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'They have been suffering so long': ISU professor calls for 2-state solution in Israel-Palestinian conflict

Israeli forces' flares light up the night sky in Gaza City, Monday, Nov. 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Abed Khaled)
Abed Khaled/AP
Israeli forces' flares light up the night sky in Gaza City on Monday, Nov. 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Abed Khaled)

After a month of fighting following the attack on Israel by Hamas fighters, a professor at Illinois State University argues it is time for a cease fire and to urgently work toward a long-term solution.

Since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack that killed more than 1,000 Israeli civilians, over 10,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza through relentless bombing campaigns. Those campaigns were stopped once, in order to get four released hostages out of Gaza. However, now Israel says no more stoppages will be made until all the more than 200 hostages taken by Hamas are released.

Closeup of man speaking into microphone on table stand
Ali Riaz

Ali Riaz, a distinguished professor of politics and government at ISU, has focused on global political struggles throughout his career. He said the Israeli offensive has gone too far and the United States has not gone far enough in trying to broker a solution to the conflict.

In addition, Riaz said the United States needs to lead a push for a two-state solution that would give land for both Israelis and Palestinians in the disputed territory. To Riaz, that solution would give Israel the safety and security its people desire.

“Let us actually work with the Palestinian people to find a solution that would ensure not only Israel’s existence, but a viable state for the Palestinian people,” Riaz said in an interview on WGLT’s Sound Ideas.

In the meantime, Riaz said a cease fire would be productive for several reasons. In terms of freeing hostages, Riaz said their safe return cannot be guaranteed if the road back home is still unsafe. Another reason is to increase civilian aid.

“Under this relentless bombing, you cannot have any humanitarian operation,” said Riaz. “That we know because there is only one point of relief that can enter Gaza, right? Through Egypt.”

Riaz commended the Biden administration for suggesting Israel not make the same mistakes out of rage that America did after the 9/11 attacks, but added the U.S. needs stronger rhetoric to bring a stop to the fighting.

“President Biden’s steps fall seriously short in making a definite move to bring at least a pause,” Riaz said. “To have a pause you have to have a cease fire.”

Riaz said the U.S. also should take a greater leadership role in working with European countries to try to broker a two-state solution.

Until a resolution to the decades-long conflict can be agreed upon, the constant instability will be the only thing that Palestinians will ever know, he said.

“They have been suffering so long,” said Riaz. “Since 2007, 16 years, there has been a blockade. So you’d have to understand the desperation of it.”

Riaz will take part in a panel discussion on the humanitarian crisis and democracy in the Middle East at 1 p.m. Tuesday at ISU’s Schroeder Hall.

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Local News IsraelHamasIllinois State UniversitySound Ideas
Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
Braden Fogerson is a student reporter at WGLT. He joined the station in May 2023.
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