The war in Gaza in May this year attracted the attention of the world to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. In fact, Hamas’ rockets are more of a political declaration and have limited military significance. Although it is difficult for rockets to break through Israel’s “iron dome” system, they can give a voice to the international community: Palestinian resistance still exists.
Sure enough, the Irish Parliament passed a motion on May 26 condemning the “de facto annexation” of Palestinian land by the Israeli authorities. The next day, an Irish flag was raised above the city hall of Ramallah, the temporary capital of Palestine. Palestine pays tribute to Ireland in this way.
Among EU countries, why did Ireland take the lead in expressing support for Palestine? Can the latter imitate Ireland’s independent nationhood?
Mirror of History
For historical reasons, the Irish have empathy for what happened to the Palestinians.
During the British rule of Ireland in the 19th century, conflicts between Britain and Ireland intensified over political rights, land issues, and religious beliefs. During the First World War, taking advantage of the opportunity of the British sending a large number of troops from Ireland to the French front and fighting against Germany, with the secret support of the Kaiser, the radical Republicans in Ireland launched an uprising in Dublin. Due to the failure of German weapons to arrive and the disparity in power, the uprising was suppressed by the British army. However, afterwards, the Irish Republican Army led by Sinn Fein uprisings in various parts of Ireland forced the British to abandon the rule of Southern Ireland and only retained the rule of six counties in Northern Ireland.
Collins, the moderate leader of the Republican Army who had concluded an agreement with Britain, faced comrades’ incomprehension and even war-torn. The radicals resolutely opposed the British rule of Northern Ireland and did not hesitate to launch a rebellion against Collins. Britain also took the opportunity to threaten Collins: If it does not suppress the radicals, Britain will directly eliminate them. Collins could only choose to suppress the radicals by force, and in the end he also died of the radicals’ revenge bullet. After this civil war, the moderates firmly held the political power in Ireland, and the radicals were reduced to a terrorist force that could only attack Britain and the Northern Irish unificationists in Northern Ireland.
Ireland’s independence in 1937 was successful. From a general background, it was due to the significant weakening of British power after the First World War. However, from the direct cause, this was related to the fact that Britain and Ireland were able to find a “compromise point.”
In April 1921, during the Irish War of Independence, the Reserve of the Royal Irish Police on the streets of Dublin
/ The “Wye Agreement” is the last time that Palestine and Israel have reached a “land for peace” through a bilateral agreement. /
For the United Kingdom, the cost of continuing to rule Southern Ireland, where Catholic Irish are the majority, is already unsustainable. In order to deal with the successive rebellion of the Republican Army, the British Home Office mobilized a large number of World War I veterans to form a “black and brown army” to hunt down Republicans and members of the Republican Army, but with little success. In the end, the United Kingdom chose the strategy of “abandoning the South and protecting the North” because, compared with the Catholics in Southern Ireland, the Protestant Irish are the Protestant Irish, and the English and Scots make up the absolute majority of the population. They are relatively loyal to the rule of the British King.
On the Irish side, Collins also knew that the influence of the Republicans could hardly reach Northern Ireland. In the previous British general elections before independence, the Republicans have repeatedly lost in the elections of Northern Ireland. The local power of the six counties of Northern Ireland is firmly in the hands of the royalists. Collins decisively gave up Northern Ireland in exchange for the autonomy and ultimate independence of Southern Ireland.
Similar to the case of Ireland, the Palestinian Abbasid authority, which has a moderate position, seems to have been reduced to a supporting role in the Gaza war, but may actually be one of the main beneficiaries. Palestine and Israel were unable to compromise in a short period of time. Although Abbas was regarded as incompetent by radical forces, he successfully declared the birthplace of Bethlehem as a world cultural heritage by leading Palestine to become a member of the United Nations Observer State and UNESCO. It moved out of the “List of World Heritage in Danger”, thus strengthening its orthodox image within Palestine.
Cum is not a good choice
Even the toughest people from both Palestine and Israel realize that the “two-state solution” is better than the “one-country solution.” The country’s peace and security after Ireland’s independence is a clear proof.
For “Great Israelist” Sharon and Netanyahu, the consequences of annexing Palestine are completely unbearable. Not to mention the huge price paid for governing Palestinian society, it is extremely tricky to just say whether to grant Palestinian residents the right to vote and to be elected.
After the National War of Israel, Palestinian Arabs who remained in Israel and did not go into exile accounted for more than 20% of Israel’s current population, and they also had considerable seats in the Knesset, which could even indirectly affect the cabinet formation process after the current general election. A few days ago, the Arab pragmatic political party “Ram Party” hesitated and joined the new majority parliamentary coalition aimed at overthrowing Prime Minister Netanyahu.
The issue of ethnicity is related to votes and political energy. The West Bank government, controlled by the Palestinian moderate Fatah, has also encouraged women to have more children in recent years, with the purpose of using population tactics to prevent the annexation by Israel.
The huge cost of annexing Palestine, especially the political risk threatening the identity of the Jewish state, made Netanyahu only carry out his partial annexation plan in the sparsely populated area of the Jordan Valley in the east of the West Bank; for Gaza and Jordan, where Palestinians gather In the western part of the West Bank, Nei’s merger plan can only be stopped.
Birthplace of Jesus, Bethlehem Nativity Church
/Israel’s unwillingness to abandon the Jordan Valley and settlements means that the dream of “Little Palestine in 1967” cannot be achieved. /
Today, Israel’s right-wing coalition leader Bennett, center-left leader Rapide and Arab political parties have reached an agreement to form a joint cabinet, and Bennett will replace Netanyahu as prime minister. Considering that the new government is supported by a majority of parliament with the support of Arab political parties, the merger plan may be unsustainable.
In history, Britain and Ireland will eventually separate their families, and Palestine and Israel will be divided into two countries.
Land “stock” crisis
Since “two countries” is better than “one country”, can Palestine and Israel find compromises like Britain and Ireland?
The original principle of “land for peace” between Palestine and Israel was that Israel withdrew from occupied land in exchange for Palestine’s political recognition of Israel and security guarantees. However, this path of compromise has been repeatedly challenged in recent years.
Since Palestine was allowed to implement autonomy in parts of Gaza and the Jericho enclave in the eastern West Bank in the 1990s, the scope of Palestinian autonomy has gradually expanded. Israel successively withdrew its troops from Tulkarm, Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah, Bethlehem and Qalqilya in the West Bank, and gave up in accordance with the 1997 Hebron Agreement He has gained control over the Palestinian residential areas that account for 80% of the urban area of Hebron. After Netanyahu took over from Perez, although his attitude became increasingly tough, he still signed the Wye Agreement with Arafat under the mediation of the United States and withdrew from 13% of the territory of the West Bank.
Mass at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem on April 25, 2021
The “Wye Agreement” is the last time Palestine and Israel have reached a “land for peace” case through a bilateral agreement. After that, although the Sharon government withdrew its troops from Gaza, it was a unilateral Israeli action. The principle of “land for peace” has in fact been shelved. Since the second Palestinian uprising, the cycle of violence has replaced efforts for peace negotiations. Many observers attribute the increase in the cycle of violence to the terrorist acts of Palestinian militant organizations and Israel’s “excessive” retaliation afterwards, but what lies behind the radicalization is the “land” stock in the principle of “land for peace”. insufficient.
At present, Israel has returned all the Gaza Strip to Palestine, and most of the western West Bank has been handed over to the Palestinians for self-government, and there is very little land left to give up. The Jordan Valley in the east is not only an important water source for Israel, but also a deep defense and security area for this small country. Except for the pro-Palestinian, short-lived Barak government, no Israeli government is willing to abandon the Jordan Valley.
As for settlements, more than 200,000 Jews in more than 100 settlements in the West Bank have been an important vote warehouse for Israel’s previous parliamentary elections. No Israeli government dares to abandon the major settlements that have been built. As for Hebron, which is 20% controlled by Israel, and Jerusalem, which is completely controlled by Israel, as the spiritual holy land of Zionism, it is the link between the Jewish kingdom and modern Israel. Even Barak, a pro-Palestinian prime minister, is unwilling to divide.
The future that Israel has set for Palestine is a demilitarized pocket country; for Israel, it is in fact difficult to continue to return land to Palestine and completely retreat to the borders before the 1967 war.
For Palestine moderates, agreeing to establish a Palestinian state that recognizes the “pre-1967 war border” is already trying to compromise. After all, the total area of Gaza, West Bank, and East Jerusalem covered by the border before the 1967 war is only more than 6000 square kilometers, which is only more than half of the area of the Palestinian state stipulated by the United Nations partition resolution.
Even with regard to the Palestinian moderates’ “1967 Little Palestine” state-building plan, the right-wing Israelis find it difficult to accept it. Israel’s unwillingness to abandon the Jordan Valley and settlements means that the dream of “Little Palestine in 1967” cannot be achieved. The “1967 version of Little Palestine” is already the bottom line for all Palestinian factions to retreat, and if they give in, “the country will not be a country.”
Outside of the war
The Gaza artillery fire continued, and the forgotten Abbas began to “dark out of his warehouse.”
Since taking office as the chairman of the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmoud Abbas has participated in the midnight mass in Bethlehem every year and has vigorously developed his supporters in the world Christian organization. In recent years, with Israel’s restrictions and suppression of Palestinian Christian pilgrims, Abbas has successfully portrayed himself as a pro-Christian leader and exported the view that “Jesus is a Palestinian martyr”. Score a lot on the image.
Abbas became a big winner behind the scenes in Israel’s and Hamas’s frequent “life and death” struggle. In recent years, whether it was the Pope’s visit to Palestine or the gathering of evangelicals in the occupied Palestinian territories, they all conveyed this message: Western Christian forces are expressing their sympathy for Palestinians rather than Jews. This is not good news for Israel, which has long relied on the support of Western public opinion.
The heart of Bethlehem-Manger Square
/The idea of ”replacement” of some land in southern Israel and some land in the West Bank is still a reference for future peace agreements. /
The Christian Holy Land in Bethlehem not only gave Palestinian moderates the capital to compete with Israel for supporters on the world stage, but also to a certain extent alleviated Western concerns about whether Palestine could maintain its multiculturalism in the future. In addition, Palestine has achieved remarkable results in fighting for Jews in recent years. Not only are ultra-Orthodox Jews publicly demonstrating on the streets of Israel under the Palestinian flag, but some Jewish members of left-wing political parties in Europe and the United States have also participated in rallies in solidarity with Palestine. There are also Jewish members in the central committee of Fatah, the mainstream PLO party.
In the first half of the 20th century, Britain and Ireland moved from war to peace, which divided Britain and Ireland into two countries. At the end of the 20th century, under the cooperation of the United States, the parties in Northern Ireland, Britain and Ireland reached an “Easter Agreement”, which ended the conflict in Northern Ireland. Today, Ireland has become one of the most developed countries in Europe. The history of the dispute between Britain and Ireland and the actual politics between Palestine and Israel have shown that the “two-state solution” is more suitable for Palestine and Israel than the “one-country solution.”
In the future, even though Palestine-Israel “land for peace” is facing a “bottleneck” in land stock, it is still possible for the two sides to find compromises through bilateral negotiations and land replacement. Although the American version of the “Agreement of the Century” has been criticized for denying Palestine’s sovereignty over settlements and Jerusalem, the idea of ”replacement” of parts of land in southern Israel and part of the West Bank in order to solve the land problem still remains. It can be used as a reference for future peace agreements.
Netanyahu wanted to use the war in Gaza to gain political capital for himself, and did not want to encounter “Waterloo.” Nei’s “broken and sinking into the sand” amidst the ups and downs of the Knesset. Although the new Prime Minister Bennett belongs to the right wing and he opposes the founding of the Palestinian side, he must take into account the interests of the left-wing and Arab parties in the ruling coalition. The ruling agreement has included many provisions in favor of the Arabs. It is foreseeable that due to the buffer of the “Rahm Party”, Bennett will not make concessions on issues of principle involving Jerusalem and border issues, but there will be adjustments in some details.
The contradiction between Palestine and Israel is a chronic disease of history. Refugees, water resources, settlements… all are thorny issues. If the two sides can find a compromise point on the land issue as soon as possible, it is better than continuing the cyclical war.