11-day war, 4th Israel-Palestine war, the names of recently concluded Israel-Palestine conflict is already emerging from different corners. The ceasefire seems to be fragile.
Unlike the conflicts before, this time some of the traditional supporters of the Palestine cause remained silent or leaned towards the state of Israel. At the forefront, was none other than the de-jure world’s defender of Muslims, Saudi Arabia. Countries like Egypt, which was at the forefront to fight the newly born Israel state in 1947 remained largely a silent spectator. UAE, Bahrein, and other Arabic countries were no exception.
So what do you believe is behind this new middle-east order? This silence, unprecedented preaches for a truce. Acceptance for Israel’s right for the land, why there is a new need perception towards Israel in the Arab region?
There was alleged news that Israel PM, Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to Saudi Arabia and met its crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. MBS in a secret meeting and an interview in the US, MBS said that Israelis “have the right to have their own land” and that formal relations between Israel and the kingdom could be mutually beneficial. Hence shedding the deep-rooted Anti-Semitic perception in Islam, by the custodian of the holy mosques.
All this is nothing but the ground making for an alliance against a common enemy in the region, Iran. Qatar-owned International news agency Al-Jazeera was banned in Saudi Arabia and stated grave allegations of propaganda against the kingdom. In the recently conducted conflict, the Al-Jazeera office was destroyed in Palestine, Qatar has made diplomatic relations with Iran; which irked both Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Saudi is fighting the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen and Hezbollah in Syria, which is proclaimed as new age proxy war between the Islamic giants. This 21st century cold war already claimed the lives of hundreds and thousands of civilian life in both Yemen and Syria. This is not an alarming situation for the international Palestine supporters because Muslims are killed by Muslims, hence not a problem. But in Palestine, Islam is attacked externally. This hypocritical stand of people around the world is making the situation complex and impossible for a resolution.
Saudi is trying hard to maintain the status quo but the Persian challenge to this is making the crown prince vulnerable. This called for immediate amity between Israel and Saudi which was facilitated by the United States under the Trump administration. As a part of this facilitation, the Saudis ended up procuring a major chunk of US defense export. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, A total of 73% of Saudi Arabia’s arms imports came from the U.S. During the last 05 years, the Saudis spent over $64.1 billion worth of weapons to Riyadh and United Arab Emirates (UAE) also took part is the arms shopping to a great extend.
The Iranian-supported Houthi drone attack on state-owned Saudi Aramco oil processing facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais in eastern Saudi Arabia and the US’s recent assassination of an Iranian major general, Qasem Soleimani, and assassination of a nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh allegedly by Israel can’t be seen as unrelated incidents, these are the results of a dynamic undercurrent that is shaping a new middle eastern geopolitical scenario.
Hence it is evident that Saudi is avoiding a confrontation with Iran; and vice versa. But the alliance with Israel who doesn’t hesitate to attack Iran directly is a strategic move by Saudi. Along with Iran, Turkish President Erdoğan called for an Islamic union against Israel. Mirroring Turkey, The Pakistani Foreign Minister also reached to its allies like China sighting support for Palestine. Therefore a bandwagoning around Turkey – Iran axis against the Israel-Saudi axis is inevitable.
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Balancing Between The Persian-Gulf: Israel and Saudi
India is reacting to the situation very carefully. While India is supporting Palestinian independence at the same time try not to condemn Israel directly for the Palestinian casualties. The Isreal envoy to India appreciated the “great amount of support” by the public in India though the govt of India shown reservations to support Israel. Whereas a majority of the Muslim population are in solidarity with Palestine and accusing Israel of spreading terror. This unwavering support for Palestine is accused of nothing but based on Islamic affiliation for Anti-Semitism.
Since the Israel-India establishment of diplomatic ties in 1992, Israel has been an all-weather friend for India, whether in the defense sector, investment, cybersecurity, agricultural innovation unconditional support against Islamic terrorism. At the same time, Iran is an asset in the region for matters like oil security, to surpass Pakistan to connect with Central Asia, in India-Afganistan road link via Zarang Delaram, India’s presence in port Infrastructure in West Asia to tackle Chinese’s spring of pearls, and other regional aspirations. Hence taking an explicit stand for any one of them will result in repercussions, which India will find difficult to face.
Round Table Instead of Iron Dome
Instead of fighting Israel, if Palestine along with its allies had recognized the UN’s plan for the two-state solution and accepted the state of Israel, this fatal conflict for 7 decades could have been prevented. Firstly recognize Israel as a state, which will force Israel to soft down on its approach. A leadership consolidated between PLO and Hamas put forward a need for an entirely free West Bank like Gaza, which Israel will oppose, but taking a peaceful approach instead of rocket showering will help Palestine to harness international support, which it gravely lacks presently. Second, Complete de-hyphenation from all external interference by both Israel and Palestine. Iran’s pertinent support in arms supply and Qatar’s financial support in the disguise of humanitarian aid made Hamas dangerously strong, which undermined PLO’s moderate approach.
The Israel-Palestine conflict was initiated due to this very much disproportionate interference of Arab Nations, out of which countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan, Egypt, and Bahrein seem to withdraw. In addition to that, an illogical rejection of Israel’s recognition caused three wars that caused Palestine their land. Rejection of the two-state solution of the UN and unwavering hate for Jews backed by quranic interpretation made this 7-decade old conflict unsolvable.
Mixing religion to a political dispute makes it a very difficult riddle to solve; of which Palestine along with Kashmir are excellent examples. Hence this Shia-Sunni triggered a race for Islam hegemony by Iran and Saudi assisted Israel to carve out an alliance against Iran-backed Palestine, which made Palestine independence a cumbersome process. The 20th-century cold war didn’t result in such magnitude of bloodshed as its 21st-century successor seems to. In addition, new players are getting added and new dynamics are getting structured in this one as well.
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