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06 December, 2023
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Navigating the complexities of Israel, Ukraine, and history

The unpredictable path to peace

Apostolis Tomaras

Apostolis Tomaras

When Russia invaded Ukraine, the West adopted the motto "on the right side of history" to justify its support for Ukraine against Moscow's occupation. However, when it comes to Israel and the Palestinian territories occupied since the 1967 war, the notion of the "right side of history" becomes more complex. Can there truly be a "right side" in a region plagued by hostilities since the establishment of the State of Israel?

In the case of Ukraine, invoking history in support of its cause is plausible, but the same cannot be said for the tragic events caused by Hamas and Israel's responses when conflict escalates. Israel, in this scenario, becomes the state under attack with innocent citizens as victims. Likewise, innocent civilians have tragically lost their lives during occasional uprisings in the occupied Palestinian territories, where they have been struggling for a homeland for years.

The international community has stood by Israel against the violence perpetrated by the terrorist group Hamas, as it should. Israel has the right to respond to protect its citizens, just as the Palestinians have the right to continue their struggle for a homeland. Unfortunately, the Palestinian issue has been exploited by extremist elements in the Middle East for ideological and operational purposes, resulting in the collateral damage of innocent civilians.

This cycle of violence begets more violence, giving rise to a new generation of extremist elements in the region. Regrettably, history has shown that even those who strive for peace, such as Yitzhak Rabin and Anwar Sadat, have been assassinated in the pursuit of reconciliation. In a region marked by deep-seated hatred and conflict, determining the "right side of history" is a complex challenge.

While the international community has condemned Hamas's terrorist attacks and verbally supported the Palestinians' right to self-determination, more concrete action is needed. This situation is reminiscent of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Following the Hamas strike, the future of the Middle East remains uncertain. With numerous casualties on the Israeli side and a looming threat of retaliation, the prospects for peace are grim.

Hamas's actions appear aimed at sabotaging any potential peace agreements between Israel and the Arab Gulf countries. It is crucial for Israel to recognize that lasting peace will remain elusive without a viable Palestinian state. Israel, like any state under attack, has the right to self-defense, and those who have been forcibly displaced from their territories have the right to continue their struggle. This lesson applies not just to this region but also to conflicts worldwide.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

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