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Neighbour against neighbour

The cycle of conflict in Israel, Gaza, and Palestine
June 2021, no. 432

Neighbour against neighbour

The cycle of conflict in Israel, Gaza, and Palestine
June 2021, no. 432

Listen to this article as read by the author.


The Middle-East conflict is perhaps the most intractable in the world. Israelis and Palestinians have been fighting for nearly a century over the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean. The world has witnessed a never-ending cycle of tension and conflict, including a number of full-scale wars, with immense suffering on both sides. 

In recent years, particularly in the context of Gaza, every component of the cycle is familiar: Palestinian deaths far outnumber Israeli ones; dismaying images of flattened buildings; the grief of those who have lost loved ones. Outside the Middle East, reporters, politicians, and community leaders present their arguments, often ignoring the losses of those on the other side. 

From the New Issue

Comments (3)

  • Israel has become as it is now an apartheid country only by support of Western powers. We know what happened to South Africa. Sooner or latter it is going to happen to Israel. The international community has to put pressure on Israel to abandon this apartheid policy and to accept Palestinian rights to live on their land in equal
    conditions with Israelis.
    Posted by Iradj Nabavi-Tabrizi
    11 June 2021
  • Congratulations on publishing Ilana Snyder’s level-headed account of the recent hostilities between Israel and Palestine. We need more voices able to explain the passions and perceptions of both sides. But Snyder’s hope that a proper reckoning is needed, ‘presumably through two states for two peoples’, clings to what is increasingly an impossible objective. We can argue about the recalcitrance on both sides, but the reality is that the extent of Israeli settlements on the West Bank, and Israel’s refusal to acknowledge Palestinian claims to any part of Jerusalem, have ended prospects for a viable Palestinian state. The reasons for this have been argued cogently by a number of people, most recently Peter Beinart in the Guardian. That the new prime minister of Israel is on record as denying all Palestinian aspirations merely underlines the futility of clinging to a formula that no longer makes sense.
    Posted by Dennis Altman
    04 June 2021
  • I've just listened to the podcast about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. My impression was that Ilana Snyder tried to be as objective as possible. There's no doubt she's concerned about the injustices that are taking place in Israel/Palestine. However, was there any reason why she didn't use expressions such as Apartheid or ethnic cleansing? If the expression "Palestinian militants" exists, why doesn't the expression "Israeli militants" exist? A question I've asked myself is this: do Gaza's people consider Hamas's military wing to be a terrorist organisation?

    Presumably, Snyder is walking a very fine line that other people don't have to walk. She said that Israel's recent bombing campaign in Gaza focused on military targets. This comes from ReliefWeb:

    "Israel has been targeting civilian objects in the Gaza Strip in a manner that exceeds military necessities. In one of the targeted houses, an elderly woman Amira Abdel Fattah Subuh, 58, was killed. Her son, Abd al-Rahman Yusef Subuh, 19, a disabled young man who suffers from cerebral palsy since birth, was also killed.

    Later, the Israeli army announced that it had targeted the home of a battalion commander. But field investigations confirm that no one was in the targeted flat during the bombing. The bombing caused the ceiling of the lower apartment to fall, which killed the two citizens and wounded some others.

    This incident is an example of Israel's bombing policy that does not consider the principle of proportionality. Israel targets civilian objects deliberately to inflict damage upon victims and leave them with material losses as a form of revenge and collective punishment, prohibited by the rules of international humanitarian law.

    Israel might return to this policy of deliberately targeting civilian homes, which has happened in previous attacks, where hundreds of homes were destroyed, including entire residential towers, many of them targeted during the presence of the civilian population in them.

    Israel expanded its bombardment range today and targeted economic facilities such as an ice cream factory in the east of Gaza and educational institutions such as the Al-Salah school in Deir Al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip."

    No doubt I seem pedantic, and I probably am, but I've been to The Occupied Territories five times. After a while, a spade gets recognised for what it is.

    Whatever the case, Ilana Snyder is obviously a principled individual with her heart in the right place.

    Yours sincerely,
    Kim Farleigh
    Posted by Kim Farleigh
    03 June 2021

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