The standoff in West Asia continues

At the moment, a recommitment to a “peace process” seems unlikely. Arab countries which normalised relations with Israel don’t have the heft to intercede effectively
The violence comes at a time when the political situation in Israel and Palestine is unstable (AFP)
The violence comes at a time when the political situation in Israel and Palestine is unstable (AFP)
Updated on May 17, 2021 07:47 PM IST
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ByHT Editorial

Israel’s prime minister (PM), Benjamin Netanyahu’s remark that an end to hostilities with the Palestinians was not likely soon is alarming, even as many countries including India have urged restraint. The only credible restraining force on Israel, which has engaged in heavy aerial bombardment after Hamas, which controls the Gaza strip, launched rocket attacks on it over a week ago, is the United States. However, the Joe Biden administration has not gone beyond calling for a de-escalation in violence. Over 198 people have been killed in Gaza, with 10 casualties in Israel.

The violence comes at a time when the political situation in Israel and Palestine is unstable. The PM’s position is weak, while the Palestinian National Authority has lost ground to a violent Hamas. Both sides to the conflict have resorted to extreme measures to shore up public support.

At the moment, a recommitment to a “peace process” seems unlikely. Arab countries which normalised relations with Israel don’t have the heft to intercede effectively. While Israel must take the lion’s share of the blame for the casualties in this round of violence, the Hamas has done Palestinians no favours with its rocket attacks and its inability to provide economic growth or any other benefits to Gaza’s beleaguered population. Israel’s hopes that it will break the back of Hamas with this round of bombardment are not likely to be realised, going by past experience. But what is clear is no third party has a quick-fix to the problem. The only hope is for the Palestinian Authority to reassert itself under the leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas and for Israel to realise that this violence may only breed further alienation and anger among Palestinians.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2022