Israel reaches its 70th birthday with outer struggle and inner divisions

Israeli flagHonor guard members hold an Israeli flag ahead of an arrival ceremony with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Israeli Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman, Thursday April 26, 2018, at the Pentagon. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

70 years after the state of Israel was established, the conflict level is higher than for a long time, both within and without.

 

On Monday it will be 70 years since Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion declared Israel an independent state.

The next day, the country was at war with its Arab neighbours. And since then, the Israelis have been in continuous conflict with the Palestinians,a conflict that is regarded as “the mother of all wars” in the Middle East.

Shadows

New Palestinian unrest and, in particular, an escalating conflict with Iran,cast long shadows over Monday’s celebration.
And already on Tuesday, the Palestinians mark “nakba”, which means ‘the disaster,’ when more than 700,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes.

For seven consecutive days, Israeli soldiers at the border have opened fire on Palestinian protesters inside the Gaza Strip, and Israel is now steeling up for the coming nakba marker. According to Haaretz newspaper,Hamas leaders on the Gaza Strip have signalled the will for a ceasefire,but Israel has not been willing to negotiate.

“Without negotiations to loosen the grip on the Gaza Strip, it will be difficult to prevent more deaths on May the 15th wrote the newspaper.

Unpredictable

According to Professor Nils Butenschøn at the Norwegian Center for Human
Rights,the protests in Gaza are thought to spread to other occupied territories.
He believes there is a lot about today’s situation which is reminiscent of 1987,
when the first Palestinian intifada began. It ended with the Oslo agreement in 1993.

25 years later, the situation is more locked and unpredictable than for a long time.

“There is no force behind any peace initiative now, at least not on the premises on which the Oslo agreement is based,” said Butenschøn to NTB news.

Following the Oslo agreement, Israel had used the time to establish so-called “facts on the ground”, increasingly more settlements on occupied land and,not least, the controversial wall. It prompted many to declare the idea of a two-state solution dead and buried.

“What can change the game is either a new war or that the Palestinians unite, as was seen during the first intifada,” said Butenschøn.

War or intifada

But battle and division characterise the Palestinian Authority of Fatah on the West Bank and Hamas on the Gaza Strip, and all attempts to unite the two have ended in failure.

It does not make it any easier that the United States, Israel’s faithful supporters

 

© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today

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