by Tyler Williams
Achieving peace in the Middle East seems like a foreign concept when there is no cease in the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire on May 20th after 11 days of bloodshed and pandemonium. Hamas is an Islamic resistance group whose main objective is to free Palestine from Israeli occupation. According to AP News, this took place in the Gaza Strip and left more than 200 people dead. President Joe Biden said the U.S. was committed to helping Israel replenish its supply of interceptor missiles for its Iron Dome rocket-defense system and working with the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority — not Hamas — to provide humanitarian aid to Gaza, AP News reports.
With the ceasefire being a sigh of relief on both sides, violation of the ceasefire is bound to happen. In fact, violations of past ceasefires have been returning like bad pimples. For example, in July 2014, six days after the Israeli Army began bombarding Gaza, Egypt proposed a cease-fire that Israel agreed to. However, Hamas stated that it addressed none of its demands, and the cycle of rocket attacks and Israeli airstrikes resumed after less than 24 hours, the New York Times said.
As a result, nine truces came and went before the 2014 conflict ended, after 51 days, with more than 2,000 Palestinians and more than 70 Israelis killed. The New York Times further reports that past cease-fires between Israel and Hamas have usually gone in stages, beginning with an agreement that each side will stop attacking the other, a dynamic that Israelis call “quiet for quiet.” That means Hamas halting rocket attacks into Israel and Israel ceasing bombardment of Gaza.
A Palestinian woman argues with an Israeli border policeman in the West Bank. Mohamad Torokman/Reuters.
Meanwhile, a few proposed solutions have been made. But which solution is the most effective? One-state, two-state, red-state, or blue-state?
Here are the proposed solutions regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict.
“Those who support a one-state solution generally see separating Israelis and Palestinians into two states as just too hard. The populations are too intertwined, and reaching agreement on things like borders and Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees is too complicated”, HeyAlma reports.
Consequently, Israelis unfavorably view a one-state solution as one that would destroy the state’s Jewish character and undermine the security of Israel, would render Jews a minority and essentially eliminate the world’s only Jewish state, according to HeyAlma.
This is a popular solution since it acknowledges both opposing parties because Israel and Palestine will maintain the majority of their citizens. On the other hand, questions about refugees and borders raise concerns. The Los Angeles Times reported on May 11th, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki reaffirmed Biden’s support for a “two-state solution” in which Israel would peacefully coexist with a Palestinian state. The question is how much time and prestige the president is willing to invest in a peace process that has dragged on for decades without resolution.
Israel Palestine conflict: A Palestinian protester and an Israeli soldier in 2019 (Image: Getty).
Confederation Alternative Solution
Another solution that has been brought to the table is establishing a confederation policy. Dahlia Scheindlin of The Century Foundation writes “the United States professes a goal of fostering peace, but enables the processes that perpetuate conflict. This contradiction is at the heart of Washington’s sharp loss of credibility as an honest broker in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, a loss that damages U.S. standing in the Middle East at large.” Scheindlin says the following:
“The confederation approach offers the closest approximation of two states. It provides national self-determination for both peoples, while providing better solutions for daily life, with incentives and concessions to each side that did not exist in the earlier model. Although there are two territorial states, the porous border concept does not compromise security, but rather allows freedom of movement for law-abiding people as a default, with security suspects restricted as exceptions. This is a conceptual concession offering each side full access to the other—something neither side (at least civilians) enjoys today. Additionally, however, it also contributes to economic development and reduces the most suffocating restrictions on daily life, which primarily affect Palestinians.”
This conflict has been about land, resources, religion, and human rights. This conflict has been ongoing from decades to the point where peace may look bleak. However, as long as people come up with solutions that work for everyone, then there is an opportunity for peace to shine light on the Holy Land.