The world cannot ignore the Palestinian question


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Al-Aqsa Mosque

Mains level: Paper 2- Israel-Palestine conflict

The article discusses the types of response the recent violence in the Israel-Palestine conflict would invoke across the world and also explains the perils of ignoring the conflict.

Three types of responses

  • The deadly riots in Israel and the war in Gaza, is likely to evoke three kinds of responses: The indifferent, the imperial, the humanitarian.

1) Moral indifference

  •  Instead of becoming the symbol of the unfinished tasks of decolonisation, and a human rights catastrophe, the Palestinian question is now mostly an occasion to vent cynicism.
  • The moral questions the oppression of Palestinians poses is avoided by claiming that in this conflict we can assigning rights and wrongs equally to both sides.
  • There is the spectacle of civilians on both sides living in terror.
  • There is the fanaticism of the right-wing in Israel and there is the fanaticism of Hamas and Fatah.
  • Blaming both sides also whitewashes the fact that there is a monumental injustice to the Palestinians at the heart of the problem.

2) The imperial response

  • The events leading up to the recent clashes at the Al-Aqsa Mosque can be seen as part of a long pattern of pushing out Palestinians from territory Israel wants to claim.
  • American administration has not been able to significantly roll back this project of pushing the Palestinians out.
  • Palestine will once again be the site where the Biden administration’s liberal internationalism will face challenge.

3) Humanitarian response

  • This third response is to dig beneath the politics and find bridges in shared humanity and suffering.
  • This is also the tack of the peace movements that use culture and a history of shared suffering to build bridges.
  •  They emphasise that dispossession and exile is something both communities share; they, of all the people, should be able to understand each other.
  •  Humanity and culture, even when deeply internalised, collapse quickly when subject to fear.
  • And they always fall short of acknowledging the core issue at stake: Political equality between two peoples.

Geopolitical implications of conflict

  • The violence of Israel will beget more terrorist violence of Hamas and Fatah, with every world power from Russia to Iran influencing the chaos.
  • Israel needs to be reminded of the blowback of imperial politics: The ultimate consequence of trying to dominate a people is that you end up destroying the moral legitimacy of your own claims.
  • No amount of military capacity can compensate for the images of lynching, rioting, and provocations that we have seen this week.


We continually risk conflict if the Palestinian question is simply treated as an object of geo-political opportunism, not as a question of basic dignity and justice.

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