The sudden rekindling of the Israel-Palestine conflict, and the ensuing horrors, is a shameful reminder of the international community’s almost criminal neglect of the crisis. There have been no substantive peace talks for more than a decade. Donald Trump’s “deal of the century” was a cruel sham. Efforts now under way to engineer a ceasefire, or what is called a “sustainable calm”, amount to applying a sticking plaster to a deeply felt, long-festering wound.
This story of neglect, cementing in place injustices and inequities stretching back to the 1948 Palestine war, made a new explosion of violence all but inevitable. It has played into the hands of extremists on both sides who seek victories, not peace. It threatens the future of Israel and Palestine and regional stability. The events of the past week have rendered the prospect of a lasting settlement more distant than ever.
In several respects, the latest clashes broke new ground, all of it negative. The sustained rocket barrage mounted by Hamas from its Gaza stronghold, targeting Tel Aviv and penetrating deep into the country, has surprised and alarmed Israel’s leaders. So, too, has intercommunal violence pitting Arab and Jewish Israelis against each other in numerous towns and cities. This fracturing is potentially deeply damaging in the longer term.