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  • Writer's pictureShipra Swaraj

Can Peace Prevail in the Israel-Palestine Conflict? A Comprehensive Analysis

In the midst of the Israel-Hamas conflict, a multifaceted narrative emerges, reflecting the complexity of the situation. The struggle between Israel and Hamas goes beyond territorial disputes; it involves a web of historical, geopolitical, and humanitarian dimensions.

People Gathering in a Concert during Night Time with flags of Palestine
(Ömer Faruk Yıldız on Pexels)

Historical Roots and Humanitarian Consequences

The conflict's roots extend back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, marked by events like the British mandate [1], the Balfour Declaration [2], and the establishment of Israel in 1948 [3]. In recent times, the Israel-Hamas war has caused severe humanitarian consequences, with widespread destruction in Gaza, including a dire humanitarian crisis.

Areas of Substantial Disagreement between Israel and Palestine

In the tangled story of the Israel-Palestine conflict, the status of Jerusalem stands as a symbol of enduring disagreement. The presence of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank adds layers of tension, weaving into broader disputes like disproportionate border allocation, security, and water rights concerns.

Israel's complete control over land crossings, borders, and ports, particularly in the Gaza Strip, severely restricts import and export capabilities, forcing Gazans to rely on the Israeli port of Ashdod, subject to Israeli approval, thereby significantly limiting economic activities.

The issue of thousands of uncharged Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons underscores the human impact, while debates over the Palestinian right to return and documented human rights violations reflect the ongoing struggle for justice.

At the heart of this multifaceted conflict lies the aspiration for complete Palestinian liberty from Israeli occupation, encapsulating the core point of contention in this deeply rooted and intricate geopolitical issue.

Israel's Complex Struggle: Historical Context and Ongoing Challenges

Israel faces a significant existential threat, surrounded by neighboring Muslim countries, with Hamas located directly adjacent to its territory, a group whose dual goals are the liberation of Palestine and the extermination of all Jews. The US has consistently served as a balanced force in all wars. Western support, especially from the US, plays a crucial role in Israel's survival.

Israel initially sought peaceful coexistence with Palestine, following the UN-proposed resolution for defined borders in 1947 [4]. After the British withdrawal in 1948 [5], Israel declared independence but faced a surprise attack from Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq shortly thereafter. This historical backdrop significantly influences Israel's earnest commitment to addressing potential threats with such aggression.

Over the years, Hamas evolved from targeting Israeli militants to harming civilians as Palestinian casualties rose. Once Palestine achieves liberation, the possibility arises for collaboration with Arab nations to bring about the downfall of Israel. The sentiments toward Israel in the Arab world are fraught with animosity.

While the 1967 [6] border agreement necessitates Israel's return of occupied Palestinian lands, the complexities arise from the impact of past conflicts, where territorial control after a war often implies ownership.

Considering a two-state proposal with Hamas in control, how challenging would it be for Israel to live next to a government committed to its destruction?

However, amidst these considerations, it remains indisputable that the prolonged suffering of Palestinian civilians under Israeli occupation defies justification. 

The Rise of Hamas

In the tumultuous landscape of Palestinian politics, one name stands out prominently - Hamas [7]. Founded in 1987 by Palestinian imam Ahmed Yassin, Hamas is an Islamist-resistant militant group with an agenda to liberate Palestine from Israeli occupation.

To understand the rise of Hamas, we must first cast our gaze back to the early 1970s when the primary nemesis of Israel was the Palestinian Liberation Organization [8] (PLO). The PLO, known for its terror attacks on Israeli civilians, represented a modern, secular approach to Palestinian aspirations.

In stark contrast, Hamas emerged as an extremist Islamic militant group, choosing to keep its distance from the PLO. In a strategic move, Israel sought to counterbalance the influence of the PLO and the Fatah party, led by Yasser Arafat, by encouraging and funding Hamas.

The intention was to play these factions against each other, with the hope that internal strife would diminish their power, ultimately allowing Israel effective control over Palestine.

However, this plan backfired spectacularly. Instead of becoming a pawn in Israel's strategy, Hamas revealed itself as an ardent advocate for the complete liberation of Palestine. Their vision was to wipe Israel off the map entirely, rejecting any notion of a two-state resolution and openly condemning peace talks with Israel.

The turning point came with the assassination of Ahmed Yassin by Israel, a move intended to weaken Hamas. Instead, it had the opposite effect, solidifying the group's resolve and strengthening its influence.

Meanwhile, the PLO's decision to engage in dialogue with Israel led many Palestinians to view them as weak. In this environment, the popularity of Hamas soared, fuelled by its unwavering commitment to the full liberation of Palestine.

Following Israel's withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, Hamas, supported by Iran, maintained control, representing a radical Islamist stance distinct from the previously secular approach of the PLO.

The whole world was taken aback by Hamas' victory in the 2006 [9] Gaza election, establishing Hamas as the recognized government in Gaza. 

The rise of Hamas can be interpreted as a response to perceived shortcomings in the PLO's strategy, with people growing weary of the old guard and turning towards the fervor of radical Islamism.

Additionally, Israel has been consistently sweeping the demands of Palestinians under the rug for decades, avoiding open acknowledgment and resolution of the pressing issues at hand.

In the intricate rhythm of Middle Eastern politics, the emergence of Hamas serves as a reminder of the unforeseen outcomes of hasty political moves.

Life in Palestine

Gaza under Hamas’ Control

In Palestine [10], a land divided, the West Bank is governed by the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority, while Gaza is under the rule of Hamas. In 1967 [11], Israel gained control of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank during the Six-Day War, a conflict involving Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and Syria.

Before that, Egypt governed the Gaza Strip, and Jordan oversaw the West Bank.

Gaza, nestled in the southwest of Israel, shares borders with Egypt. Despite its strategic location, Gaza is a densely populated area, walkable in 8 hours, home to 2 million people, half of whom are children.

Life in Gaza is marked by hardship. While Hamas asserts its fight for Palestinians, its actions have contributed to increased Israeli authority strictness, affecting the financial flow into Gaza.

Despite many Palestinians seeking an end to Israeli occupation, a majority of Gazans accept their challenging conditions under Hamas rule that also led to unemployment, financial difficulties, limited education, and imposed restrictions.

Cut off from air and sea, strict border controls by Israel and Egypt limit access. Despite international aid, poverty persists, with 80% relying on humanitarian assistance. Israel, while not directly governing Gaza, controls its airspace, shoreline, and crucial resources like food, electricity, water, and medical facilities.

The United Nations, through agencies like UNRWA, plays a vital role in providing essential services. Hospitals, schools, and universities are often UN-funded. However, the ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel inflicts severe suffering upon civilians, overshadowing any diplomatic ties.

West Bank under Israeli Occupation

Amidst the challenges faced by Gaza, a quieter tragedy unfolds in the West Bank, home to 3 million Palestinians. Living under Israeli military occupation, they experience limited movement, restricted rights, and lack of citizenship.

Despite their years under Israeli governance, they cannot participate in Israeli elections or shape decisions that affect them. Many women and children along with the elderly and men are detained in Israeli prisons without any charges.

Unlike Gaza, the West Bank is under the rule of a Palestinian party that collaborates with the Israeli government. Instances of violence aim to alter the demographics, with illegal Israeli settlements erected on Palestinian lands.

Israeli settlers, supported by the government, act freely. Palestinians endure constant psychological strain, facing threats from Israeli soldiers and Zionist settlers.

Hamas: A Shift in Stance or Strategy?

In its original 1988 [12] charter, Hamas asserted that jihad was the only way to liberate Palestine. However, in its revised 2017 [13] charter, Hamas claimed to reject the persecution of human beings on any grounds. It has softened its stance on the Israel-Palestine conflict, expressing openness to accepting the 1967 borders for the Palestinian state.

The lingering question is whether Hamas is genuinely committed to these statements or if it is a tactic to buy time and grow strong enough to challenge Israel.

Latest Event: Operation Al-Aqsa Flood

On October 7th [14], a major security breach occurred along the Israel-Gaza border during a Jewish holiday. Hundreds of armed Hamas militants crossed the border fence and launched a series of rocket strikes at an open-air music festival in Israel, resulting in the death of over 1200 people and the taking of 239 hostages back to Gaza.

Hamas named this operation Al-Aqsa Flood, which stands as one of their most lethal operations, simultaneously representing a significant intelligence failure for Israel.

This led to a tragic outcome of a large-scale killing of Gaza civilians by Israel, claiming it was targeting Hamas hiding within the territory of Gaza which also resulted in Israel losing its alliances in the region.

While Netanyahu may perceive it as the beginning of a new war, Hamas, Palestinians, and a significant portion of people worldwide view it as a consequence of Palestinians’ constant exploitation and suffering under Israeli occupation. Certainly, subjecting Palestinians to collective punishment is not contributing to enhancing Israel's security.

Questions arise as to why the event was allowed in an area so close to the Gaza border, also raising doubts about the motives behind the security lapse and the potential benefits for the Israeli government.

Population Displacement and Land Acquisition

Some even propose the idea that Israel uses Hamas to depopulate Gaza, facilitating land acquisition and migration of Gazans to neighboring countries. Examining Israel's past operations against Palestinians reveals a history marked by Palestinian casualties.

The idea of population displacement and land acquisition is raised, suggesting the security flaw on Oct 7th as a strategy to make Gazans desperate for open borders and migration to the neighboring countries after destroying the city and causing a humanitarian crisis.

Simultaneously, thousands were reportedly arrested in the West Bank on suspicion, raising concerns about potential long-term implications with a second stage of prevention of their return.

Geopolitical Interests

Claims of Israel's interest in Gaza’s oil and gas reserves worth more than $500 billion [15], bring a geopolitical dimension to the conflict, possibly contributing to U.S. support for Israel, given the awareness of such claims.

Civil Unrest

The current Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, leads the Likud Party [16], which is known for its conservative and right-wing orientation.

Conspiracy theories propose that recent events might be a deliberate distraction from internal problems, such as civil unrest and opposition to Netanyahu's constitutional amendments that aim to limit the Supreme Court's authority over government decisions, reducing the rights of Israeli citizens to question the prime minister.

Additionally, it is suggested that this strategy has played a role in postponing Netanyahu's court hearings.

A report also indicates that Israeli intelligence has warned that the current situation, with civilians opposing the government and widespread protests against Netanyahu, might provide an opportunity for Hamas and Iran to launch an attack against Israel.

The Role of Hamas and International Response

Hamas, which has been labeled a terrorist group by Western nations like the US, Britain, France, and Canada, etc emerges as the vanguard of Palestinian aspirations for liberty. With control over Gaza, Hamas stands as the only ray of hope for millions, igniting a profound yearning for liberty at the grassroots level.

However, allegations surfaced, accusing Hamas of using Palestinians as shields, sparking a heated debate about their true intentions.

Questions linger about the use of years of aid - why is Gaza still struggling, and where does the aid money go?

The existence of numerous attack tunnels deepens the puzzle, making one wonder why there are no shelters for Palestinians when Israel strikes.

The paradox unfolds as organizations striving for liberation usually find themselves branded terrorist groups by those in power, weaving a story of conflicting narratives in the quest for Palestinian freedom.

In the context of Hamas' "Operation Al-Aqsa Flood" launched on October 7th in Israel, the timing coincided with ongoing peace talks aiming for stability in the Middle East between Saudi Arabia and Israel. This has led to a temporary halt in U.S.-backed plans to normalize ties between the two nations.

Some observers suggest that Hamas may be attempting to disrupt the peace talks, potentially favoring Iran, a notable opponent of U.S. interference in the Middle East. Speculations also exist regarding Iran's alleged involvement, including claims that it may have provoked and provided training to Hamas for the attack.

Simultaneously, Hamas is leveraging Israeli aggression to gain support for the Palestinian cause globally. The clear and widespread backing for Hamas worldwide has been triggered by Israel's assertive response in the aftermath of the events on October 7th.

Geopolitical Symbolism of Israel

Some perspectives view Israel as a symbol of Western domination in the Middle East, serving as a crucial ally of the U.S. Israel serves as the strategic focal point for the West in the Middle East. It operates as a key source of information and intelligence, facilitating Western influence in the region.

The potential disappearance of Israel raises concerns about Russia and China gaining control over the Middle East, posing a perceived nightmare scenario for Western interests. The conflict is also seen as a struggle between the West and the growing influence of Arab nations, potentially unsettling the regional balance.

Diplomatic Quake

Geographically, the neighborhood usually serves as a country's initial point of diplomacy. Following Israel's robust response to the Hamas attack on October 7th, diplomatic ties with its neighboring countries are showing signs of strain.

This escalation has potential long-term repercussions for peace in the Middle East. Simultaneously, the United States consistently opposes a Gaza ceasefire, using its veto power at the United Nations Security Council to block such proposals.

This position prompts questions about the credibility of the U.S. as a global policing force that it claims to be.

Humanitarian Concerns and Resource Scarcity

The role of aid organizations, such as UNRWA, is critical in highlighting the deep concern about resource scarcity to help Gaza. The international community faces the challenge of addressing the urgent needs of a population caught in the crossfire.

Significant development amid Israel-Hamas war

The General Assembly adopted Jordan's resolution that urges an immediate humanitarian truce, compliance with international law for Gaza's supplies, and the unconditional release of captive civilians for their safety. Notably, it omits mention of the October 7 Hamas attacks.

The Israeli Prime Minister launched a massive missile attack on Gaza, resulting in over 10,000 Palestinian casualties. As of December 28 [17], the recent surge of violence has resulted in over 1,200 fatalities in Israel and at least 21,320 in Gaza, according to officials on both sides.

This move, aimed at targeting Hamas, has drawn global criticism and risks escalating regional conflicts with groups like Hezbollah. After a month of bombings, Israel agreed to release Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Israeli hostages held by Hamas.

Surprisingly, reports suggest positive conditions for the hostages, creating a public relations challenge for the Netanyahu government, known for blaming Hamas in various situations.

The United States, despite advocating for peace, has consistently chosen to veto the ceasefire, a stance that is quite surprising and contradictory.

It is alarming to see that Hamas, labeled a terrorist group, is negotiating the release of kids imprisoned in Israel for simply throwing stones.

This reflects a failure of the Israeli government to bring about peace, the indifference of Arab nations for their own gain, certainly a setback for US policies in the Middle East, and a broader defeat of humanity.

Muslim Nations' Stance: Refugees, Caution, and Shifting Dynamics

Historically, Muslim nations have been reluctant to accept Palestinian refugees due to perceived dangers, as evidenced by past incidents in Lebanon and Jordan.

This complex history has significantly influenced the cautious stance adopted by other Muslim countries that also seek to prevent potential repercussions, including the specter of Islamic terrorism associated with groups like Hamas.

Selective Outrage

Leaders backing Palestine, including those from Turkey, Russia, and China, leave issues like the Kurds, Chechnya, and Uyghurs in the shadows.

It begs the question: Is their condemnation of Israel a sincere concern or a political chess move against the West?

Furthermore, German support for Israel’s actions against Hamas, regardless of Palestinian civilians’ casualties, seems like a nod to their historical guilt over their past wrongdoing towards Jews.


The Israel-Palestine conflict's roots go beyond the recent Hamas attack, with Israeli occupation in Gaza and the West Bank setting the historical backdrop. Palestinians supporting Hamas over Israel raises questions about perceived rights infringement.

The condemnation of Hamas for keeping hostages parallels Israel's imprisonment of thousands of Palestinians, including women and children.

The power asymmetry is evident when Israel bombs Gaza civilians, controls war fuel, and restricts aid, acting as both oppressor and gatekeeper.

Justification for bombing hospitals based on Hamas suspicion, even if declared, raises ethical questions about targeting civilians alongside Hamas members. Will Israel thrive upon the tragic toll of thousands of deceased Palestinians?

While citizens of some most powerful nations, like the US, the UK, France, Canada, Germany, and Italy [18] voice their concerns against Israel, their governments stand firmly with Israel.

It leaves us pondering the true meaning of democracy - do citizens’ voices truly shape policy, or are they merely pawns in the game?

As the Israeli president promises to take responsibility for Gaza's safety, the sincerity of such an offer is doubted. Palestinians, having lost families and friends in Israeli bombings, may find it hard to accept leadership from the very source of their suffering.

The occurrence also raises questions about the shared accountability of the international community during this time of greatest need. Is Israel exempt from international law because of its close alliance with the USA?

The Israeli authority has not presented a clear plan for Gaza in case they succeed in removing Hamas. The absence of a comprehensive post-turmoil plan raises grave concerns, posing potential challenges and triggering profound concerns about the safety of Israeli citizens.

Is Israel leveraging the presence of Hamas to justify its occupation of Palestinians?

Is Netanyahu diverting attention from his trial by stirring up conflicts, or is this more about grabbing land and resources by displacing Gazans?

Is it a battle to protect Western values in the Middle East, with Israel being the representative of the West in the Middle East?

Is the reluctance of Gazans to oppose Hamas rule despite enduring years of turmoil and poverty driven by a desire for freedom from Israeli occupation, fear of Hamas, or a combination of both?

We are quick to label Hamas as the source of instability, but who is responsible for shaping them into this role?

Moreover, who should be held accountable if, post the October 7th ordeal, those Palestinian children, robbed of their dreams, homes, and people, find solace in Hamas, the lone entity seemingly standing for Palestine?


[11] CNN

[17] CNN

This text is also published in the International Journal of Novel Research and Development.

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Shipra Swaraj has a Masters in Political Science from Patna University, India. She is currently a Researcher at Grant Thornton and a Researcher/Writer at the International Youths Organization for Peace and Sustainability.

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