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Israel – Palestine war UPSC NOTE

 Right of self-defence 

  • As United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has reminded the international community, the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, 2023, condemnable and despicable as it was, did not happen in a vacuum

  • Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, Israel has the inherent right of self-defence

  • The same article lays down that after acting in self-defence, the state concerned must report the action taken by it to the UN Security Council (UNSC). This does not seem to have been done.

  • In any case, self-defence does not authorise the disproportionate or indiscriminate use of force against civilians. 

  • It has been reported that Gaza’s rate of death during Israel’s assault has almost 15,000.

  • Majority of them women and children. 

  • This goes well beyond the prevailing customary law of self-defence.

  • U.S. President Joe Biden, have suggested that the Ramallah-based Palestine Authority should take over administering the Gaza Strip, once the situation becomes ready for that. 

  • The rich Arab states’, a phrase widely cited in the media, would be asked to finance the rebuilding of Gaza

  • The only problem is that the Palestinians, do not want the Palestine Authority led by Mr. Abbas to rule anywhere, let alone Gaza.

  • The only available option is to hold fresh elections, in Gaza as well as in the West Bank, under international supervision as and when the situation allows. 

  • The UN should be asked to deploy a peace-keeping contingent on the border between Gaza and Israel to ensure security for both

  • Israel does not like the UN, and likes the UN Secretary-General even less. 

  • It should be remembered that it was the UN that gave birth and legitimacy to the insipient state of Israel. 

Feasibility of two-state solution

  • The proposal for a two-state solution, long pushed aside, has come alive

  • Everyone seems to be repeating the two-state mantra.

  • The 1993 Oslo Accord envisaged Palestine to be based in the West Bank. 

  • The West Bank is heavily populated by Israeli settlers, 4,50,000 at latest count. 

  • No Israeli government will succeed in persuading the settlers to return. 

  • The land is like Swiss cheese, having settler roads and innumerable settlements, with more planned. 

  • The current Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, will never agree to a Palestinian state, however truncated.

  • Painful concessions will be required, including land swaps, and a monitoring mechanism established to hold each side to the commitments they make.

  • The only lasting solution is for Israel to vacate its occupation of the West Bank and let a viable Palestinian state emerge.

Abraham Accords are a foundation

  • To ensure Israel’s legitimate concern for the safety of its people, the new state should be demilitarised

  • Other measures can be thought of to assure the Israelis of their safety. 

  • Israel’s neighbouring Arab states should all be engaged in this process. 

  • If Israel has the vision of living in harmony in the region with its Arab neighbours, this is the only way. 

  • When that happens, Iran will lose its proclaimed reason for its anti-Israel tirades.

  • Hezbollah will, likewise, lose its most important plank for threatening Israel.

  • For decades, Israeli-Palestinian relations have been locked in a never-ending cycle of death, destruction and misery

  • The war in Gaza is the latest iteration. It should be the last. 

  • The Middle East could, finally, enjoy stable peace and security.


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