Abdul Ilah Khatib
Former Jordanian Foreign Minister and UN Special Envoy to Libya

Towards a Post-War Horizon in Gaza

As a temporary ceasefire agreement has been reached in recent hours, and despite any doubts about its viability, it is important to begin thinking about how to open a political horizon that will enable work towards a permanent settlement of the conflict, which will spare the region the burden of living during this cycle of killing, suffering and instability.

We in Jordan, as a state and a people, have always firmly recognized the centrality and priority of the Palestinian file. Its consequences and repercussions affect all aspects of our lives, and are reflected on us directly, which leads to full consensus on the conviction that establishing an independent Palestinian state is a supreme national interest.

Based on this logic, Jordanian diplomacy, led personally by the King, has not stopped reminding the entire world that delaying work to find a just solution will impact, sooner or later, the security and stability of the region, and the accompanying threat to international stability.

Despite the fading of international interest, and the resulting decline in efforts to find that solution, Jordan continued to warn at every opportunity of the dangers and consequences of this stalling.

The brutal war against Gaza, with all its political and legal descriptions, was clear evidence of the validity of that position, and of the tragedies that the region could witness, as well as proof that deceptive calm will inevitably be followed by the eruption of the situation.

On the other hand, the most extremist and racist government in the history of Israel tried to create an impression about the possibility of jumping towards expanding its regional relations, without addressing the central issue.

This government and the right-wing versions that preceded it tried to highlight other regional challenges to market the concept of regional cooperation.

The imperatives of geography, history, and demographics prevented Jordan from accepting this approach. The country was keen to maintain efforts to focus on the need to find a political solution, explaining that violence and force will not provide a viable resolution to the conflict.

The Palestinian people, regardless of who has tried to lead them for a whole century, have proven that they will not give up their rights and will not accept attempts to abolish them, and therefore it is impossible to disregard their cause.

Arab and Islamic counties continued to view Palestine as the first priority for humanitarian and national considerations, in addition to the religious aspects arising from the Islamic and Christian sanctities that the land of Palestine abounds with.

There have been many mistakes and sins in dealing with this file over the decades, which the Israeli right has exploited to perpetuate the occupation and hinder peace efforts, by working to buy time to create “facts” on the ground that ultimately lead to the claim of the impossibility of establishing an independent Palestinian state.

The Israeli side has also reinforced and exploited the Palestinian division, and refrained from welcoming the Arab Peace Initiative or committing to implement its international legal obligations that would lead to resolving the conflict on the basis of the two-state solution.

This is in addition to its continued promotion of the lack of a Palestinian partner that has the legitimacy, credibility, and ability to conclude peace. It did not spare any attempt or maneuver to consolidate that concept, as the Israeli right, since the assassination of the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, has continued to undermine every effort that could lead to a two-state solution.

Since the events of Oct. 7 and the subsequent war of genocide launched by Israel after it obtained a blank check from the official West, the past weeks have witnessed the beginning of an international awakening, manifested by repeated calls from various countries to return to reviving the two-state option as the only solution capable of ending the conflict. It is certain that, after the end of this barbaric war, the Israeli right will maintain its attempts to establish ideas that undermine this renewed international awareness, to prevent the launch of a real effort to reach a two-state solution.

To confront such expected attempts, the Palestinian, Arab and international parties must adopt a number of measures and provide specific requirements that prevent Israel from continuing to waste more time and distract efforts aimed at achieving the desired solution.

This requires determining the necessary political and diplomatic action that must be taken at the end of this episode in the series of targeting civilians and waging wars of extermination against the Palestinian people. If we do not succeed in providing what is needed, the huge sacrifices and the high price paid by the people of Gaza will be wasted, and the region will remain hostage of a long, dark tunnel.