Israel and Palestine could take a leaf out of India’s book

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 2- Israel-Palestine conflict

The article suggest the Indian model for peaceful coexistence as a possible solution to Israel-Palestine conflict.

Brief history of the conflict

  • Britain renounced its Mandate over Palestine in 1948.
  • This paved the way for the United Nations to divide Palestine between the Jews and Arabs, giving them about 55% and 45% of the land, respectively.
  • The Jews, meanwhile, had declared the establishment of the state of Israel for which they had been working for long.
  • The Palestinians, who lacked the resources to conceive of a state, failed to form a state of their own in the land allotted to them.
  • Instead, a coalition of Arab countries invaded the nascent state of Israel to nip it in the bud.
  • Israel defeated the Arab armies.
  • Israel also destroyed about 600 Palestinian villages and expelled about 80% of Arabs from its territory.
  • In 1967, in the Six-Day War, Israel captured not just more Palestinian land but also Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and Syria’s Golan Heights.
  • During the Yom Kippur War of 1973, the Arabs came to realise that Israel is here to stay.

Need for realisation on both the sides

  • The Arab states failed to impress the realisation of permanency of Israel upon their Palestinian brethren, a sizeable number of whom remain committed to seeking a solution through counter-violence. 
  • Vicious cycle of violence is not going to end unless there is realism on both sides.
  • The Hamas should know that Israel will not give up on holding on to land it has held for years.
  • Israel should understand that total subjugation, expulsion or even decimation of Palestinians will not make it any safer.
  • A solution based on the common humanity of all stakeholders, one that is not riven by racial and religious schisms, needs to be explored.

Viability of Indian model

  • The Indian model of democracy and secularism, which accommodates religious, ethnic, linguistic and other diversities, could be a viable model for the peaceful coexistence of formerly antagonistic groups.
  •  India evolved a unique model of accommodating the victors and the vanquished, without ever resorting to the latter’s decimation.
  • A modus vivendi has to evolve on the basis of hard realities, the first of which is that neither the Jews nor the Palestinians are going to vanish.
  • If the two-state solution is nowhere in the offing, a single state after the Indian model, i.e., a secular, democratic and pluralistic state, may be the only feasible option.
  • The Palestinian refugees have a right to return.
  • That the altered demographics would impinge on the religio-racial character of Israel is not an argument which behoves a modern democratic state.
  • It is true that a nation state belongs to the group which constituted itself into a nation.
  • A nation is an imagined community.
  • As imagination expands, the foundations of the nation become deeper.

Consider the question “In the absence of two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, what lessons India could offer to the two parties for peaceful coexistence?”

Conclusion

Israel might not offer the right model of conflict resolution for India, but India presents a model of peaceful coexistence for Israel.

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