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“Israel’s Palestinian Challenge” by Efraim Inbar Essay

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Updated: Sep 26th, 2021

Introduction

Israel’s Palestinian Challenge by Efraim Inbar presents a discussion on the continued problems that Israel faced with Palestine and terrorism that had been bred in the Palestinian soil against Israel (Inbar, 2006 ). The article is focused on Israel’s policies to counter the “Palestinian challenge”. The article first embarks on a discussion of the faint future of the Palestinian Authority (PA), and the threat that PA poses to Israeli security, especially after the electoral victory of Islamic Hamas in January 2006. The article ends with an examination of Israel’s alternatives in dealing with the challenges emanating from a Hamas-ruled PA. The author expresses his skepticism regarding a policy of a “dominant two-state paradigm” and suggests the adoption of an “open-ended conflict management strategy” (Inbar, 2006 ).

Description of problems

Inbar provides a brief description of the nature of the political and violent conflict between Israel and Palestine. It describes the past efforts that the Israeli authorities had embarked on with the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) led by Yasser Arafat but to no avail. Even an opportunity that was provided to PLO to establish an independent state for Palestinians had been marked by an era of authoritarian governing, reckless corruption, and anarchy. Arafat also allowed violent and suicidal attacks on Israel. Arafat’s successor, Mahmoud Abbas, had far less political standing in Palestine and was soon overthrown by Hamas in 2006. Hamas’ military wing has a history of active participation in violent terrorist attacks against Israel. Inbar states that “For Israel, the enhanced role of Hamas in the PA primarily means the continuation of the conflict.” (2006, p. 825) The author argues that there is no reason to believe that the radical Hamas will accept Israel. The only reason it supports a ceasefire against Israel is to get a grip back on the home ground. A potent threat that the author identifies in the Hamas led government in Palestine that poses a threat to Israel is the group’s hold on the state’s education system:

Hamas will do its best to educate additional generations of Palestinians to regard Jews as those who stole their land and attribute them characteristics taken from the standard crude anti-Semitic motifs. The Shaheed (martyr) will continue to serve as the role model for Palestinian children in kindergartens and schools. (Inbar, 2006, p. 826).

The author believes that the Hamas-led government will enhance the problem of terrorism in Israel and become a bottleneck in the almost non-existent Arab-Israel peace process. The main impediments in Israel’s case are the depletion of Israel’s legitimacy in the Arab world, increasing acts of terrorism in Israel and Palestine being the haven on terrorist groups, support and coordination with the regional powers due to Palestine provoked military coup by Israel has been a major deterrent, and international involvement supporting the traditionally weaker Palestinian side has been a major problem for Israel (Inbar, 2006).

These problems have led the author to think regarding the policy that Israel can opt-in terms of Palestine. One possible option is to build a Palestinian state, but the author is skeptical regarding this option due to experience with the Arafat-led PLA government. The author believes that an independent state for Palestine will end up like Egypt or Jordan (Inbar, 2006 ). Moreover, with the education system preaching Jew-hatred among Palestinian generations will end up in a continued racial and ethnic conflict. What can be an option is a US-led peacekeeping mission in Israel and Palestine. But this too seems a thing of the distant future as the US is more concerned with its problems in Afghanistan, Iraq, and now nuclear-equipped Iran. The only potent option that Israel has is conflict management wherein the cost of armed conflict is minimized. This way Israel needs to counter Palestine-led terrorism.

But the question that the article fails to answer is what would be a constructive step towards a peaceful Palestine and Israel. Even though providing statehood seems a possible option but is not plausible according to the author. He thinks, “Redirecting Gaza toward Egypt and re-linking the West Bank to Jordan would probably be a better way to deal with the Palestinian nationalist movement than to try giving it a state.” (Inbar, 2006, p. 839) What the author suggests is a new regional approach which would probably not be a neat solution, but will be a more constructive step towards peace instead of aiming for an unattainable political dream.

Works Cited

Inbar, E. (2006 ). Israel’s Palestinian Challenge. Israel Affairs Vol.12, No.4, 823–842.

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IvyPanda. 2021. ""Israel’s Palestinian Challenge" by Efraim Inbar." September 26, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/israels-palestinian-challenge-by-efraim-inbar/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) '"Israel’s Palestinian Challenge" by Efraim Inbar'. 26 September.

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