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The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

Bruges Group Blog

Spearheading the intellectual battle against the EU. And for new thinking in international affairs.

The Spiders and the Web

4 minutes reading time (809 words)
spider-155449_1280 The Spiders and the Web

Are Israel and the West walking into a trap? In this increasingly binary, digital and divided world people are encouraged to take sides on almost anything and respond to events, people and actions emotionally rather than objectively.

Israel's response to unspeakable acts of terror against its civilians has resulted in death and injury to women, children and the infirmed in Gaza. As states begin to take sides the situation is beginning to spin out of control threatening the entire region, so it would be sensible to suspend knee-jerk emotional reaction and try to understand the context and its likely origins.

Geopolitics is such that nothing happens in isolation. There are wars and rumours of wars. More specifically, new cold-war conflicts that appear to be part of a web of geopolitical intrigue, relating to Taiwan, Sudan, Kosovo and maybe now Israel/Gaza, which could have their origins in Moscow, Washington, Beijing or wherever.

The Iranian foreign minister has spoken about Palestinian support from several countries. It is possible that Israel's dramatic response was provoked on purpose in an attempt to unite Arab states and reverse the Camp David trajectory that was going to mean Saudi recognition.

The Hamas attack was timed to coincide with the anniversary of the outbreak of the Yom Kippur war between Egypt and Israel in 1973. However, the Yom Kippur war was not the only event of that year, but led to the 1973 oil crisis and subsequently to attempts to mitigate US energy security concerns. Later, in 1979, the Camp David Accord led to Egyptian recognition of Israel, which has in turn led to a more general recognition of Israel in the Middle East with Saudi Arabia as the latest country to move towards a normalising of relations.

The brutality of the Hamas attack made little sense given it was an attack by a swarm of deadly mosquitoes against a far more powerful adversary who was known for its tendency towards a swift and mighty response, unless it was meant to divide the Middle East and more globally and lead to a new energy crisis. The cruel attacks on civilians, including women and small children, seem to have been intentionally provocative.

Consequently, it can be shown that although Israel is no friend, Hamas and its allies are the real enemies of the Palestinians and of peace in the region more generally.

Could Israel and Hamas now be engaged in a proxy war to ensure economic crises continue and divert military resources away from Eastern Europe? If so, it must be remembered that overstretch ruins empires and even massive military machines like NATO if they are fragmented to such an extent that they are weakened everywhere.

However, conflicts have context and history of which external powers can take advantage aggravate. Mistrust can deepen on both sides of a fence or a wall. Extremism can fester unseen but not unfelt behind barricades.

The largely young population of Gaza has been subject to the propaganda of Hamas and little else since he heady days of the peace process.

In Israel, the Knesset has fewer non-Jewish members (Arab or Druze) than for several decades and the Arab voice is no longer properly represented in any of the major political parties. The West Bank is increasingly denuded of its Palestinian identity and viability as a political entity and radicals attack priests and Christian churches in East Jerusalem.

Passions are running high, understandably, but deepening divisions won't help in the long run. Israeli civilians and Palestinian civilians will both suffer and the divide between the West and the Global South will increase to the detriment of both and the advantage of nothing except power politics.

As internecine trench warfare drags on in Ukraine with the world looking on and throwing cash but no hope, old wounds become open sores again in the Middle East and elsewhere. The only way to truly win a war is prevent it breaking out.

Failures of policy have brought about these wars and it is these failures that are killing and displacing civilians right now. Refusal to negotiate or find a diplomatic solution to a war ill-becomes the politicians who failed to implement a diplomatic solution to the problems, misunderstandings and disputes that caused it in the first place.

Negotiating with murderers may be out of the question, but killing their families is even less of an option on the road to mutual security and peace between peoples.

A hospital is hit and the warring parties argue about who is to blame rather than agree to assist, heal and rebuild. Humanity, where are you?

"Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." Dr Martin Luther King Jr. 

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