It's time to force Israel into a meaningful peace

The inability to hold Israel to account for its crimes has emboldened its brutality. It won’t negotiate peace unless it is placed under real pressure.

It's time to force Israel into a meaningful peace

If a dog is abused, it becomes aggressive.

A cornered animal on the receiving end of an attack will almost certainly fight back. This is what happened on 7 October: the underdog, Hamas, hit back after a long period of abuse.

The parallel I draw with animals is deliberate here because Israeli ministers called Palestinians exactly that: human animals. Similar phrasing was used by Nazi Germany itself, which referred to Jews as Untermenschen, meaning sub-human.

And much like Nazi Germany’s pursuit to ‘purify’ the Aryan race, which it viewed as superior, Israeli Jews also see themselves as superior to the “Arabs” they occupy and oppress. In fact, it is embodied in their Nation-state Law.

Israelis have come to believe that if they oppress the Palestinians and make their lives so incredibly difficult, including by placing them in an “open-air prison”, then they will leave their land on their own accord.

In fact, it has used 7 October as an excuse to carry out a second Nakba. To this end, it has waged attacks even more bloody than those that took place before its founding in 1948.

Read more: Palestinians in Gaza in the midst of a modern-day Nakba

Israel’s relentless bombardment has made Gaza “uninhabitable”, according to the United Nations.

Vicious circle

It’s a vicious circle: Israel’s obsession with its own security prompts it to carry out a never-ending stream of war crimes, crimes against humanity, land theft and occupation, which, in turn, spurs Palestinians to (naturally) resist their murderers and oppressors.

For whatever loathing held towards Israel due to its war crimes, the fact remains that no actor poses an existential threat to it.

But for whatever loathing held by Palestinians and surrounding Arab populations towards Israel, the fact remains that no actor – be it the Palestinians or surrounding countries in the Middle East – poses an existential threat to Israel.

Israel is simply annoyed by Palestinians' stubborn resistance to occupation, which has been in place since 1967. If it were to withdraw from the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, as mandated by international law, this 'annoying' resistance would likely disappear altogether.

Insatiable thirst for land

But Israel refuses to do so because — as made clear by its rising far-right tendencies — it wants the state of Israel to encompass all the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

It also wants to retain the Syrian land of the Golan Heights, which it also occupied in 1967.

This insatiable thirst for more land underscores why so many believe that Israel is not truly interested in peace.

While it claims that peace has not been reached because there's no suitable or willing partner on the "other side", the fact remains that a country that has committed countless war crimes is the real unsuitable partner.

Who in their right mind would negotiate a peace with Israel which has been accused by the world's highest court of plausible genocide?

Increasingly, countries around the world have shown hesitance to engage with a country that pursues belligerent policies that will have disastrous consequences for the region and, quite possibly, the world.

Forcing Israel into a ceasefire could be the only way to guarantee the survival of a country pushing itself to the brink of self-destruction.

Some nations in South America have even go so far to sever diplomatic relations with Israel, while others around the world have recalled their ambassadors.

Meanwhile, the countries that continue to stand by Israel seem to be under the grip of powerful lobbies that could cost them their own seats in power in an election year.

Bold leadership needed

The only country with real leverage over Israel remains to be the United States, and President Joe Biden is currently in a bind.

If he takes a tougher position on Israel, he risks losing donor support in an election year. Meanwhile, his core voter base seems to be haemorrhaging. Democrats — especially younger voters — are appalled by his unequivocal support for Israel.

Read more: Why unconditional US support for Israel must stop

This has earned him the nickname 'Genocide Joe'.

What we need now more than ever is bold and wise leadership. Forcing Israel into a ceasefire, and subsequently into a peace agreement, could be the best and only way to guarantee the security and survival of a country that is increasingly pushing itself to the brink of self-destruction.

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