Could the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza be Palestine’s ‘black swan’ moment?

Could the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza be Palestine’s ‘black swan’ moment?

A child carrying a tray of food walks among the ruins of the West Bank city of Kalkilya in the aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day War. (Getty Images)

Source: Arab News


November 14, 2023

  • Buried in the rubble of the world’s longest-running conflict may be clues as to how the Gaza war might end
  • Israeli scholar Ahron Bregman believes the war may yet reset the dial, ushering in a two-state solution

LONDON: As the missiles and bombs continue to rain down on Gaza, reducing entire neighborhoods to wastelands and pushing the death toll to ever more obscene heights, buried in the rubble of the bloody history of the world’s longest-running war may be found clues as to how the current conflict might end and the impact it might have on the political landscape of the Middle East.

That, at least, is the view of UK-based Israeli historian and political scientist Dr. Ahron Bregman.

The author of half a dozen books about Israel’s seemingly never-ending wars, he believes there is a chance that in this latest round of the Israeli-Palestinian saga something significant might be stirring — a “black swan” moment, a metaphor used by political theorists and financial analysts alike to describe a rare, unexpected and unpredictable event that has dramatic, unforeseen consequences.

Smoke billows during the Israeli military bombardment of the northern Gaza Strip on November 14, 2023. (AFP)

Israel has been at war for 75 years, ever since David Ben-Gurion, the Polish-born head of the World Zionist Organization, declared the foundation of the state on May 14, 1948, the day the British mandate for Palestine came to an end.

For its own political reasons, Britain had championed the foundation of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine since 1917, when its government issued the Balfour Declaration, pledging its support for “a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine.”

But the first voices warning of the inevitable consequences of “dumping down an alien population upon an Arab country,” as one member of the British House of Lords put it in 1920, were raised in Britain.

The harm this would do, said Lord Sydenham in a debate on the Palestine Mandate in the House of Lords on June 21, 1922, “may never be remedied … what we have done is, by concessions, not to the Jewish people but to a Zionist extreme section, to start a running sore in the East, and no one can tell how far that sore will extend.”

To date, it has extended for three-quarters of a century.

The list of conflicts that have flowed from what Lord Sydenham described as “a gross injustice … opposed to the sentiments and wishes of the great majority of the people of Palestine,” is a long one.

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