Israel under world pressure announced a unilateral ceasefire in the ongoing conflict with Hamas. True that Tel Aviv got a dose of her own medicine. Israel-Palestine conflict is there for more than seven decades mired in a series of hostilities escalating every year and subsequent assaults by Tel Aviv on Palestinian territory mowing down men, women and children. The hyper-civilised world had always been a mute spectator. Incredibly new is that the Hamas military wing this time struck back out of the blue with full force to Tel Aviv’s military action, bewildering and giving sleepless nights to Israelites over several days. All assessments and daresay of Tel Aviv have proved wrong which the State blames on her intelligence failures.
The renewed clashes were initiated by Tel Aviv at a time when Benjamin Netanyahu was about to be charged with fraud, corruption and breach of the nation’s trust by a high-placed investigation committee that had gathered all necessary witnesses and evidence against him and his wife. Last year, the Israeli premier had to quit many other portfolios on the charges of corruption over the past several continuous terms of his government. The prime minister’s personal reasons churned a tempest of bloodshed and pushed the entire region into the flames of war, even though for a brief period.
Hamas has astonished Tel Aviv on having garnered powerful rocket and guided short missile capability that rendered Israel horror-struck. The reality that Israel faced the deadliest attacks for the first time since its inception is on records now. As per the reports, a rain of some more than three thousand rockets and advanced version of short missiles have befallen Israel causing destruction and loss of dozens of lives that is yet to be known from reliable sources owing to a blanket ban on world media in Israel. Despite the fact that Gaza lost hundreds of human lives to unabated diabolical Israeli bombardments, their iron will could not be melted. The robust ‘Iron Dome’ anti-missile system of Israel might have failed but not the iron spirits of Hamas, to which the world is witness.
Assuming new ramifications of the decades-old imbroglio, the world today seemed manifestly divided into two blocks for the first time since the 1967 Arab Israel war. China and Russia obviously and overtly sympathise for the Palestinian cause, ostensibly on moral and diplomatic grounds, but observers believe that the probability of some level of logistic support to Hamas and Iran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah from these countries cannot be easily brushed under the carpet. Both China and Russia urged proactively the United Nations Security Council to strongly issue a condemnatory statement that the US got vetoed thrice. It was lately convened in the virtual mode, again without any decision. On the floor of the UN General Assembly both the global powers had turned the tables on US-backed Israel. The Russian and Chinese foreign office statements even warned Israel of dire consequences.
Understandably, Ankara, Tehran and Islamabad were caught in the limelight, awfully busy in their diplomatic efforts in garnering Chinese and Russian support against Israel’s renewed aggression. Not only this, the OIC foreign ministers’ conference as convened in Riyadh under the influence of Turkey, Pakistan and Malaysia berated Israeli aggression. Saudi Arabia felt the heat and preferred to queue up with them this time. Albeit from the OIC forum yet again the schismatic narrative from some Arab states yet again spoiled the event.
The newly forging Muslim alignment of Istanbul, Tehran, Islamabad and perhaps Malaysia is at work to persuade the KSA to come along, particularly under the backdoor influence of Beijing which strives hard to gain control of the Arabian Peninsula from the US. The KSA is cautiously reciprocating. The KSA has already invested 200 billion dollars in CPEC oil refinery at Gawadar and China has undertaken a contract to buy Saudi oil for 50 years from now. Perhaps, bridging the gap between Riyadh and Islamabad, Ankara and also Tehran, the Chinese and Pakistani efforts may not yield desired results fast particularly when the US has stationed its F18 fighter aircraft fleet in Saudi Arabia to safeguard Israel, even though the kingdom has reiterated not to recognise Israel. Tehran is covertly providing military assistance to Hamas through Hezbollah in Lebanon. Meetings have been unfolding between Persian foreign minister and Hamas top brass in Syria. The Russian foreign minister too had a meeting with Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrullah in Moscow who is known for his stand in support of Hamas. The Syrian strong opposition groups backed by Ankara are also believed to have developed hugger-mugger connections with Hamas.
Turkey and Iran have been vociferously vocal in pursuing Moscow to install air defence missile system at Gaza bordering Israel so that Tel Aviv is denied a free hand to bombard Gaza. Moscow would not consider it as akin to direct intervention that may rattle the pro-Israeli block. However, the news from a top official in Kuwait that Pakistani and Turkish air force was ready to strike Israel from Iraqi and Jordan airbases might have fostered the ceasefire option by Tel Aviv. This must be adding a quite new dimension to the protracted conflict. The US in the current scenario initially appeared to be out of the fray. Biden’s Israel policy was supposed to be somewhat cold compared to that of Trump’s hot pursuit in supporting her. Several Congressmen urged Biden to withdraw financial support to Tel Aviv. Succumbing to tremendous pressure from the Jewish lobby, Washington formally justified the Israeli offensive. Earlier, Donald Trump heading this invisible lobby had blamed Biden for deliberate neglect of Tel Aviv and Mike Pompeo, Trump’s foreign secretary, had warned Bidden that Israel might vanish if not supported. It finally converged on a weapons deal between US and Israel worth 735 million dollars, which might have served as a counter to Chinese and Russian meddling.
The US this time is well aware of the fast changing multi-polar world spectrum and has realised soon that her neutrality would be encouraging the opposite response from China and Russia. This has yet another facet that shows how the US is hell bent on destroying world peace in the New World Order. Cataclysms brought about by Washington from Iraq to Syria and Yemen to Afghanistan were meant only to secure apartheid Israel an integral part in this New World Order. Both China and Russia have lately developed several stakes in that region and are strongly believed to back their frontline allies to counter US-Israel influence over there. This truce that Gaza celebrates as victory may prove to be fragile in the coming days as Israel may be repeating its aggression, but this time against her is the fact that a misadventure once again might spiral Jihadists from Turkey, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen duly backed by the anti US-Israel block.
Notwithstanding the honouring of a Two-State position that Tel Aviv has been virtually in denial amid lack of world guarantee to it, the situation might end in a human tragedy of monstrous proportions and the region may turn into another Afghanistan and Syria with perilous consequences for all.
The writer is a Professor at SKUAST-K. [email protected]