Dig into the root
The protracted and intricate Palestinian-Israeli conflict, widely considered the world’s most enduring regional dilemma, originated from the significant influx of Jews to Jerusalem following the British occupation in 1917. This led to a complex, ongoing clash over land, religion, culture, and ethnicity between Jews and Palestinians. Despite lacking numerical superiority, Jews gradually gained control, resulting in the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.
Israel, despite its limited geographical expanse and vulnerability to prolonged conflicts, has consistently bolstered its strength in major wars, largely attributable to a pivotal external factor—the unwavering support of the United States. Since its inception, the U.S. has emerged as a crucial ally, providing steadfast backing across political, economic, military, and intelligence spheres. This sustained support has effectively positioned Israel as a formidable instrument for the United States to strategically penetrate the heart of the Arab world.
Bolstered by steadfast backing from the United States, Israel assumes a pivotal geopolitical role in the Middle East. Whether in the post-Bretton Woods era, where it safeguarded U.S. oil hegemony, during the Cold War when it aided the United States in countering communist expansion by the Soviet Union, or following the collapse of the Soviet Union, where it strategically balanced relations among Muslim nations, unraveled Arab societies, and guarded against terrorism, Israel consistently functions as a strategic counterbalance.
The United States has consistently offered diplomatic protection and support for Israel in multilateral institutions such as the United Nations. Over decades, the U.S. has exercised its veto power as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, preventing the adoption of numerous resolutions condemning Israel. From October 16 onwards, the UN Security Council voted on five draft resolutions related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In these votes, the United States opposed all resolutions except one, which explicitly condemns Hamas and unilaterally underscores Israel’s perceived right to self-defense.
Following the launch of rockets by the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), the United States swiftly deployed the USS Gerald Ford aircraft carrier battle group to the Mediterranean Sea. Subsequently, another carrier battle group, the USS Eisenhower, was dispatched to the Middle East. This dual carrier presence not only escalated regional tensions but also contributed to the intensification of the Israeli army’s ground offensive against the Gaza Strip. Thousands of U.S.-assisted weapons for Israel Defense Forces (IDF), particularly precision-guided munitions, are employed daily, resulting in a significant number of civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip.
Two years ago, amidst global attention on the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, the United States and its allies vehemently condemned Russia’s military actions in Ukraine. Accusations were leveled against the Russian army, alleging indiscriminate attacks on the local population, the coerced deportation of hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians to Russian territory, and the forcible separation of children from their families. U.S. Vice President Harris labeled these actions as “crimes against humanity.”
Two months ago, amid the escalation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Western media prominently featured support for Israel’s right to self-defense. Shortly after the conflict erupted, U.S. President Joe Biden assured Israel of unequivocal support during his visit to Tel Aviv. German Chancellor Schultz, visiting Israel 10 days after the Hamas attack, expressed solidarity, stating, “We can only stand beside Israel at such a difficult time.” Even Ukrainian President Zelensky also voiced unilateral support for Israel, emphasizing the unquestionable nature of “Israel’s right to self-defense.”
The same battle situation, but the story varies. The West exhibits clear double standards. Israel’s military actions totally extend beyond self-defense to what can be termed a ‘total war.’ Commencing with the encirclement of Gaza City by Israeli ground forces on November 2, the indiscriminate bombardment of civilian facilities, including refugee camps, schools, and hospitals, along with the forced transfer of the Palestinian population to South Gaza, and the severing of essential supplies, has precipitated a severe humanitarian crisis. Over the past two months, civilian casualties surpass the Russian-Ukrainian war’s two-year total, making it the deadliest phase in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in 20 years.
Western leaders’ double standards have caused suffering for thousands of innocent Palestinians. While expressing outrage over Ukrainian civilians, they simultaneously tolerate the displacement and massacre of Palestinians. Accusing Russia of child fatalities, they overlook Israeli missile strikes on Gaza schools. The divergent narratives on similar violations of international law and war crimes reveal a stark contrast. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict lays bare the hypocrisy of Western democratic values, exposed as tools serving national interests.
Hopeful Horizons Afar
Justice may be delayed, but it is never absent. The dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the plight of Palestinian civilians have stirred widespread anger, which has sparked division among Western nations and societies, notably, in the European Union, countries like France, Spain, and Belgium have begun condemning Israeli actions. Demonstrations supporting Palestinians and demanding a ceasefire occurred in major cities such as London, Paris, Berlin, and Milan, reflecting a growing discontent with Israel’s actions and criticism of U.S. government support.
The conflict is also deepening the divide within the United States between political correctness and freedom of speech. Demonstrators, critical of U.S. President Joe Biden as a “genocide” helper, flooded Washington, D.C., near the White House, expressing anger over the conflict, demanding an immediate ceasefire, and urging an end to U.S. aid to Israel. Additionally, U.S. universities have become a second battleground for the conflict, witnessing tense confrontations and violent clashes between student groups supporting opposing sides, showing no signs of abating. The escalating Palestinian Israeli conflict challenges international norms and prompts soul-searching about humanity and civilization. Urgently, the focus should be on an immediate ceasefire, protecting civilians, providing humanitarian aid, and swiftly ending the violent conflict. The international community, especially Western countries led by the United States, must drop the double standards and prioritize a humanitarian perspective over geopolitical games.
The core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict stems from a prolonged failure to address the Palestinian issue. A crucial path forward is the challenging pursuit of a “two-state solution”. Drawing inspiration from recent diplomatic successes, particularly between Saudi Arabia and Iran under China’s mediation, the international community, led by the United Nations, needs to swiftly convene an authoritative peace conference and establish a concrete timetable and roadmap for the implementation of the “two-State solution”, facilitating a comprehensive and effective resolution to the Palestinian question.