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