“Palestinian nationalism could enter a new era, which will determine the future of Israel”

Chronic. The Palestinian question is well and truly buried, it has been said these days. It would only remain to put a commemorative plaque somewhere in the West Bank. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which passed for “central” in the region, does not prevent, or more, the normalization of relations between Israel and the Arab world.

In the new Middle East, the one emerging in the XXIe century, the Palestinian affair would have become marginal, a peripheral conflict. Perhaps. But not for everyone. Palestinian nationalism is not going to go away. It could enter a new era, fuel another battle, which will determine Israel’s future – its nature as a Jewish and democratic state. In this sense, there is an “Israelization” of the Palestinian question.

Apparently, the Palestinian cause, that of a people seeking its place in the same territory as another, no longer interests many people.

A permanent member of the UN Security Council, the United States of Donald Trump legitimized the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, the West Bank and the eastern part of Jerusalem. Settlements, Washington says today, are not “an obstacle to peace”. Vladimir Putin’s Russia, which has the best relations with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, does not think differently. China is developing increasingly dense exchanges with Israel – without interfering in its “internal affairs”. Finally, the Member States of the European Union (EU) have never conditioned their relations with Israel on an end to the colonization of the Palestinian territories.

A divided Palestinian national movement

In principle, the Arab world, after a great deal of turmoil and many ups and downs, since 2002 stuck to the broad lines of the peace plan proposed by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia: full and complete diplomatic recognition of Israel in exchange for creation of a Palestinian state in the territories occupied since the 1967 war – the Gaza Strip to the south, the West Bank to the east. Roughly speaking. But this line – adopted after Israel normalized its relations with Egypt in 1979 and with Jordan in 1994 – has just been crossed.

In turn, the State of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain signed, on September 15, in Washington, the normalization of their relations with Israel. In return, Netanyahu renounces the planned annexation of a third of the West Bank, in the Jordan Valley. But for the rest, the status quo: in addition to the existing settlements, Israel still controls 60% of the West Bank, especially the entire Jordan Valley, and Gaza, the other Palestinian territory occupied in 1967, is the subject of a blockade.

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