Global Challenges Amid Israel's Actions: Urgent Calls for Change

In an October 19, 2023 article in the New York Times, the well-known columnist Thomas Friedman wrote under the title “Israel is About to Make a Terrible Mistake.” He thanked President Biden for his support of Israel and for condemning Hamas and said that Biden “tried really hard to get Israeli leaders to pause in their rage and think... how to get out and how to do it with the fewest civilian casualties possible.”

Biden “pleaded with Israeli military and political leaders to learn from America’s rush to war after Sep.11, which took our troops deep into the dead ends and dark alleys of unfamiliar cities and towns in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Warning Against a Perilous Path

However, from everything Friedman “gleaned from senior U.S. officials, Biden failed to get Israel to hold back and think through all the implications of an invasion of Gaza for Israel and the United States.” And he put it “in as stark and clear language as” he could, “because the hour is late: that if Israel rushes headlong into Gaza now to destroy Hamas – and does so without expressing a clear commitment to seek a two-state solution with the Palestinian authority and end Jewish settlements deep in the West Bank – it will be making a grave mistake that will be devastating for Israeli interests and American interests.”

He said, “If Israel goes into Gaza and takes months to kill or capture every Hamas leader and soldier but does so while expanding Jewish settlements in the West Bank — thereby making any two-state solution there with the more moderate Palestinian Authority impossible — there will be no legitimate Palestinian or Arab League or European or U.N. or NATO coalition that will ever be prepared to go into Gaza and take it off Israel’s hands.

There will be no one to extract Israel and no one to help Israel pay the cost of caring for more than two million Gazans — not if Israel is run by a government that thinks, and acts, as if it can justifiably exact its revenge on Hamas while unjustifiably building an apartheid-like society run by Jewish supremacists in the West Bank. That is a completely incoherent policy.”

Netanyahu's Dilemma

Regarding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Friedman said “his right-wing coalition partners are eager to fan the flame in the West Bank. Settlers there have killed at least seven Palestinians civilians in acts of revenge in just the past week. Meanwhile, the U.S. officials told me, the representatives of those settlers in the cabinet are withholding tax money owed the Palestinian Authority, making it harder for it to keep the West Bank as under control as it has been since the start of the Hamas war.

Netanyahu should not allow this, but he has trapped himself. He needs those right-wing extremists in his coalition to keep himself out of jail on corruption charges. But he is going to put all of Israel into the jail of Gaza unless he breaks with those Jewish supremacists.”

For a solution to the prevailing situation, Friedman said, “Biden has to tell this Israeli government that taking over Gaza without pairing it with a totally new approach to settlements, the West Bank and a two-state solution would be a disaster for Israel and a disaster for America.”

He ended the article saying, “The hour is late. I have never written a column this urgent before because I have never been more worried about how this situation could spin out of control in ways that could damage Israel irreparably, damage U.S. interests irreparably, damage Palestinians irreparably, threaten Jews everywhere and destabilize the whole world. I beg Biden to tell Israelis this immediately — for their sake, for America’s sake, for the sake of Palestinians, for the sake of the world.”

Gaza's Urgent SOS

Surprise attack by Hamas on October 9, 2023, and the prevailing humanitarian crisis in Gaza As explained by NBC Gaza Strip refers to a narrow strip of land wedged between Israel and Egypt that is roughly the size of Washington, D.C. And forms the smaller of the two Palestinian territories – the other being the West Bank. Over 2 million Palestinian living within roughly 140 square miles, it is “one of the world’s most densely populated territories”.

Half of Palestinians living in Gaza are under age 19, but they have few to no prospects to socioeconomic growth and limited access to the outside world. Hamas, a militant Palestinian nationalist movement took control of Gaza after it won elections in 2006.

Despite pleas from the United Nations and human rights groups, Israel has maintained a land, air, and sea blockade on Gaza since 2007. The following excerpt quoted from the Time November 6, 2023, “Hamas launched a surprise attack on October 7, 2023 that killed at least 1,400 people in Israel.

Gazans have been subject to thousands of airstrikes since then, and Israel imposed a total siege cutting off electricity, water, food, and medicine on top of a 16-year blockade that already left most Gazans reliant on aid. More than 3,300 people have died in Gaza in this latest escalation, and more than 13,000 have been wounded.

The Palestinian Health Minister said Oct. 18. Child casualties make up a quarter of the total, Gaza authorities told Reuters. To grasp how deadly the conflict has been so far for Gaza’s children, more children were killed in Gaza during the first nine days of this war than in 20 months of Russia’s war in Ukraine.”Al-Shifa illustrated the urgency on the ground.

“The hospital has warned that there is nowhere else for patients to go.”

The Time article said, “Israel on Oct.13 ordered the evacuation of more 1 million Palestinians from northern to southern Gaza, ahead of an expected ground offensive. Israel says the order – which the U.N. has said is “impossible” to carry out – is meant to protect civilian lives. But the U.N. and others have warned it would cause a “humanitarian disaster.”

Hospitals and Hope Diminish

Israel has so far bombed the remaining hospitals in Gaza and its Red Crescent has appealed to international heath and relief organizations to supply its hospitals with essential supplies, and warned its fuel reserves will soon run out. Israel’s military has bombed at least three refugee camps in Gaza.

On November 6, 2023 at least 10,022 Palestinians, including 4,104 children in 31 days of relentless Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, said Gaza’ Ministry of Health with many victims still trapped beneath the rubble and Israeli siege dried up access to vital goods like fuel, food and electricity, and a number of United Nations officials and aid agencies called on Israel for cease fire in Gaza.

Antonio Guterres, the United Nations secretary-general told reporters that Gaza was becoming a “graveyard for children.” “The unfolding catastrophe makes the need for a humanitarian ceasefire more urgent with every passing hour,” United Nations chief Guterres urged. “The nightmare in Gaza is more than a humanitarian crisis”, he said.

On November 13, 2023 Gaza’s two biggest hospitals, Al-Shifa and Al-Quds stopped taking patients due to Israeli bombardment and shortage of medicines and fuel amid reports of rising deaths among patients and medical staff.

The WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the situation at Al-Shifa Hospital was “dire and perilous”, and it was “not functioning as a hospital anymore.” The WHO said that 600-650 patients, 200-500 health workers, and about 1,500 internally displaced people remain at the hospital with no safe passage out.

Unyielding Violence

However, in the face of worldwide protests Netanyahu has yet not agreed to a ceasefire. He is supported for no cease fire by Joe Biden. Biden ordered two US destroyers and air force command posted in the Gulf area; thus Netanyahu has active support of the United States of any interference in this massacre. Daniel Levy, a former Israel government advisor told his host Steve Clemens US support is destabilizing the entire region.

With the order from Israeli forces to Palestinians to move from north Gaza to the south tens of thousands have fled northern Gaza on foot and a ground offensive launched on Gaza city and attack hospitals where residents have been sheltering, on Nov 10 UN said north of Gaza is “hell on earth.”

Meanwhile, NBC reported on Nov.3, 2023 that Israeli settlers alongside Israeli security have driven a new wave of anti-Palestinian violence in the occupied West Bank. The U.N.’s humanitarian office called the dramatic escalation of violence in the West Bank “alarming and urgent.” At least 132 Palestinians, including 41 children, have been killed by security forces and settlers in the past three weeks, according to the U.N. In 2022, 158 Palestinians were killed in the worst level of violence in two decades.

Israel says most deaths are not settler-related but instead can be attributed to security forces carrying out counterterrorism raids against Palestinian militants. The Israel Defense Forces said it will continue to do so “to protect and prevent further terror attacks.”
According to the U.N. it is often not clear who is doing the shooting, with settlers increasingly wearing reservist military uniforms.

When settlers have killed Palestinians, they are often accompanied by members of Israeli forces, resulting in near total impunity for settlers. The violence has displaced Palestinian herd communities. This is happening in a land which is problematic with a complex system of checkpoints, and the locals cannot get to their farms and olive groves.

Queen Rania's Urgent Call for Gaza's Children

Queen Rania of Jordan in a CNN exclusive interview by Christiane Amanpour on October 24, 2023 accused Western leaders of a “glaring double standard” for failing to condemn the deaths of civilians under Israeli bombardment in Gaza, as Israel’s war on Hamas threatens to destabilize relations between US and the Arab leaders.”

She said,“The people all around the Middle East, including Jordan, we are just shocked and disappointed by the world’s reaction to this catastrophe that is unfolding.” “This is the first time in modern history that there is such human suffering and the world is not even calling for a cease fire.” “So the silence is deafening – and to many in our religion, it makes the Western world complicit.”

Among those killed are children including the critically injured and premature babies, and she said, “I just want to remind the world that Palestinian mothers love their children just as much as any other mother in the world.” Her sentiments are shared by Arabs and Muslims the world over.
Organizations within and outside in the region at war with Israel in the current situation In addition to Hamas, there are eight factions at war with Israel in Gaza. For a discussion, among others refer to Tom O’Connor in Newsweek of November 7, 2003.

They are Hamas – Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Palestinian Islamic Jihad – Al-Quds Brigades, Popular Resistance Committee –Al-Nasser Salah ad-Din Brigades, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) – Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP –GC) – Jihad Jibril Brigades, Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP)- Natioal Resistance Brigades, Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, Palestinian Mujahideen Movement – Mujahideen Brigades.

Calls for Regional Action

Among outside organization the most important is Hezbollah, a Shiite political party in Lebanon with an armed wing of the same name. Israel sees Hezbollah as its most serious enemy, with about 150,000 rockets and missiles aimed at it. Hezbollah and Israel fought a month long war in 2006 that ended in tense stalemate. Skirmishes between Hezbollah and Israel began the day after Israel’s war on Hamas, and the situation between the two has escalated steadily.

However, Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leader, said the October attack was exclusively a Palestinian operation. On November 3, 2023, he gave a speech and warned of a widening war. Nasrallah accused the United States for remaining “silent” in the face of “the images of thousands of babies and children torn apart in Gaza as a result of the Israeli missiles.” He called on “the Arab and Muslim states to cut off oil and gas and food supplies from Israel.”

Lebanese security officials reported on November 10, 2023 that more than 60 Hezbollah fighters and 10 civilians have been killed in the war and at least seven Israeli soldiers and one civilian.
Yemen’s Iran-Aligned Houthis launched repeated missile and drone attacks on Israel since the beginning of war.

Hossein Amirabdollahian, Iran’s foreign minister made a statement in phone conversation with his Qatari counterpart that “due to the expansion of the intensity of the war against Gaza’s civilians, expansion of the war has become inevitable.” In view of this, in a move considered as show of force to regional rivals, the US announced that it has deployed a nuclear-capable submarine in the Middle East.

Reuters reported on November 6, 2023 that at least 40 drone and rocket attacks have been launched at U.S. forces by Iranian-backed militias in Iraq and Syria over the past three weeks in response to American support for Israel in the Gaza war, according to Pentagon data and the two U.S. officials. Arab- Islamic Summit called by Saudi Arabia with regard to Israel’s war on Gaza
An Arab-Islamic extraordinary summit hosted by Saudi Arabia rejected Justifying Gaza war as Israeli self-defense and called for ending the war in Gaza.

Arab League and OIC Summit:

The summit on November 11, 2023 urged the International Criminal Court to investigate “war crimes and crimes against humanity that Israel is committing” in the Palestinian territories, according to final communique. It also called for an end to the siege on Gaza, allowing humanitarian aid into the enclave and halting arms exports to Israel. The leaders demanded that the UN Security Council adopt “a decisive and binding resolution” to halt Israel’s “aggression” in Gaza.

In the beginning only 22 members of the Arab League were expected to attend, but latter the meeting was extended to include the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), an association of 57 mostly Muslim- majority states to which the Arab League countries belong. Al Jazeera’s Hashem Ahelbarra reported that there was no consensus among the participants, and without it, its outcomes were useless.

“People do understand that Israelis don’t really care what is happening at this summit between the OIC and Arab League leaders. When you look at the communique you get a sense that the Arab and Muslim leaders do not have a mechanism to push a ceasefire and humanitarian corridor,” Ahelbarra said.

Ahelbarra concluded, “This summit was just for the sake of a semblance of the Arab and Muslim world. It’s a watered down statement. Not all Arab leaders decided to attend this summit because of the huge differences and divisions among the key players of the summit. That’s why they put this vaguely worded statement for public consumption.”

It must be pointed out that quite a few Arab states, with the exception of Saudi Arabia, have developed relationships with Israel. And the United States was pushing Saudi Arabia into its recognition, but the war put this effort on ice. ( In this respect for an insight into Hamas war on Israel, please refer to interview of Shibley Telhami on National Public Radio (npr).

Global Leaders Unite Against Israeli Aggression

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in opening the summit called for an immediate cessation of military operations in Gaza and the release of all captives and prisoners. “This is a humanitarian catastrophe that has proved the failure of the international community and the UN Security Council to put an end to Israel’s gross violations of international humanitarian laws, and prove the dual standards adopted by the world,” he said.

“We are certain the only cause for peace is the end of the Israeli occupation and illegal settlements, and restoration of the established rights of the Palestinian people and the establishment of the state on 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital,” he added. Addressing the meeting Turkish President Recep Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Israel was taking revenge on Gazan babies, children and women, as he renewed his call for an immediate ceasefire. “What is urgent in Gaza is not pauses for a few hours, rather we need a permanent ceasefire,” he said. “We cannot put Hamas resisters defending their homeland in the same category as the occupiers.”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas highlighted that besides Gaza; Israeli forces’ raids in the occupied West Bank have also escalated and called on the United States to put an end to “Israel’s aggression, the occupation, violation and desecration of our holy sites”. “No military and security solutions are acceptable as they have all failed. We categorically reject any efforts to displace our people from Gaza or the West Bank,” Abbas added. In his address Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani questioned for how long the international community will treat Israel as if it is above international law. “The international world remains immune in front of all these scenes. Who could have imagined that hospitals could be publicly shelled in the 21st century?” he asked.

Pleads for Peace in a War-Torn Region

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs said the joint Arab League and OIC meeting was being held “in response to the exceptional circumstances taking place in the Palestinian Gaza Strip as countries feel the need to unify efforts and come out with a unified collective position”. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the president of Egypt, emphasized that the policy of “collective punishment” by killing, siege and forcible transfer, is unacceptable. “This cannot be interpreted as self-defense and must be stopped immediately”.

Iran President Ebrahim Raisi also attended this meeting making it the first visit by an Iranian president in 11 years. He repeatedly warned that the scope of war will expand if Israel does not stop its attacks. “Blind bombardment against Gaza must stop,” Raisi said, adding that “Islamic governments should designate the army of the occupying and aggressor regime [Israel] as a terrorist organization”.

Raisi highlighted that Washington is supporting Israel in the United Nations and vetoes Security Council resolutions that prevent the killing of Palestinians. “It has paved the way for Israel to kill more, to bombard more and to shell more,” he said.

From Balfour to Nakba

A somewhat detailed outline of this topic is given in Al Jazeera, “What’s the Israel-Palestine conflict about? A simple guide” published on October 9, 2023. “Israel has killed tens of thousands of Palestinians and displaced millions from its creation and has its roots in a colonial act more than century ago. “Gaza and Palestinian territories were part of the Ottoman Empire which made a fateful decision to join Germany in World War 1.

Germany along with the Ottoman’s were defeated by the allied forces including the British. The British occupied and divided the Ottoman Empire. It was Arthur Balfour, Britain’s foreign secretary who in a letter on November 2, 1917 committed British government to the establishment of a home for the Jewish people in Palestine where the native Arabs made up 90 percent of population and Jews were fleeing Nazism in Europe.

During the 1930s the British brutally suppressed and launched a mass arrest campaign against Palestinians who resisted. The Jewish settler community secretly imported arms and killed 5,000 Palestinians, and wounded 15,000 to 20,000. By 1947, the Jewish population increased to 33 percent, yet owned only 6 percent of its land.

During 1947 to 1949 about 15,000 Palestinian men, women and children were killed, more than 500 of their villages destroyed with dozens of massacres carried out including Deir Yassin on the outskirts of Jerusalem in what is referred to as Nakba, or catastrophe.

In 1948, Israel declared independence which sparked Arab-Israel war, and in December 1948 the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 194 which called for the right of return of Palestinian refugees. Palestinians remaining in state of Israel lived under tightly controlled military control and were given citizenship only after 20 years.

Hamas, Israel, and the Media

On June 5, 1967 Israel in Six-day War occupied the rest of historic Palestine against a coalition of Arab armies. The first Palestinian intifada or uprising erupted in December 1987 after four Palestinians were killed by an Israeli collided with two vans carrying Palestinian workers in Gaza. Protests spread rapidly to West Bank with young Palestinians throwing stones at Israeli army tanks and soldiers. It also led to the establishment of Hamas movement.

The Israeli army’s responded by “break their bones” policy advocated by Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin, including summary killings, closing universities, deportation of activists and destruction of their homes. The intifada primarily carried out by the young people, directed by the Unified National Leadership was characterized by popular mobilizations, civil disobedience, and well-organized strikes.

It ended with signing of Oslo accords in 1933 and the formation of Palestinian Authority that was granted limited self-rule in pockets of occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. The PLO recognized Israel on the basis of two-state solution, signed agreements that gave Israel control of 60 percent of West Bank, and much of the territory’s land and water resources.

The Second Intifada began on September 28, 2000 when Ariel Sharon, the Likud opposition leader made a provocative visit to Al-Aqsa Mosque compound with thousands of security forces deployed in and around the Old City of Jerusalem. Clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces killed five Palestinians and injured 200 over two days. Israel reoccupied areas governed by PA and began constructing a separation wall greatly affecting Palestinian livelihood.

PLO leader Yasser Arafat died in 2004, and a year later the second Intifada ended. Israel dismantled its settlements in Gaza, and Israeli soldiers and 9,000 settlers left the enclave. A year later, Palestinians voted for the first time in a general election, and Hamas won a majority. However, a Fatah-Hamas civil war broke out that lasted for months and resulted in deaths of hundreds of Palestinians.

Hamas succeeded following this strife, and expelled Fatah from Gaza.
Israel has launched four protracted military assaults on Gaza before this one in 2008, 2012, 2014 and 2021. Thousands of Palestinians were killed, including children, and thousands of homes, schools, and office-buildings destroyed.

Organizations within working for peace among Israelis and Palestinians

There are a number of organizations working to create peace based on dignity, security, equality and respect and respect for the human rights of all Palestinians and Israelis. Thirteen of these groups published by Jen Marlowe in the Christian Science Monitor on September 10, 2014 (originally in the Yes Magazine) are Adalah, Al-Haq, Al-Mezan, B’Tselem, The Freedom Theatre, Just Vision, Active Stills, The Alternative Information Center, Sikha Mekomit, Combatants for Peace, New Profile, Parents Circle/Family Forum, and Breaking The Silence. Of these, B’Tselem (literary In the Image of God) was established in February 1989 by a group of Israeli lawyers, doctors, and academics with the support of 10 members of Knesset.

The name was chosen by the late Yossi Sarid, a Knesset member. On January 12, 2021 the B’Tselem called Israel an “apartheid regime” following what the UN Economic and Social Commission in 2017 concluded Israel was “guilty of the crime of apartheid” and it was “working to change this realty, recognizing that this is way to realize a future in which human rights, liberty, and equality are guaranteed to all human beings living here, Palestinians and Jews alike.”

B’Tselem said, “Since its inception in 1989 we have been documenting, researching and publishing statistics, testimonies video footage, position papers and reports on human rights violations committed by Israel in the Occupied Territories. The initial mandate we took upon ourselves focused on the occupation regime in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and in the Gaza Strip. However, over the years, it has become clear that the concept of two parallel regimes operating between the Mediterranean Sea and Jordan River – a permanent democracy west of the Green Line and a temporary military occupation to the east of it – is divorced from reality.

The entire area that Israel controls is ruled by a single apartheid regime, governing the lives of all people living in it and operating according to one organizing principle: establishing and perpetuating the control of one group of people – Jews – over another – Palestinians – through laws, practices, and state violence.” Condemnation of Israeli policies by the Amnesty International, Human Right Watch, and Jewish Voices for Peace

Israel's Apartheid Label

The two well-known international organizations called Israel an “Apartheid State.” In February 2022 in a summary statement under “Israel’s system of Apartheid” the Amnesty International reported, “Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, successive governments have created and maintained a system of laws, policies, and practices designated to oppress and dominate Palestinians.

This system plays out in different ways across the different ways the different areas where Israel exercises control over Palestinians’ rights, but the intent is always the same: to privilege Jewish Israelis at the expense of Palestinians.

The Human Rights Watch in a summary release of its report “A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution” on April 27, 2021 said the following with regard to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, “Across these areas and in most aspects of life, Israeli authorities methodically privilege Jewish Israelis and discriminate against Palestinians. Laws, policies, and statements by leading Israeli officials make plain that the objective of maintaining Jewish Israeli control over demographics, political power, and land has long guided government policy.

In pursuit of this goal, authorities have dispossessed, confined, forcibly separated, and subjugated Palestinians by virtue of their identity to varying degrees of intensity. In certain areas, as described in this report, these deprivations are so severe that they amount to the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.”

Jewish Voices for Peace is a US national organization with 721,060 members and supporters that envisions a world where all people live in freedom, justice, equality, and dignity. It works for freedom of Palestinians and against apartheid in Israel. According to its website, it is the largest progressive Jewish anti-Zionist organization in the world.

The Jewish Voices for Peace on its website says, “We’re organizing a grassroots, multiracial, cross-class, intergenerational movement of U.S. Jews into solidarity with Palestinian freedom struggle.” And, “We have a plan to end U.S. support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.” JVP has issued an urgent call: “Ceasefire now, millions of lives depend on it.” The Common Dreams organization has joined its cause and on October 11 reported that 500 of its activists protesting called on U.S. Congress to halt Gaza carnage, and were arrested by police.

On November 7, 2023 hundreds of JVP members and supporters demonstrated at the Statue of liberty demanding ceasefire. Israel owes its existence to continuous U.S. support, and use of its veto power at the United Nations Security Council.

Making Sense of Israel's Role in the Middle East

On Jan 14, 1948 David Ben-Gurion, head of the Jewish Agency proclaimed the establishment of state of Israel, and the US President Harry Truman recognized it the same day. The United States has given Israel more than 280 billion dollars since WWII and allocates more than 3 billion dollars yearly. In addition, the US has used its veto for resolutions against Israel at the United Nations Security Council for a total of 36 times since 1945.

A majority of these resolutions were drafted for peace in the Israel-Palestine conflict asking Israel to adhere to international laws, self-determination for Palestinian statehood, condemning Israel for displacement of Palestinians, and against settlements in occupied territories.

The U.S. has vetoed resolutions on Israel a total of 46 times, including Israel’s invasion of southern Lebanon, and its annexation of Syrian Golan Heights, which is still under Israeli occupation and the U.S. formally recognized it so in 2019.

Joe Biden has supported Israel throughout his career. He calls himself a Zionist. At the start of the current conflict, he met Netanyahu, hugged him and gave him his unwavering support. At the UN the US has resisted cease fire calls. A group of lawyers issued a dire warning making Biden complicit in Gaza genocide.

Tens of thousands marching in Washington, DC directed their anger towards Biden accusing of enabling genocide against Palestinians. The media reported his approval for the 2024 presidency has fallen propitiously among the Arab and Muslim Americans.

Rising Voices

Support for Israel-Hamas ceasefire has grown across the U.S. and in Congress as Gaza death toll surpassed 13,000. On November 19, 2023 support for ceasefire in Gaza had grown to 40 members of Congress as hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters gathered outside Union Station.

The number signaled the growing support for an end to Israel’s bombing campaign and ground invasion of Gaza that killed more than 13,000 people – the majority of them women and children – since the October 7 Hamas attack. “As the devastation in Israel and Gaza continues to claim more lives and displace more people, our call for a ceasefire grow wider, louder, and stronger every day across the world, “ said U.S. Rep. Cori Bush, who along with U.S.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib introduced the Ceasefire Now Resolution.

“In the month since we introduced the Ceasefire Now Resolution and in the days following the horrific October 7th attack, we have seen enough pain, death, and destruction for a lifetime. The violence must end.”

“While there are growing attempts to silence the diverse coalition of people advocating for peace, fighting to save lives no matter their faith or ethnicity should not be controversial, said Tlaib, the only Palestinian-American in Congress. “We will not be intimidated, we will not be silenced, and we will not stop calling for an end to this violence.”

Challenges and Prospects

A Reuters poll released November 15, 2023 showed 68% of the American public support the calls for a ceasefire – including 75% of Democrats and 50% of Republicans. On November 14, 2023 NBC reported that the Center for Constitutional Rights was requesting a federal court order to stop the U.S. government’s support of Israel’s siege on Gaza.

The petition was filed on behalf of Palestinian human rights organizations and multiple individuals. President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin are sued in their official capacity. The group said the named individuals are failing to prevent an unfolding genocide where they influence over the state of Israel to do so, and directly abetting its development with weapons, funds, and diplomatic cover, in breach of duties enshrined in the Genocide Convention and customary international law.

The group included declarations by experts in genocide and holocaust that offered an analysis on signs of potential genocide against Palestinians as part of the complaint, which was filed in the U.S. District for the Northern District of California a day earlier on November 13, 2023.

NBC reported on November 19, 2023 that President Joe Biden approval rating has declined to the lowest level of his presidency – 40% - as strong majorities of voters disapprove of his foreign policy and the Israel-Hamas war, according to the latest NBC poll. The erosion for Biden was most pronounced among Democrats, a majority of whom believe Israel has gone too far in military action in Gaza, and among voters ages 18 to 34 with a whopping 70% of them disapproving of Biden’s handling of the war.

The NBC poll conducted November 10-14 came a month after November 7 Hamas attack and subsequent Israel war on Gaza, which has killed thousands of Palestinians, 51% of Democratic voters believe Israel has gone too far. And while a majority of all voters (55%) support the United States providing military aid to Israel; almost half of Democrats (49%) oppose this aid.

Seeking Solutions

Norway is one of the European countries where pro-Palestinian demonstrations have taken place. A large contingent of Norwegians has worked to help in Gaza, and 250 Norwegians are still waiting to leave Gaza through its Rafah crossing with Egypt.

In a Nov 7 article on Al Jazeera, Espen Barth Eide, Minister of Foreign Affairs for Norway has written under the heading, “One day, the war between Israel and Hamas will be over.” “And when that happens, Israelis and Palestinians will need to resume the process towards a two-state solution.”

He said, “One day, the war between Israel and Hamas will come to an end. And when that happens, Israelis and Palestinians will need to re-engage in the essential question of what could constitute a peaceful settlement between them. But with each passing day of bombing, blockade, rocket attacks and hostages not released, it becomes more and more difficult to resume the process towards a two-state solution.”

“The war has reminded us that there is no viable alternative to a peace process and a two-state solution. The international community cannot continue to look the other way. We cannot allow another 30 years of occupation, war and unresolved conflict”, he said.

Navigating the Future of Israel and Palestine

But for this to come about a new leadership has to come about both in Israel and among Palestinians. And the problem of illegal settlements has to be taken care of. Netanyahu is cozy with settlers, has taken settlers in his cabinet, and has approved more settlements. And Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian Authority have lost the trust of most Palestinians as reported among others by Al Jazeera: “In the midst of Israel’s assault, people of Gaza still don’t want the PA.”

NBC reported on November 3, 2023 that settlements are Jewish communities that moved into the West Bank after it was occupied by Israel in 1967. They are considered illegal under international law. Successive Israeli governments have been criticized internationally over this issue. Even IDF has called out the settler violence, and its spokesperson Daniel Hagari warned in August that their “nationalist crime and nationalist terror” would radicalize Palestinians and turn them towards militancy.

Israel’s biggest ally, the United States has voiced concern. President Joe Biden condemned and said “extremist settlers” were “pouring gasoline” in the region. “This has to stop. They have to be held accountable”, he said. State Department spokesman Mathew Miller reiterated to reporters that White House is “very concerned” about the “incredibly destabilizing” violence in the West Bank – with some analysts suggesting it could open up a third front in the war, alongside the Gaza Strip and the Lebanon border.” The U.S. supports the policy of two states living in peace next to each other, and the Israeli settlements jeopardize the entire policy agreed upon internationally.

For further discussion on the topic, refer to an article by Al Jazeera on Israeli settlers published on November 6, 2023. The above constitute some basic problems that have to be tackled for a peaceful settlement between Israelis and Palestinians.

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