In the Middle East, the Israeli-Palestinian inferno still smolders

Editorial of the “World”. Three terrorist attacks again mourn Israel. In just a few days, two Israeli Arabs claiming to be members of the Islamic State jihadist nebula, then a Palestinian from the West Bank, killed eleven people, the majority of whom were civilians. These attacks, which can only be condemned, constitute, on the eve of the month of Ramadan and Passover, often sources of tension, a disturbing reminder, one year after the crisis of spring 2021. The latter had seen rioters Israeli Jews and Arabs clash in several cities for the first time in decades, after tensions in Jerusalem. Eleven days of fighting between the Israeli army and the Palestinian Hamas in Gaza ensued.

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These outbursts of violence put into perspective the historic meeting organized in the Negev, on Israeli soil, on March 28. It brought together four Arab officials with the heads of diplomacy of the Jewish state and the United States and was to highlight the progress made by the new phase of regional normalization with Israel initiated by the Abraham agreements, concluded in 2020.

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This is one of the few legacies that Joe Biden’s administration has retained from that of his predecessor, Donald Trump. This normalization is certainly only very partial, since it remains limited to the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Bahrain, but the meeting in the Negev constitutes a new milestone.

Right to self-determination

The peripheral threat posed by Iran’s ambitions had something to do with this rapprochement. It was once again on the agenda, the Arab participants wishing that the United States remain engaged in the region despite the desire to move away, to which the many failures they suffered there contributed not a little. .

Israel has other priorities to assert in Washington, since it preemptively disapproves of its desire to resurrect the international Iranian nuclear agreement, torn up by the former Republican president in 2018. Antony Blinken, the American secretary of state , also has its concerns, in this case, the relative indifference of certain countries present in the Negev, starting with the United Arab Emirates, in the face of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

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These differences of opinion should come as no surprise and the purpose of meetings like that of March 28 is precisely to allow them to be put on the table. On the other hand, we can only deplore, in these circumstances, that this current normalization can continue to ignore the Palestinian file, reduced to a few formulas that have become hollow.

It’s hard to pay homage to one of Israel’s fathers, David Ben-Gurion, by traveling to the Negev at Sde Boker, his last retreat, thereby obliterating a fundamental part of his legacy. “When we were faced with the choice between the entire land of Israel without the entire land of Israel or a Jewish state without the entire land of Israel, we chose a Jewish state without the entire land of Israel.”he declared in 1949 in a formula which has unfortunately retained all its relevance.

Read the editorial of “Le Monde”: Israel-Palestine: changing the paradigm

The Israelis are not solely responsible. In addition to an impotent Palestinian leadership, the current generation of Gulf leaders, the Emirati Mohammed Bin Zayed and the Saudi Mohammed Bin Salman, are indeed the first not to propose a regional peace plan that takes into account the Palestinians’ right to self-determination. Decades of denial of Israel, however, cannot be settled at the cost of another denial, especially when a badly extinguished inferno is smoldering.

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