Israel and its inhabitants have been in constant war since the founding of the state, 73 years ago, alternating real wars with limited warfare, defense against terrorism and the consequent reprisals, in a situation of constant insecurity. The State of Israel was proclaimed on May 14, 1948 and it is striking that the bloody clashes currently underway, albeit provoked by contingent reasons, broke out on the occasion of this anniversary.
What is happening in these days seems to bring to the fore with worrying violence all the problems that have not been resolved in recent decades and on many fronts. In fact, there is not only an unsolved “Palestinian question”, but one equally problematic “Israeli question”, both in the broader and more convulsive framework of the “Middle Eastern question”.
On the Israeli question, that is, the recognition of Israel’s right to exist, a step forward has been made with the so-called “Abrahamic Agreements”, promoted by Donald Trump. Signed in September 2020, they made it possible to normalize relations between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Subsequently, Sudan and Morocco also initiated a normalization of relations, as well as de facto relations were established with Saudi Arabia and Oman. Adding Egypt and Jordan, signatories of a peace treaty for years, the Israeli question would seem to be about to come to an end.
The Abrahamic Accords have somewhat overshadowed the Palestinian question, provoking unanimous opposition from the various Palestinian factions. The Accords themselves could be the underlying reason for the current clashes, as indicated Mario Mauro in his article. It is also acceptable that Hamas, with this intervention, is trying to put out the Palestinian National Authority, accused of incapacity and collusion with Israel.
The situation in the West Bank is indeed quite critical: the postponement of the elections, which have not been held for 15 years, has caused discontent and is seen as a last attempt by Abu Mazen to keep power. The hypothesis of the “two states” is not only questioned by a part of Israeli politicians, but is also strongly compromised by the ten-year conflict between the PA and Hamas. The latter continues not to recognize Israel and to pursue a single state, the Palestinian one; unrealistic hypothesis, but useful to present oneself as the true representative of the Palestinians.
However, this is an extremely dangerous strategy and, beyond a certain level, the clashes would lead to a new Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip, for which Israel is preparing. Hamas is likely to plan to take advantage of Israel’s internal political crisis, still without a government after four elections in two years. As he points out in his interview Sherif El Sebaie, the latest events could lead, in the name of the country’s security, to a return to Netanyahu’s government. It is not easy for the opposition to find a majority agreement, which may also have to include the Arab-Israeli parties. The participation in the government of Israeli citizens of Arab nationality, positive for an agreement with the Palestinians, is strongly opposed by the nationalist right and by the sectarian parties, which have become increasingly strong in recent years. Thus a new version of the Israeli question emerges.
Contrary to its normal policy of supporting Shiite minorities, Tehran is backing Sunni Hamas against Israel and Saudi Arabia, based on the principle “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. After all, if the game ends badly, it is Hamas who pays the bill, but the situation is going beyond a calculated risk. The riots have spread from Jerusalem to other cities, with clashes between Jewish and Arab civilians, raising the specter of a civil war: Arab citizens of Israel are almost 20% of the population. The far right is riding the situation, even speaking of a “Jewish intifada”, forcing Netanyahu himself to intervene to cool the situation.
It should also be remembered that behind Hamas there is not only Iran: Hamas is connected to the Muslim Brotherhood, therefore to Qatar and Turkey, both adversaries of the countries of the aforementioned “pro-Israel” bloc. Once again, rivalries between states that want to dominate the region will have severe consequences for the civilian populations on both sides. It all started from Jerusalem, a holy city for the three monotheistic religions, but of which both Jews and Muslims would like the exclusive possession. For a time the internationalization of Jerusalem was considered, an extremely difficult hypothesis and now unattainable; therefore only its division in two remains, the western part as the capital of Israel, East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state.
The establishment of a Palestinian state is inevitable, if we want to put an end to these disastrous decades, but then why continue to increase the costs?
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