BY ADEYEMI OSHUNRINADE
July 21, 2014
With more than 425 Palestinians reported killed, 13 Israeli soldiers dead and one claimed captured, the question is will there ever be peace between Israel and Palestine? When asked about the situation in the region, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, reemphasized his decision to “isolate, ostracize and punish extremists,” the same rhetoric that has hunted the Palestinian question for more than five decades. Yet, innocent civilians including children continue to die under the superior arms of Israel, while Hamas missiles won’t stop firing into Israel in its attempt to resist the occupation.
The call for a cease-fire is not new; we have heard it for decades and till this day, interested parties have demonstrated no intention to resolve the Palestinian question. It is inconceivable that in modern times there is a group of people without a place to call their own. Palestinian children are being born in refugee camps, there is restriction on movement and many families have to rebuild their lives each time the region is attacked by Israel. On the other hand, Israelis live in fear each time there is a conflict. Israel has always claimed self-defense for bombing Gaza and it wants Hamas to recognize existence of Israel as a state.
Resolving the Palestinian issue requires a Strong Will among nations, but so far, it is unclear if the United States and the West desire to find a lasting peace. Since the conflict began decades ago, many American President came and left without ending the war. It is now as if the rest of the world is being cajole to believe that peace is possible between Israel and Palestine or that the goal is to give the Palestinian people a state of their own.
When Obama became President, he gained popularity in the Arab World as the American leader willing and capable of finding solution to the Palestinian question. While he has the intention of doing so, Obama has come to realize it is not the way things work in Washington. Jews control the United States Congress and there is a code of conduct no American President dares break. You either support Israel or face political suicide and harsh condemnation. Though, not stated in our constitution, every American President must support and defend Israel come what may, but why is this so is not clearly discernible.
History of the Holocaust could be one reason. Another could be the strategic location of Israel in the region as military leverage to the United States, since the U.S. sees Israel as a trusted party and defense against unexpected instability in the region that may affect U.S. interests. The strong relationship between the United States and Israel made it difficult to resolve the Middle East conflict, and unless the U.S. is bold enough to confront Israel, Palestine will remain in limbo for decades to come. Whether this is fair or not will be for history to judge.
Israel is unwilling to negotiate with Hamas, which it dubbed a “terrorist organization.” For same reason the United States has isolated Hamas from the peace process and other interested Western nations are doing the same. The problem is how do you create a Palestinian state without Hamas? It is hard truth to tell but Israel and its allies can’t comprehend one fact, it is impossible to have a Palestinian state without Hamas.
Hamas is considered an Islāmic Resistance Movement with a political party and a military wing the Al-Qassam Brigades. It has taken control of the Gaza Strip since 2007 after winning a huge majority in the Parliamentary election. Though, the U.S., the EU, Israel, Canada and Japan consider it a terrorist organization, nations like Russia, Turkey, Switzerland and many Arab countries disagree with such connotation.
Despite isolation by majority of the West, Hamas enjoys popular support in the Palestinian territories and it is respected in the Arab world as a liberator and a Resistance Movement for emancipation of the Palestinian people. Popularity of Hamas has its origin not only in its resistance to Israeli occupation but also in its social welfare wing providing all forms of social services in the occupied territories. The poor in Palestine consider Hamas a savior and respected resistance movement.
The Fatah Movement and the Palestinian government in the West Bank led by Mahmoud Abbas have failed to provide such services giving Hamas the opportunity to fill the vacuüm. Hamas funded Health Services where people could receive free or cheap medical care provides parks and recreation for the poor and needy and facilitated Hospital Physician Services in the occupied territories.
Hamas gives financial support to families of those killed as a result of the resistance, funds education services, built Islāmic charities, libraries, Mosques, education centers for women, nurseries, kindergartens, and supervised religious schools are among the contributions of Hamas to help the poor in the occupied territories. The question, how do you make Palestinians withdraw their loyalty to Hamas? And how do you separate a movement that has invested so much in Palestine from a future government?
The United States holds the keys to resolving the conflict. It must convince Israel to end the occupation and stop unnecessary killings. Hamas needs rehabilitation but this can only be achieved if the movement is invited to the table and not ignored. Any backroom deal without Hamas won’t work due to loyalty of Palestine to the movement. Current shelling by Israel will achieve nothing but make Hamas stronger. Enough of prolonged conflict and worthless cease-fire; What Palestinians want is a state of their own, living side by side with Israel.
Adeyemi Oshunrinade [E. JD] is the author of ‘Wills Law and Contests,’ ‘Constitutional Law-First Amendment’ and ‘SAVING LOVE’ available at http://www.amazon.com/author/adeyemioshunrinade. Follow on Twitter @san0670.