Thursday, 14 August 2014

COMMUNITIES IN CONFLICT: palestine and Israel

Palestine Mandate
It is apparently easy to forget that a major player in the so-called Middle East following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1918 was the British Government.The British ruled Ottoman Syria, as well as Palestine, and Egypt,  from 1923 to 1948. The League of Nations set up the Palestine Mandate and commissioned the British ;to create the protectorates of Palestine, [.including Israel, the homeland for the Jews;] and TransJordan - later Jordan. The British set up Israel in Palestine without consulting anyone! except the Zionist Association. They failed to recognize the hostilities between Palestine and the Jews. They did not accept that the Islamist movement in Palestine demanded that the Jews were rejected .The Jewish leaders welcomed the Mandate as providing the opportunity for Jewish communities to return to their homeland, from which they were ejected by the Romans.
From 1941 to1948, the British witnessed the rise of Nazism and anti-semitism in Europe and the persecution and holocaust of the Jews. They initiated the migration of Jews to Palestine to settle in their designated homeland, Israel. The migration of the refugees was not simple. The Jews were rejected by most European countries as well as many Arab states, including Palestine and Egypt. In fact, the British found it so difficult to settle the Jews in Israel, that they were forced to set up detention camps in Cyprus. The state of Israel first started with tented cities .In 1947 the British withdrew from Palestine. In 1948, the hostilities led to ;the first Arab-Israeli War. In 1967 the Six day War revealed that the state of Israel was highly militarized and capable of defending itself against all comers. The current hostilities are the new steps taken by Palestinians, against the Israelis, and vice-versa
.Israel and Palestine.
BBC World News, over the summer of 2014, has devoted a lot of time to report about the continuing Israel/Gaza conflct. The reports, however, give the impressions that the attacks are new and they tend to ignore the facts that they have been going on for many decades. For example, in 1917, Prime Minister Balfour committed the UK to settling Jews in Israel. 1921 was marked by conflicts between the Jews and the Palestinians. In1948 after several conferences and negotiations, Israel was declared the homeland of the Jews, in Palestine. However, the declaration was rapidly followed by the onset of the First Arab/Israeli War! The war came to an end after 4 ceasefires had been agreed and observed.
June 2/2014, the government supported by Fatah and Hamas ended, surrendering their authority to a new government of national consensus. Then, June 12 2014. the steps towards effective government were disrupted by the kidnapping and murder of 3 Israeli teenagers. The Israeli government blames Hamas. But Hamas has not claimed any responsibility. In July, the Israeli Defence Force launched Operation Protective edge., designed to counter the rockets fired by Hamas at the Israeli cities. The IDF targets ;airstrikes, followed by ground operations in Gaza.
August 2  Egypt arranged a ceasefire. Israel declared that they will withdraw their IDF and that the main objective of their attacks had been achieved -the closure of the tunnels used by the militants to attack Israel. And the reduction of the rockets attacks by Hamas against Israel.
August 8th the ceasefire was broken . Palestinian militants fired up to 30 rockets into Israel.  The IDF resumed attacks at once. Clearly, they are not going to be lenient towards any group that breaks a ceasefire. And nor do they have to because they form the most effective and efficient fighting force in the Middle East. The fighters for Hamas/PLO/PA/Fatah can only win by negotiation.
August 11th marks the onset of another ceasefire, and negotiations in Cairo to settle the range of demands. Hamas is now seeking through confrontation what it couldnt obtain through a peaceful handover of responsibilities. Gaza had electricity for barely eight hours a day, water was undrinkable, sewage was dumped in the sea, fuel shortages caused sanitation plants to shut down and waste sometimes floated in the streets. Patients needing medical care couldnt reach Egyptian hospitals, and Gazans paid $3,000 bribes for a chance to exit when Egypt chose to open the border crossings.

How to settle matters in Palestine?
The mediators, EU/US/UN/Russia, demand that Palestine renounce violence; recognize Israel; accept PLO agreements. Israel and Palestine are locked in combat that can only lead to death and destruction. Peace will only be achieved between Israel and Palestine when they both stop the attacks.It is reported that Netanyahu wants to work for ‘quiet and quiet’ .that is,  mutual ceasefire. However, members of his coalition government are more militant. Some want Israel to retake Gaza. Others want to uproot Hamas. The islamist movement in Palestine, including Hamas, want to be rid of Israel and the Jews. It is not surprising that Palestine and Israel find it very difficult to talk to each other. The militant mindsets of all sides/factions lead to the emergence of community violence. However, the President Abbas of the National consensus coalition has urged Palestine to continue cooperation with Israel. The only way to settle matters in Palestine is for all factions to cooperate and negotiate.

 Who are involved in the negotiations?   We have already seen that the British were involved in the Mandate and it can be argued that the current situations in Palestine and Syria are very much to do with the British. The direct involvement of Egypt in the ceasefires is a measure of the spheres of influence of the USA. The collapse of the Ottoman Empire not only allowed the increasing influence of USA and Britain, but also the emergence of the USSR/Russia in Syria, in Iran, in Lebanon, in Egypt. At the present times, the situations in Palestine are very complicated according to whom pays aid; who receives aid,who provides armaments and what are the realcosts? Qatar funds Hamas; looking for an islamist state. Israel is funded by the USA and EU looking for a Jewish state in Palestine. The current consensus is the two state solution.reiterated today, August 12th, by US Secretary of State John Kerry. But the viable future is cooperation, negotiation, conflict prevention for all parties. As in all democracies, they depend upon all parties ‘begging to differ; compromising; and accepting the votes of the majority, and working for peace.

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