- GS-2: Important International events; Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests
Violence between Israel- Palestine
Context: The ongoing violence between Israeli forces and Hamas — the worst fighting since 2014 — comes at a time when there seemed to be hope for a genuine easing of tensions in West Asia
What was the reason for violence?
- Israeli Police Action during Ramzan month: The immediate provocation for the current conflict appears to have been the action taken by Israeli police and security forces to prevent Palestinians from gathering at the Damascus gate in Jerusalem after Ramzan prayers — a long-standing tradition — in which hundreds of civilians were injured.
- Hamas Counter: The action allowed Hamas(largest of several Palestinian militant Islamist groups) to don the mantle of “protector” and the bombs they launched initially killed three Israeli citizens.
- Disproportionate response by Israeli army: The Benjamin Netanyahu government’s response was disproportionate: It carried out hundreds of airstrikes in Gaza and reportedly deployed artillery and troops as well.
- Over 100 Palestinians have been killed, at least 27 of them children. Both Hamas and Israel are attempting to use airstrikes and bombs against each other. Residential areas are bearing the brunt of Israeli attacks and there are reports of rioting.
Who is benefitting from the violence?
While there are no winners in war, there are certainly some who benefit from it.
- Netanyahu continues to expand the offensive against Hamas at a time when his government — which has been in a minority in the legislature — is on the brink of collapse. This stokes nationalistic feelings and yields political benefits.
- Hamas, too, finds relevance in conflict, in stoking the flames of resentment that are bound to be just under the surface in places like Gaza, where an entire generation has lived through blockades and occupation.
Implications of the recent violence
- Erodes recent gains: There was the softening of the hard stance vis a vis diplomatic ties with Israel by several Islamic regimes in the region (Ex: Abraham Accords. ) However, the violence is a grave setback for peace in the region.
- Deteriorating situation: In the region, it is likely to make it harder for those trying to normalise ties with Israel.
- Promotes Extreme Positions: Within Israel and Palestine, it could embolden the maximalist, anti-peace voices.
- Root problems remain unresolved: The fundamental question of semi-legal settlements, of the differential rights enjoyed by Palestinians and Israelis, and violence as a means of political expression, remain unaddressed.
- India, for its part, has thus far managed to balance its historical commitment to the rights of Palestinians with its growing closeness to Israel.
- Delhi must continue to tread a fine line, without compromising either on its national and strategic interests, or its core humanitarian values.