Since 2009, Netanyahu has been successful in maintaining the separation between the two administrations in Palestine and their delegitimisation in the eyes of the international community; convincing the world that they indeed want peace but have no partner to negotiate with. As a result, the entire world has bought into the idea that we want a two-state solution but there is nothing to do about it, continuing the never-ending cycle and propping up occupation. But if anything shows us the urgency for changing the status quo, it is the atrocities that have unfolded in the last 7 weeks. You cannot have 56 years of occupation and think you can have peace; you cannot block 2 million people in territory such as Gaza and think you can have quiet.
It is clear that Israel, once the ceasefire has been lifted, will be determined to destroy Hamas, so that a repeat of October 7th cannot ever happen again. But what happens after? You can destroy Hamas’ ability to govern and rule Gaza, but you cannot destroy the ideology of Hamas without replacing it with a better idea, a better ideology. What is needed is an alternative to violent resistance, an alternative to Hamas; it has to be understood that the idea of Palestine is real, that their right of self-determination, liberation, and living with dignity is genuine.
How is this achieved? To begin with it is clear that bilateral negotiations when there is no symmetry have no chance of working. This means that Palestinians have to be able to come to the table for state-to-state negotiations and that negotiations require the support of the international community, as well as regional architecture to provide the necessary security guarantees of Israel. Palestinian statehood has never been more important and it is intolerable to continue to talk about a two-state solution when Israel is the only state with recognition. That is not to say that Palestinians have an easy road ahead, the unification of Palestinian leadership followed by democratic elections, and addressing the issues of parties who support an armed struggle will be difficult but not impossible. Ending this cycle can only be achieved by materialising the notion that everyone living between the river and the sea should have the same right to the same rights.