As we enter the seventh week of the war, Western governments find themselves under increasing pressure to support ceasefires amid the widespread devastation and loss of life. France and Ireland have already endorsed ceasefires, but in the UK, Members of Parliament (MPs) have voted against backing a ceasefire, with some Labour MPs even defying their party's directive to abstain. Instead, Western leaders, including Starmer, are advocating for humanitarian pauses. The situation in Gaza remains dire, with thousands of Palestinians killed and injured, and the entire strip facing a siege, resulting in a lack of basic necessities such as food, water, and electricity. Moreover, the Israeli Defense Forces' heavy-handed tactics in the West Bank have led to an escalation of violence in that region as well.
Israel's far-right government is capitalizing on the shock generated by Hamas attacks, perceiving Gaza as the primary concern. As a potential solution, the Israeli government is contemplating transferring Palestinians to Egypt. However, this approach faces opposition from the US administration and senior figures within the US military. Globally, Israel's stance, assuming the destruction of Hamas, is facing growing resistance. The duration of the war may now rely on the intervention of the Biden administration, as only the United States possesses sufficient influence to demand a ceasefire, considering its significant military support for Israel. Even in the face of united opposition from the European Union, Netanyahu is unlikely to be swayed by other countries.The Jewish community in the United States is facing divisions, but it is notable that they tend to vote Republican. This has become a concern for Biden, who views it more as an Israel lobby rather than a Jewish lobby, especially during an election year. However, the chances of a negotiated long-term peace agreement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remain slim as long as the current US president remains in power.
Without a sudden collapse of Hamas, the war between Israel and Palestine will continue indefinitely. The Israeli military operations consist of air and artillery attacks, as well as the deployment of special forces and elite troops. The outcome of this conflict depends on Netanyahu's position as the war drags on. There is a possibility that his far-right government could collapse sooner than anticipated.
In the event that Netanyahu's government manages to remain in power and the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) continue their operations, global pressure for a ceasefire may eventually become too strong to resist. However, this process could take several months. On the other hand, if Netanyahu's government falls, there is a higher likelihood of a ceasefire. Nevertheless, it would only lead to an uneasy stability rather than genuine peace.
Regarding the future, two main options are being considered: the establishment of two separate states or a single state with equal rights for all. However, the formation of a single state is complicated by the fact that Israel and the occupied territories already function as a de facto single state. The Israeli parliament has control over the entire territory, which includes both Jewish and non-Jewish populations. While Israeli Arabs within the 1949 boundaries possess voting rights, those in Gaza and the West Bank do not, exposing the lack of true parliamentary democracy.
While most analysts assume that a negotiated settlement would be based on the two-state solution, many Palestinians hold a different perspective. Achieving a full democracy with equal rights for everyone in the current "state" would be an immense challenge and likely take a generation or more.
Irrespective of the outcome, the present conflict plays into the hands of Hamas, as it aims to prolong the war and radicalize more young Palestinians against Israel. Over the coming years, it is possible that the Netanyahu government unintentionally strengthens support for Hamas or similar movements.