ties with the US, the Security Council has never been able to pass sanctions against Israel. It has become evident that as long as the US backs Israel no significant action can be taken against it and in turn, it renders the Palestinian cause incapable. This has become evident to the various Arab Powers due to which they are shying away from getting involved in this paradoxical cause. The Arabs have learned the hard way that in order to stay close to Washington they must keep Tel Aviv close as well. The Ironic fact that one can find is that the Arabs have ignored that the US support for Israel in the first place was with the intention to counter and undermine Arab and Muslim influence in the region. The fact that any accusation put against Israel is termed as promoting hate and anti-Semitism is one that is highly problematic and disturbing. In the West which is considered the pioneer of free speech, basic human rights, and democracy having double standards is a very troublesome matter. When condemning Nazism does not translate to being Anti-German, one must really ponder as to why condemnation of Zionism and its racist, extremist, and colonial actions is considered being anti-Jew or Anti-Semitic. If the two-nation resolution is dead, and apartheid is in place, what significant changes can be taken to lessen the suffering of the Palestinians is the question that must be given the limelight, rather than hoping the two-nation solution will come into effect with time if not by some supernatural miracle.
History repeats itself
Available evidence suggests that Israel has no intention of giving Palestinians their state. Even before the signing of the Abraham Accords of 2020. It was made clear that Israel plans on usurping the rest of the Western Bank as well (Robinson, 2023). Colonialism, denying people basic human rights, and apartheid have all been a part of human history but seeing such things unfold in the 21st Century brings to focus the question, what is the point of working towards an international human rights regime when basic rights are still being denied to a large group of people unfairly and indefinitely.
The Creation of Israel and the Palestinian refugee crisis have important parallelisms from the past. The Creation of Israel has a distinct similarity with that of the creation of the United States of America. America was called the land of the free and home of the brave, yet they occupied someone else’s land and declared independence and sovereignty. The freedom and liberty of the indigenous Red Indians were not given the slightest importance or even recognition. (Coulter, 1954)
Abrahamic religious sources also claim that the Jews were given the promised land of Canaan by God himself, which is the Fertile Crescent which is now Israel along with parts of Syria. But these sources also say that there were indigenous locals called Canaanites whom the Jews conquered and whose land they took. The foundation of Israel and the situation of the Palestinians closely resembles this. Furthermore, another similarity that can be drawn is that when Jerusalem fell into the hands of the Babylonians, the Jews fled and there was a Jewish displacement, which again happened when Jerusalem fell to the Romans. This may be compared to the Palestinian refugee crisis that can be seen today. And with the death of the two-nation solution, the world may perhaps turn to these very similar events in history to try and develop a plausible solution. It may not be the fairest or most just solution, but any solution that prevents the loss of further innocent lives and promotes peace should be considered a good solution. This may well be the direction to head towards.
With the Two-nation resolution becoming near extinct, and with no considerable consequences that Israel has to face for its actions, a plausible solution can only be found in the Arab World i.e. if they wish to cooperate and take up more responsibility to prevent loss of life and maintain peace in the region.
When the Jews fled from Roman persecution, they migrated to various other parts of the world and became citizens there and lived in better situations, excluding Anti-Semitic periods in history. Something similar could be adopted as a resolution.
Palestinians feel abandoned by the Arab world. The Arab unity that was once the backbone of the Palestinian cause is now broken, shattered rather into smithereens. To address this issue, and to keep the promise the Arab world made to the Palestinians, the least that can be done is to persuade the rest of the world to lift the blockade on Gaza. They cannot prevent Israel from annexing what is left of the would-be Palestinian State owing to their own national interests but at least they could negotiate with Israel and provide a proper channel for Palestinians who wish to leave the Occupied Territories and find refuge somewhere else.
The GCC countries can also change their citizenship policy and start providing Palestinians with refugee statuses and subsequent citizenship. In order to prevent a refugee crisis, the GCC must coordinate and cooperate among themselves. The opinion of the Arab Population seems to be against Israel and sympathizes with Palestinians, hence opposition or resentment from local citizens seems unlikely. Having the same linguistic and religious background, merging with the local societies in the countries that do take them in, will not be difficult for the Palestinians. It is important for the GCC countries to provide the Palestinians with citizenship because, unlike refugees from other conflict-ridden countries, Palestinians don’t have a recognized country and soon enough what is left will also most definitely be lost. They will have nowhere to return to. However, it is important to note that this recommendation may be subject to various other factors that need to be scrutinized.
The Palestinians gaining equal opportunity within Israel and coming out of apartheid seems extremely unlikely in the foreseeable future. The essence of Israel itself would be lost if they were to take in other religious and ethnic identities. But being hopeful and waiting for time to do their part and letting multiple generations of Palestinians suffer human rights violations does not appear to be an option. As Refugees who may get subsequent citizenship in other Arab countries, the Palestinians may not have their own motherland, but at least they will have basic human rights, proper living conditions, and freedom. They will perhaps just have to learn to migrate, adapt, and bear allegiance to the country that takes them in if that opportunity is provided to them.
Upon analyzing the history, evolution, and root cause of the conflict, it is evident that Israel has prevailed with the support and constant backing of the US and its allies. The International community’s commitment to the two-state solution seems to be not strong enough to bring the conflict to an end. With the evident death of the two-nation theory, apartheid, and progressive annexation of the remaining Palestinian territories at hand, providing a way out of the persecution seems to be the only way to save Palestinian lives. It is as much a grave concern as it is the sad reality of the situation. The International Community must recognize this and undertake efforts to persuade the Gulf States to provide refugee status and eventual citizenship to the refugees that flee out of Palestine upon being given the opportunity to do so. It is in the hands of the International Community to provide them with an enabling atmosphere through non-partisan and principled support.
Title image courtesy: The Times of Israel
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the views of the Government of India and Defence Research and Studies
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List of Important Treaties between Arab States and Israel
- Armistice Agreements (1949)
- They were a set of bilateral agreements signed between Israel and the Four Arab states of, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon.
- This put an end to the hostilities between the mentioned Arab states and Israel that is the Arab-Israeli War of 1948.
- It was an interim agreement until permanent peace treaties could be decided upon
- It also established the Green Line (Territorial distribution between Israel, Egypt, and Jordan
2. Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty (1979)
- It was a result of the Camp David Accords of 1978 and numerous negotiation efforts. It was a primary initiative of the USA
- Signed by U.S President Jimmy Carter, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin
- As a result of the treaty Israel agreed to withdraw its troops from the Sinai Peninsula which it had captured after the six-day war, but Egypt had to keep it demilitarized.
- Normalization between the Two States came into existence. There was full mutual recognition, abolition of economic boycotts, and legal protection of each other’s citizens.
- Israeli ships were allowed to pass through the Suez Canal which had been blockaded since the Second Arab-Israeli War also known as the Suez Crisis.
3. Jordan-Israel Peace Treaty (1994)
4. Lebanon-Israel Normalization Treaty (1983) (Nullified in 1984)
5. The Arab Peace Initiative
6. Oslo Accords
Overview of What it is and reasons for failure
- Rise and fall of the Oslo Peace Accords
- United Nations Archive (Oslo II)
- Oslo at 25
The Oslo Accords were a set of agreements that were signed between the Israelis and Palestinians. They are called the Oslo Accords, as they started as back-channel negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians in Oslo, Norway. The First Oslo Accord was signed in 1993 and the second one was signed in 1995.
1st Oslo Accord (1993)
The First Oslo Accord was officially known as a Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements. It was signed between then Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and (PLO) Chairman Yasser Arafat on 13th September 1993 at the White House. It was not exactly an agreement of its own but it was more or less an agenda for negotiations which was under strict time constraints.
As a result of its signing:
- Israel accepted the PLO as the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian Diaspora
- Palestinian Liberation Organization denounced Terrorism and accepted Israel’s right to exist
- The need and means for Palestinian self-government were established
- In Short, the declaration promised to set in motion a process that would eventually end the conflict.
Although there were multiple vital areas on which the accord was silent, despite its ambiguous and limited nature, it was a major milestone.
2nd Oslo Accord (1995)
The 2nd Oslo Accords officially known as the Israeli-Palestinian interim agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip sought to implement what was agreed upon in the first accord. This Accord was signed by Rabin and Arafat again, at the white house, in the presence of Bill Clinton, then President of the USA and King Hussein of Jordan.
- It marked the conclusion of the first stage of the peace process
- It incorporated and superseded the Gaza-Jericho and other agreements
- Was very comprehensive having numerous annexures
- Provided for Elections to the Palestinian Council
- Transfer of power and Israeli Withdrawal
Reasons for Collapse
- The Assassination of Rabin by Right-Wing Extremist
- Defeat of his Labor Party in the consecutive elections
- Right Wing Likud’s return to power under Benjamin Netanyahu
- Increased Oppression and illegal settlements from the Israeli side
- Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount
- Al-Aqsa intifada as a result of the Visit
Israel being a Renegade of the Oslo Accords as a result of the Likud’s returning to power and Benjamin Netanyahu’s dedicated efforts to dismantle the Oslo Accords was the start of the collapse. Even if it were not for the hardline Right-wingers, constant illegal settlements from the Israeli side regardless of whichever party was in power is more or less the crux of this issue. America which claims to be the protector of Liberty and Democracy failed to exert enough pressure on Israel to ensure it stayed true to its word. There is more than enough evidence and facts to prove that it was indeed Israel that went against the Oslo Peace Accords and caused Violence to erupt again.