Over the past few weeks we have been witnesses of an enormous amount of media coverage about the conflict taking place at the Gaza strip. The conflict’s ramifications are multiple and complex, therefore it is a highly difficult task to analyze and identify causes, interests, and actors taking part of it. Currently a ceasefire has been enacted following the leadership of Egypt in bringing the parts together. Nonetheless, if the background differences are not solved, then the current truce may not last as much as expected.
In light of the complexity of the conflict and its coverage, critical thinking is essential in order to read between the lines. The conflict between Palestine and Israel has a long history of intermittences. Some periods are characterized by intense violence by both sides while others enjoy relative peace. It is important to highlight that there is a vast net of invested interests on the region. Much can be said about the US supporting Israel, the role of Egypt and its possible change of direction, the nature of the Hamas organization, and the current tension with respect to Iran.
In this regard, it is important to outline some of the key perspectives to which the key actors subscribe. Some have argued that Israel is looking to stop Hamas from launching rockets into its territory. It is important to note that Israel opened fire after the US elections and prior to the national elections. Some even argue that the current Israeli right wing government performs better in times of violent conflict. They have been traditionally seen as Israel’s iron fist in times of intensified conflict.
Others would say that they are also evaluating the power balance in the Middle East, especially in terms of sending a sign to neighbor countries. On the other hand Hamas, which is led by Khaled Meshaal, has been defined in different terms by diverse actors. Some would argue that they are a terrorist organization while others conceive it as a resistance movement. In any case, it has been connected to the Muslim Brotherhood, and has also benefited from the new government in Egypt.
One of the key aspects that can be relevant for the development of future events is the role of Egypt in light of its newly elected government. They mediated the current ceasefire, and many analysts have suggested that this move could be seen to benefit Egypt’s interests. According to Aljazeera, Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi has taken an assertive position on Palestine, leading negotiations for a truce. However, even though he tried to reflect the will of the general population, he is constrained by Egypt’s reliance on US aid, and by the long-standing peace treaty with Israel.
Former Egyptian leader Mubarak could be seen as to having helped Israel in maintain the blockade upon the Gaza strip. Morsi, nonetheless, has a different view than Mubarak, which is relevant to note as it could change the course of events in the near future. This takes an even further significance if related to the current situation in Iran. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, spoke at the UN conference and was seen to be extremely concerned with the development of nuclear weapons in Iran.
The US is also restless contemplating the fact of the possibility of Iran going nuclear. The current ambiguity towards the position that Egypt may take in light of all the new changes within and outside its borders is also a matter that has caused some uncertainty with respect to the power balance in the region.
There are diverse theories trying to explain the causes of the conflict. Furthermore, there are divided opinions towards whether or not the Israeli expansion is legitimate or not. Moving away from the causes of the conflict, we need to ask ourselves how is the conflict going to solve these differences. No conflict can best resolve a clash of interest in the best way possible.
Conflict separates, creates hatred, and experiences horrifying violence; nonetheless, they are not the solution to any problem. In light of this, it is easy to sit on a comfy chair and discuss how the conflict should stop and negotiations should take its place, however, reality has proven itself less simply than that. Nonetheless, we shall not forget that people are suffering from this conflict and that a solution must be placed as soon as possible. This long lasting conflict has caused many casualties, and the number threatens to increase. It is not about religious differences, territory claims or political power balances anymore, but about the people and their futures.