“The only option is a peace process, a genuine peace process that tries to reach a two-state solution, despite all the difficulties that we have seen,” said Brookings Fellow Natan Sachs in a discussion about the ongoing crisis between Israel and Gaza on PBS’ NewsHour last night. The conversation focused on how the divisions between Egypt and Hamas complicated any chance for a ceasefire amidst continuing violence.
Sachs explained that “in the past, you had Egypt to negotiate between the sides, and today, the Egyptians and the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine, have very bad relations.”
Referring to the early stages of Israel’s ground effort in Gaza and rocket fire throughout Israel and Gaza, Sachs stressed that “we should all have a lot of sympathy for the people of Gaza and of Israel, but [that] the tragedy of this war is that it is in a very populated area and it’s completely avoidable.”
While “the immediate need is simply for a cease-fire,” Sachs argued that there is “only a political solution to this, and [that] the sides should get back to the table.”
Sachs was also critical of Hamas’ role in perpetuating this violence by breaking the ceasefire, pointing to the fact that “even Egypt today came out with a very unusual declaration blaming Hamas for this round of the fight.” He went on to explain that:
The problem is that Hamas is not involved in this. They’re not involved in a political solution. We should have sympathy for the people of Gaza — and I say this completely genuinely — and of Israel and the West Bank. But Hamas is not the people of Gaza. Hamas is the one that is bringing this war upon them.
Beyond the long term need for a political solution, Sachs emphasized that “in the immediate sense, the tragedy that we’re seeing right now is preventable and needs to stop.”
Sachs is joined by other Brookings scholars in analyzing the violence. To read more about what other Brookings scholars are saying about the ongoing conflict, see the links below:
The political point is that each side of this conflict has their own narrative about the status of the Gaza Strip and Israel’s role. The argument is not whether this is a border. The argument is whether Israel is occupying Gaza.