by Haydar Oruç
Hopes for a resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict are rising, though challenging factors still abound three decades after the hard-won 1993 Oslo Accords, which established an interim framework for seeking peace.
Turkiye officially normalized its relations with Israel in August after a long period of nonengagement, marking a significant step in Turkiye’s efforts to keep close to the region and regain the role of negotiator between Palestine and Israel.
So far, Turkiye has demonstrated its willingness to resolve international conflicts through its mediating role in the Balkans, in the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia and, most impressively, in the Ukraine crisis. It is therefore only logical that it would want to use this experience to help resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
In addition, Turkiye’s active and constructive role in international organizations such as the United Nations, the Organization of Turkic States, the G20 and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation will give it a privileged position in resolving this issue. Therefore, Turkiye can play a central role in helping achieve lasting peace between Palestine and Israel.
Furthermore, Saudi Arabia’s recent appointment of an ambassador to Palestine is the most important indicator of a changed position from a few years ago. This is because the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, who a few years ago said that the Palestinians did not want peace, now supports them by advocating the implementation of a two-state solution.
It is observed that China’s interest in the Middle East has recently increased significantly. After bringing Iran and Saudi Arabia together, China is believed to be able to help persuade the Palestinian and Israeli sides to similarly sit at the table. China has good relations with both sides and is expected to make attractive offers to both countries in the event of a possible peace agreement.
Certainly, many of these proposals will have an economic dimension, and other countries in the region would also benefit from these proposals.
It is seen as a facilitating factor for the US to seriously consider a possible Palestinian-Israeli peace agreement and to use its influence on the parties in this regard, including pushing for exchanges between Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Although the US is not seen in the Middle East as a reliable and neutral partner, it cannot be excluded from a possible peace process. Therefore, for the smooth progress of the peace plan, it would be prudent to involve the US in the process and take advantage of its influence on Israel.
Meanwhile, politics and society in Israel have been shifting to the far right for a long time, making it difficult for those who want peace to gain political representation. Especially in recent years, extremist parties have captured almost half of the Israeli Parliament and, through their ultranationalist and fundamentalist governments, have begun to move the country away from peace.
In addition, the government’s policy of increasing the number of settlements in the occupied Palestinian lands, even though they are prohibited by United Nations resolutions, looks like a major obstacle to peace.
Nonetheless, recent developments have led to increased hopes for the resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The active participation of actors such as Turkiye, Saudi Arabia and China in the process has led us to think that a new initiative will be different from previous ones.
The world powers should carry on their cooperative spirit from Oslo, further promote dialogue among related parties and increase contacts between opposing sides for peace efforts. In any case, if peace cannot be reached under current conditions, it is difficult to predict when suitable conditions might emerge again.