Israel and the Palestinians: No Peace

The cycle of violence between Israel and the Palestinians has assumed an intensity which will render peace impossible in the near future. Both sides assert that the current state of conflict is unsustainable, but sadly, as experience elsewhere has shown, an accumulation of anger, grief, pain and hatred can keep a war going beyond what would otherwise be considered endurable by ordinary people yearning for a quiet life.

The World Today Published 1 July 2001 Updated 26 October 2020 5 minute READ

Rosemary Hollis

Former Director, Olive Tree Israeli-Palestinian Scholarship Programme, City, University of London

The war that ravaged lebanon for sixteen years from 1974, was repeatedly declared ‘unsustainable’ but nonetheless dragged on. If the Lebanese could somehow endure the unendurable, conceivably the Palestinians and Israelis will too. Whatever trust existed between the parties during the Oslo peace process has been lost in nine months of attacks and counter-attacks that have taken such a heavy toll on both peoples.

Consequently, in the immediate term there are really only two alternative possibilities. One is for a protracted low-level conflict, punctuated by periodic ceasefires and desultory attempts to restart negotiations. These will break down as soon as the two sides confront the final status issues on which negotiations foundered at the Camp David summit a year ago. The other is for an escalation of conflict, spilling over into neighbouring states and threatening the stability of Arab regimes.

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