War between Israel and the Palestinians: Why again, why now?

SOFIA, (BM) – The current conflict between Israel and the Palestinian factions has a radically different genesis than previous crises between the two countries, Vladimir Chukov said. At first glance, the time logic is broken. The clashes in 2008/2009, 2012, and 2014 suggest that the 2-3 year cycle has been disrupted.

The break is 6-7 years, given the outbreak of youth unrest in 2015, which cannot be classified as a war between eternal enemies.

Usually, the accelerated clashes were tactical or stemmed from the inability to reach an agreement on one or another component of the negotiations, which lasted 25 years. Such are, for example, issues relating to refugees, the delineation of borders, or the siege of the Gaza Strip.

The huge pause in Israeli-Palestinian tensions is due to the incredible pressure on the Palestinians exerted by the Donald Trump administration on the Palestinian Authority.

His proposed plan, called the “Deal of the Century,” did not envisage two states, but rather Palestinian territories and populations offered a high standard of living ($ 20 billion in investment).

According to Trump’s plan, Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, including the eastern part. It is no coincidence that Trump is the American president who dared to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

When the Palestinians proved intransigent, Trump stopped the money for the UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees and closed the PLO’s office in Washington. Subsequently, it stimulated the signing of the so-called Abrahamic treaties with the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan. The Palestinians were in total retreat.

With the advent of the Biden administration, things changed

The new owner of the White House has returned the Palestinian mission and restored US contributions to the UN agency. Moreover, negotiations have begun with the Islamic Republic, whose proxies are, in fact, the Palestinian terrorist groups that are now at war with Israel. The battle is now with Iran’s presence in absentia.

If the battle between Israel and the Palestinians in the last 3-4 years was mainly in the UN and the various diplomatic, political and judicial forums, now the Palestinians were again frightened and transferred to the battlefield.

It is more than evident that the clash is for East Jerusalem. It must be answered whose property it is, whose sovereignty it is over this part of the holy city. It is no coincidence that the spark ignited from there.

On May 7, the day of Jerusalem / a tradition established by Imam Khomeini in 1979 /, i.e., on the last Friday of the month of Ramadan, for the first time, worshipers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque managed to remove the barriers on the historical-Amoud Gate.

The facilities restrained the free movement of pilgrims during the month of Ramadan. A second subjective reason is Israel’s attempt to settle Israeli families in the Sheikh al-Jirah neighborhood.

This neighborhood is in East Jerusalem and is a former village attached to the big city. It has a symbolic meaning for all Palestinians and Muslims. It is named after Husamadin al-Jirachi, the personal physician of the conqueror of Jerusalem, Saladin.

The latter is a symbol of Islamic power in the world city, as in 1187, it pushed the crusaders to the Holy Places. Several Palestinians note that Arabs have lived in the Sheikh Jarah neighborhood for 900 years and have never accepted non-believers. They see the accommodation of Jewish settlers there as a provocation.

Against the background of these reasons of a symbolic-religious nature, there are also prerequisites of domestic policy for both countries. Israel and the Palestinian Authority are in an internal crisis.

For the Jewish state, within two years, its constituents will run in five parliamentary elections. Twenty days ago, a document came out in which serious analysts claimed that the inability of Israeli politicians to form a stable government was a threat to the country’s national security.

The Palestinians felt this even before the last elections in March. In February, pre-election rallies by Israel’s two most influential politicians, Benjamin Netanyahu and Beni Ganz, were thwarted by bombings from the Gaza Strip and Eshkolon and Ashdod, respectively.

There is also a crisis among the Palestinians

According to a decision of the authorities, parliamentary and presidential elections were to be held in May, June, and August 2021. The President of the Autonomy Mahmoud Abbas stated his position that they would be held in East Jerusalem and the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israel denied this.

However, he stumbled and canceled them after this refusal. Some Palestinian groups thought that Abbas’s “stubbornness” was because he would lose the election rather than assert Palestinian sovereignty.

What is interesting in this case is that Gaza turned out to be the position of the Palestinian “guns” defending Jerusalem. If we trace the level of fighting from 2008/2009 to now, we will see that the Palestinians have sharply increased their fighting capacity. Iranian aid is evident – material, tactical and logistical.

This is true of the Islamic Jihad created by Tehran and Hamas, which has gained incredible combat experience. For the first time, 200 shells rained down on Tel Aviv, and six towns, three of the large cities, were shelled simultaneously.

In addition, a Palestinian-made drone was launched, which speaks of an arms industry in the Gaza Strip (with Iranian aid). The tactic the Palestinians have now used is “from the intifada of stones to the intifada of missiles.”

All this shows a radically changed military-strategic situation between the two antagonists. However, the reluctance of either side to continue the clash is evident from the fact that there is no ground action. There were some during the war in 2014 when Israeli tanks entered the territory of the Gaza Strip.

Fascinating from a military point of view were the tactics of both sides in the land battle. Now the struggle is only air. The victory sought at all costs complicates the role of the emerging intermediaries.

Egypt has a monopoly on this role. It was Cairo that managed to prevent most previous conflicts. The request from Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has already been made, and tomorrow an Egyptian delegation will be in the Gaza Strip.

It is not clear how long the crisis will last. Observers believe that domestic political circumstances will decide how long the fighting will last. The ruling politicians on both sides will demand a vote of confidence from the voters.

The outcome of the clash will be the most severe tool in the election campaign. At the same time, another war shows that this conflict is eternal. It is a clash between two political and, above all, mutually exclusive religious doctrines in which the intersection is Jerusalem.


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