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Sun. June 23, 2024
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Palestine: The Land Deserves Peace
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It might be difficult to imagine that true change is conceivable in a stagnant, decades-long war that has rotted over the past 20 years. Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces, told CNN on Sunday that Israel's military is observing a strong flow of people leaving northern Gaza after it advised citizens to go south.

The upcoming weeks will determine whether the conflict in Gaza deepens the Middle East's state of anarchy or if Israel can start laying the groundwork for regional stability and, one day, peace.  Concerns have been raised that Israel is contemplating a big ground attack after warning 1.1 million Palestinians to relocate from north to south Gaza. There have been reports of massacres and ethnic cleansing in Gaza. It is nothing but brutality to issue an order to leave the enclave and to employ indiscriminate force if necessary. This is not the first time Tel Aviv has chosen to invade Palestinian land on foot. The current conditions and position are unprecedented, not just in terms of extreme brutality. However, if Israel conducts the ground invasion it has vowed, there are worries that things might get worse.

Perhaps it is encouraged by the international community's guilty silence, which has addressed one of the most existential problems of our time with little more than lip service. Without a reliable supply line for the military to maintain its punch against the Jewish state, its time-bound victories are becoming a nightmare for the Palestinians who have been driven from their homes. And now it is a story of death and ruin with retaliatory bombings throughout the seized lands.

A special meeting of the Executive Committee of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) was invited to take place in reaction to the deteriorating military situation in Gaza. Leaders of major Muslim nations are in communication with one another.  The brutal attack on Al Ahli Baptist Hospital, which left more than 500 people dead, mostly children, was described as "Israeli state terrorism" by the head of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Wednesday, October 18, 2023.

Speaking during a Jeddah meeting of the OIC Executive Committee, summoned to review Israel's attack against Gaza, OIC Secretary General Hissein Brahim Taha declared that the attack was a war crime that needed to be punished. The OIC chief appealed to the world to put pressure on the occupying state, Israel, to abide by international law, international humanitarian law, and pertinent United Nations resolutions.

Support for a two-state solution had dropped to its lowest point since 2016, according to a joint Israeli-Palestinian poll conducted in December 2022. The study found that 33% of Palestinians and 34% of Israeli Jews agreed with the concept. Many Israelis are in favor of expanding Israeli control over at least a portion of the West Bank, where settlement construction has persisted. Israelis, they claim, have a right to live permanently in the West Bank, which they refer to as the "cradle of Jewish civilization," or Judea and Samaria, after its biblical name. Israel would have to decide between giving citizenship to more Palestinians in the West Bank, which would weaken the nation's Jewish majority, or keeping them stateless, which would fuel claims of discrimination if Israel finally gained complete authority over more Palestinians in the West Bank.

In the December survey, 37% of Israeli Jews supported a non-democratic solution that involved creating a single state where Palestinians were denied equal rights. A unitary state with a Palestinian majority was desired by 30% of Palestinians. Smaller minorities on both sides favored creating a binational state with universal equality.

US President Joe Biden has attempted to reach a "grand bargain" in the Middle East, which involves normalizing ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia, the country in charge of the two holiest places in Islam.

This recent conflict is problematic from a diplomatic standpoint for Saudi Arabia as well as other Arab nations, including the Gulf Arab nations neighboring Saudi Arabia who have peace treaties with Israel. Palestinians desire that their state's capital be located in East Jerusalem, which is home to holy sites for Muslims, Jews, and Christians. Israel maintains that Jerusalem should continue to serve as its indivisible capital. Internationally, there is no acceptance of Israel's claim to the eastern portion of Jerusalem. Trump declared Jerusalem as Israel's capital in 2018 and relocated the US embassy there, though he did not clarify the scope of Israel's control in the contentious city.

Currently, 5.6 million Palestinian refugees, mostly from the 1948 war, reside in Gaza, the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. The Palestinian Foreign Ministry estimates that around half of all registered refugees are still stateless, many of whom are housed in overcrowded camps. Palestinians have long asked that refugees and the millions of people who are descended from them be allowed to return. Any relocation of Palestinian refugees, according to Israel, must take place outside of its boundaries.

It's time we reclaimed the media narrative. Natasha Ahmed Khan (natty. a. khan) put it beautifully in her Instagram post when she said, “The next time the media tells you Muslim men are terrorists, I want you to remember Motaz Aziza, the journalist who cradles babies in between helping families pull their loved ones out of the rubble. I want you to remember the men dressed up as Mickey Mouse in Gaza going around putting smiles on children’s faces. I want you to remember the doctors of Gaza who perform surgeries non-stop yet still pray over their patients and comfort them through catastrophic losses. I want you to remember the imam at my masjid who delivered his khutba while holding his baby girl in his arms. You see, genocide is easy when you dehumanize people.”

yamna khajjak is a student at the National Defence University.

 

References

Elwelly, E. & Ghaddar, A. (2023, October 18). OPEC Plans No Immediate Action after Iran Urges Israel Oil Embargo, Sources Say. Reuters. www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/iran-calls-islamic-countries-sanction-israel-2023-10-18/.

Reuters. Israel Warns Half of Gaza's Population to Move South, UN Says. (2023, October 12). U.S. News & World Report. https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2023-10-12/un-says-israeli-military-warns-1-1-million-gazans-to-relocate-south#:~:text=NEW YORK (Reuters) - The United Nations said,ground offensive following a deadly Hamas militant attack.

The Palestine/Israel Pulse, a Joint Poll Summary Report. Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research. www.pcpsr.org/en/node/928.

UNRWA + Palestine Refugees. (2022, May 6). UNRWA USA. www.unrwausa.org/unrwa-palestine-refugees#:~:text=Nearly one third of registered Palestine refugees, more than.

 

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