The current bloody war against Gaza is just another cycle of a long-lasting battle. Faraway from those who initiated the assaults, civilians appeared to be the sole victims on both sides. However, looking at the sides of the conflict it is clear that there is one side that has caused the unrest over the past 6 decades. It looks obvious that the existence of Israel cannot continue apart from launching wars against neighbors.
The occupation state of Israel was established in 1948 by expelling the indigenous people of Palestine who became refugees displaced in various refugee camps across the world. In 1956, Israel launched a war against Egypt in an alliance with France and Britain. Later, in 1967 Israel backed by the west attacked Egypt, Jordan, and Syria and occupied some parts of these countries in addition to Gaza Strip, Jerusalem and West Bank. The aggression of Israel was always presented as an act of “self-defense” to protect the existence of the state as it lives in an ocean of Arab enemies!
The wars of Israel continued, they attacked Iraq, launched military operations and assassinations in Europe and the Middle East. They invaded Lebanon and occupied some parts in 1982. Later, they suppressed the peaceful Palestinian Intifada by using grave force in 1987. In 2001, the Palestinian intifada was repressed by Israeli military which pushed Palestinian resistance to carry arms to protect Palestinian civilians. This was a turning point in the history of the conflict.
In 2006, a full scale war was waged by Israel against Lebanon causing thousands of casualties. It also imposed a deadly medieval siege a against Gaza which targeted innocent civilians.
What’s evident is that Israel failed to secure the protection it claims it always needed, its wars failed to bring peace in the region. What was achieved through these wars is more hatred from Arabs and nations of the free world.
The recent round of fighting in Gaza seems to be one sided. Israel with its full capacity is functioning against Gaza civilians and not Hamas. The claim that the Israeli war which took a biblical name “Pillar of the cloud” is an act of self defense is bizarre. The war is not waged against Hamas to suppress firing rockets but rather against the people of Gaza who are subjected to a siege since 2006. Most of the 65 victims over the past few days are civilians whom of which women and children. Israel army launched more than 1200 air, naval and ground raids against mostly civilian targets, leaving dozens of dead, 600 wounded.
I would argue at this instance, that firing rockets into Israel seems to be a logical, natural and normal reaction of people who are imprisoned deprived basics with no hope for future. People of Gaza are tired of years of siege and wars initiated by Israel. It is wrong to expect that people in such circumstances would react peacefully to Israel. Israeli policies against Gazans in particular and Palestinians in general are the key motive of this war. If ever, Israel was genuine in its quest of peace and calm, then Palestinians should have been granted their full rights.
If Israel is keen for calm in the short term, an immediate lift of the siege should be next step. Israel should take the responsibility of being the occupying force and give Palestinians the basics of life until occupation comes to an end. Bearing in mind, Israel pull out from Gaza 2005, was a tactic to create another form of occupation and not for peace purposes.
The long-term way out of this dilemma is not just to have calm for few months or years, but rather a long-term solution. This is through addressing the main issues of this conflict, which is granting Palestine their rights. Allowing Palestinian refugees to return to their homes in Palestine is the key factor. There is a hope that they can live side by side with their neighbors in 1-state solution, as the 2-state solution is not possible anymore. Some Israelis argue that this is imposable; however it is feasible and achievable. There is enough room for those refugees as their villages; towns still vacant as historian Salaman Abu Sitta argue.