Analysing ongoing hostilities can be challenging amidst the fog of war and intense emotions on all sides. It is typically difficult to make sense of the actors’ motivations and cause-and-effect relationships when the heat of the action still lingers. However, so much has happened over the decades that it is relatively easier to see what’s happening with regards to the long-standing Palestinian issue and its implication for the complex web regional players. Today’s answers are deeply rooted in yesterday, and without understanding the past, we will certainly fail to analyse tomorrow’s events.
On the morning of October 7th, under the banner of the “Al-Aqsa Flood” operation, Hamas’s Qassam Brigade launched a daring infiltration from the blockaded Palestinian enclave of Gaza into southern Israel via land, air, and sea. A barrage of thousands of missiles accompanied their audacious move. This escalation led to a tragically high death toll on both sides, with Hamas taking Israeli captives, including military personnel, as bargaining chips for future negotiations.
The psychological trauma inflicted upon thousands of Israeli citizens is undeniable. One thing is clear: the Israeli intelligence and security apparatuses have suffered a significant blow to their reputation.
This compels us to ask a crucial question: What lies at the root of the process that brought us to this point? What is the fault line beneath the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Until we find answers, every analysis will remain tainted by prejudice, like most Western narratives, which whitewash the Israeli crimes and ignore the plight of Palestinians who live in besieged Gaza, an open-air prison.
The underlying cause of today’s seemingly insurmountable crisis can be traced back to a persistent Israeli attitude, namely its frenetic colonial drive, despite all the condemnations and resolutions from the United Nations. The colonial mindset has translated into a systematic oppression apparatus, aiming to obstruct Palestine’s integration into the global system through a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders.
The Israeli state and settlers have targeted civilians, displaced Palestinians from their homes, hindered international aid, violated numerous individual rights and freedoms, and restricted the Palestinian territory to a few hundred square kilometres without access to the outside world.
It is naive to expect the resilience of the Palestinian population to endure such pressure forever. Understanding this truth neither legitimises attacks on civilians from any side nor portrays the chain of events as sudden occurrences. Diagnosing the accumulated societal discontent is a prerequisite for comprehending today’s reality.
In the past few days, internal and external actors, domestic political turmoil within Israel, increased Iranian influence in the region, allegations of strategic support and equipment supply to Hamas, and the potential involvement of Hezbollah through Lebanon and Syria in case Iran perceives a significant threat—all these sides are being discussed extensively in the media.
However, one thing remains clear: the answer to how we got here cannot be found without citing history. Without achieving political independence for Palestine, coupled with integration into the wider world through free and fair elections, institutionalisation, and economic development, all these internal and external actors will continue to pursue their solution concepts in separate ways.
In essence, the active fault line simmering beneath the region is the culmination of all obstacles in the path of Palestine’s statehood, making it the fundamental cause behind the recent seismic shifts.
To put the peace process on track, it is essential to empower mechanisms that represent the will of the Palestinian people and ensure their inclusion. After all, they are the enduring victims of these injustices, and their voices should be heard. Thus, the language of diplomacy will take precedence, even if many pundits aggravate the situation by dehumanising their adversaries.
In short, diplomacy is the way forward, be it today or tomorrow, and efficient mediators are needed when the hostilities cease.
The European Commission’s initial indication that it will suspend humanitarian aid to Gaza did not materialise. Even proposing such a step only proves that such actors have serious bias and lack a balanced position. Hence, they do not need to be at the table.
From the beginning, Türkiye’s stance has been solution-oriented. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s emphasis on a two-state solution and calls for restraint and sensibility from day one, his continued engagement with the parties, and his consideration of regional peace scenarios in long-term plans are notable approaches.
Similarly, Qatar has this sensibility and has come up with diplomatic initiatives as shown in its engagement in negotiations between Hamas and Tel Aviv for a prisoner swap. Other Gulf countries will also pay more attention to the Palestinian issue moving forward, unlike their initial dismissive approach and lip service to the cause. Some of them, like Saudi Arabia, could even play a mediating role.
Breaking the cycle of violence and establishing a fair and lasting peace is the only way to ensure everyone’s interests, reduce regional tensions, and facilitate greater economic prosperity for all. Thus, speaking the language of diplomacy and facilitating the talks between the protagonists is the best way forward.
This article originally appeared in the opinion section of TRT World website.