Discussion: Israel-Palestine conflict

Note: This discussion deals with a complex and controversial topic.  We ask readers to keep in mind that this discussion was edited heavily for the purposes of brevity.  It is not possible to mention all perspectives and solutions in an article of this length. We hope this gives an overview of some possible solutions to this complex conflict.


Sophia: There was an election in July 2021 which elected the Bennett-Lapid Coalition (called Yesh-Atid) versus the coalition between Netanyahu and Gantz, (called Likud) that had previously held power for the past few years. The previous coalition had been very right-wing and very anti-Palestine. They did not want to deal with the Palestinians but rather keep them oppressed. They were pro one-state solution, very Zionist and Israel-focused. They were a religiously conservative group, allowing the Haradim, also known as the orthodox and ultra-orthodox Jews, to be in charge of all religious activities in Israel, such as not permitting public transportation to take place during Shabbat. This affects how the other non-jews living in Israel live. They would not be able to travel around the country on the sabbath as well as other conservatively Jewish practices that have been forced into law.

However, the new coalition that was elected in July of 2021 was more left-leaning, more focused on peace and moving forward in the conflict. They wanted to do away with the laws that focused primarily on the Jewish religion and made sure that Israel was a primarily Jewish state. The coalition, which was led by Nefatli Bennett and Yair Lapid, would move towards making peace between the two states. However, the coalition fell apart, leading to emergency elections preparing to take place in November of 2022, which would most likely elect a right wing coalition, taking us back to where we had been in previous years.

Bobby: And now going into the current situation in areas held by Palestine.  In the West Bank, while this has been going on for forever, recently the amount of Israeli Settlements has rapidly increased, kicking many Palestinians out of their lands, and not helping to deescalate the crisis.  In addition, each of the past two years during Ramadan there have been attacks on worshippers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque by the Israelis. In Gaza, there has been an illegal blockade for the past few years, causing there to be very few resources, such as electricity, food, and water. Because of these awful living conditions, 55% of the population in Gaza had suicidal thoughts.  It’s a city of rubble, almost, being constantly bombed or attacked with missiles by the IDF.  These conditions lead directly to the existence of Hamas, as when you have these sorts of conditions, people realize that the only power they have is to use force, and so they do.  Hamas isn’t a problem, it’s a symptom of these conditions and of the situation.  It’s also worth pointing out that Hamas rarely causes actual damage to civilians, admittedly partially due to the poor quality of their weapons, while blocks in Gaza are leveled on a regular basis.  


The Two-State Solution

Sophia: The Two-State Solution would be where both states agreed to having a certain amount of land or sharing land; not having any more wars or conflicts; allowing religious activities from both states to occur without attacks on those who practice those religions.

Bobby: The problem with that is, though, is that the two-state solution was proposed in 1947, and looking at today’s borders, we can see that didn’t hold up. Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind that one of the major problems with Israel is the existence of, what I and many others, an apartheid state, a claim which the government of South Africa recently made news by echoing.  The two-state solution fails to address this concern. 

Sophia: Also, if there was to be a two-state solution, how would the borders be drawn? Would there be land connecting the Gaza Strip to the West Bank? How would that affect both Israel and Palestine? These things would have to be discussed and looked at if there was to be a two-state agreement.


The One-State Solution

Bobby:  The main problem with the one-state solution is to define the one state.  Is it the current Israeli state, or a state controlled by Fatah or the PLA, or one created from nothing?  It does have many advantages, with one being that you don’t have to split up the land.  Additionally, if it worked, it would by far be the most stable solution.  However, that leads to the problems, with one of the main ones being getting it to work.  It’s already hard to create stable states in areas with cultural homogeneity, and this is almost the opposite of an area with cultural homogeneity.  Looking at the parties in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, almost all of them have Zionism included somewhere in their platform.

Sophia: Another thing is whoever is in control in a one-state solution will be the oppressor and the other state will be the oppressed. Both governments or those in charge of their respective states dislike the other state enough to want to control and oppress the other state. There was some hope with this new government, seeing as they were more pro peace between the two states. However, due to the collapse of their coalition, and the lack of seats belonging to that coalition currently in the parliament, it looks as if there will be another right-wing, anti-Palestine coalition elected in this coming election.