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The escalating crisis in the West Bank

Palestinian women walk past an area damaged after an Israeli military raid in Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank. (Majdi Mohammed/AP)
Palestinian women walk past an area damaged after an Israeli military raid in Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank. (Majdi Mohammed/AP)

Clashes in the West Bank are escalating.

Since Oct. 7 – hundreds of Palestinians in the West Bank have been killed, thousands arrested, and many banned from entering Jerusalem.

Today, On Point: The current crisis in the West Bank.

Guests

Ibrahim Dalalsha, director at the Horizon Center for Political Studies and Media Outreach, a thinktank in Ramallah in the West Bank.

Menachem Klein, professor emeritus at the Bar Ilan University in Israel.

Also Featured

Ajith Sunghay, head of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Transcript

Part I

MEGHNA CHAKRABARTI: Since Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel, where Hamas kidnapped, killed, and brutalized more than 1,000 Israeli men, women, and children, the Israeli Defense Forces response has killed at least 22,000 Gazan men, women, and children, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

The conflict has also spilled over into the West Bank. On December 27th, the U.N. High Commission on Human Rights issued a report outlining human rights violations documented by the OHCHR in the West Bank. The U.N. report states that between Oct. 7 to Dec. 27, Israeli security forces conducted mass arrests, detaining more than 4,700 Palestinians.

Ajith Sunghay is the head of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

AJITH SUNGHAY: Which has happened in the past, but nothing compared to the numbers we’ve seen now. It’s about 4,700 Palestinians from West Bank who are now in detention, many of them in administrative detention.

Reasons unknown, families do not know about those reasons. And many of them have no criminal reasons or background.

CHAKRABARTI: Sunghay says more than 490 Palestinians in the West Bank have been killed, the highest number since U.N. records began in 2005.

SUNGHAY: We’ve seen Israeli security forces using tactics and weapons that are basically used in an armed conflict.

For instance, airstrikes. Use of drones, use of snipers, thousands of troops, et cetera, et cetera, where in fact, in West Bank, the force that should be used is as if there is a law enforcement legal framework. So those two have led in massive casualties.

CHAKRABARTI: Sunghay also adds that the U.N. finds that escalation is taking an even greater toll on West Bank Palestinians due to mobility restrictions that were already in place.

SUNGHAY: Palestinians are unable to move at this stage between towns, between communities, there are major roadblocks, there are earth mounds, there are flying checkpoints, there are military checkpoints and so on and so forth, which has massively impacted. On the community, on the business, the school, and the day-to-day life, basically. And has impacted a range of what we call the economic, social, cultural rights of Palestinians.

CHAKRABARTI: The U.N. also says that Israeli settlers have taken advantage of the conflict in the West Bank and accelerated their displacement of Palestinians, including attacking West Bank communities and poisoning and vandalizing olive trees to prevent the harvest. In its report, the U.N. issues an urgent call to all nations, quote, “Especially nations with influence, to do all they can to stop the spread of violence in the West Bank.”

Just this weekend, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was in the region. Upon landing in Jordan, he insisted the U.S. continues to do all it can.

ANTONY BLINKEN: As we’ve said from day one, we have an intense focus on preventing this conflict from spreading. And a big part of the conversations we’ll be having over the coming days with all of our allies and partners is looking at the steps that they can take, using the influence and ties that they have to do just that, to make sure that this conflict doesn’t spread.

CHAKRABARTI: Today we’re going to focus extensively on what’s happening in the West Bank, and we’ll begin with Ibrahim Dalalsha. He’s the director at the Horizon Center for Political Studies and Media Outreach. It’s a think tank in Ramallah, in the West Bank. Later on in the show, we’ll hear from Israeli analyst Menachem Klein.

But first, Ibrahim Dalalsha, welcome to On Point.

IBRAHIM DALALSHA: Thank you for having me.

CHAKRABARTI: And I want to first note that you’re actually speaking to us today from Florida. You were able to come to the United States for family purposes, but I wonder if you could first of all describe what happened in regarding those mobility restrictions to Palestinians in the West Bank, and particularly for you, following Oct. 7.

DALALSHA: Yeah, when talking about mobility in the West Bank, I just have to actually tell you that there are so many eruptions, so many problems in terms of movement access and the like, but one of the biggest problems that we have been experiencing in the West Bank following the Oct. 7 attacks is the collective measures and punishment that has been placed on the entire West Bank and its population. And when you actually take that down to personal level, I, as someone who has been allowed to enter into Jerusalem, which is part of the West Bank, except for Israeli illegal annexation of it.

And there are Palestinians who actually live in that part. I have my daughters and my granddaughters living there and I have not really been able to visit them. It was much easier for me to come to Florida than actually going to visit my granddaughters who are like five miles away from me.

The impact, people speak of social rights, of political rights, of all kinds of categories that are defined. But I think what is missing from this is the human personal element of huge frustration and anger, of being subjected to punishment. While you basically have nothing to do with what’s happening, not the horrific attacks that were carried out against Israel on Oct. 7, and not even the ensuing Israeli retaliations against the civilian population in Gaza. The experience is just going from bad to worse.

And when we take it to the human personal level of it, it’s indescribable. Although, reports and documentation of violations are out there, but I think what is missing is the human element in it. Which is, I think, much more powerful than any ink can write in terms of how you describe this, because the way I feel it is very plain and simple. I’m just being punished for being a Palestinian living in my own hometown.

And incidentally, I was born in Jerusalem.

CHAKRABARTI: So to be clear, you’ve had permits to enter Jerusalem for a couple of decades. And even though it was challenging, you were successfully able to go in and out of Jerusalem. And as of Oct. 7, that is no longer possible for you or any Palestinian.

DALALSHA: Correct.

CHAKRABARTI: Has that ever happened before?

DALALSHA: The truth is no, because before you would actually, and even there, there’s, as you said, like there’s a little bit of suffering and basically eventually you get it. So you’re subjected to a security check screening. You do not pose a threat and then you’re basically given a permit and allowed.

But this time around, it doesn’t really matter who you are, and what you are and what’s your security background. There is a blanket closure, which actually prevents people from going to Jerusalem. And as the report mentioned, it’s not only about entering Jerusalem. It’s also about moving in the West Bank.

Like the collective punishment here is being applied in a blanket way without actually making any differences with the individual. It doesn’t really matter whether you had it before or not. It’s just a blanket measure that is being applied on all.

CHAKRABARTI: How else has day to day life changed in the West Bank? What kind of actions are people seeing from the Israeli security forces? We’ll talk about settlers in a moment. But what do you think is important to understand for how day to day life has changed in the West Bank?

DALALSHA: To be honest with you, I think that first of all, the situation in the West Bank before Oct. 7 was not, it was not easy and was not calm either.

So it has worsened indeed, but it didn’t really come out of a total calm into attention, reality. We had something like 500 people killed in the West Bank during confrontations, during Israeli army incursions into Palestinian towns.

Through that 30, 20 or more of those were actually killed after Oct. 7. But we still had incidents happening. Now, I think the major difference has been the erection of flying checkpoints and roadblocks that blocks the people from moving, moving from one town into the other within the West Bank.

And that’s not about crossing into Israel or Jerusalem. This is basically moving from one town to the other from Nablus to Ramallah, from Ramallah to Jenin, to Hebron, the Palestinian communities and population centers that we have in the West Bank. And there was no real, like, justification of reason given, other to minimize friction between Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank, meaning Israeli settlers who live in the West Bank.

And again, when you look at this situation as a Palestinian, you actually feel that even when it comes to preventing worse evil, there are no restrictions whatsoever in Israeli settlers. These have to be on Palestinian population. Regardless of their motives and regardless with the Palestinians are attacking settlers or not, in fact, there are, the records are and statistically is proven that settlers are the ones who are basically attacking Palestinians, not the other way around. But still, like the Palestinians are being subjected to this element, I think, in addition to arrests, mass arrests that have been taking place since Oct. 7, and many of those who are talking about, thousands of cases.

500 are still kept in custody since Oct. 7. And about 1,300 or 1,400 of those have been placed under administered actually means that there are no charges and there is no prosecution. This is just a precautionary kind of preemptive type of detention.

CHAKRABARTI: Detention. Yeah. Yes.

DALALSHA: On suspicion that you may or may not have been involved in any anti-Israeli activities in those areas.

Part II

CHAKRABARTI: We’re talking about the situation in the West Bank right now. And Ibrahim, we discussed the mass arrests that have been taking place, as documented also by the U.N. High Commission for Human Rights.

We’ve talked about the increase in the number of killings of Palestinians in the West Bank. But I also want to know what those movement restrictions, the domino effect it’s having on the West Bank as a whole, because if people can’t move around or get into Jerusalem, as you were talking about before, that means they can’t get to work either.

Is there a broader impact across the West Bank?

DALALSHA: Yes. In fact, when we talk about the broader impact, especially in terms of employment, it’s double effect. One is that we have more than roughly 200,000 Palestinian workers who had permits to work inside Israel who have been denied work since Oct. 7.

This actually represents about 33% of the income that actually comes into the West Bank. And that is coupled with an Israeli government measure against the Palestinian Authority that which hires actually 190,000 people by withholding tax revenues that Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinians. Which actually resulted in a situation where the two major pipes of income into the West Bank, the public sector employees who basically are unpaid or paid 50% of their salaries.

And then, like the 200,000 or so Palestinian workers working in Israel with no income. And you can imagine that those are like the two main pipes of income into the West Bank have been cut since Oct. 7. So in terms of the economic hardships, the purchasing power of people, the flow of cash in the local market has actually been hit very hard in the past three months.

This is coupled with the movement restrictions and all of that. Like it’s essentially a situation where it’s a total standstill of an entire community waiting for the situation to unfold in Gaza, because the impression is that these measures in the West Bank have been applied because of the situation in Gaza. So —

CHAKRABARTI: Now, yeah, as the December 27th report from the U.N. issued strong recommendations to the government of Israel, saying that the U.N. wants the government of Israel to urgently take steps, urgently it says, to stop the killing and unlawful detention of Palestinians in the West Bank, end the use of military weapons and operations there.

An issue clear and unambiguous orders to all Israeli security forces regarding the effective protection of the Palestinian population. And stop incidents of settler violence there. Now, presuming that little of these things will happen, I don’t know if the Israeli government has issued any statement about whether or not it will comply with the U.N., but what may happen in the West Bank, Ibrahim, if these actions are not taken?

DALALSHA: I want to tell you that I follow Israeli media very closely, and I don’t really think that the Israeli government gives any serious regard to U.N. or its recommendations. It has not happened before, and I actually would be pleasantly surprised if it does happen this time or any other time in the future.

But, I want to tell you that there are, like, reliable reports out there in the Israeli media that talks about Israeli security establishment, recommendations to the Israeli government, on specific aspects and measures that are being applied in the West Bank, mainly when it comes to employment, when it comes to Palestinian workers not being able to come to work in Israel, and the impact that this has on Israeli economy.

And on the West Bank, social, economic and security situation, in terms of the negative impact that it will have. In fact, even warning that this could actually worsen the situation to an eruption of violence. I think we have a very serious situation and a problem there, and I don’t actually reveal a secret by saying that on the current Israeli government and cabinet, we have, there are Israeli extremists, far ministers whose intentions, as declared, are not really to come to terms with the security, tranquility, stability in the West Bank. In fact, it’s all about far nationalist agenda in terms of the populating the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

So here, we’re talking about an ideology driven policy rather than a policy that is driven on factors of security, stability, and coexistence. And the question that you asked before, and I’m sorry to say it, but I have actually spent 30 years of my professional life working and advocating on the issues that related to coexistence, finding a peaceful resolution, the so called two state solution, to the Israeli Palestinian conflict.

And I increasingly feel that not only that I and fellow like-minded people have been disappointed, but I think basically that we are losing it to extremists on both sides who want to control the agenda into an endless conflict.

So the short answer to your question is that there will be an eruption. And that eruption of violence is becoming the main feature of the Israeli Palestinian reality. Once every 15 to 20 years, with new generations coming in, whether Palestinians or Israelis, the only course of action, the reality that they face, is a major eruption, after which they get tired.

They rest a bit, and then it comes back again, with ups and downs. It doesn’t really take a genius. If you follow this from 1967, all the way until today, it’s every 15 years you have a major eruption. Because there is no political solution to the conflict that is being embraced by neither side.

And I’m not going to advocate for a political solution now. I’m just saying that so long as there is no political. Other than repeated eruptions of violence. And the sad reality is, each time, it’s even much worse than what happened before.

CHAKRABARTI: Ibrahim, I’d like you to just stand by for a moment, because I want to bring in Menachem Klein into the conversation.

He’s professor emeritus at the Bar Ilan University in Israel, and he’s with us from Jerusalem. Professor Klein, welcome to you.

MENACHEM KLEIN: Hello, thank you very much for having me.

CHAKRABARTI: So first of all, you heard what Ibrahim Dalalsha has been saying. Let’s focus on the possibility of a much larger eruption of violence in the West Bank.

Do you think the continued operations of Israeli security forces there could not just lead to this eruption in the West Bank, but spill over into the region more broadly, such as Jordan next door?

DALALSHA: It may spill over, if their extreme right-wing elements in our government will have a chance to implement their forced immigration transfer plan to push maximum West Bank Palestinians to Jordan.

This is their scenario. This is their preferred solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Unlike Netanyahu and company, mainstream Israeli cabinet ministers that want to continue conflict management, they want to solve it by immigration, forced immigration. The conflict, that neither of the extremists nor the mainstream called to go back for two talks on solving the conflict through peaceful means. Go back to two state solutions or one state equally to everybody, for every person, one person, one vote or two collectives in one state, a federal state.

Never mind. They don’t want it. They want Jewish supremacy and Jewish supremacy today is a kind of apartheid style in the West Bank. Israel uses apartheid methods in the West Bank, not inside Israel, according to my analysis, neither in Gaza Strip before Oct. 7. But in the West Bank, yes.

Actually, what we have in the West Bank and here, this is a fundamental question that clarifies the situation. Is there a border between West Bank and Israel? And if there is a border to home to which collective this border is meaningful. Now if there is a border, it is not a border for the Israelis.

Israeli Jews expand into the West Bank. If there is a border or many borders, actually. And here I agree with my colleague on the flying roadblocks and flying borders. These borders are relevant only for the Palestinians. And we have to bear in mind this situation.

CHAKRABARTI: So Professor Klein, what you’re talking about here is the far-right wing of the Israeli government.

Just to restate what you were saying, actually wishes for far more than an end to the current conflict. They’re wishing for an expulsion of Palestinians from the West Bank. Now, according to what you’re saying, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, often, not always, but often continues to insist that the goal of the Israeli government right now is an eradication of Hamas.

Now with the continued actions of Israeli security forces in West Bank as they are, does that not undermine not just the West Bank, the Palestinian people living there, but the Palestinian authority, as well, who would be needed for any resolution to the current conflict, or does the Israeli war cabinet not care?

KLEIN: Netanyahu and the mainstream in the cabinet, they don’t want the Palestinian authority to enter Gaza Strip. They are afraid that once the Gaza Strip or the political force managing Gaza Strip and the one managing the West Bank unite under one regime, this is the first step towards a Palestinian state.

All cabinet ministers, present cabinet ministers in Israel, they rule out any option of having a Palestinian state, and they want, and they work, since 2007, to divide West Bank and Gaza Strip politically, and they maintain their rivalry between Hamas and Fatah in the West Bank. So they don’t want them to unite.

They don’t want Mahmoud Abbas regime to enter into the Gaza Strip. The key question is whether the United States that is interested to see Ramallah managing Gaza, whether this administration is ready to put heavy pressure on the Israeli government. I doubt about that.

CHAKRABARTI: So I want to come back to that point in a moment.

And Ibrahim, I’ll return to you here. But Professor Klein, who has control of the Israeli war cabinet right now?

KLEIN: The majority is Netanyahu and the mini war cabinet, which is form up with ex-general’s party. They are mainstream right-wing persons. So anti permanent agreement solution, they rule the cabinet.

They want a conflict management. They don’t want conflict resolution. They don’t want even a Palestinian state, to see a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. They mistrust the Abbas regime. They mistrust Fatah and they are unwilling to open negotiations. On final status agreement.

CHAKRABARTI: Yeah. Ibrahim Dalalsha, I appreciate your patience here. I’m sure you have many thoughts about what Professor Klein is saying. Go ahead.

DALALSHA: Yeah, I do. And I think frankly, the reality is that two decades before Oct. 7, we had the second intifada at the time. Which was actually followed by resumption of security coordination between Israeli security forces and Palestinian authority security forces.

Since 2005, when President Abbas was elected as the president of the Palestinian Authority. We had three U.S. Administrations under Bush and twice under President Obama trying to move forward with a political solution to the conflict, and the three attempts failed. Now, regardless who’s to blame for the failure, at the end of the day, it failed. And we entered into a new major eruption. And my thinking, and I’m actually sorry to say that, but I think I differentiate between what I think will happen and what should happen.

I think what should happen is essentially a process. Even if it’s a lengthy process, no one needs to trust anyone. The Israeli logic of basically wanting to have Palestinians as loyal citizens of the state of Israel without having Israeli passports and nationality and rights is not going to happen.

Separation between Palestinians and Israelis is a path that could be taken even if it goes gradual. So instead of actually spending the next 20 years deepening the occupation and building more settlements and increasing Israeli settlers and boosting them inside in the West Bank territory, you could actually do otherwise, which is like de-occupying.

Certain parts of the West Bank and let Palestinians basically have an entity of their own in a gradual basis. That’s what should happen, but will not. It’s not going to happen. I think that the Israeli mainstream now is actually mobilized by force to actually hit Hamas. And causing collateral damage of 70% of Palestinian victims that were killed in Gaza are civilians. Documented to be women and Children.

Part III

CHAKRABARTI: I apologize for having had to interrupt you a little earlier, Ibrahim. We just had to take that break. Please go ahead and continue your thought on what you think will happen in the West Bank versus what you think should happen.

DALALSHA: Yes. I think, frankly, the situation is such that you have far right ideology, as my colleague just explained, on the Israeli side.

And I have to tell you that we had the mainstream camp on the Palestinian side advocating for two state solution, coexistence and peace. And my worry is that after Oct. 7 and the ensuing war, I think that the extremists on our side, too, have the high ground.

And, if there are Israeli ministers who are thinking of expelling Palestinians into Jordan and elsewhere, we are witnessing a period of radicalization on the Palestinian side where people are saying, “We have been advocating. We actually need to go back where we come from.” Because the Israeli-Palestinian conflict did not really start in 1967. It started in 1948. So there are even more voices now who are basically saying Haifa, Jaffa. And incidentally, 70% of Palestinians are refugees who have been expelled from those areas before 1967.

And therefore, the radicalization is becoming, and the extremism is actually taking over. You know whether they will be able to materialize that or not. It doesn’t really matter. Israel is like a strong country, powerful. You’ve got military, so it won’t really happen that way. But it actually means that the conflict will continue, and the worst is yet to come.

CHAKRABARTI: Professor Klein, let me ask you it’s quite something to hear Ibrahim Dalalsha say him having been a long-term supporter of a two-state solution. And at least at this moment feeling far less hope that might ever come to pass. Now we also know that Israel’s far right has basically never wanted a two-state solution.

In a sense, are we at a point now where virtually all hope is lost for that path towards peace in the region?

KLEIN: Many people lost hope, also in Israel. But among my colleagues, to the supporters and activists for two state solution, I started hearing new voices. That we made mistakes in our proposals … during Oslo time, in our concept were wrong.

We should rethink and go back in much different a proposal, or go back to negotiate and offer a very different concept off two-state solution. Be it the confederation, be it a, or let’s say it in so many words, treat differently with 1948 refugee issues. And the Palestinian attachment to Jaffa and Haifa, the right to return to their places, seeing 48 areas of the sovereign Israel areas as part off Palestinian history.

All these are now open to reconsideration among Israeli leftist, within the peace camp. The de facto won regime that we have all over the area from Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. This creates new thinking, even inside the Israeli left and what remained from in the peace camp, for the remainder of the peace camp. So there are new thinking there, and hopefully once the international community resume its interest in final status agreement, there are new thoughts that we can build on, but I fully agree with my colleague.

At the moment, there is a process of radicalization. Jewish supremacy is very popular in the Israeli public. Not only the party, the public mind is built around Jewish supremacy and a movement that the Tahanan Gang movement, racist movement, that was once small minority now is inside the mainstream, not only the cabinet, but yes, in public opinion.

I’ve seen, I’ve been reading in the Israeli press reporting that for example, foreign security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir is getting more popular in the Israeli mainstream. And there’s even some concern that if an election were to be held, maybe he could come close or even to topple Benjamin Netanyahu.

CHAKRABARTI: Now Ibrahim Dalalsha just want to take one moment. We’ve been focusing on Israel and the Israeli government and military for obvious reasons. But I want to hear a little bit more from you about something that you mentioned in an interview in the New Yorker magazine. You were asked about that in regarding Hamas, that Palestinian support for Hamas may be increasing now due to the destruction that has been going on in Gaza. And they also asked you if there’s any feeling that Hamas’s action have caused the increased hardships for Palestinians, particularly in the West Bank.

DALALSHA: I just have one comment to make on the radical opinions both in Israel and among the Palestinians. … Since Oct. 7 both societies are being mobilized into fight until the very last man standing kind of situation. And this is some senior people, including the Israeli prime minister, who came on public, in a public statement, say, recalling from the Bible the Jews’ fight against Amalek. Which, incidentally, brings in the religious element and aspect of the Israeli Palestinian conflict to which there is no two-state solution, and in my opinion, there is no solution. That is where if you recall Amalek, on the other side, there are those who actually believe that Judgment Day will not come until all Jews are killed.

If we’re talking about this kind of mainstream and this kind of environment, then we’re really doomed. And this is, I think, frankly, that this is a call, a last call maybe, for all people who believe in coexistence, in human life as a value and dignity and right and justice. And the sense of reaching out to a secure and stable environment for both people need to basically fight this out.

Now, my colleague is talking about some thinking that would actually better offers and proposals to come up with a political solution. My thinking is that we need to start at one point and this start, it can be a gradual process. It doesn’t have to be instant, immediate creation of a Palestinian state, but creating a different reality.

So every day we wake up to a new positive reality with one step further towards the solution, rather than being stuck in religious faith, ill interpreted faith interpretations. And basically, taking both Palestinians and Israelis to hell’s reality. The immediate answer to your question is, I think we have a situation that does not really take us closer into security, calm or tranquility in the West Bank.

We’re actually moving towards more pressure and more force that is being applied against the civilian population. Hamas’s popularity I think is incidental as a response to the emotional frustration of the footage that comes out of Gaza. It’s not, this is not an ideological support for Hamas.

It’s actually an expression of venting and sentiments. Again, of frustration and anger for what’s happening and the sense of being victimized and punished for without having being necessarily part of what has happened.

CHAKRABARTI: Let me ask you, when I hear you say that possibly something more fundamental than a political solution is urgently needed right now.

Is that why you told the New Yorker, I’m just reading the quote here, “We are in a very bad moment of our conflict, to the point that I think the problem now is not only about making peace after this war, we are even below the level of accepting each other’s right to exist.”

DALALSHA: I do believe that firmly. Yes.

Because, again, as I told you, I watch almost extensive Israeli media. And one of the things that I actually hear is that people mainstream justify what happens in Gaza in terms of the excessive number of people that have been killed. Civilians that have been killed by actually saying, “Oh, it doesn’t really matter. They are Hamas supporters.” There is a level that is scary level. Of mainstream mobilization against each other.

And I’m not acquitting, on the Palestinian side, it’s the same thing. The idea is that we need to fight. And we need to fight until end of days is actually growing momentum. And the problem is that it’s growing momentum across the younger generation. And by the way, the Palestinian people are, 70% of Palestinians are below the age of 40. It’s a very young generation. So those people have no concept of previous attempts to actually create peace.

They just were born into a reality of occupation, and they continue to experience it. And as such, all of the sentiments are really being built that way. And there are no leaderships, on neither side, to actually steer them away from it by creating an alternative reality that works. That is, I think, what is missing.

I don’t expect the Palestinian people one day to wake up and basically say, “Oh, we just want peace. We give up. We can’t really fight anymore.” That’s not going to happen. And the thing is the same thing on the Israeli side, they will continue to, I think, now, especially after the Oct. 7 attacks and the experience, the trauma that the Israeli society has experienced under that, they will continue to think that only force and more force is what is going to protect us.

And it’s a doomed fate for both sides.

CHAKRABARTI: Right. Just going back for a moment to the movement restrictions that have been further strengthened on Palestinians in the West Bank. I want to note that it’s also possible that, I think the IDF has said, that that part of their intention with that is to restrict the movement of anyone associated with Hamas in the West Bank and to find them.

So that is another, just a point of view and stated intention from Israeli security forces. But in the last few minutes, and we only have a few minutes left, I want to actually just take a minute to hear from quickly from both of you, your assessment on the United States and its use and its influence in this situation right now.

Professor Klein, just quickly, has the U.S. been effective at all? And if so, if not, what more should it do?

KLEIN: I tried to find, the basic question that I ask myself is how we get out from where we are, and where we want to go. I am afraid that these questions are not seriously dealt with in the American administration.

They want only the immediate and the very, very practical to be implemented. And that’s it. They don’t look behind the next week. Oh, sorry. And what we need is a far sight perspective, an administration that have a vision and then tell the sides this is our vision, and we will work to implement it with you.

We will work closely with you, and we will do everything to get there. This is not done by the administration. And as any other American administration, the Biden administration is also pro-Israeli, is too close to Israel, too biased by Israeli interest, and is not using the tough love that a mediator should use in order to reach an agreement.

CHAKRABARTI: Ibrahim Dalalsha, we have about 30 seconds remaining. You’ve worked closely with the U.S. government, very closely with the U.S. government in the past. I know you want the U.S. to exercise more real leverage in this situation, but what leverage is that?

DALALSHA: I think, frankly, yes, I did work with the U.S. administration for 20 years of my lifetime, and I think that frankly, the main change needs to come from within the Palestinians and Israelis.

So advocates of coexistence and whatever political solution can we agree on, I think that the U.S. will actually come and support and make happen. I think the leverage that I actually was referring to is to stop the current war in Gaza and to get us back on the track where we can go back to our senses, both as Palestinians and Israelis. I don’t think that the U.S. can actually impose a solution. I think it can help us reach a solution, but the main job needs to be done by both societies, the Israelis and the Palestinians.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.