Chance for two-state solution may be lost for good

Kenneth Cheng Chee Kin

No matter how right and just the Palestinian cause is, one must be able to separate the far-right Israeli regime from the the Israeli civilians, who may disagree with the apartheid policy in Gaza. – EPA pic, October 22, 2023.

ANY report of hatred, destruction, sorrow and death in the Israel-Gaza conflict would inadvertently lead me back to a pleasant and illuminating conversation I had with a middle-aged Palestinian outside the Hagia Sophia that has served as a house of worship for the Eastern Orthodox Church, Catholics and Muslims at different periods of time.

It was that chat which convinced me that peace in the Middle East is only possible with a free and independent Palestine.

It was in that dialogue that I first heard about the appalling living conditions in Gaza and made me vow to stand resolutely by the Palestinians seeking justice and freedom.

As the novelist Haruki Murakami once said: “Between a high, solid wall and an egg that breaks against it, I will always stand on the side of the egg.”

To me, that high, solid wall represents the rockets, missiles and drones that Israel possesses and are impossible to defend against while the egg represents the Palestinians whose best weapon against apartheid is a pebble they pick up from the ground.

We have a duty to stand with the weak, defenceless and oppressed no matter how right and high the wall is or how wrong the egg is.

However, if we truly believe in a peaceful solution, we also should not ignore the enormity of the tragedy that occurred on the October 7 when thousands of Jews were murdered and women and children were captured to be used as bargaining chips with the Israeli government.

The innocent lives were lost because of Hamas pre-emptive strike should neither be minimised nor celebrated.

No matter how right and just the Palestinian cause is, we must be able to separate the far-right Israeli regime from the the Israeli civilians, who may disagree with the apartheid policy in Gaza. After Peace can never be kept by force.

Israel and its people must come to the painful realisation that the best gift for extremism and terrorism is the continual denial of basic amenities to the Palestinians.

In the Gaza Strip, Palestinians have no chance to live like normal human beings, never mind bettering their lives.

The air, sea and land blockade of Gaza has essentially stripped the city of any meaningful trade and economic activities. The restriction of movements means that Palestinians cannot leave even if they wanted to.

Any Palestinian living in such conditions can only feel despair and this hopelessness will only give way to hatred and thoughts of revenge and that violence and killing are the only remedy to their plight.

The Israeli government, which is now dominated by the most far-right element of Jewish society, does not even attempt to its their intention to occupy the lives and livelihoods of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Nethanyahu’s policy for the treatment of Palestinians is well documented but what is lesser known is that his parliamentary majority is only made possible with parties such as Otzma Yehudit, which supports the annexation of the West Bank.

The leader of the party, Itamar Ben Gvir, has even staged a provocative visit to Al-Aqsa Mosque, which infuriated many Palestinians.

While this by no means justify the atrocities committed by Hamas, it is instructive that the surprise attack was named “Al-Aqsa Flood”. Many suspect the untimely visit by Ben Gvir was the straw that broke the camel’s back.  

As as Gaza continues to be bombarded, the situation has escalated to the point where the endgame is the annihilation of Hamas by the Israeli government.

However, the hard policy of successive Israeli governments is also accountable for the tragedy we are witnessing. Further occupation and oppression will only give rise to more violence so long as the present conditions of Palestinians are not changed.

This conflict also feels like a point of no return because the Jewish people have also suffered pain and loss with a government that has promised vengeance.

This is why I feel that the two-state solution, which is the only realistic option for a free and independent Palestine, may have also vanished.

After years of war and destruction, peace is not possible now in the Holy Land and is now further away than ever. – October 22, 2023.

* Kenneth Cheng has always been interested in the interplay between human rights and government but more importantly he is a father of two cats, Tangyuan and Toufu. When he is not attending to his feline matters, he is most likely reading books about politics and human rights or playing video games. He is a firm believer in the dictum “power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will”.

* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight. Article may be edited for brevity and clarity.

Sign up or sign in here to comment.