As almost 2000 Palestinians and over 67 Israeli go to their death, opinions are being expressed by people on the consequences of the conflict. However, little time is spent on discussing the causes and solution. In Israel many focus on Hamas and describe how it aims to destroy Israel. They try to justify the killing of the Palestinians by claiming that they are used as human shields by Hamas to hide their weapons. However, even schools belonging to the UN were hit. Hamas also claim victory for not allowing the people of Israel to feel secure while the Palestinian people are under attack.
Israel claims to be doing what it is doing to protect its citizens. Hamas claims to be doing what it is doing to protect its citizens. However, the citizens continue to live under a climate of insecurity with both sides calling for a cease fire to halt the maiming and killing.
This confirms that there is no military solution to the crisis. Hence the cease fire should hold if more blood shed is to be averted.
Both Israel and Hamas have been weakened by the war. Egypt has been strengthened. Neither Hamas nor Israel would want Egypt to support the other side.
If the crisis is to be solved, the international community must engage civil society in Israel and Palestine in order to shape them against war. Peace and human rights movements should make documentaries of the holocaust and the Gaza massacres and show them to the citizens of Israel and ask them whether they would like to leave such a history behind for their children and children’s children to read tomorrow. Palestinians should be exposed to documentaries of failed states so that they would know that peace would only come to Palestine if they have a responsive and accountable government which is determined by their votes. Hence the International Community and Israel should recognise the Unity government as a transitional administration under whose charge and control all armed groups and their armaments must be placed. This transitional administration would be assisted to draft a Republican constitution which would be submitted to the people for approval at a referendum. This should be followed by free and fair elections to establish a democratic government in Palestine which would negotiate with Israel to have a final settlement.
On the side of Israel, the transition should entail a referendum whether the Palestinians and Israelis should be in one state or in different states. This decision cannot be postponed. The Palestinians cannot be isolated in Bantustan like existence in Gaza and the West bank like the apartheid era. Are they to be equal citizens or be supported to establish a state of their own? Before this referendum all new settlements must cease. This would be an effective way of shaping Israeli public opinion in support of a two state solution. This is a way forward.