Friday, Sep 21, 2018
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The endless battle in Gaza

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Palestinian protesters chant slogans next to burning tires during clashes with Israeli troops along Gaza's border with Israel, east of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip.

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Bloodshed at the Gaza border last weekend, claiming an estimated 18 Palestinian lives, is just one more in what will continue to be a series of such clashes absent either a two-state solution or negotiations toward such an agreement.

The Palestinians state that their intention is to continue to confront the Israelis at the Gaza border, in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel and the driving out of some of the Palestinians from their land in 1948. If they pursue this course, there will inevitably be more loss of life.

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Last weekend’s hostilities in the Holy Land were particularly painful in that they coincided with the Christian Easter and the Jewish Passover.

The region, and perhaps the world, still awaits the unveiling of the proposed peace process that the Trump administration promised months ago, in principle under the leadership of presidential son-in-law and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner. Perhaps Mr. Kushner has discovered that there is no better, and really no other, solution than the two-state one.

In the meantime, sporadic violent conflict continues. The Palestinians struggle to coordinate positions among Fatah in the West Bank, led by the aging Mahmoud Abbas, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, and other Palestinian organizations. Outside support of Palestinians by sometimes conflicting countries and sects do not contribute to unity.

The Israelis are in the midst of a leadership crisis, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, long the dominant political figure in Israel, apparently on the ropes with increasingly persistent corruption charges and no successor clearly in view.

The Middle East remains very much shark-filled waters. The Trump administration already has its hands full dealing with Russia, North Korea, and the “little wars” in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, West Africa, and Yemen. It seems unlikely that the United States will undertake to play a lead role in trying to untangle the expensive, painful and seemingly endless Israeli-Palestinian contest.

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