The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the longest-running and most controversial conflicts taking place in the world today. Two opposing movements of self-determination fighting for more than seventy years over territory claims, political control and resources, with no clear direction towards peace.
However, what is clear is that whenever attacks are launched from Gaza into Israeli territory, public coverage and attention double up, unlike all the other stories such as Palestinians getting shot almost every week or the daily reality of occupation for example, that get much less or no coverage at all. This may immediately imply the general perception that it is the Palestinians who insist in debilitating relations with Israel. But is this always the case?
Once again, provocations, violence and revenge have invaded the Gaza Strip and Israel. But this time, it is worth noting that the recent hostilities were sparked by an Israeli air strike last November 12th ordered by Israel´s interim Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The attack aimed at and killed the 42-year-old leader of the Islamic Jihad´s armed wing Al-Quds Brigades, Bahaa Abu Al-Ata to which the Islamic network responded with retaliatory rocket fires. And so hostilities began again, creating a new security issue for Israelis.
So why would Netanyahu order such attack, knowing the full consequences?
The events have come at an interesting time in Israeli domestic politics: two months after Netanyahu came second in the general elections. The Israeli army does not usually take credit for initiating confrontation with Gaza and according to its narrative only retaliates when provoked – whether that is true or not is a story for another day.
So why take credit now? Netanyahu is desperate to hold on to power and in order to do so he is trying to convince his people that Israel is in a state of security emergency and that Benny Gantz´Arab-backed minority potential government would be ‘a historic danger to Israel´s security’ and that it ‘will gravely hurt the security of Israel’. But Gantz, former chief of the Israeli Defence Forces, is no peace-hugger either. He contributed to the mass killings of Arab populations as a soldier of the occupying army and if that wasn´t enough, he brags about how many Palestinians he has killed and uses those numbers to convince his voters.
The most devastating fact about this political competition is that it is all at the expense of millions of Palestinians. With the absence of a political solution and hope for peace and security in Palestine, Israeli political leaders will continue to impose violent solutions that only serve their personal political gains. There has to be a shift in focus because regardless of who wins in Israeli politics, Palestinians will continue to be powerless against a situation that the international community has turned a blind eye on. Instead of looking at those politicians in the occupying power, Palestinians, the Arab and international communities will need to create a popular movement based on healthy thought that truly desires peace and change.