Empire’s Echoes. Unravelling The Gordian Knot Of The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.


Here we are, standing at the mouth of a century-long vortex, peering into the chaos and complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is a maelstrom born in the womb of colonial arrogance and ignorance, a seismic aftershock of empires long crumbled to dust.

Let us not beat around the burning bush; this is not just about disputed borders or divergent nationalisms. This is a melodrama scripted in the smoke-filled backrooms of 19th-century Europe when Zionism and Arab nationalism were newborn ideologies crying for recognition and respect.

British leaving Haifa in 1948. תא, CC BY-ND
British leaving Haifa in 1948. תא, CC BY-ND

Like an unwelcome ghost at a wedding, the Balfour Declaration of 1917 lurks at the heart of this saga. Britain, in its colonial wisdom, promised a “national home for the Jewish people” in a land where the Arab majority had their own dreams. Cue increased Jewish immigration, widespread Arab resistance, and a Pandora’s box of strife and sorrow that we’re still grappling with today.

Fast forward to 1948, the birth of Israel and the first Arab-Israeli war. Israel flexed its muscles, stretched its borders beyond the UN’s partition plan, and scattered over 700,000 Palestinians to the wind. This, the Nakba or “catastrophe” in Arabic, is the bloody birthmark on the face of this conflict.

Will it ever change?

The political chess game that ensued is a tangled web of power plays and broken promises, geopolitical scheming, and ego-driven agendas. It is a toxic cocktail mixed by local and global powers alike, each one pushing their own vision of what this land should be. 

As for solutions, oh, there have been plenty proposed. A two-state solution? A one-state solution? All sound good on paper, all crumble under the harsh realities of this land. Borders, security, settlements, the status of Jerusalem, the right of return for refugees… each a mountain too high for these proposals to scale. Not to mention the bedrock of distrust and hostility that underpins it all.

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Will it ever change? It’s the million-shekel question, isn’t it? The annals of this conflict are littered with failed peace attempts, from the Oslo Accords to the Camp David Summit. Today, we find ourselves mired in a painful status quo, where occupation, sporadic violence, and deep societal division is the norm.

So, can this Gordian knot ever be untangled? That’s a tall order. It would require a tectonic shift in the current dynamics, a kind of mutual compromise that seems like a mirage in the current political desert. 

Above all, it demands that we confront the ghosts of empires past, the echoes of decisions made by men in distant lands who never had to live with the consequences. Only then can we begin to lay the spectre of this conflict to rest, and look forward to a future that both Israelis and Palestinians deserve.

Or perhaps. We just remind everyone (else). You are simply a mistake, not even of your ancestors, but of empires and the pursuit of comfort and luxury. A split in the cosmic fates. Evil wins. Recklessness wins. For generations. For eternity. The rest. Innocence loses. Doomed birthrights as payments for present royal birthrights, national privileges unappreciated, entitlements, inherited, and a parade of false empathy.

By: Edward Holloway
Originally published at citi.io

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