The cause that won’t go away: Latest conflict shows Palestine is back on the international agenda

Despite diplomatic efforts to sideline the Palestinian issue in recent years, this week’s violence shows it is as important as ever, writes Patrick Cockburn

Wednesday 12 May 2021 18:32
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<p>Israeli soldiers fire a 155mm self-propelled howitzer towards targets in the Gaza Strip from their position near the western Israeli city of Sderot </p>

Israeli soldiers fire a 155mm self-propelled howitzer towards targets in the Gaza Strip from their position near the western Israeli city of Sderot

The most important long-term outcome of the latest hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians is already clear: Palestine is back as an important issue on the international agenda.

The events of this week show that Donald Trump’s pro-Israeli initiatives, such as moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and the normalisation of relations between Israel and Arab states such as the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, made very little difference to the real situation on the ground.

“The idea that there was a decisive shift of power to Israel from the Palestinians [during the Trump era] turns out to be wrong,” says Daniel Levy, an Israeli political scientist and former diplomat who is president of the US-Middle East Project. “The belief that the Palestinians would have to accept permanent second-class status is being shown to be mistaken.”

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