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What if?

Oct 14,2023 - Last updated at Oct 14,2023

Could the current tragic, ominous and fast-deteriorating situation between the Palestinians and the Israelis, in which things could get out of hand leading to more violence and bloodshed, have been avoided?

The answer is: Definitely yes.

In the early 1990s, there was a real chance for peace between Israel and its Arab neighbours, including the Palestinians.

In 1993, the Palestinian leadership and Israel negotiated a peace accord in Oslo which, despite several loopholes as far as Palestinian aspirations were concerned, could have been the basis or start of a lasting peace deal.

In 1994, Jordan and Israel signed the Wadi Araba Treaty, which established peace between the two sides and which promised to recognise and honour Jordanian custodianship over the holy places in Palestine.

Most observers of the situation then felt, and genuinely so, that peace was finally dawning and that “the children of Abraham” would put all vast violence and tragedies behind them and embark on an era of mutual recognition, mutual respect and mutual cooperation.

Soon, however, hopes for peace started to dim, and eventually tension, friction and violence started to reign supreme.

Why?

The reason is crystal clear: Israel did not live up to its side of the bargain.

The Oslo Accords, despite falling extremely short of Palestinian expectations, promised a gradual, phased end to Israeli occupation and the establishment of a viable Palestinian state on the territories forcibly occupied by Israel in 1967, including Jerusalem.

Slowly but steadily, the successive Israeli governments reneged on their commitments, ignoring all articles in the accords; showed no interest in peace, and started building more illegal settlements and expanding into territories which they were supposed to hand over to the Palestinians.

And they wasted no opportunity in harassing Palestinian civilians and inflicting all types of daily suffering and humiliation on them, for the sinister purpose of promoting occupation and depriving Palestinians of a legitimate state on their own land.

As for the agreement with Jordan, the Israelis failed, and deliberately so, to respect the Jordanian custodianship over the holy places, which would have prevented all the tension resulting from Israeli disrespect of and systematic incursions on the holy places in Palestine, both Muslim and Christian, which are the cause of much of the tension and violence that ensued in recent years.

In a nutshell, the successive Israeli governments intentionally violated the agreements they signed and deliberately subverted peace, doing their best to impose their will and whim on the Palestinians, without any consideration or respect for them or their rights.

This is what brought the situation to what it is at this point, and to what might ensue from now on.

Could all of this have been avoided? Absolutely, if Israel genuinely committed to peace and respected the humanity and the rights of the Palestinians.

But it did not, and it does not; and this is where the problem lies.

Can something be done now? Can the unfolding tragedy and suffering be avoided?

The answer is absolutely yes.

It all depends on whether Israel wants peace for its own citizens and for the Palestinians. If Israel changes its militaristic mindset and approach and recognises the obvious, that there is no viable solution to the situation except through peace, then there is hope. If it does not, the cycle of violence will continue.

So, what if the Israelis had lived up to their side of the bargain since 1993 and 1994, and what if they reverse their militaristic mindset now and seek peace?

We would not be where we have been, and we would not have to witness the horrors that might unfold.

Violence breeds violence, militarism does not solve issues, apartheid is evil and selfishness and arrogance are destructive.

For the sake of peace, occupation and colonisation must come to an end; and mutual respect and empathy should prevail.

What to do now?

We do not have to reinvent the wheel and renegotiate. The solution lies in honouring and implementing the UN resolutions governing the Palestine question and the agreements already signed by the sides involved.

There is no solution in Palestine except through peace. And those who wish to express solidarity with any party to the unfortunate situation should do so by stressing the importance of peace, and not by pledging one-sided support to Israel, and providing it with even more weapons, thus pouring gasoline on fire and abetting bloodshed and conflict, and the murder of innocent civilians.

Advocate peace, not war! Seek solutions, not promotion of conflict and occupation! Support moderation, not extremism! Stand with humanity, not against it! Promote life, not death!

Say what is right, and not what serves political hypocrisy and deviance!

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