Ramallah: As the Wednesday resumption of the ceasefire talks between Israel and the Palestinian factions approaches, Israelis are pressuring their leaders to achieve peace with the Palestinians.
A poll commissioned by the Geneva Initiative has found that 53 per cent of Israelis who voted for Likud and 58 per cent of the general population believe the Israeli government should act to achieve a settlement with Palestinians.
The survey was conducted by New Wave Research and the results were printed in The Jerusalem Post. A majority of the 600 respondents were of the view that failure to achieve resolution of the conflict will lead to additional fighting in the region in coming years.
Eighty-five per cent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 24 think that violence is most likely to result from a diplomatic stalemate.
A protest by approximately 500 people near Sderot has also placed pressure on the Israeli government, according to the ynet news site.
Marchers were demanding greater protection and a diplomatic solution to the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians.
Anat Hefez, a representative of the marchers, stated, “Dozens of Israelis were killed and hundreds injured in this violent conflict. Billions were invested in the area and billions disappeared. We refuse to continue to serve as a human shield to the austerity and the helplessness of the Israeli government.”
“We demand the prime minister fulfil his commitment — to enter negotiations for a political resolution in Gaza to create a new reality for the south. Only an agreement could lead to comprehensive security in the long-term,” she claimed.
Meanwhile, Palestinian commentators have highlighted the importance of putting more pressure on the Israeli public to demand their leadership end the conflict in Gaza. “We must come up with creative means to press the Israeli public to press their leadership in turn to give more concessions and bring the Cairo ceasefire talks to success,” said Dr Abdul Sattar Qasem, a Palestinian commentator and political analyst.
He said that the Palestinian hopes will demolish and disappear without such pressure. “On my part, I seriously doubt the resistance’s political capabilities, but trust the resistance’s military capabilities,” he told Gulf News. “The Palestinian general political conditions are expected to and will deteriorate.”
According to Dr Qasem, Palestinian internal differences will bury the Palestinian dream of lifting the siege and achieving liberty because of the way various Palestinian factions view the central issues.
Fatah and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) want to spread their authority over the coastal enclave which Hamas seized militarily in 2007, and the price for that dream is dismantling Hamas, said Dr Qasem. Hamas, meanwhile, does not give Fatah and the PNA a chance to play any effective role in Gaza Strip. The Palestinian internal rift is deepening over the Gaza issue with only few days left to resume the permanent truce talks.
Dany Dannon, a member of the Israeli Knesset and former deputy defence minister of Israel, wrote in an op-ed in the Yedoit Ahranoth that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was not the solution for the conflict.
“I understand the need to find a silver lining in a bleak situation. It is a very human tendency to search for hope in dark times such as these. We must recognise however that Abbas is not a saviour for the situation in Gaza,” he wrote. “Only the military removal of the Hamas regime will bring about a chance for sustained security for citizens of Israel.”