Immediate Action Needed to Rescue the Palestinian Situation

  • 20 May 2010

It is very clear that the situation in the Palestinian Territories has reached a level of danger and explosiveness not witnessed in many years. In addition to the continued fighting between Hamas and Fatah movements, Israel has launched a military campaign in the Gaza Strip on the pretext of responding to the launch of some locally made Palestinian rockets of limited effectiveness in its southern region. This has increased bloodshed and compounded the suffering of the Palestinian people, who are now living under appalling conditions due to the siege. They are also trapped between two conflagrations—the internal fighting, and the recurring Israeli aggression.

The most dangerous aspect of the crisis is that Israel is reportedly planning more attacks in the Palestinian Territories and that may not be of limited intensity. Several sources report that Israel is studying various options for countering the threat posed by  Qassam rockets, all of which are violent and would lead to bloodshed.

The Israeli leadership, which is currently facing many crises, is trying hard to improve its image on the domestic front by shedding more Palestinian blood. Meanwhile, a dangerous leadership crisis is evident in the Palestinian Territories that is not limited to the conflict between the presidency and the government, but extends to the erosion of their influence on the street and their own militias. It seems that the regular members of Palestinian parties are acting independently and are not fully complying with the instructions of their political leadership, to the extent that many observers fear a “leadership vacuum” that could lead to utter chaos. As the situation slides toward an all-out explosion, there is need for a quick, effective, and serious international initiative to defuse the situation in the Palestinian Territories. There is a need to help the Palestinian leadership carry out their mission by lifting the state of siege and by providing them with necessary assistance to tackle the humanitarian crisis that the Palestinian people have been enduring, as underscored by international human rights organizations. At the same time, Israeli leaders should be asked to desist from spilling Palestinian blood as a means to rescue them from the growing internal criticism. They should be prevented from taking steps that could create an explosive situation in the whole region, and not just the Palestinian Territories.