Palestinian unity renders the status quo of the Middle East


May 2021 has been a consequential month in the context of more than a century between Jews and Arabs on how – or if – to divide the Holy Land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean.

The self-absorption of Israeli politics, compounded by four inconclusive elections in two years, has been burst out – less from the 11-day armed conflict with Hamas in Gaza than from the Palestinians, including those with Israeli citizenship, joining in revolt throughout the area under Israeli control.

These events have he resurrected political fortune of Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel’s five terms, literally hours earlier it seemed he would be dethroned.

In the long run, a right-wing Israeli political elite that claimed to have domesticated the Palestinians by colonizing their land is facing a revolt throughout Greater Israel, with Arab Israel making common cause with his brothers under occupation. After rejecting a two-state solution – an independent Palestine alongside Israel – Israeli politicians face having to manage a single de facto state. This has about equal Arab and Jewish populations, but with such a disparity of rights it is described by critics as a state of apartheid.

The idea that the occupation was somehow a resolved issue that the Palestinians had been forced to accept is over. Israel has never been held responsible for the establishment of the West Bank and East Arab Jerusalem after having conquered them in the six-day war of 1967. This month’s rebellion may change that.

Israel is now fighting a Palestinian revolt on three fronts: against Hamas, which controls Gaza and has fired more than 4,000 rockets at Israeli cities during the recent conflict; against Palestinians of Israeli nationality, now in vicious communal struggle with their Jewish neighbors; and against the Palestinians across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Netanyahu is currently taking advantage of the Gaza clash, the fourth war with Hamas since 2009. Yet he has discarded his diplomatic tools and, with the region’s most powerful military, appears unable to stop a tag-rag army firing bombs. of giant pipes from a blocked enclave.

A new generation of Palestinian militants emerge in Israel and in the occupied territories, independent of Fatah, traditional nationalists and Islamic Hamas. He made an international agreement. When his leadership emerges, he will demand real elections, which are no longer held in the occupied territories since 2006. These will bury a Fatah led by Mahmoud Abbas, the discredited Palestinian leader who has limited powers and who has just postponed elections again.

Jerusalem stops the beating the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that no one can ignore. Former US President Donald Trump has tried to do just that recognizes it as the capital of Israel. Provocation in the city and its holy sites from Netanyahu’s extremist allies sparked the latest eruption.

He was always hubby for Netanyahu and Trump tearing off the leaf of a dying peace process, under which the incremental expulsion of the Palestinians they seemed to be advancing towards their capitulation. But the creeping annexation did not translate into quiescence. The Palestinians have now connected on three fronts, and also in the diaspora. The general strike of the Palestinians in Israel, the West Bank and Arab Jerusalem on May 18 and, at some point, in a Gaza devastated by the Israeli bombing, was an important moment. Some observers say that nothing was seen before the birth of Israel and the Arab Revolt of 1936.

The conversation about Israel-Palestine changes. In the United States, Jewish and Arabic voices they say enough is enough. Trump thought the conflict was over real estate. Netanyahu thought he would change the region by joining the Arabs against Iran. Both are wrong.

The US under Joe Biden is approaching the recovery of the 2015 nuclear restraint agreement that Trump snatched. Among Netanyahu’s powerful Arab allies, Saudi Arabia iHe is seriously engaged with Iran for a livelihood, while the pragmatic UAE is torn apart by conflicts in the region from Yemen to Libya. Egypt, nominally at peace with Israel since 1979 and heavily dependent on the Gulf since the 2013 military coup, is trying to regain its diplomatic luster by handing down the ceasefire in Gaza.

Across the Middle East the seemingly familiar mobiles are moving in the middle of the usual focus on tactics instead of long-term strategy. It is amazing that a diverse Palestinian people has emerged so strongly in the forefront of this change. Leaders in the region are struggling to keep pace, but change may finally be on track.

david.gardner@ft.com



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