Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

On August 23, 2007, the Egyptian ambassador to India published an opinion in The Hindu on how the conflict with Israel and Palestine can be solved. In his view the "Israeli occupation should be looked at as the illness and any other development as merely a symptom. Therefore, ending the occupation is like curing the disease". Following the principle of "Land for Peace" the conflict could thus be ended.

In a reply, the Consul General of Israel, Mumbai wrote in The Hindu on September 4, 2007. He criticized the view of the occupation as "the only source of all the troubles in the Middle East" as "one-sided and short-sighted". He pointed out the many attacks of Palestinians on Israeli citizens. It is his view "that Israel would like to live in peace, side-by-side with the Palestinian state". And Palestinians would also have to make steps towards a peaceful solution.

Both opinions compelled me towards submitting my own opinion to The Hindu, which was published as a Letter to the Editor in The Hindu on September 6, 2007. Here is what I wrote.

"The history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a long and complex one. Suffering and distrust of the other side are experienced by both Israelis and Palestinians. In his presentation of ‘land for peace’ as the cure-all of this conflict, the Egyptian ambassador to India fails to mention that many Israeli children have died in suicide attacks. Only the building of a wall managed to put a stop to this wave of attacks.

"The Consul General of Israel, in turn, does not mention that the positioning of the wall directly amounts to land grab. He also does not mention the hardship brought on the Palestinians by decades of economic strangulation. Thus, Israel for its own sake, should find ways to lessen the hardships of ordinary Palestinians. And at one point in the future, the Egyptian ambassador’s goal will be reached: Israel will have to give ‘land,’ something concrete, to Palestinians. But this will not happen until the Palestinians can pro‘peace’ given in return will be more than an abstract concept."