Seneca once said, “No wind is favourable for those who do not know where they are going.” In the most complex conflict in the world today, the one that confronts the State of Israel with Hamas (and, by extension, with a large part of the Palestinian population), there is no military solution. However, the Zionist state insists on thinking that dialogue is not possible, but the destruction of the enemy is. In the meantime, anger and hatred grow among many Palestinians, provoking violence upon violence. Furthermore, a large number of European citizens have long thought that the situation is becoming more and more entrenched. Every Israeli step in the wrong direction – building settlements in occupied Palestinian territories, a wall that does not respect the original borders of the West Bank and seizing water sources from Palestine, noncompliance with United Nations resolutions, etc. – provokes a reaction of increasing hatred and radicalism in the occupied territories and even terrorist responses. Thus, the two-state solution prescribed by the UN in 1948 became more and more challenging to achieve.

The ability of this conflict to polarize opinions and support for one side or the other is unparalleled. It was evident that the economic, cultural and political influence of Israel in the West, or the massive emigration of the Palestinian population, part of which lives miserably in various regions of the world, contribute to this ideological – and, let us not forget, also emotional – polarization. This makes it difficult to resolve a conflict that, from the field of peacebuilding, we refuse to see as unsolvable.

However, intellectual honesty demands acknowledgement that the victory of Israel and the defeat or dissolution of Palestine as a way to permanently solve the conflict – which is the present situation – is not possible. The paradigm that needs to be developed is quite different: the security of the two peoples inevitably depends on the security of the other. Both the non-recognition of Israel by Iran and its allies and Israel’s longstanding actions to make a Palestinian state unfeasible make a medium- or long-term solution impossible. Two states living in peaceful coexistence can only coexist under mutual recognition and security conditions.

So, there is a political solution to this severe conflict. Still, it necessarily involves recognition of the other with equal rights, coexistence with mutual security, and a cultural change of perception of the other, which will be slow but is possible. There is no need to choose one side and demonize the other – doing so blocks any path to peace. The two communities must be able to build their state to coexist with another state.

Where can we begin to change this rhetoric that advocates the destruction of the other? Well, first of all, let’s listen to the people from Palestine and Israel who are working for peace (not everyone believes in violence to solve the conflict), and give them coverage. Then, we should avoid and reject publicly anti-Muslim or anti-Semitic attitudes as a way to combat polarization. Furthermore, we should stand by the victims of violence, accompanying them in their pain. We have proposed this in the statement made public by ICIP (International Catalan Institute for Peace) to respond to the disorientation and despair that encourage the forces opposed to peace.

And if, in addition, we highlight the importance of the work carried out by the United Nations – which, although imperfect, poor and weak, is essential – we will be making an outstanding contribution to the progress of humanity.