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  • Writer's pictureAayushi Sharma

Israel and Palestine: The need for crisis management and conflict transformation

Humanitarian catastrophe, war crimes and atrocities on both sides are once again marking the trajectory of the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Without constructive measures of positive peace, this cycle of violence is bound to continue, taking many lives with it.

Image source: MAHMUD HAMS/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

As we continue to debate on the rationality of war and armed escalation between Israel and Hamas, the only aspect of the war that should attract attention is the rising statistics of people killed along both sides. It may seem just an emotive issue to lay attention to the human catastrophe that armed conflicts bring with themselves but it is much more than that. The human cost of a conflict this extensive marks an imprint on the historical consciousness of the people on both sides. It will create perceptions, build attitudes and perpetuate hostilities for decades to come, even justify further escalation.


The debates, public opinions and international perceptions are by and large extremely polarised, acknowledging the violence and bloodshed inflicted upon one community at the expense of the experiences of the other. The perpetuation of heightened emotions and negative perceptions has continued to define the issue of Israel and Palestine. The historical trajectory of this conflict has become more and more complex as time went on.


The debates, public opinions and international perceptions are by and large extremely polarised, acknowledging the violence and bloodshed inflicted upon one community at the expense of the experiences of the other.

For Palestine, this attack by Hamas may prove to be fatal to the very cause of Palestine, considering the indiscriminate crackdown by Israel and the tightening of the blockade over Gaza. Hamas has, however, shown the world that it has the capability to take on a militarily equipped giant like Israel and catch the whole country off-guard by its unforeseen attack on October 7th. In the short term, this step has reignited the question of Palestinian liberation and woken the international community out of its stupor but in the long term this war may have unfortunate implications for the people of Palestine. One cannot deny the position Israel is in, this attack may provide more fuel to the already existing nationalistic fervors within Israel. It may be Netanyahu's time to prove himself ‘the savior of Israel’.


Hamas has, however, shown the world that it has the capability to take on a militarily equipped giant like Israel and catch the whole country off-guard by its unforeseen attack on October 7th.

The constant airstrikes on Gaza by Israel are much more than defending national security, it is another opportunity for the state leadership to quash the issue of Palestine once again. If history is any evidence, the Israeli retaliation will only serve to strengthen the Palestinian resolve. Polarised opinions on all sides have contributed to a slew of misinformation pouring out for those of us outside the region, eagerly trying to understand the situation on the ground. This misinformation however needs to be understood critically.


What needs to be understood at this point is that the decisions of the leadership, be it Netanyahu in Israel or Hamas in Palestine, need to be separated from the people of the state. Only then will we be able to create a path for peaceful reconciliation. At this point, there is a dire need for creative leadership and a problem-solving mindset in order to develop a roadmap to conflict transformation for the issue of Israel and Palestine. Decisions that will break this pattern of violence in response to violence. This pattern will only serve to hurt the people who have no stake in the decision-making but will bear all the burden of the consequences of those decisions.


A very masculine understanding of conflict and conflict management resides at the heart of such responses to armed attacks. The concept of masculinity underpinning the perpetuation of militarisation accounts for armed attacks as a strategic outlook for dealing with disruptions in peace and it is this outlook that has also led to establishments of negative hostile peace as has been the case of Israel-Palestine on and off. The cessation of hostility at the ground level for intermittent periods does not indicate the absence of core conflicts that lie particularly latent for some time only to burst out in the open as it did on the fatal night of October 6th, 2023.


The concept of masculinity underpinning the perpetuation of militarisation accounts for armed attacks as a strategic outlook for dealing with disruptions in peace and it is this outlook that has also led to establishments of negative hostile peace as has been the case of Israel-Palestine on and off.

War and armed conflict target people indiscriminately, across both sides, irrespective of their ideology, gender, or race and when the storm finally settles, it is just those dead bodies and the destruction that are left to speak about the horrors that had existed. This war will also settle, after some time, but the chances of actual peace still remain bleak. For peace to be established, it is important to acknowledge the needs and aspirations of both sides and also the atrocities inflicted to be able to create constructive solutions that would eventually benefit the people. The approach should be to start from the bottom up to reach the leadership who will eventually adhere to the wishes of the masses. What is happening right now is the leadership executing their preferred forms of action and the results are trickling down to the masses.


The basic understanding of conflict transformation is the willingness to create a pathway to positive and sustainable peace. The voices advocating for a peaceful solution are right now being drowned amidst the thundering groans of rockets and missiles flying across the land. These voices need to be amplified.



1 komentář


Charles Fiddes Payne
Charles Fiddes Payne
11. 10. 2023

Very good article.


"the decisions of the leadership, be it Netanyahu in Israel or Hamas in Palestine, need to be separated from the people of the state. Only then will we be able to create a path for peaceful reconciliation." - Are you saying that "the people of the state" want peaceful reconciliation, buut that somehow the leadership are acting contrary to the wishes of their people?!


"masculinity underpinning the perpetuation of militarisation accounts for armed attacks" - How then do you account for all the female leaders who took their people to war? Golda Meir took Israel to war in 1973, and Indira Gandhi tool India to war against China in 1967, in 1971 against Pakistan, and massacred Sikhs…


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