After 11 days of bombardment claiming more than 200 lives, the Israeli government and the Islamist Palestinian group, Hamas, agreed to a ceasefire, which came into effect on May 21. The “deeper causes of the conflict” were discussed at a forum by Inconvenient Questions (IQ), a sociopolitical platform created by former Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Viswa Sadasivan.
The panel discussion featured speakers Dr Rami Nasrallah, founder and chairman of International Peace Cooperation Centre (IPCC); Paul Hirschson, senior Israeli diplomat; and Sriram Panchu, president of Mediators India.
Mr Viswa began by giving a background of the two countries and how the tensions started.
It was mentioned that the conflict between Israel and Palestine had been continuing for decades, and it has become a necessity to unpack the complexities for proper mediation and negotiation to take place.
Mr Hirschson noted that for many years, most people thought the correct way to resolve the dispute was inside out, by resolving differences between Israelis and Palestinians. The approach will lead to peace treaties.
Beyond peace treaties, however, there remains a need to establish relations with the Arab world, resolve the conflict and achieve an acceptable resolution for everyone, he added.
Others, such as Dr Rami, focused on Jerusalem as the core of the conflict. He highlighted that it was divided into two parts but could be a model of an open city.
Women should be brought in
The need to bring in women was also mentioned in the discussion. Rani Soebijantoro, a speaker from IQ’s international youth panel, noted that the cost and aftermath of the war affect women concerned about their children’s future.
“We can resolve this issue much better and faster” (if women are brought in and the future generations are considered), said Ms Rani. It’s important to engage women at all levels, not just in negotiations but also in the economy and innovation.
In addition to women, another major player in conflict resolution is the youth, added Mr Hirschson. “Consider the future generations. The future generations will consume the products that we are trying to build,” continued Ms Rani.
“If we don’t bring women and youth onboard, we will go back to square one,” said Ms Rani.
Meanwhile, Mr Rami highlighted that the two parties needed to “get their act together yet lack the skills to build an economy”. He mentioned how almost half of Gazans are unemployed while 80 per cent require assistance from aid groups to survive on a daily basis.
“It’s not a situation where they can fend for themselves,” he added.
Other issues and possible solutions covered in the discussion include focusing on the basic necessities and keeping the peace on both sides with support from the international community.
Listen to the full discussion here./TISG