biden netanyahu

The rapid escalation of violence, including Israeli air attack, resulting in civil war type conditions in parts of Israel and Palestine territories is deeply distressing and coming as it does in pandemic times threatens to move  towards  serious humanitarian crisis. The crisis can also widen, leading to violence and tensions in other parts of the volatile  region.

The rapid escalation of violence could not have happened just like that on its own. It appears that Benjamin Netanyahu, now in his fifth and highly criticized as well as unstable term as Prime Minister, used a time of tensions to incite violence in such a way as would secure his endangered position in the top post of the country.

Let us not forget that he has been indicted already for breach of trust, bribery and fraud. Before the violence erupted the chances of his ouster and the opposition parties moving in to form the next government had been increasing. These two facts also mean that the chances of the 72 year old Prime Minister spending the next decade of his life in jail are high.

He had been using COVID regulations to try to get rid of protests against him from his own people. It is in these conditions that a number of incidents occurred in which the Israeli hardliners at some places acted in very provocative and aggressive way, leading to the eruption of violence. For its own reasons, it suited Hamas also to respond this time in  more aggressive ways to try to emerge as the main representative of the Palestinians.

This in turn enabled Netanyahu to get the pretext for responding even with air strikes, while at the same time managing to get the statement from Biden that Israel has a right to defend itself.

But surely this violence cannot be allowed to escalate further in difficult times. US President and Netanyahu have enjoyed a good relationship over the years, perhaps decades, and it is time now for Biden to convince Netanyahu to back off. If Biden can convince Netanyahu with some hard talk that the USA is actually committed to peace at this critical juncture, Netanyahu in his otherwise weak position cannot afford to ignore this advice.

Hence the USA just now has a very critical role in bringing peace in this troubled land . Will USA be firm and sincere in actually implementing its peace talk? This seems to be the way forward for bringing immediate peace, supported by the strengthening of the UN peace efforts of course.

Let us see how sincere these efforts are. Of course many other options are also there, but the search just now is for more  immediate results and for exerting pressure on Netanyahu for this.

The wider lesson is that this  volatile situation just waiting to erupt anytime and the building up of inner pressures all the time cannot be allowed to persist for too long. The risks are too high. Firstly, this can explode any time and secondly this can spread out and create wider  conflicts in the tension-ridden Middle-East region and its neighboring areas. It thus remains of the greatest importance to resolve the Palestinian issue within a framework of justice and peace.

Bharat Dogra is a journalist and author. His recent books include Protecting Earth for Children and Man Over Machine ( Gandhian ideas for our times).


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