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Time to launch a credible peace process in the Middle East

As the war on Gaza comes to an end for now and a ceasefire seems to hold due to international pressure, it is imperative that substantial political talks are restarted to avoid future conflicts and put an end to the Israeli occupation.

The war on Gaza should remind everybody, especially the Arab League and the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, that without a fundamental solution to the root cause of the problem, the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and the continuing settlement activities including the confiscation of Palestinian lands, this region will continue to witness such conflicts and the tragic loss of lives.

This round of fighting, sparked by the Israeli attempt to evict hundreds of Palestinian families from their ancestral homes in the Shaikh Jarrah neighbourhood in the occupied East Jerusalem, led to the death of more than 200 Palestinians, including dozens of children, and the destruction of dozens of residential buildings. But this war was not the first.

It seems that every few years, Israel would find an excuse to launch deadly attacks on the besieged strip. It did exactly that in 2014. The UN said at the time that at least 2,104 Palestinians were killed including 495 children 253 women. Six years earlier, in 2008, Israel launched a similar war, which also included a ground invasion of Gaza, that led to the killing of 1,391 Palestinians; around 344 of them were children.

And just hours after a ceasefire was secured through Egyptian mediation on Thursday night, the Israeli forces stormed Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem shortly after Friday prayers.

The continuing exercise of power by the occupation and the retaliation by Palestinian factions shows that unless a serious effort is put into finding a just and lasting solution to the Palestinian question, more innocent blood will be spilled, and more Palestinian land confiscated.

The basis of this so far elusive peace is there, and it is viable. The UN resolutions, which repeatedly called for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state based on the June 4, 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, represent strong fundamentals for peace.

These resolutions are underscored by the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002, which offers Israel complete normalisation with Arab states in return to its withdrawal from the land it occupied in June 1967. The international community recognises that the Gaza ceasefire is fragile.

As in previous years, another war is not ruled out as long as the Israeli occupation continues to deny the Palestinians the inalienable right to their own free independent state.