Just as the US Secretary of State continues its journey to the Middle-East in order to solidify the ceasefire between Israel and Palestine, fights continue to break out in the contested areas between the two.
Although this latest conflict took a very heavy toll on Palestinian lives, they nonetheless claim the recent ceasefire between themselves and their Israeli counterparts as victory. During that eleven days of ceaseless bombardment, which by the way was nothing short of a full-fledged war, more than two hundred were killed, the majority of which belonged to the Palestinian side. In addition to that, a great number of residential lots including houses and apartments were destroyed, leaving a vast number of Palestinians homeless. By almost all accounts and objective metrics, this recent conflict was a colossal military disaster for the Palestinians but even so, after a week the atmosphere in the devastated Gaza Strip seems jovial while the mood in Israel is gloomy. The answer perhaps lies in hope.
For so many years, the Palestinians were effectively like shooting targets for Israeli armies. Similar conflicts in previous decades like the ones waged during the tenure of Ariel Sharon were described as a bloodbath at the worst and a massacre at best. This year however the Palestinians weren’t the meek targets with a red sticker on their back. This time the retaliation, a display of their wrath in response to decades of perceived abuse at the hands of their wardens, came in full-force with the Israeli Iron Dome challenged for the first time ever in its history. Even later on, when the peace was enforced between the two, Palestinians refused to let go of their sufferings like all the previous times, instead resisting Israel’s police attempts to evict them from al-Aqsa mosque later that week. Furthermore, in an open act of protest, Palestinians kept waving the flags of Palestine and Hamas in the face of Israeli policemen, unafraid of what might be their response.
There have also been a lot of talks about the nature of the truce agreed between the two. The ceasefire between Israel and Palestine quite the contrary’s belief was in fact brokered by Egypt and not the United States which would mean that either at least one of the parties involved in the conflict was not on board with the idea of Americans taking the credit for this resolution or that the America was somewhat acting independently to prevent a great catastrophe from happening. As a matter of fact, we do know that neither of the sides were willing to give up the fight, which consequently proves that in fact the US was indeed trying to bring an end to the conflict before more damage could be done to its reputation. Because of its commitment to Israel, the US at the time was globally censured because of its refusal to condemn Israel’s disproportionate attacks against Palestinians and was therefore engaged in secret talks with both sides to cool things down. Even now, the US seems more invested in the case than everybody else.
According to the reports, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had quite a busy week travelling to Israel and talking with both sides of the conflict to ensure something like this would never happen again. Aside from the lofty promises that he gave to both sides, Blinken has also travelled to the other countries in vicinity to bolster the regional support for this momentary ceasefire. So far this regional tour has taken him to Jordan as well as Egypt but other destinations are being discussed as well. In spite of Blinken’s efforts, the current ‘peace’ between Israel and Palestine is built on shaky grounds and quite vulnerable against tremors. Even now, there have been reports of sporadic fighting between the Israelis and Palestinians, leading to the death of a couple of people. Should these clashes go unheeded, there is no telling whether promises would be effective to call off the attacks this time around and that alone would be nobody’s favour.