The Palestine Question: Western Media and Long-Term Solution

Image of a border wall.

Image by Ash Hayes.

Picture the Western media’s outrage if a Russian helicopter gunship went into an occupied Crimean city neighborhood and began shooting missiles at civilian homes, claiming a militant lived in one. “War crime” would resound.

When this occurred in the Jenin refugee camp nearly two weeks ago, killing seven people, including a teenager, it was framed as a mere escalation between Israelis and the Palestinians. There was no mention of war crime or bringing Israel to the International Criminal Court as there would be for Russia. (This happened again on Monday, July 3rd, Israel launched another raid on Jenin, using missiles on an occupied civilian population, killing eight people.)

Following the Israeli war crime of attacking a civilian refugee camp with missiles in June, Palestinian militants responded by attacking illegal Israeli settlers in the West Bank. In turn, an Israeli settler lynch mob burned homes and cars in Turmus Ayya, killing at least one person, in a pogrom backed by the Israeli military. This was one of 570 violent attacks of Israeli settlers on Palestinians in the West Bank this year.

There was no media outrage, as this as this has always been a US-sponsored occupation, and land theft and oppression of Palestinians. Furthermore, unlike the white Ukrainians who receive heavy US support, both militarily and from the US public, Palestinians – like other forgotten, non-white people of the world who suffer war crimes and genocide, Yemenis and Rohingya, for instance – receive little sympathy and no real assistance.

However much independent media or Al Jazeera cover these stories and show detailed pictures of Israel human rights violations, seemingly nothing will change the US’s support for this brutal occupation. Nor will the far-right Israeli government’s eventual annexation of the West Bank likely draw more than a mild rebuke from the US administration.

China is rising fast and has no special interest in Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians, as seen in its recent “strategic partnership” with the Palestinian Authority and its decades-long recognition of Palestine as a state. It remains to be seen how much changing world power will affect the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Even if China becomes the main world superpower, the US will maintain some degree of its global influence into the foreseeable future.

What is needed is a paradigm shift within Israel or in the US’s support for one of its closest client states. Such dynamics often happen spontaneously, such as the street vendor killed by Tunisian authorities that ignited the Arab Spring. This shift is more likely to happen if China becomes the sole world superpower or Israel commits even graver crimes than it has in recent history, which is a tough act to follow. The former will not likely occur in the near future and the latter would only further exacerbate Palestinian suffering.

What are other ways of ending the illegal occupation of Palestine and the US’s support of it? As admirable as BDS is, it hasn’t tilted the dial enough. Even as Jewish Americans become more partial to the Palestinians, devout evangelicals have turned increasingly towards Israel. While Israel would never allow one state to exist in contemporary Israel and the West Bank, a two-state solution is virtually impossible with approximately 683,000 settlers in occupied Palestine.

However, under the right political conditions, under a future a liberal Israeli prime minister and somewhat progressive US administration, a consociational solution could be the best possible answer. With a far-right, anti-Palestinian government in power, this plan is not actionable at the moment: the political timing has to be just right.

Outlined in this article, the plan would allow for increased power and protections for Palestinian citizens of Israel, a contiguous Palestine and some minority protections of Israel settlers in the West Bank. Avoiding horrors of the past, it would not consist of forced population transfers but would deal with the status quo. It may not be as ideal as the one-state solution, with equality and justice for justice for all. Yet it is likely far more realistic, given the power of Israel compared with Palestinians, and the US’s unmitigated support for its client state.

As a prolific author from the Boston area, Peter F. Crowley writes in various forms, including short fiction, op-eds, poetry and academic essays. In 2020, his poetry book Those Who Hold Up the Earth was published by Kelsay Books and received impressive reviews by Kirkus Review, the Bangladeshi New Age and two local Boston-area newspapers. His writing can be found in Middle East Monitor, Znet, 34th Parallel, Pif Magazine, Galway Review, Digging the Fat, Adelaide’s Short Story and Poetry Award anthologies (finalist in both) and The Opiate.

His forthcoming books, due out later in 2023, are That Night and Other Stories (CAAB Publishing) and Empire’s End (Alien Buddha Press)