Immediate end to the spiral of violence in the Middle East

14. Mai 2021

Once again, we have to witness that in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict violence as a means of conflict primarily affects the civilian population. The clashes began many days ago with the attempt to enforce the settlement policy, which has been unequivocally condemned by the United Nations, and which amounts to the expulsion of the Palestinian population in East Jerusalem. Claiming „Jewish property rights“ that existed in the area 70 years ago, nationalist settlers seek to evict Palestinian residents. Protests against forced evictions and restrictions on visiting Islamic places of worship have been met with reprisals by the Israeli government. After the Israeli military and other security forces pushed escalation in East Jerusalem over several days, with several hundred injured on the Palestinian side, Hamas began firing rockets at Israeli towns. This in turn led to massive bombardment of Gaza by Israeli air forces, destroying civilian infrastructure and other positions. Neither military action can solve the problem. We appeal for immediate political talks to end the threat to civilians.

It is evident that the Netanyahu government has allowed this confrontation to escalate – and on the backs of Israeli and Palestinian civilians. The fact that Netanyahu is primarily concerned with his own political survival makes his behavior all the more reprehensible. After he was unable to achieve his own governing majority in parliament despite several new elections, he wants to use the escalation of the military situation – as the historian Moshe Zimmermann clearly analyzed it – to prevent his political opponents, who include Arab Israelis, from forming a political coalition. At the same time, he uses the escalation to pressure the Biden administration to position itself – in line with previous Trump policies – in favor of the concept of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, which would permanently prevent a political solution with the Palestinian side.

This has created an explosive situation in the Middle East that can only be stopped through political talks. For one thing is clear. With these escalations, there will be no peaceful solution to the conflict – observers are worried about a third intifada, which would once again claim many hundreds of victims among all the people living in the Middle East.

The FIR as „Ambassador of Peace of the United Nations“ calls for de-escalation – supported by the United Nations. Hamas must immediately stop rocket attacks on Israeli cities. The Israeli army must immediately stop attacks on Gaza. In addition, the political allies must make it clear to the Israeli government that they are not prepared to support a military escalation, but are committed to political steps towards a solution.