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  Opinion   Edit  25 May 2024  AA Edit | Self-ruled Palestine can bring peace to Mideast

AA Edit | Self-ruled Palestine can bring peace to Mideast

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : May 25, 2024, 12:27 am IST
Updated : May 25, 2024, 12:27 am IST

International momentum grows for two-state solution in Israel-Palestine conflict

European nations eye recognition of Palestinian state amid calls for peace. (Image: Freepik)
 European nations eye recognition of Palestinian state amid calls for peace. (Image: Freepik)

On the roadmap to peace in a region marked by decades of conflicts is a full-fledged state of Palestine encompassing at least the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as part of a “two-state solution”. That most of the world agrees on this being the best way forward is further emphasised in the three European nations — Ireland, Norway and Spain — becoming all set to recognise a Palestine state.

As many as 80 countries, including India, have had Palestinian embassies coexisting with those of Israel for some years now. It reflects how Israel is losing international support for its counter-strike against Hamas and the way in which it has conducted the Gaza war. European nations, too, are now moving on, convinced that the only way to achieve peace is a state of Palestine with the principle of self-rule to be established.

The “two-state solution” is not a novel proposal as it has been in the air since the early 1990s when it was the bedrock of the US-backed peace efforts under the 1993 Oslo Accords, signed by Palestine Liberation Organisation and Israel. Why the idea is finding renewed acceptance internationally is because it appears to be the only way to draw the lines afresh once the Gaza war comes to an end.

Israel, now busily engaged in scaling up military operations by the day in Rafah with the one tactical change of trying to inflict lesser civilian fatalities, remains the principal roadblock. Beyond the war, Israel has little idea of how Gaza is to be handled except that it will not give up its security role there easily now that it is an occupier once again after having left the Gaza Strip in 2005.

After waging war for seven months and scoring a few victories over Hamas but nowhere near wiping out the militant wing of the group, Israel sees only hard options now on top of its disproportionate response in reducing most of Gaza to rubble and putting millions of its people on the brink of starvation.

Not deterred, Hamas has regrouped in certain areas and is till attacking Israeli settlements. The idea of Israel maintaining security control while delegating civil administration to local Palestinians who are not affiliated with Hamas or the Palestinian Authority is not suited to convincing the world that the “two-state” principle can be addressed.  

The United States, Israel’s most powerful and staunchest ally, would have to take the lead in promoting the idea of a Palestine state, but while conferring Palestinian self-determination it should not pose an existential threat to Israel. The starting point for all negotiations can only be the end of the war, which is entirely in the hands of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his war cabinet.

There are myriad issues of highly contentious nature — boundaries that have shifted substantially since the Green Line of 1949, East Jerusalem, Golan Heights, Hamas-Palestinian Authority differences — that must be tackled in pursuit of an idealistic “two-state” principle. The war must stop first before any peace plan can become a new reference point for negotiations on a Palestine state without a role for the likes of Hamas in it.

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