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Analysis: There will be no solution to Israeli-Palestinian question with guns

Chris Graham
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Gaza, under a tight Israeli land, air and sea blockade since 2007, is one of the poorest regions in the world. The fault for that lies jointly in the hands of the Israelis and Hamas, the ruling party in Gaza, whose leaders favor terrorism over negotiation, their goal being the ultimate eradication of the Israeli state.

Where U.S. politics comes to play here is, we think the world revolves around the good ol’ US of A, so naturally, the latest touchpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian struggle, the terror attacks launched by Hamas on Saturday that killed more than 900 Israelis, injured thousands more, and led to an Israeli military response that has so far killed more than 700 and injured thousands more in Gaza, is somehow all about us.

Republicans are doing their political best to make the attacks about the recent deal negotiated by the Biden administration that won back the freedom of American hostages held by Iran in exchange for the U.S. allowing South Korea to transfer $6 billion that it had agreed to pay Iran for oil that had been held in escrow due to U.S. sanctions.

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The $6 billion, the story being told by Republicans goes, was used by Iran to fund the attacks on Israel by Hamas, which has had a strange-bedfellows alliance with Iran – they’re strange bedfellows because, Hamas is a Sunni Muslim group, and Iran’s government is Shiite, and Sunnis and Shiites don’t like each other any more than they like Israelis or Americans, which is putting it nicely.

The Biden administration, for its part in this, insists that the money, which is being held in an account in Qatar, is earmarked for humanitarian purposes, and that none of the money in the account has been spent to date.

That hasn’t stopped Republicans from twisting the facts to suit their overall narrative – Democrats, bad! – as former president Donald Trump has taken to social media to suggest, ridiculously, that the attack simply wouldn’t have happened if he were still president, you know, because he’s so strong.

Democrats haven’t been any better on this, honestly.

Members of The Squad, House Democrats Cori Bush, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, drew ire from Republicans and members of their own party for their responses to the terror attacks.

Bush, D-Mo., called outright for the U.S. to end its support for what she called the “Israeli military occupation and apartheid,” and Tlaib, D-Mich., wrote on Twitter that “the path to that future must include lifting the blockade, ending the occupation, and dismantling the apartheid system that creates the suffocating, dehumanizing conditions that can lead to resistance.”

Omar, D-Minn., wrote on Twitter that “the solution to this horror, as ever, is a negotiated peace – with Israelis and Palestinians enjoying equal rights and security guarantees,” which is a fine idea, but a “negotiated peace” isn’t possible with Hamas not only not showing any interest at coming to the table, but its leaders continuing their rhetoric advocating the destruction of the Israeli nation-state.

Ismail Haniyeh, the exiled leader of Hamas, which has been in power in Gaza since winning a 2006 election, and a 2007 civil war, watched the terror attacks unfold from his office in Qatar, and in a televised speech warned Arab countries that have normalized ties with Israel in recent years that “this entity, which cannot protect itself in the face of resistors, cannot provide you with any protection,” and that “all the normalization agreements that you signed with that entity cannot resolve this conflict.”

“The battle moved into the heart of the Zionist entity,” said Haniyeh, who doesn’t sound like a guy who wants anything resembling a “negotiated peace.”

Not that the Israelis have exemplars here. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant notably said Israel is now at war with “human animals,” as Israel has imposed what Gallant called “a complete siege” on Gaza, with Israel cutting off all access to electricity, food, water and food to the territory’s 2.5 million residents.

The “human animals” comment is embarrassing, and the siege, on top of years of a full blockade, is borderline criminal.

“Depriving the population in an occupied territory of food and electricity is collective punishment, which is a war crime, as is using starvation as a weapon of war. The International Criminal Court should take note of this call to commit a war crime,” said Omar Shakir, the Israel and Palestine director at the rights group Human Rights Watch, which has long considered Gaza, under the years-long Israeli blockade, an “open-air prison.”

Israeli leader, at least, have been moving in the direction of some normalization of relations with the Arab world, though notably, there have not been efforts toward resolving long-standing issues with Palestinians.

The lack of willingness of Hamas, on their side, to move away from, we want Israel off the map, has to be a factor there.

Basically, it’s hard to negotiate with people who don’t think your people have a right to exist.

Ultimately, the solution to this will be political – a two-state solution that recognizes the right of both Israelis and Palestinians to self-determination.

We’re not going to get there as long as the principals continue to think the means to achieving a solution is guns.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].