Sustainable solution needed for Israel and Palestine’s long-standing conflict

Israel and the Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip have agreed to a ceasefire after 11 days of intense fighting, thanks to efforts from the United Nations, as well as the intermediary role of Egypt and the United States.

Palestinians return to their destroyed houses following the Israel- Hamas truce, in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, May 21, 2021. (Photo: Reuters)
Palestinians return to their destroyed houses following the Israel- Hamas truce, in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, May 21, 2021. (Photo: Reuters)

Welcoming the agreement, the international community still warned that it is only a temporary measure, and that negotiations need to be further promoted in order to find a comprehensive and sustainable solution to the long-standing conflict between Israel and Palestine.

The ceasefire agreement between Israeli and Hamas forces took effect from the morning of May 21, ending a series of days of serious violence that began on May 10. Announcing the truce, Egyptian mediators confirmed that the armed wing of the Hamas movement agreed to stop launching rockets into Israel, while the Israeli government also approved a unilateral ceasefire.

Local media reported that life had somewhat gone back to normal in Gaza after the agreement was announced, as people returned to the streets, windows opening and loudspeakers announcing the cessation of hostilities.

The ceasefire agreement between the Israeli military and armed Palestinian groups in Gaza was reached in the context of great concern among the international community and repeated calls for all sides to stop fighting and cease acts of violence causing civilian casualties, by far the most of these occurring in Gaza.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and his US counterpart Joe Biden discussed online efforts to reduce tensions in the Palestinian territories. White House officials have held several phone calls with officials from Israel and other countries in the region, seeking to restore security in Gaza.

From its UN headquarters in New York (USA), UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the agreement and called on all sides to abide by the ceasefire. He highly lauded the efforts of Egypt and Qatar in collaboration with the UN to help restore peace and safety in the Gaza Strip and Israel.

Welcoming Egypt's efforts to help create the ceasefire, President Biden pledged that the US would cooperate with the UN in its efforts to restore humanitarian assistance and rebuild the Gaza territory that has recently experienced a terrible period of bombardment.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, fighting in recent days has claimed the lives of at least 129 Palestinians in Gaza. Israel has also confirmed 12 deaths. In addition, thousands of people have been injured in incidents of violence and conflict, in both Gaza and the West Bank.

The bombs have stopped falling, and now the demand for humanitarian assistance for the Palestinians in Gaza has become more urgent. The UN secretary-general called on the international community to coordinate and actively support the rapid and sustainable reconstruction of the Palestinian territories, as well as helping strengthen the Palestinian institutions. The Egyptian president said that the permanent mission of Middle East peace brokers has become even more urgent in the current context, that is to maintain peace, prevent conflicts from reoccurring, and rebuild Gaza.

The ceasefire between Israel and the Hamas movement helps to end days of violence, but for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this is still only a temporary solution. According to the UN leader, to maintain peace for the people, the leaders of Israel and Palestine have a responsibility to begin dialogue as soon as possible to resolve the root causes of the conflict.

The UN affirmed it will coordinate with the two sides in the conflict, and with its international and regional partners, especially the "Middle East Quartet", to bring Israel and Palestine back to the negotiating table as soon as possible, hoping to end the occupation of the Palestinian territories and promote the realisation of the two-state solution.

The Egyptian leader affirmed a consistent stance of supporting a comprehensive solution to the Palestinian issue, ensuring the Palestinians' legitimate right to build an independent state.

A new and sustainable solution will help end the violence and tension between Israel and Palestine, contributing to maintaining the security and stability of the whole region.

The two-state solution has been supported by the majority of countries and is considered a sustainable path, promoting the establishment of the State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital, peaceful coexistence with the State of Israel, with internationally recognised borders on the basis of pre-1967 boundaries and negotiated agreements, in accordance with international law, the UN Charter and the relevant resolutions.