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Israel Palestinian Conflict and The Threads of Conflict and Peace
In the heart of conflict, a fragile thread of normalization weaves through the Middle East. Will it mend wounds or unravel further, altering the region's destiny?
In the ever-complicated tapestry of Middle Eastern politics, a new thread has emerged, pulling the region's intricate weave in unforeseen directions. The recent attack by Hamas on Israel has sparked intense global scrutiny, with fingers pointing in various directions to discern the root cause. Amidst this chaotic backdrop, one factor has been thrust into the limelight by none other than the United States: normalization – the establishment of formal ties, including diplomatic and economic links, between nations.
“Here's one thing that's clear. We've been actively working on trying to help Israel and Saudi Arabia normalise their relations.” Anthony Blinken, US Sec of State.
US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, candidly articulated America's stance, unveiling their active efforts to facilitate normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia. This push for diplomatic ties has ruffled the feathers of certain groups, notably Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran, all of whom vehemently oppose this development. For them, normalization symbolizes a betrayal of the Palestinian cause, a compromise they are unwilling to accept.
Hamas, an Islamist militant group based in Gaza, justifies its recent attack by citing Israel's alleged crimes against Palestinians. The storming of the Al Aqsa Mosque and the soaring casualties in the occupied West Bank have only fueled their resentment. Furthermore, the timing of the attack, nearly fifty years after the Yom Kippur war, was not coincidental. It was a deliberate message, a stark reminder of historical grievances.
“The new agreement breaks a long-standing Arab consensus that the price of normal relations with Israel was independence for the Palestinians.”
Jeremy Bowen, BBC International Correspondent, Sept 2020.
“I think such a piece would go a long way for us to advance the end of the Arab-Israeli conflict, achieve reconciliation between the Islamic world and the Jewish state and advance a genuine peace between Israel and the Palestinians.” Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister.
Normalization, once a distant dream, has become a contentious reality in recent times. Historically, most Arab states refrained from recognizing Israel, viewing it as a price for Palestinian independence. However, 2020 shattered this consensus when the US-brokered deals between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, sidelined Palestinian participation. This move, seen by critics as a weakening of the Palestinian cause, intensified regional tensions.
In an unexpected twist, Saudi Arabia, a regional powerhouse, entered the normalization discourse. Talks between Israel and Saudi officials marked a seismic shift, bringing Palestinians back into the equation. Yet, this development did not sit well with everyone. Hamas, in particular, sought to disrupt this delicate balance, sending a resounding message that Arabs could not merely make deals with Israel and expect peace in return.
“Hamas officials have mentioned that they want to send a message to their Arab leaders that they can't be ignored. That Arabs can't just make deals with Israel and expect to get peace.”
Barbara Plett Usher, the BBC’s US State Department Correspondent.
“Countries that use the gamble of normalization with the Zionist regime as a method for themselves will lose and a loss awaits them. They are making a mistake.” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader. Oct 2023.
Iran, a significant player in the region, vehemently opposed normalization. Its Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warned against the gamble of embracing ties with Israel, hinting at dire consequences. While the exact origins of the Hamas attack remain shrouded in mystery, the spectre of normalization looms large, with conflicting narratives echoing through the corridors of power.
“Everyone who has a stake in peace and normalisation in the Middle East should support an outcome that would deal a blow to Iran and its proxies” Michael Herzog, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States.
In the midst of this turmoil, Israel, the UN, the US, the UK, the EU, and various other nations stand united in their condemnation of the attack. The loss of civilian lives, a tragedy by any measure, serves as a grim reminder of the toll conflict takes on innocent people. Normalization, once seen as a beacon of hope, now stands temporarily suspended, overshadowed by the horrors of war.
It seems that Hamas and America both say normalisation was a factor in why this attack happened now. America and Israel's desire for normalisation is matched by Hamas’ desire to stop it.
As the dust settles and the world watches with bated breath, the question remains: Can normalization pave the way for lasting peace, or will it be forever entangled in the complex web of Middle Eastern politics? Only time will tell, but one thing is certain: the threads of conflict and peace are interwoven, creating a tapestry that defies simple explanations and demands nuanced understanding.
However, at this moment, Israelis and Palestinians are grappling with shock, mourning, and the harsh reality of war, postponing any hopes of normalization or peace for the time being.
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Cover Photo: A detailed shot shows red paint and a tape that says "War Crime Scene" hanging on the door of Elbit Systems HQ office at 77 Kingsway, central London after Palestine Action activists scaled the rooftop of the Building's entrance on Friday afternoon, Aug 6, 2021. Activists argue that the weapons being manufactured by Elbit Systems are being used in indiscriminate attacks against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. (VX Photo/ Vudi Xhymshiti)