What’s next in Israel-Palestinian conflict?

May 17, 2018
What's next for both Hamas and Israeli leaderships ?

Palestinian protestors during clashes with Israeli security forces on the Gaza Israeli border east of Khan Yunis

Ben Caspit, in Al Monitor, writes, “The distances from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem to Gaza have never seemed so great, although they are only a few dozen kilometers. Less than an hour’s drive separates the three locales. On May 14, three events, from

seemingly distant planets, took place in them almost simultaneously.”

“In Jerusalem, the US Embassy was inaugurated with much fanfare, national pride and religious ritual, both Jewish and Christian. In Tel Aviv, secular liberal Israel celebrated Netta Barzilai’s win at the eminently popular Eurovision song contest. Meanwhile, Gaza counted at least 60 Palestinian deaths at the border, after the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spent the day fighting tens of thousands of Palestinians attempting to reach or break through the fence at what has been billed as the Great Return March. Thus, the national capital was filled with hymns, flags, prayers and festive speeches; the cultural, secular and free-thinking capital was replete with pop, trash and colorful costumes; and besieged Gaza was filled with fire and blood.”

“The IDF is now conducting two active, open military conflicts, albeit at relatively low intensities. In the north, the conflict with Iran turned into a day of real warfare May 10 and was crowned with a decisive Israeli victory. In the south, however, seven successive weeks of Palestinian marches to and assaults on the Gaza border fence were blocked by an “iron wall” of snipers that the IDF erected.”…

“Netanyahu could have envisioned two sorts of moves concerning Gaza. He could have encouraged the Palestinian Authority to come down from its tree and grasp the reins of civil administration in Gaza, or, alternately, he could have championed indirect negotiations with Hamas over a long-term cease-fire. Given the current state of affairs, however, it is difficult to imagine Netanyahu leading any sort of meaningful reconciliation-process vis-a-vis Hamas, which over the last few months had dispatched several proposals in this vein in Israel’s direction but did not receive an answer.”

Ivanka Trump at new US Embassy in Jerusalem

“Before agreeing to any kind of negotiations, Israel is demanding that Hamas return the bodies of two Israeli soldiers, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, and release three Israel civilians it is holding in Gaza. This is where the two sides are stuck. Will the eruption of the border-fence violence and high number of casualties on the Palestinian side help both sides free themselves from their shared cul-de-sac? The answer will come in the following weeks. Probably not.” (more…)


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