|Jewish and Arab Members of the Israeli Knesset argue over Palestinian rights|
The majority of both Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza have breathed a sigh of relief that the fighting has ended. Meanwhile, the Biden administration has pledged $22 million to rebuild the Gaza Strip which was badly damaged by Israeli bombing. Apart from Biden’s pledge, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has largely disappeared from the news. What will happen next? What can be done to address this intractable struggle?
The view expressed here is that the solution to the conflict begins in Israel.
The key to such change is the active involvement in Israeli politics of its Palestinian citizens.
In the current political scenario, neither Israel’s
Recently, a major change has been in the making with the willingness of Israel’s Jewish political parties to consider forming coalitions with Israel’s Palestinian Arab parties, even if indirect.
|Yair Lapid, Naftali Bennett and Mansour Abbas (United Arab List)|
Should the proposed minority government survive with Arab support, it will become clear to Israel’s Jewish citizens that their Palestinian counter parts have decided to become full players in politics and use the electoral process to improve their lives.
Once they became supporters of the new governing coalition, with the ability to bring down the government if their party withdrew its support, Palestinian Arab Knesset members would possess considerable power due to the roughly 50-50% split between center right and center left voters in Israel.
As key coalition members, Palestinian Arab members of Knesset would acquire the power and influence to insist on a number of important changes. One would be to end their marginalization within the Knesset.
Arab parties could also insist that their ongoing political support of the Change-Yesh Atid government is contingent on reigning in far right settlers who seek to expropriate Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem and on the West Bank.
Arab Knesset members could demand other concessions as well.
At the same time, the international community needs to add its voice to this process.
As I wrote in a recent post, the recently established ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco, and Egypt and Jordan earlier, suggest new relations between Israel and its Arab neighbors and possibilities for jump starting the peace process.
The UAE could directly invest in existing Palestinian enterprises in Israel and assist new start-ups to become successful entrepreneurial ventures.
The UAE has paid special attention to its youth population as seen in the appointment as age 22 of Shamma Bint Suhail bin Faris al-Mazrui as Minister of Sport, and Noura al-Kaabi as Minister of Culture and Youth.
|Shawarma Emil - Haifa, Israel|
What will be the results of inaction?A recent Opinion column in the Washington Post by Farid Zakaria touted Israel’s impressive technological development and economic dominance in the MENA region. Its military superiority dwarfs all of the states of the region.
However, Zakaria fails to discuss the internal fault lines of Israeli society.Just as many outside observers viewed Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi as secure in his power given Iran’s oil wealth, his support by the US and his powerful military, his regime fell during the Iranian Revolution of 1978-79. While the parallels with Israel may seem a bit far-fetched, the recent violence between Palestinian Arabs and Israelis during the 11 day war between Hamas and the Israeli military should be of serious concern.The attacks carried out by mobs on Palestinian and Jewish neighborhoods, houses of worship and businesses does not bode well for the future.
With demonstrations occurring in the West Bank as well, and Hizballah threatening to enter the conflict, the Israeli government realized that military might could not quell civil disturbances.
The greatest threat to Israeli democracy is the far right settler movement which seeks to ethnically cleanse Jerusalem and the West Bank of Palestinians who live there. The settler movement is hostile to all principles of liberal democracy. Violence is one of the main tools in its arsenal to achieve its goals. Ultimately, it is not just the enemy of Palestinians, both citizens of Israel and those in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, but of secular liberal Israelis who sincerely would like to live in peace with Palestinians, both citizens and non-citizens.
Beyond Palestinian Arab political parties using their influence in the Knesset to improve the standard of living of Palestinian right settler movement. Such a movement might just be the beginning of solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.