Amid the rising tensions between Israel and Palestine-based Hamas militants, Saudi Arabia calls for a “two-state solution”. The Kingdom appealed for an immediate halt of war and called upon the international community to “activate a credible peace process”.
How did the tensions escalate?
Hundreds of Hamas militants broke out from the blockaded Gaza Strip and entered Israeli towns on 7th October, Saturday, killing around 300 people and injuring over 1,500 others in an unprecedented attack. Israeli forces launched airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, flattening buildings hosting Hamas offices and fighters in retaliation and the strikes continued for over 24 hours.
In response to the conflict, Saudi Arabia released a statement saying that the Kingdom calls upon the international community to assume its responsibilities and activate a credible peace process that leads to the two-state solution in order to achieve security and peace in the region to protect civilians and maintain restraint.
It also recalled how it repeatedly tried to warn the International Community regarding the decades old crisis and the danger of the situation between Israel and Palestine exploding.
image source: The Economic Times
The two-state solution for Israel and Palestine
The two-state solution was proposed by the Peel Commission, formed by the British in 1937. Then consequently in 1947, the UN proposed the solution of Israel and Palestine becoming two separate independent states which could coexist in harmony, but over the years, the said solution never materialised.
In September this year, United States President Joe Biden spoke in favour of the two-state solution and he said at the United Nations General Assembly that it demonstrated how Israel’s greater normalisation and economic connections with its neighbours delivered positive and practical impacts even as they continued to work tirelessly, supporting a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, thus two states for two people.
The conflict and its potential to dramatically alter global geopolitics
Hamas’s unprecedented attack on Israel has been welcomed and celebrated by Iran, and it appears to complicate the historic process of normalisation between Israel and Saudi Arabia that has been underway and has the potential to alter global geopolitics along with the politics in the region, dramatically.
Irrespective of what Israel would have finally decided on the Palestinian issue and if it would have been sufficient for the Saudi crown prince and PM Mohammed bin Salman to accept, the fact that these discussions were happening under American aegis and had assumed severe intensity, left many in the region unhappy.
Israel’s military retaliation on Saturday is just a harbinger to a protracted onslaught against Gaza, and those hostile to normalisation between Israel and Saudi Arabia will make it even more difficult for Riyadh to be able to continue to pursue the line of normalisation.
But the kingdom’s response shows that it will continue to maintain a fine line between its support for Palestine and its hopes for restoring normalcy with Israel.
The Indian stakes
This conflict certainly has its implications for India. According to the external affairs minister Dr. S Jaishankar, India and West Asia’s economies are now intertwined in multiple ways across the dimensions of energy, migration, food, and trade.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has backed Israel against the terror attacks unequivocally. But India is also invested in ensuring that the region finds relative stability, given the zero-sum security approach that has governed it for decades, continues to give way to a future of connectivity and prosperity between the erstwhile rivals. But the violence that erupted on Saturday is a testament to the fact that the road to normalcy will unfortunately be littered with terror and violence.