The Platform

Photo illustration by John Lyman

The Palestinian narrative is fraught with impediments that have long stalled peace.

The establishment of Israel and the ensuing plight of the Palestinian people stand as a profound and unresolved quandary in the modern world. Since its inception in 1948, Israel has been implicated in numerous conflicts, resulting in substantial civilian casualties. October 2023 marked a chilling zenith in this ongoing strife, claiming over eight thousand lives in mere days. The Palestinian crisis, with its deep-seated and multifaceted barriers, continues to thwart efforts toward a sustainable solution.

Central to the discord in the Middle East is the contested status of Jerusalem, venerated by Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike. The city’s post-1967 unified status under Israeli control, especially after the controversial U.S.-backed relocation of Israel’s capital from Tel Aviv, has further disenfranchised the Palestinian population. Jerusalem’s intricate dynamics pose a formidable obstacle to any enduring resolution.

Resource allocation in the region, particularly water, presents another formidable hurdle. Israel’s post-1967 dominion over significant portions of the Jordan River, a lifeline for Palestinians, has given it leverage over millions, manipulating necessities for those in the West Bank and Gaza. This control has sparked disproportionate conflicts, with grave humanitarian consequences.

The right of return for Palestinian refugees, largely neglected by the international community, reveals a disturbing double standard. The global focus on the Israeli diaspora overshadows the dispossessed Palestinians, who fled en masse post-1948. Israel’s refusal to acknowledge a moral imperative to permit their return or to consider a just settlement belies stark duplicity in international policy, allowing for the illegal annexation of land while disregarding the dislocated indigenous populace.

Foreign interventions exacerbate the Palestinian plight. Regional and global powers are divided, with countries like Egypt, Syria, Iran, and Russia backing the Palestinian cause, while the United States and Saudi Arabia support Israel. This geopolitical schism hinders any chance of a lasting peace agreement.

Complicating matters further are the frail political structures within Israel and Palestine. The Palestinian Authority mired in corruption and internal divisions, and the Hamas-governed Gaza, lacking widespread support from fellow Palestinians, demonstrate the internal fractures that undermine the quest for unity. Similarly, Israel’s political landscape is fraught with division, often resulting in policies that marginalize civilians.

The discord within the Muslim world also aggravates the Palestinian dilemma. While some nations edge towards normalizing relations with Israel, the significance of the Palestinian struggle is undermined. Mere rhetorical support contrasts starkly with the active endorsement of Israel by other states, rendering such declarations hollow.

Despite these formidable challenges, viable pathways to resolution exist. UN Resolution 242, calling for an Israeli withdrawal and the return of refugees, outlines a potential blueprint for peace. However, it necessitates robust UN involvement.

The two-state solution still stands as the most feasible route to harmony. Displacement is not a tenable solution in our era, particularly in light of the global refugee crisis. Acknowledging mutual cohabitation as the sole practical approach may carve a path toward a peaceful settlement.

Establishing democratic governance in Gaza and the West Bank is critical to authentically representing the Palestinian people. Fostering democracy could shift the focus from military escalation to diplomatic dialogue, prompting major powers to take the issue more seriously.

The unification of Palestinian factions is imperative. Fatah, Hamas, and the Palestinian National Authority must align to peacefully resolve their struggle. The fractious nature of their relationships only benefits Israel, which enjoys support from the West.

Moreover, a bifurcated Jerusalem, shared by Israel and Palestine under international supervision, could lead to more equitable treatment and resource distribution.

Global powers, particularly the U.S., China, and Russia, should adopt a mediator’s mantle rather than pursuing self-interested alliances. The recent conflicts underscore the need for such a balanced approach.

Finally, solidarity among Muslim nations is crucial for a tenable resolution. Addressing long-standing enmities, reassessing ties with Israel, and revitalizing collective organizations like the Organization of Islamic Cooperation could avert further tragedies.

In sum, the Palestinian narrative is fraught with impediments that have long stalled peace. Addressing these issues with pragmatic solutions is of the essence.

Ali Haider is currently a Customs Inspector with Pakistan Customs. Ali has a keen interest in global affairs.