Lessons from Impossible Wars. Israel and Palestine

(from the series “War and Peace of the 21st Century”)                                                                                      

                                 Inter-civilizational fire in the Middle East

The war in Israel and Palestine has two unique features that distinguish it from previous and current wars, including the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, and these features are:

  1. From the point of view of the interests of the States involved directly and indirectly in the conflict, in 2023, this war between Israel and Palestine should not have happened.
  2. If we consider this war from the point of viewofrelations betweenJewish and Arab civilizations, the war was inevitable.

Let’s look at the first notion…


                                                    From peace to inevitability of war

Until October 7, 2023, before the Hamas attack on Israel, all actions of the states involved directly or indirectly in the conflict, were aimed at reducing tensions and resolving interstate contradictions and problems in the Middle East.

Over the past years, the leading countries of the world, including the United States, European countries, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, have taken vigorous measures to resolve interstate contradictions between countries within the Middle East, as well as between the Middle East and Iran.

In 2020, at the initiative of Washington, the Abraham Accords were signed, and that marked the beginning of the process of improving relations between Arab countries and Israel. Under Trump, this agreement was directed against Iran, but with the Democrats coming to power in Washington, attempts began to improve relations with Iran also.

China has been actively developing relations with Israel and Arab countries. Using Chana’s growing influence in the Arab world and in Israel, Beijing tried to improve relations not only between Arabs and Israel, but also between the Middle East and Iran, in order to guarantee stability in the region that was to become the central sector in the One Belt and One Road project.

Russia has stabilized the situation in Syria, and later Moscow resurrected relations between Syria and Arab countries that previously opposed the Assad regime, as well as between Damascus and Istanbul.

Russia and China actively worked on agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran that culminated on March 6, 2023, in Beijing, with signing of the agreement to restore diplomatic relations between Riyadh and Tehran, the enemies for decades, representing two sects of Islam, Sunni and Shia.

Beijing, supported by Russia, has been actively working to improve relations between Israel and Iran. The first contacts in the form of Track 2 negotiations between Tel Aviv and Tehran took place in Hong Kong. In the last months before the attack by Hamas. Beijing actively worked to organize negotiations between representatives of Israel and Iran in China, in Shanghai.

Turkey also actively developed relations with Tel Aviv, supplying Israel with oil, including the Russian oil, worth $10 billion per year. In August 2022, Turkish President Erdogan and then-Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid had telephone conversation that resulted in restoration of diplomatic relations and return of ambassadors to the capitals of the two states. In October 2022, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz visited Ankara. This was the first visit of the head of the Jewish state’s defense to Turkey in 10 years. Later, Israeli President Isaac Herzog visited Istanbul and became the first Israeli president to visit Turkey in fifteen years. 

It should be noted that one of the topics of negotiations between the presidents of Turkey and Israel was the war in Ukraine, and Israel joined Turkey in playing role of mediator in resolving the most acute conflict in the world at that time, — between Moscow and Kiev.

By the end of 2023, visits of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to Istanbul and Turkish President Erdogan to Tel Aviv were planned…


                                                             Enter the Dragon

The turning point occurred on October 7, the day of the attack by Hamas, political party representing the Palestinian Islamist (Sunni) Resistance Movement, on the state of Israel… However, soon it turned out, that this attack was prepared and carried out not by the Hamas party, but by its military wing, the militant organization, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam brigade, and the political leadership of Hamas was not informed about the upcoming attack.

Thus, militant organization of political party that controls small territory on the Mediterranean coast, that is de jure one of the two territories of non-existent, uncreated state of Palestine,populated mainly by Arab refugees from the territory of other state, Israel, without informing leadership of their party, turned upside down the entire political situation in the world and nullified all political projects and efforts of the USA, Turkey, China, European countries and Russia to stabilize the situation and resolve contradictions between states in the Middle East, as well as in Eurasia.

Three weeks after the Hamas attack, Erdogan said: “Netanyahu is no longer interlocutor for us in any sense. We crossed him out.»

Washington, resisting with all its might, is being unwillingly drawn into the war in the Middle East, Blinken flies around the countries of the region, trying to prevent the conflict from escalating, and Chinese mobile and Internet operators have removed Israel from Chinese world maps…

Three more facts should be taken into consideration:

  1. During the preparation for attack, the Hamas militant group did not use electronic communications and transmitted messages and information only orally, and at the final stage, orally and in writing, in the form of paper notes. This made it possible to eliminate as much as possible interaction by Israeli and other intelligence services that are too dependent on Artificial Intelligence and electronic intelligence tools. That indicates the high level of intelligence, discipline, organization and planning of the Hamas militant group’s operation.
  2. Those state leaders and governments who had some information about the impending Hamas attack failed to comprehend what they would have to face, could not imagine and understand the consequences and threats that this attack posed for Israel, their countries and for the world, and that speaks to inconsistency of bureaucracy, especially of the highest political layer, with the new reality of rapidly changing world.
  3. Those who had information about the intentions and plans of the Hamas militant group did not act to prevent the attack, but took advantage in their political and clan interests. In particular, this was the case with some Israeli politicians, military and intelligence officers who tried to use the attack to force Netanyahu to resign.

From all this it follows that

The Hamas militant group that has been created in non-existent state and that consists mostly of Arab refugees from Israel, dealt severe blow to the entire system of relations in the world and demonstrated the inadequacy of the existing system and incompatibility of its top bureaucracy with the level of problems and contradictions facing the world community.


                                   Trap for Israel, Palestine and the world

If from the point of view of relations between states, the war in Israel should not have happened, then from the point of view of relations between Jewish and Arab civilizations, this war was inevitable.

To understand this, it is necessary to make historical analysis, because Israel, Palestine, and with them the world powers found themselves in the trap that they themselves created in 1947.

The tragedy of the situation is that many world leaders do not understand that the decision to create two states on one territory was trap for everyone.

Within the framework of the existing development model created by the industrial revolution in Europe in the 18th century, the UN decision taken in 1947, to create two states, Palestine and Israel, seemed quite logical, reasonable and based on democratic principles, although from the very beginning that decision did not meet the interests of the Palestinians and other Arabs who supported them.

When making that decision, the world leaders took into account their own state interests, as well as the wishes and aspirations of part of the Jewish people, its Zionist wing that strived for creation of Jewish state, Israel, in Palestine, but neglected or deliberately went against the interests of the Arab population of Palestine, without taking into account history and relations between the two important world civilizations.

The creation of two states solution was consistent with the model of international development that had existed for two centuries, including its democratic principles to resolving interstate relations, but it created antagonistic contradictions between two civilizations, Jewish and Arab.

The attempts to resolve contradictions from the standpoint of state interests and interests of the ruling political parties, business groups and bureaucratic clans, inevitably had to lead to conflicts, wars and will inevitably lead to wars if contradictions created in 1947, are not resolved. And, there are two options of its resolution:

— one of the civilizations will be destroyed and dispersed, and the project to create its state in Palestine will be closed,

approach to resolving the existing contradictions will be changed, and the international community, including Jews and Palestinians, will work out ways to create new system of relations and interactions between two civilizations on the territory of Palestine and Israel that provides equal opportunities and security level for both Jews and Arabs.

In accordance with one of the basic principles of the model created in the 18th century, world leaders based their decision not on creation of system of stable, reliable, balanced and mutually beneficial relations between Jews and Arabs in Palestine, but on the world leading nations state interests, as well as interests of their ruling elites and national clans represented in government bodies, in their economy.

Jews had much more influence compared to Arabs, in the sphere of politics, finances and business in leading states of the world that determined destinies of peoples after the Second World War, including the USA, USSR and Great Britain.

The Arabs did not have such influence in those years, although the leadership of the USSR took into account interests of the Arabs, but considered these interests primarily from class positions, as well as from the point of view of the struggle between two systems, socialism and capitalism. Moscow comprehended civilizational factors only as secondary.

However, the leadership of the USSR initially considered another option — creation of federal state on the territory of Palestine, but then abandoned this idea in favor of creating two states. Important role in taking this decision was played by Marxist approach and need to resolve issues related to the Cold War growing confrontation with the West.

The USSR supported creation of Israel as its future stronghold in the Middle East. Most of the Israeli political elite came from the USSR and Eastern European countries that were already under Soviet control. Many Jews willing to move to Israel from the USSR, were members of the Communist Party. Most of the commanders of the Israeli army and almost all the top officers of the Israeli intelligence services were from the USSR and had experience of fighting the Second World War. In the first years after the formation of Israel, the USSR supplied it with weapons, mainly not Soviet, but European, including German, from stocks captured in Eastern Europe, and those weapons were supplied through the satellite countries, including Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia.

Almost all Arab states at that time were monarchies influenced by the West, primarily Great Britain and France. The USSR hoped to use Israel as its stronghold in the Middle East to support national liberation movements to overthrow of Arab monarchies, to  creation of communist parties and organizations in the Middle East and to undermine influence of former metropolises of colonial empires.

Moscow had one more important goal, and that goal was to block the growing influence of the United States in the region. At that time, the US was interested in weakening European influence in the Middle East and wanted to replace the European states, the former colonial metropolises, as the main partner in the Middle East, where the world’s largest oil deposits had already been found.

The Soviet Union was unable to solve the problem of blocking the growth of US influence in the Middle East, as well as the task of turning Israel into Soviet stronghold. Moreover, Washington soon became the main partner of Tel-Aviv, and Israel turned into the main enemy of the Arabs.

The reason for the failure of the USSR was that in the post-war years Moscow was forced to focus on restoring its own economy destroyed by German invasion that brought devastation to the European part of the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Belarus, and the Baltic states. With death toll of 27 million, including 14 million of civilians, over 25 million of the survivors were left homeless. 1,710 cities and towns, and 70,000 villages were destroyed, 32,000 industrial enterprises, about 100,000 collective and state farms were also destroyed. All of them had to be restored, and the USSR had to help restore destroyed cities of Eastern European countries.

In addition, the USSR faced strategic task of catching up with the US in creating nuclear weapons and nuclear industrial complex. The Kremlin had to create space industry, primarily strategic missiles capable of striking the territory of the United States and Western Europe from deep within Russian territory.

All this required huge funds, and the USSR could not compete with the United States in the financial sphere. Washington quickly became Israel’s main partner, banker and sponsor.

After the Second World War, Great Britain was also unable to maintain control over the territories that were its colonies, including Palestine that had been British Mandatory Territory since the end of the First World War.

In the process of making the two states decision, the interests of the world leading states were taken into account, as well as the interests of Jewish diaspora that played important role in these states, but the interests of significant part of the Arab population, who did not have their own statehood and powerful diaspora in the world leading states, were put aside for the future.

And that future has come…


                                                    Breaking out of the old model

However, in order to try to find a way out of this situation, it is necessary to go back to the times before the UN adopted  resolution on creation of Israel and Palestine, and even before the WW2…

(To be continued)

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