Amman – Wasted time is always to be regretted. But in the Middle East, wasting time is also dangerous. Another year has now passed with little progress in bridging the divide between Palestinians and Israelis. The current air strikes on Gaza, and continuing rocket attacks on Askelon, Sderot and other towns in southern Israel, only prove how dire the situation is becoming.
The security impasse that exists between Israel and the Gazan-Palestinian leadership has also led to blockades of food aid by Israel that have left Gaza’s 1.5 million people facing conditions of real hunger. Israel, it seems, is once again emphasizing the primacy of “hard” security in its dealings with the Palestinians of Gaza, but this focus only serves to block non-violent opportunities for creative solutions to the Israel-Palestine dispute.
Making matters worse, Israeli politicians remain committed to further enlargement of Israel’s West Bank settlements. Pushed to the wall in this way, many Palestinians are beginning to see no other option for fulfilling their national aspirations than radical tactics. Given that this risks renewed violence, it is critical that Israel’s regional partners and international actors understand that Palestinians will not be diverted from their strategic objective of achieving an independent state. The Palestinian people will never abandon their national struggle.
Both Israelis and Palestinians must understand that the mere application of force will never be enough to achieve their long-term ends. What is needed is a viable option for the opposing party to adopt in order for violence not to be deployed. Although force sometimes has its uses, a stable and lasting peace can be delivered only by an integrative, compromise solution.