Manuel Hassassian

The failure of Israeli unilateralism

In less than four weeks, the civil infrastructure of two emerging Middle Eastern democracies has been laid to waste, and over 400 Palestinians and Lebanese, mostly civilians, have been killed by Israeli forces. The urgency of finding a just solution to the Israeli- Palestinian dispute has never been more compelling. But if calm is to be restored, the international community must convince Israel that security comes not through warfare but through peace. While Israel enjoys the security rewards of peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan, it has been strangely reluctant to pursue the same with Lebanon or the PLO. Instead, at the heart of Israeli policymaking today lies a deluded faith in the benefits of unilateral action over diplomatic engagement. 

Last chance for two states

Monday’s suicide bombing in Tel Aviv rightly drew international condemnation, yet criticism of Israel’s relentless shelling of civilian population centres in the occupied Gaza Strip has been blocked by the US at the UN Security Council. This month alone, Israeli forces have killed more than 30 Palestinians, including at least six children, and injured 130 others, while about 200 shells have been fired into the Gaza Strip every day. As Israel’s illegal settlement and wall construction on occupied Palestinian land continues, the possibility of establishing a viable, territorially contiguous Palestinian state is being destroyed. “Permanent borders cannot be drawn by one party alone,” writes Manuel Hassassian.