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While the conflict rages in Gaza amidst allegations and counter allegations, and in the midst of unabashed American partiality, it is relevant to recall what the senior leader of Hamas, Mousa Abu Marzouk, told to The New Yorker magazine about the political approach.
MORE ON THE NEWS:
- Abu Marzouk added that in earlier conflicts, the Israelis waged wars outside their borders, and this is the first time that the Palestinians are crossing the borders and fighting in their historic land.
- The Israeli response to the Hamas attack has been to order the evacuation of the northern half of Gaza, to enforce it by a blockade, by the cutting off of food, water and electricity as also by the massing of 3,00,000 troops on Gaza’s border.
- Israel’s objectives for the Gaza operation have been officially identified- Toppling Hamas and destroying its military capabilities, eliminating the threat of terrorism emanating from the Gaza strip, exerting maximum pressure to find a solution to the hostage issue and defending the borders of the state and its citizens.
ABOUT ISRAEL HAMAS CONFLICT:
- The Palestinian militant group Hamas launched an unprecedented assault on Israel on 7 October, with hundreds of gunmen infiltrating communities near the Gaza Strip.
- More than 5,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed in air and artillery strikes carried out by the Israeli military.
- Israel has also cut off electricity and most water and stopped imports of food and medicine, although it has allowed in several dozen aid lorries through Egypt’s Rafah crossing since Saturday.
Israel is small country in the Middle East, about the size of New Jersey, located on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea and bordered by Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. The nation of Israel, with a population of more than 9 million people, most of them Jewish, has many important archaeological and religious sites considered sacred by Jews, Muslims and Christians alike, and a complex history with periods of peace and conflict.
- The word Israel comes from Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, who was renamed “Israel” by the Hebrew God in the Bible. More than 100 years ago, on November 2, 1917, Britain’s then-foreign secretary, Arthur Balfour, wrote a letter addressed to Lionel Walter Rothschild, a figurehead of the British Jewish community.
- It committed the British government to “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” and to facilitating “the achievement of this object”. The letter is known as the Balfour Declaration.
- A European power promised the Zionist movement a country where Palestinian Arab natives made up more than 90 percent of the population.
- A British Mandate was created in 1923 and lasted until 1948. During that period, the British facilitated mass Jewish immigration, many of the new residents were fleeing Nazism in Europe, and they also faced protests and strikes.
- In April 1936, the newly formed Arab National Committee called on Palestinians to launch a general strike, withhold tax payments and boycott Jewish products to protest British colonialism and growing Jewish immigration. In second half of 1939, Britain had massed 30,000 troops in Palestine. In those three years of revolt, 5,000 Palestinians were killed, 15,000 to 20,000 were wounded and 5,600 were imprisoned.
The wars on the Gaza Strip:
- In 2008, 2012, 2014 and 2021-Israel has launched four protracted military assaults on Gaza: Thousands of Palestinians have been killed, including many children, and tens of thousands of homes, schools and office buildings have been destroyed.
- Rebuilding has been next to impossible because the siege prevents construction materials, such as steel and cement, from reaching Gaza.
- The 2008 assault involved the use of internationally banned weaponry, such as phosphorus gas.
- In 2014, over a span of 50 days, Israel killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, including 1,462 civilians and close to 500 children.
Israel and the Palestinians cannot agree on:
- What should happen to Palestinian refugees?
- Whether Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank should stay or be removed?
- Whether the two sides should share Jerusalem?
- Whether a Palestinian state should be created alongside Israel?
Abraham Accords -The Abraham Accords are bilateral agreements on Arab–Israeli normalization signed between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain on September 15, 2020. It is held that the normalisation process between Israel and these Arab nations has forced the Hamas to launch an attack on Israel to safeguard the Palestinian cause.
Significance of Abraham Accord:
- Promotes stability in West Asia.
- Regional and Multinational Cooperation – The accords have laid the foundation for expanded regional and multinational cooperation.
- Trade Cooperation – Trade between Israel and other West Asian countries increased 74% between 2021 and 2022. Tourism, mostly non-existent in the past, has skyrocketed. In 2021, visits from Israel to the UAE increased by 172%.
- The Prosperity Green & Blue agreement between Israel, the UAE, and Jordan determined that a solar field to supply 600 megawatts of electricity to Israel and a desalination plant in Israel would deliver 200 million cubic meters of water to Jordan.
SIGNIFICANCE FOR INDIA:
- It has led to substantial increase in the commercial collaborations between companies from the UAE, Israel, Bahrain, and the U.S., partnering with the Indian private sector.
- The vibrant Indian diaspora in the Gulf now has the convenience of direct flights between the UAE and Israel, as well as between Israel and Bahrain.
- Indian students are enjoying increased ease of travel, gaining improved access to universities and the opportunity to explore international study programmes.
- India’s engagement in the new “Quad” in the Middle East, bridging the Arab-Israeli rift, served as a nonideological engagement with the Middle East.
- The Abraham Accords made the I2U2 Group possible, and its primary focus will be on joint investments in critical areas such as water, energy, transportation, space, health, and food security.
THE WAY FORWARD:
- Immediate ceasefire needs to be enforced to save the civilian populations in Gaza as advocated by the UN Secretary General. This requires the Hamas to release the hostages immediately.
- The two-state solution calls for establishing an independent state for Palestinians alongside that of Israel.
- The issue of equal rights for both Palestinians and Israelis can no longer be ignored. We need a new paradigm that emphasizes a rights-based approach, regardless of solution.
- In 2003, The European Union, UN, US, and Russia had released a road map for peace in which outlined a clear timetable towards a Palestinian state.
Hoping to arrive at a solution today is unrealistic. But approaching the issue from a rights-based perspective ensures that both sides can lay down a solid basis for a democratic and sustainable solution.
PREVIOUS YEAR QUESTION:
Q.1 “India’s relations with Israel have, of late, acquired a depth and diversity, which cannot be rolled back.” Discuss. (2018)
MAINS PRACTICE QUESTION:
Q.1 As the Israel-Palestine crisis spirals to unprecedented levels, discuss the Impact on Global Economy and Challenges in Achieving Peace. Question should be on the article.
Q.2 “ The two-state solution appears to have reached a dead-end”. Examine in the context of current developments.Spread the Word