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Israel continues to push for war

Jan 29,2019 - Last updated at Jan 29,2019

The prospects for a peaceful 2019 do not seem any better than what our region has been experiencing for decades.

No amount of the usual seasonal good wishes for a happy and peaceful new year would make a difference while injustice resulting from aggression, lawlessness and occupation remain not only unchallenged by the international system but, worse, encouraged and condoned by many world powers.

This is not the first time that I press the point that our region will never enjoy peace and political stability as long as the conflict caused by Israel's oppression of the Palestinians remains unsolved.

Last year, Israel marked 70 years since its violent creation on the ashes of Palestinian society.

Since then, Israel has been in a state of war, not necessarily active, with the Palestinians and other Arab neighbours. In 1948, Israel occupied 78 per cent of Palestinian territory, and ethnically cleansed more than two-thirds of the Palestinian people from their land.

In its second major war on its Arab neighbours in 1967, Israel completed the occupation of all of Palestine, in addition to huge areas of Egyptian and Syrian territory, expelling hundreds of thousands of people from their lands in the process.

Except for the Egyptian occupied lands that were evacuated as a result of the 1979 peace treaty, Israel maintains its iron grip.

Palestine, including the Holy City of Jerusalem, remains totally occupied. The Gaza Strip was evacuated from Israeli occupation soldiers and settlers in 2005, but was placed under a siege that imposes brutal deprivation and suffering on two million Palestinians.

The occupation of Gaza never ended, the territory was simply turned into the biggest and cruelest open-air prison ever known.

And while some 100,000 Syrians were expelled from the Golan Heights, the territory remains under illegal occupation by the Israeli army and tens of thousands of Israeli settlers.

Although the UN Security Council declared decades ago Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights to be illegal, null and void, Israel is currently seeking an American declaration that endorses the Israeli claim in the same manner that US President Donald Trump’s administration endorsed the illegal Israeli annexation of Jerusalem in December 2017.

Israel also continues to occupy parts of Lebanon.

Over the decades, many "peace plans" for ending the conflict were accepted by the official Palestinian leadership, and by Arab states and the so-called international community. Though all these plans grossly favoured Israel by legitimising its illegal war gains, Israel never seriously accepted any of them.

Clearly, Israel does not want to return any more occupied territory, does not want to recognise any Palestinian rights and does not want to end the conflict if that requires any change in the status quo.

With more than 6 million Palestinians in the diaspora and about the same number under cruel and oppressive occupation, or second-class citizenship status, what prospect is there for "peace" to be built on such a foundation of aggression and injustice?

Of course, none.

Israel hoped, and still does, that with military superiority, superpower support, bullying and buying time, it may get away with its conquests.

That does not seem to be working. With the passing of time the resolve of the Palestinians as well as some of the other Arab countries to recover their rights and lands seem to be hardening rather than abating.

Israel's military superiority is losing its effectiveness in the face of resistance tactics. True, some regional governments are embracing Israel, and the US, the European Union, Canada and other powers are more than ever in the pro-Israel, anti-Palestinian camp. However, international support for Israel can hardly be taken for granted indefinitely amid growing global awareness that Israeli aggression, occupation, oppression and intransigence are primarily responsible for threatening not only regional, but also world peace, and spreading terrorism and radicalisation at a very high cost for everyone.

Israel poses an even greater danger to the world, as its extreme right-wing government embraces and legitimises far-right movements that are gaining power across Europe and undermining social peace and democracy.

Other Israeli methods of distraction have been to destabilise the region around it by igniting more regional wars, more sectarian conflicts and more hardships.

That is why the region has been perpetually unstable, suffering from constant wars that drag many world powers into unnecessary destructive adventures for Israel's sake.

At the moment, Israel is pushing hard for another devastating war with Iran. Israel's leaders, along with their political allies in the US and Europe, are trying hard to convince the US to remain in Syria, not to fight Daesh, but to combat the Iranian presence there.

Just as Israel campaigned for the US invasion of Iraq, it is now desperate to ignite another regional war with Iran, with American involvement. If Israel succeeds, it will be a calamity.

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