The Failings of Israeli and Palestinian Leadership

In the past months, the media has frantically shifted its attention to the perilous situation in the Middle East. The Israeli-Hamas war has shattered the brittle status quo between Israelis and Palestinians. The savagery committed by Hamas on October 7 on Israeli citizens left many throughout the world horrified and indignant. It is not just that roughly 1,200 Israelis and foreigners were killed in the span of just a few hours. It is the way they brutally killed, including children, women, and the elderly; there are denunciations of executions, torture, rape, dismemberment, and beheadings. The Israeli hostages taken back to Gaza included infants, elderly, and disabled people. The abominable acts of violence should be condemned by all, not only by certain Western countries and certain sectors of society. They reminded many that Hamas is not just an Islamist organization and political party that runs Gaza, but also a cruel terrorist group.

The Conflict by the Numbers

The reaction of the Israeli government has been swift and ruthless. Since October 7, Israeli forces have systematically—and indiscriminately—razed Gaza intending to obliterate Hamas. The collateral effects have been devastating. The mounting death toll now exceeds 34,000 Palestinians (not counting more than 10,000 unaccounted for and presumed dead), with an estimated two-thirds being women and children. More than 76,000 have been wounded. The fatalities also include more than 340 health personnel, 154 UN staff, and 88 journalists and media workers—the deadliest wartime tolls for these professions in recent times.

In an early display of solidarity and dimension, President Biden compared the attacks by Hamas to fifteen 9/11s. In retrospect, it seems inappropriate given the proportionately higher fatality rate among Palestinians. Considering Gaza’s estimated population of 2.3 million, more than 1.5% of Gazans have been killed in just over four months. The overall casualty figure is even more unsettling with more than 120,000 people (5% of Gaza’s population) declared dead, missing, or wounded. According to the UN, some 1.9 million Gazans, roughly 85% of the population, are internally displaced. A new humanitarian disaster looms as Israeli forces prepare to launch a full-scale ground offensive on Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost city where more than one million Palestinians have gathered with nowhere else to go. With the Israeli government’s unwillingness to accept a permanent ceasefire, more innocent Palestinians will die. And not just through violence: the World Health Organization estimates more Gazans could eventually die from infectious diseases and hunger. Senior UN officials have warned that if hostilities do not cease soon, widespread famine is almost inevitable, with one-quarter of the population (roughly 576,000 people) at immediate risk.

The physical destruction of the territory is just as devastating. Up to 60% of buildings have been destroyed or damaged. Gaza’s already precarious infrastructure and crucial public facilities are being targeted, including residential buildings, hospitals, schools, mosques, and refugee centers. Satellite data analysis indicates the Israeli military campaign is among the most destructive in recent history, with a level of devastation worse than the Russian bombing of the Ukrainian city of Mariupol and the razing of Aleppo during the Syrian Civil War; proportionately, it has even outpaced the Allied bombing of Germany in WWII.

Self-defeating Strategies

The Israeli state, born from a long, traumatic history of pogroms and persecutions of the Jewish people (most tragically embodied in the Holocaust), is trying to validate to its enraged and traumatized Jewish citizenry that it can defend them in their homeland—even at the risk of alienating large parts of the world with its brutality in Gaza. The Israeli government’s policy of inflicting collective punishment on Palestinians—which is considered a war crime—has taken a whole new dimension. It might win the battle against Hamas, but it is losing the long war against the Palestinian cause. 

Both sides have committed atrocities that have kindled contentious moral debates globally, as different religious, ethnic, political, and socioeconomic groupings have criticized one party while attempting to justify the other. Hamas purposefully massacred and tortured many innocent Israelis. And although the Israeli government states that it tries to limit the number of innocent Palestinian casualties, a US intelligence assessment shows that almost half of the munitions dropped on Gaza are unguided “dumb bombs”. The intentions might differ, but they are both still morally reprehensible.

Both the Israeli government and Hamas are pursuing self-defeating strategies. Hamas most probably planned the attacks unsuspecting the magnitude of their success, but conscious that Israel’s Dahiya Doctrine would be devastating. The strategy of provoking Israel to unleash collective punishment delegitimizes the Jewish state in the eyes of the world. By calling attention to the plight of Palestinians and forcing the suspension of the diplomatic rapprochement between Israel and wealthy Gulf Arab states, one could consider Hamas’s actions a success.

But Hamas will cease to exist as a viable political and military organization. Its leadership will be eliminated; its fighters and operational structure decimated. It will no longer govern Gaza, at least not in its current configuration. The massacre of 1,200 mostly Israeli civilians cannot be declared a victory in any sense of the word. Placing command and control centers and arms caches near or under residential buildings, schools, mosques, and hospitals—knowing the Israeli government will not hesitate to assail them—shows a disregard for the Palestinian people they supposedly represent. The callous use of Gazans as human shields is a tarnish on their cause and wrecks any legitimacy they once had as much as the atrocities committed against Israelis. This forced martyrdom ends up killing innocent Palestinians who, most likely, would rather live their lives.

Meanwhile, the Israeli government is committed to pursuing a strategy in Gaza that is backlashing. It has by far the best equipped and trained armed forces in the Middle East with a considerable (and unacknowledged) nuclear arsenal. But it will end up being no less secure; its retribution more emotional than strategic. It cannot kill all the estimated forty thousand Hamas fighters plus a smaller contingent of Islamic Jihad combatants. Attempting to do so is planting the seeds of future martyrs as other, angrier, and perhaps more radical groups will probably emerge in its wake. The Israeli war cabinet seems to have no strategy for what comes after its invasion; there is no plan for who and how Gaza will be governed.

Israel’s limited window of international sympathy is fast eroding as more countries, including supportive Western ones, demand a ceasefire and end to the carnage. Israel is losing the wider war of global opinion, leaving it more diplomatically isolated. But it is not just about diplomacy. A rising tide of antisemitism (and Islamophobia) is unfairly targeting Jews around the world for the onslaught in Gaza—a disconcerting trend as many Jewish people, both abroad and domestically, are uncomfortable with the viewpoints of the political and religious extremists that govern Israel and sympathetic towards a two-state solution for Palestine.

Even in the United States, Israel’s unconditional patron, there is a growing outcry at the devastation wrought on Gaza and increasing calls for a political solution to the question of Palestine. In a trend that could impact the future of bilateral relations, there is a growing generational divide in attitudes, with younger Americans sympathizing more with Palestinians than Israelis. Moreover, a momentous historic opportunity to continue mending fences with parts of the Arab world—particularly with Saudi Arabia—has been suspended indefinitely. Even though these regimes no longer seemed to prioritize the Palestinian cause as a quid pro quo to establish formal ties with Tel Aviv, they are still wary of the large support the Palestinian cause generates in the Arab street, especially now.

Missed Opportunities

The Israeli diplomat and politician Abba Evan quipped in 1973 that the Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. The comment aptly describes the Palestinian leadership’s all-or-nothing strategy. When the British Mandate for Palestine abruptly ended in 1947, the United Nations adopted a Partition Plan to divide the territory into two roughly equal parts for a Jewish and a Palestinian state—the first two-state solution. The Palestinians and surrounding Arab regimes vehemently rejected the partition and declared war on the fledgling Jewish state. But the results of the first Arab-Israeli war ended with Israel in control of 78% of all the territory; while Egypt ended up administering Gaza and Jordan the West Bank. Roughly 750,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes and became permanent refugees in what they call the Nakba, or catastrophe. In the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel took control of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem (as well as the Syrian Golan Heights), thus initiating a tumultuous more than half-century dictate over what should have been a Palestinian homeland.

Following the Camp David Accords of 1978, Palestinian representatives refused to participate in negotiations related to an Israeli proposal offering interim autonomy that could have led to some form of independence. Later, when under US auspices, Israeli Prime Ministers Ehud Barak in 2000 and Ehud Olmert in 2008 offered the Palestinian authorities what were—in retrospect—generous offers that included control of Gaza and roughly 95% of the West Bank, separate sovereignties over Jewish and Palestinian parts of Jerusalem, and land swaps and compensations. However, respective Palestinian Leaders Yassir Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas refused to compromise. Be that as it may, the Israeli proposals did not consider full independence. Indeed, neither the 1991 Madrid Conference nor the 1993 Oslo Accords mentioned Palestinian statehood. Still, compared to the fateful developments since, it is apparent that historic opportunities were squandered; the agreements offered an embryonic two-state solution that could have served as a steppingstone for peace and reconciliation.

It can be argued that the diverse factions that constituted a unified Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), from the Marxist-Leninist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) to the secular and nationalist Fatah, represented one of the few instances of real representative participation in the Arab world as, despite their differences in ideologies and strategies, all groups converged and schemed under the umbrella organization.

This is no longer the case. The two main Palestinian polities, Hamas in Gaza and the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank, are bitter rivals. Yet both autocratic authorities are unpopular in their respective areas. After Hamas—which is not part of the PLO—unexpectedly won a majority of seats in the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections, the ensuing schism with the PA turned violent and led Hamas to forcibly take control of Gaza the following year. Since then, the Islamist militant movement has not held elections in the territory, nor allowed any political opposition to its rule.

Misgovernance, not Occupation

It is unjust to argue, as some Israeli and American politicians do, that Gazans are accomplices to Hamas because they voted for it in 2006. More than half of the territory’s youthful population was born after that election; Gazans, rather, were swayed by Hamas’ promises of combatting corruption and improving internal security. Not anymore. A survey by Arab Barometer just before the October 7 attacks revealed that the vast majority of Gazans were frustrated with its ineffective governance, corruption, and authoritarian rule. They also do not align themselves with its radical ideology, nor its intention of destroying Israel—though it is worth noting that support for Hamas has increased in the past after Israeli crackdowns and after the recent assault on Gaza. Indeed, it is not only Israelis that are held hostage by Hamas, but also the 2.3 million Gazans who are used as human shields.

Meanwhile, in the West Bank the Palestinian Authority is increasingly unpopular and viewed as feckless and corrupt, unable to deliver on the promises of a Palestinian state despite its decades-long cooperation with Israel. Since 2005, the PA is led by the ailing 87-year-old Mahmoud Abbas, who also heads the PLO and Fatah (its largest faction). During his long and increasingly authoritarian rule, Abbas has sidelined other Palestinian factions and weakened the institutions and procedures that could offer stability and continuity in times of turmoil, such as now. Notwithstanding repeated promises, the PA has not held elections since that fateful defeat to Hamas in 2006. In 2018, Abbas dissolved the Palestinian legislature, and in 2021 he abruptly cancelled elections to the presidency of the PA and the legislature for fear of facing a humiliating defeat. Unlike the more unified political structure of Hamas, both the PA and Fatah are rife with infighting and quelled challenges to Abbass’ leadership.

Abbas has subjugated the three important leadership posts he holds to his political and personal interests. Now an uncertain, perhaps even violent, transition looms as his disheartening reign comes to an end. This political fragmentation and strife among Palestinian groups has given credence to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s arguments that there is not a viable negotiating partner on the other side. Yet his observation overlooks the fact that increasingly intransigent Israeli governments have attempted to expunge any talks of Palestinian statehood through dual stratagems. While a policy of divide and rule was meant to weaken Palestinian leadership, occupation-management was the belief that Israel could exert indefinite dominion over Palestinian lands.    

Descent Into Extremism

Israel is today no longer the robust democracy it once was; if anything, it is an embattled one, prone to extreme rightwing politics and self-serving demagoguery in the person of Benjamin Netanyahu, the country’s longest-serving prime minister. Under his polarizing leadership, Israeli society has become deeply torn by opposing and irreconcilable identities. Netanyahu’s latest political resurrection found his Likud party forming a governing coalition in late 2022 with the most extremist parties in Israeli politics; this to personally avoid prosecution from a litany of criminal charges including bribery, fraud, and breach of trust. The result has been the most far-right and religious government in Israeli history.

The ensuing attempts at a radical overhaul of the judicial system to reduce its independence—notably an attempt to prevent the courts from invalidating government decisions under a “reasonableness” clause and allowing the Knesset to override decisions by the Supreme Court—led to massive protests by secular Israelis. Because Israel does not have a formal Constitution, the high court acts as a counterweight to the executive and legislative branches. The reforms represent an attempt by extremists in the governing coalition to reshape Israeli society to their liking. In any case, Netanyahu’s Trump-style accusations against a deep-state plotting against him weakened the country’s cohesion and military preparedness. The rift contributed to the massive intelligence and security failures that permitted not only the egregious attack on October 7 but also the construction in Gaza over years—under Israel’s nose—of an elaborate network of up to 700 kilometers of tunnels.

As politics and society shifted to the right in the past two decades, Israeli policies toward the Palestinians have become increasingly restrictive and repressive. According to Amnesty International, they have led to a system of oppression and subjugation that has left Palestinians impoverished and geographically and politically fragmented, in what amounts to apartheid.

Since withdrawing troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005, and particularly after the Hamas takeover in 2007, Israel has imposed an immiserating blockade on the territory: according to UNRWA, 81.5% of Gazans live below the national poverty line, 64% are food insecure, the unemployment rate is 47% with youth unemployment at 64%, and 81% of the water extracted from local aquifers does not meet WHO water quality standards (partially because 292 water wells have been damaged or destroyed by Israeli forces). This dire situation has led 80% of Gazans to depend on humanitarian assistance. And that was before the current Israeli military offensive. The misery of Gazans is in part due to Hamas’ self-serving government, preferring to build tunnels and its military capabilities rather than invest in the population’s wellbeing, but it is just as much a consequence of Israeli policies.

The relative insouciance towards Gaza by successive Netanyahu governments was a cynical ploy to strengthen Hamas—letting it run the territory relatively unhindered and allowing the transfer of Qatari funds to finance its operations—so as to weaken the more moderate and compromising PA in the West Bank. This was intended to separate Palestinian aspirations and squash the prospects of a Palestinian state.

Indeed, the situation is more contentious in the West Bank. Strategically important to its security, Israel exerts control over 60% of the West Bank, the so-called Area C. The PA has limited jurisdiction over Palestinian population centers, which are divided into an archipelago of 160 non-contiguous mini-Bantustans separated by hundreds of Israeli checkpoints. This greatly restricts the movements of Palestinians as they require Israeli permits to move around. In contrast, Jewish settlers have their own extensive network of roads that the Palestinians are not allowed to use. Since 2000, Israel has been building an extensive 700-kilometer-long “separation barrier” that lies mostly in the West Bank and cuts through Palestinian communities. In 2004, the International Criminal of Justice issued an advisory opinion declaring this wall illegal.

Terrorism Goes Both Ways

Meanwhile, successive Israeli governments have encouraged Jewish people to move to the West Bank, openly funding and building settlements there. The are more than 700,000 Jewish settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, living in roughly 270 government-approved settlements and unauthorized outposts that are considered illegal under international law. The settlements control about 40% of the land in the West Bank. Far-right members of Netanyahu’s government have openly expounded the formal annexation of the West Bank and the expulsion of the Palestinians there, as well as of Israeli Arabs.

Huge tracts of land have been expropriated to make way for these Jewish settlers, a process accompanied by forced evictions and land seizures. Other human rights violations include discriminatory planning laws, confiscation of natural resources, arbitrary detentions, a policy of collective punishment, and constant harassment and violence against Palestinians by Jewish settlers that goes unpunished, more so since the tragic events of October 7.

This systematic mistreatment of Palestinians, coupled with the failures of both Palestinian and Israeli leadership to negotiate an accord leading to the creation of some form of Palestinian state, has led to several uprisings and a recent surge in violence. The enduring sense of desperation empowered radical groups such as Hamas, not because of its terror tactics and religious fundamentalism, but because it is seen as standing up to ongoing Israeli abuses. As UN Secretary-General António Guterres stated—after forcefully condemning the October 7 act of terror—the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum

And for all of the Israeli government’s justified condemnation of Hamas’ terror tactics, it is germane to remember that the nascent Jewish state had its own extremist groups, such as Irgun and the Stern Gang, which also committed execrable acts of terror. They include, among others, the 1946 bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, which housed the British administrative headquarters for Mandatory Palestine and killed 91 people; the 1948 assassination of Count Folke Bernadotte, the United Nations Mediator for Palestine; and the 1948 massacre at the Palestinian village of Deir Hassin where at least 100 people were killed. A former leader of the Stern Gang, Yitzhak Shamir, and a former head of Irgun, Menachem Begin, both went on to become Israeli Prime Ministers. Sometimes, the difference between terrorists, freedom fighters, and statesmen is a matter of timing.

Looking Ahead: Bleakness and Light

It is unlikely that, once the ashes of war subside, the situation will return to the status quo ante. The degree of anger, mistrust, and resentment on both sides will not abate for a long time. Hamas’ attack on October 7 and the Israeli government’s heavy response have catapulted the Israeli-Palestinian conflict onto the world stage. Initiatives will arise on the need to find an amenable solution to the question of Palestine. Despite being much-maligned, some form of a two-state solution still seems to be the best alternative: indeed, the only one. No amount of rapprochement between Israel and the Arab Gulf monarchies, nor Tel Aviv’s attempts to suppress the Palestinian cause, will make it go away.

There will surely be a reckoning on the Israeli side, as those responsible in government face retribution. There will likely be investigations into the failures of the security and intelligence agencies. Netanyahu will likely lose power and perhaps go to prison. But the coalition that came to power in 2022 was not a happenstance. The Israeli left, traditionally congenial to a two-state solution, is a much-diminished political force. In the last election, the once-dominant Labor Party won just four seats; Meretz, the secular, social democratic party, did not win any. The growing demographic power of the far-right and ultrareligious parties is slowly transforming and polarizing Israeli society. As these communities expand in number—their fertility rates more than double those of secular Jews—Israeli society will further radicalize. Some of the policies expounded by the Ultra-Orthodox parties in the governing coalition—such as expanding the power of rabbinical courts and barring women and men from mixing in public areas—do not differ much from the intransigence of radical Islamic groups such as Hamas. A solution must be found before Israel tilts irrevocably to the far right.

The Palestinian leadership will also face its own reckoning. The PA as currently configured cannot hope to take over in Gaza as some have proposed; divided and discredited, it cannot even govern the West Bank. It urgently needs to restore its credibility with Palestinians, ideally by establishing a technocratic, transitional government that will eventually map out free and fair elections to the presidency and the legislature. What Palestinians seem to want most is not ideology or confrontation, but rather efficient and transparent governance; one that offers them a path to a better future. A revitalized, popular PA—supported by a strengthened PLO and elements from the talented Palestinian diaspora and most likely incorporating moderate Hamas figures—would regain the political support and essential financial backing of the wealthy Gulf monarchies. Ideally, it would thus present itself as a viable partner to Israel.

Of timely concern is who will administer Gaza once the fighting ends. The nature of an interim administration will be a contentious issue. Whether a UN mission, some other form of international stabilization mission, or, less likely, an Arab League/Organization of Islamic Cooperation mission, it will have to provide basic services and manage the humanitarian crisis rapidly and efficiently. This body would then oversee the transition of the PA taking over governance of Gaza. A strong presence of UN agencies (UNRWA, WFP, WHO, UNICEF) will be essential to provide sectoral expertise, no matter Israel’s misgivings towards the UN. Indeed, due to Hamas’s remissness, UNRWA practically governed Gaza before October 7, providing education, health care, and food aid to half its population. Security is also a key consideration as a peacekeeping mission will most likely have to contend with both sporadic resistance by Hamas fighters and a residual Israeli military presence.

Just as important is the reconstruction process. The tens of billions of USD required will most likely come from the wealthy Gulf monarchies, the United States, the EU, and perhaps China (an emerging diplomatic player in the Middle East), Turkey, and India. Each has a strong vested interest in the stability of the region. But the amounts will not come without concrete commitments and progress on resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, especially from the Gulf countries as they have seen past largesse squandered or destroyed by Israeli bombs. 

Given the animosity between Israelis and Palestinians, eventual negotiations require external coaxing, more so than in the past. The United States will need to play an indispensable role, both in providing financial support—if it is willing to give Israel 14 billion USD in military assistance following the October 7 attacks, it can certainly provide several billion USD to help rebuild Gaza and resurrect the moribund West Bank economy—and, as Israel’s main benefactor and ally, in pressuring Israel into compromising. Though the current nature of Israeli politics and society indicates it will not do so voluntarily, Tel Aviv’s global diplomatic isolation and military dependency on Washington makes it more vulnerable than ever to U.S. leverage. Likewise, a group of influential Arab countries including Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE should nudge the Palestinians to do the same.

Pressure will mount on both sides to reach an agreement that guarantees Israel’s security and Palestinian territorial rights. Israel’s lack of strategic depth would need to be assuaged by formalizing control over the adjacent hills of the West Bank that threaten its heartland and access to the Jordan Valley. In like vein, a future Palestinian state would probably need to be demilitarized for the same reasons. In return, some Israeli settlements deep in the West Bank need to be dismantled, a controversial measure that will encounter stiff opposition among extremist and politically powerful settler groups. Gaza and the West Bank need to be integrated into a single political and economic structure. Moreover, an embryonic Palestinian state requires geographic coherence, entailing a contiguous territorial entity in the West Bank and not the patchwork of Bantustans it is now. The myriad details of an eventual solution need to be hashed. The solution needs to include, among other things, agreed-upon land swaps between Israel and Palestine, the offering of compensation to Palestinian refugees instead of the right of return to Israel, and the status of East Jerusalem. Indeed, any one of these issues seems presently insurmountable.

Yet the failure to find an amenable solution to the question of Palestine would have dire consequences for both communities. On its current path, Israel will become an undemocratic, full-fledged apartheid state ever more isolated in the global arena. Already there are signs with Brazil and South Africa strongly condemning its actions and cases brought against it before the International Court of Justice on genocide and the legality of the occupation. Even U.S. support will wither as demographic and political trends are moving away from Washington’s steadfast permissiveness. In such a critical historical juncture, the United States can no longer risk international condemnation due to its unconditional support for a defiant ally accused of committing war crimes in Gaza

By the same token, the Palestinians would be condemned to lifetimes of misery and repression—a breeding ground for future insurrections and Islamic radicalism. Moreover, the chances of the current Israel-Hamas war expanding and encompassing Iran and its regional proxies, the United States and several Gulf monarchies, will increase. Already, targeted killings by Israel and tit-for-tat exchanges of missile, drone, and rocket attacks are intensifying, particularly along Israel’s border with Syria and Lebanon. The Israeli attempt at upping the ante with an airstrike on the Iranian Embassy in Damascus, Syria, and the Iranian response via a barrage of drones and missiles, have raised fears of an escalation of hostilities in the Levant. For now, those fears seem allayed as Washington and Teheran have held backchannel communications to reduce tensions and avoid a regional war that neither wants. Rather, a more likely war looms against Hezbollah in Lebanon, as Tel Aviv needs to secure its northern border to guarantee the return of the tens of thousands of Israelis who fled their homes after attacks by the Lebanese militia following October 7. Roughly 150,000 civilians have been displaced on both sides of the border.  

Conversely, an eventual solution would resonate across the region. Israel would finally be able to establish diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia, perhaps leading to a rapprochement with the wider Arab and Islamic world. The geopolitical, strategic, security, and economic gains would be far-reaching. The combination of Israeli expertise and Gulf wealth would transform the greater Middle East. Both parties would hugely benefit from increased trade flows and cooperation in fields as diverse as defense, technology, agriculture, water management, climate, and tourism. Iran’s destabilizing presence in the Middle East would be much diminished. 

New, bold, and courageous political leadership is required. Whether it can emerge, whether leaders on both sides can inspire their communities and muster the resolve to make compromises and seek reconciliation, whether they can sideline the extremists in their midst, remains to be seen.

But the solution lies not just in grand political bargains but also—and perhaps mostly—in personal absolution in people such as Palestinian Bassam Aramim and Israeli Rami Elhanan. Each father lost a daughter to the internecine conflict, but rather than channel their grief into fury and rancor, they chose to work together to bring peace and reconciliation to this shattered land.


Mackenzie, J. “Israeli military opens probe into reports of Oct. 7 friendly fire deaths.”  Reuters. February 7, 2024.

Reuters. “Israeli forensic teams describe signs of torture, abuse.” October 15, 2023.

AJLabs. “Israel-Gaza war in maps and charts: Live tracker”. Al Jazeera. Updated April 15, 2024.

Alsaafin, L., & Osgood, B. “Israel’s war on Gaza updates: Netanyahu asks military to submit Rafah plan.”  Aljazeera. February 9, 2024.

Charbonneau, L. “UNRWA’s Demise Would Be Catastrophic for Gaza.” Human Rights Watch. February 12, 2024.’s%20count%2C%20at,to%20the%20Gaza%20Health%20Ministry.

Committee to Protect Journalists. “Journalist casualties in the Israel-Gaza war.” March 21, 2024.

The White House. “Remarks by President Biden on the October 7th Terrorist Attacks and the Resilience of the State of Israel and its People | Tel Aviv, Israel.” October 18, 2023.,felt%20in%20the%20United%20States.

United Nations. “As Israel’s Aerial Bombardments Intensify, ‘There Is No Safe Place in Gaza’, Humanitarian Affairs Chief Warns Security Council”. January 12, 2024.,proposing%20that%20Palestinians%20should%20be

Farge, E. “Disease could be bigger killer than bombs in Gaza – WHO.” Reuters, November 29, 2023.,diseases%20and%20diarrhoea%20in%20children.

United Nations. “Famine Imminent in Gaza, Humanitarian Officials Tell Security Council, Calling for Immediate Ceasefire.” February 27, 2024.,by%20May%20if%20conditions%20persist.

Bland, A. “The numbers that reveal the extent of the destruction in Gaza.” The Guardian. January 8, 2024.

Bertrand, N., & Lillis, K.B. “Exclusive: Nearly half of the Israeli munitions dropped on Gaza are imprecise ‘dumb bombs,’ US intelligence assessment finds.” CNN. December 14, 2023.

Tharoor, I. “The punishing military doctrine that Israel may be following in Gaza.” The Washington Post. November 10, 2023.

Cooper, H., Schmitt, E., & Goldman, A. “Israeli Forces Have Limited Time in Gaza, U.S. Officials Say.” The New York Times. November 9, 2024.

Boot, Max. “Israel’s Ground War Against Hamas: What to Know.” Council on Foreign Relations, October 23, 2023.

The Foreign Affairs Interview. “The Missing Israeli Endgame – A Conversation with Ami Ayalon.” November 20, 2023.

Saad, L. “Democrats’ Sympathies in Middle East Shift to Palestinians.” Gallup. March 16, 2023.

“Saudi Arabia: no Israel ties without recognition of Palestinian state.” Reuters. February 7, 2024.

Leifer, J. “The Netanyahu doctrine: How Israel’s longest-serving leader reshaped the country in his image.” The Guardian. November 21, 2013.

Jewish Virtual Library. “Quotes on Judaism & Israel: Abba Eban.” Accessed on April 3, 2024.

Office of the Historian, Foreign Service Institute, United States Department of State. “Camp David Accords and the Arab-Israeli Peace Process.” Accessed February 1, 2024.

Pan, E. “Middle East: Peace Plans Background.” Council on Foreign Relations. February 7, 2005.

Jewish Virtual Library. “Ehud Olmert’s Peace Offer (2006-2008).” Accessed February 1, 2024.

The Ezra Klein Show. “Transcript: Ezra Klein Interviews Salam Fayyad.” The New York Times. February 9, 2024.

Shepp, J. “Don’t Blame Gazans for Hamas – The terrorist group has never been very popular among the people it rules.” Intelligencer, New York Magazine. October 22, 2023.

Jamal A. & Robbins, M. “What Palestinians Really Think of Hamas – Before the War, Gaza’s Leaders Were Deeply Unpopular—but an Israeli Crackdown Could Change That.” Foreign Affairs. October 25, 2023.

Abu Amer, A. “Postponed Palestinian Elections: Causes and Repercussions.” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. May 11, 2021.

International Crisis Group. “Managing Palestine’s Looming Leadership Transition.” February 1, 2023.

Joseph, Y. & Kingsley, P. “Netanyahu Will Return with Corruption Charges Unresolved. Here’s Where the Case Stands.” The New York Times. June 26, 2023.

Brüls, J. “Understanding Israel’s Constitutional Nightmare.” Friedrich Naumann Foundation. April 4, 2023.

Mekelberg, Y. “Netanyahu’s premiership will not outlast the war with Hamas.” Chatham House. November 8, 2023.,8GJRE,DCCOZ9,YXVCO,1

Staff, T. “Gaza tunnels stretch at least 350 miles, far longer than past estimate – report.” The Times of Israel. January 16, 2024.

John Alterman interviews Tamar Hermann. “Israel’s Rightward Shift.” Center for Strategic and International Studies. November 29, 2022.

Amnesty International. “Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians.” February 1, 2022.

United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). “Gaza 15 years of Blockade.” Accessed January 12, 2024.

Shumsky, D. “Why Did Netanyahu Want to Strengthen Hamas?” Haaretz. October 11, 2023.

Kliment, A. “The West Bank: What is it?” GZERO. November 6, 2023.

Middle East Monitor. “Israel’s security narrative for ‘apartheid wall’ collapses.” March 22, 2022.

“United Nations. The Question of Palestine.” Accessed December 19, 2023.

United Nations Human Rights, Office of the High Commissioner. “Israeli annexation of parts of the Palestinian West Bank would break international law – UN experts call on the international community to ensure accountability.” June 16, 2020.

Human Rights Watch. “Israel: Collective Punishment against Palestinians.” February 2, 2023.

António Guterres. “Secretary-General’s remarks to the Security Council – on the Middle East.” United Nations Secretary-General. October 24, 2023.

Charters, D. “Jewish Terrorism and the Modern Middle East.” UNB Libraries, Centre for Digital Scholarship. Accessed December 1, 2023.

Rettig Gur, H. “The Israeli left has lost more than an election.” The Times of Israel, November 7, 2022.,a%20tailspin%20for%20three%20decades.

“Israel’s Rightward Shift.”

Rabin, R.C. “Growing Segregation by Sex in Israel Raises Fears for Women’s Rights.” The New York Times. August 15, 2023.

Latschan, T. “Israel and the UN: A difficult relationship.” Deutsche Welle. March 22, 2024.

The Economist. “The real problem with the UN’s agency for Palestinians.” February 15, 2024.

Kampeas, R. “$14b US aid package for Israel crafted with eye to ‘multi-front war,’ not just Gaza.” The Times of Israel, February 21, 2024.

Indyk, M. “The Strange Resurrection of the Two-State Solution.” Foreign Affairs. February 20, 2024.

Caspian Report. “Why Israel has a Terrible Geography.” Accessed January 20, 2024.

Dayan, U. “Defensible Borders to Ensure Israel’s Future.” Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Accessed January 21, 2024.

Reuters. “Egypt president says future Palestinian state could be demilitarised.” November 24, 2023.

Ridgwell, H. “Human Rights Watch Accuses Israel of War Crimes, Criticizes ‘Selective Outrage’ of Allies.” Voice of America. January 11, 2024.

Pillar, P. “Is Israel’s plan to draw the US into a war with Iran?”. Responsible Statecraft. April 5, 2024.

Jones, S.G., Byman, D., Palmer, A. & McCabe, R. “The Coming Conflict with Hezbollah.” Center for Strategic and International Studies. March 21, 2024.

El Dahan, M. “Saudis could recognise Israel if Palestinian issue resolved – foreign minister.” Reuters. January 17, 2024.,shows%20no%20sign%20of%20easing.

Schindler, J. “How Do You Take Revenge for a Dead Child? By Killing Other People’s Children?”. Der Spiegel. November 6, 2023.

Jose Clavijo
Jose Clavijo

Jose Clavijo is a retired Venezuelan career diplomat who was posted in Tunisia, Denmark, and as Chargé d’ affaires in India, Japan, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, and Morocco. In the Foreign Ministry, he was attached to the Office of Strategic Planning and was also the head of the Asia and Oceania Department. Clavijo studied Political Science at the University of New Orleans, United States, and at the American University in Cairo, Egypt. He earned his MSc in International Politics from the University of Bristol, UK.