First published on 05/17/2021

Sometime many years ago, real hope was raised when the Oslo Agreement was signed by then Israeli and Palestinian leaders. It was hoped that there would be a peaceful solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, including a two-state solution. That hope was eventually dashed when Hamas took control of Gaza and essentially neutralized the elected Palestinian state headed by President Mahmoud Abbas.

Hamas, since its seizure of power with the help of Iran and Syria, has undertaken a more aggressive military confrontation against Israel. Israel’s government, in turn, after The Oslo Agreement, is being replaced, step by step, with a populist leader like Netanyahu who sees short-term gain, such as retaining power and continuing to govern, in a more aggressive appearance against Hamas. That constellation on both sides is dangerous. It jeopardizes the long-term ambition to achieve a lasting peace in the region at the expense of, above all, the lives of innocent people on both sides, but mostly in areas with Palestinian population.

Hamas has fired about 3,000 rockets at Israel in recent days. These rockets have destroyed more than 600 completely sporadic and civilian targets inside Israel. Israel’s response was not to be delayed. They have mercilessly bombarded Gaza resulting in heavy material and human losses.

Both sides, no doubt, know that this policy will not lead to a peace settlement, but for both, the short-term demonstration of power is the main goal. Poor Gaza can afford to arm itself with tens of thousands of rockets to show its military muscle in such a situation as it is now while knowing that this show of force is at sandbox level compared to the enormous military strength Israel has. Hamas stages its policies at the expense of thousands of innocent Palestinian lives. It is, of course, with Iran’s blessing and its military and economic support. Israel unfortunately becomes a pawn in the game and indirectly the mullahs’ puppet through its ill-considered actions in the Gaza Strip. It is in the interests of both Iran and Hamas for Israel to act militarily disproportionately, which they are doing now, as they have done many times before. Both Iran and Hamas thus demonstrate to the outside world that Israel is a “barbaric regime” that kills innocent children and women who live in areas that are also ”besieged” by Israel.

Israel is a superpower in the region, but Israel does not act like a superpower. The richer and stronger a state is, the wiser and softer it should act/react when it comes to making difficult and strategic decisions. The current Israeli leadership is incapable of making such decisions. A cease-fire is now in the interest of both, which will probably happen shortly. The question is really who wins from these senseless killings. There is no doubt that both Iran, Israel and Hamas see themselves as winners in this latest aggression. And they are surely the winners. Who are the losers then?

The best solution right now is perhaps what Jan Egeland emphasizes, a change of leadership on both sides who can look beyond the short-term gain and think seriously about the future of their people.

© Samuel E. Rajeus, Editor, S.E.R.P & PUBLISHING // First published on 05/17/2021

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