Israeli-Palestinian hostilities and political instability in Nepal in the midst of the global pandemic

PEACE-MAKER

Jose de Venecia Jr.
Former Speaker of the House

The United States and other world powers as well as the United Nations have called for “de-escalation” of deadly confrontation between the Israeli military and Palestinian forces in a bid to avoid a “full-scale war” between the two nations.

As of this writing, there seemed to be no let-up in the exchanges of Israeli airstrikes and Hamas rocket bombardments which have killed and injured hundreds of people, including women and children, and destroyed properties on both sides.

Intensifying the predicament are the violent riots and bloody assaults between Arab and Jewish citizens in several cities in Israel.

The hostilities between Palestine and Israel have certainly added fuel to the fire of tensions in the already precarious situation in the Middle East.

Prolonged hostilities, moreso a “full-scale war,” between the two nations would be catastrophic not just in the Middle East but in the world, especially at a time when the global community is still struggling with the Coronavirus pandemic.

We hope that the US, Russia, UK, Qatar, Egypt, Tunisia, the UN, and the European Union would play a more decisive role in mediating between Israel, Palestine, and the Hamas to end soonest the bloodshed and defuse the deadly hostilities.

We have always underscored that the international community should never give up the pursuit for peace no matter how overly difficult and elusive it is because the alternative – war and violence – are immeasurably costly and make everyone losers, especially the innocent civilians.

The Middle East, Asian region, and the world have had a surfeit of violence and war. As it is, the international community is beset with multiple conflicts and tensions.

Among which are the lingering dispute in the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea among the Philippines, China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei; the strains between Japan and China in the Senkaku Straits or Daiyou Straits in the East China Sea; the flashpoint in the Korean peninsula; the tensions between the US and Iran, especially on the nuclear deal issue.

The long complex, unfinished Arab-Israeli conflict, which is still awaiting final settlement; the establishment of a Palestinian homeland under a two-state solution, which is exacerbated by the ongoing bloody confrontation between Israel and Palestine; the long drawn-out conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh, which recently erupted into military clashes; the protracted war in Afghanistan and the continuing bloody wars in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and areas of West Africa bedevilled by ISIS, al-Qaeda, and the tribal wars.

*****

We pray for the Nepalese government and people who are beleaguered with the rapid deadly surge of COVID-19 cases, raising fears of a humanitarian crisis in the Himalayan country.

The Coronavirus situation has forced its prime minister, K.P. Sharma Oli, our old friend, to step down. Nepal’s political parties are struggling to form a new government.

We last visited the country’s historic capital Kathmandu some three years ago when we addressed a conference hosted by then Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli, who, for several years, was our colleague in the governing board of our International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP).

We tell our Nepalese friends that the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest is God’s greatest gift to the Nepalese people, who endured more than a decade of civil war until 2006, with enormous sacrifices, loss of many innocent lives, and displacement of countless people throughout the country.

Indeed Nepal went through a complex political transition which ushered in a new era of democracy, with a new democratic Constitution. It has made a three-in-one transition: From war to peace, from monarchy to a democratic Republic, and from a unitary to federal system of government. Major problems remain but the three-fold Nepalese transition marks a rare achievement in Asia and in the world.

The transition process in Nepal ended the decade-long bloody conflict. Successful elections have been held since 2006, each followed by peaceful transfer of power, a widely accepted ceasefire agreement, and decrease in political violence since 2008.

Nepal’s political parties are members of ICAPP, with the Nepal Communist Party and the Nepali Congress Party, represented by former Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal and former Deputy Prime Minister Sujata Koirala, respectively, sitting in our 39-member Standing Committee.

Our old friend, Nepal’s former Prime Minister Madhav Nepal is a founding member of ICAPP who, as then Deputy Prime Minister, flew to Manila in September, 2000 for the founding and launching of our Asia-wide organization.

Other good friends are former Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and former Minister for Peace and Reconstruction EkNath Dhakal, whose loving wife Blessie is a Filipina, from Zamboanga City.

 

 

 
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