“The strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.” This quotation from the Book “History of the Peloponnesian War” accurately defines the recent unfolding events between Israel and Palestine. The conflict has undoubtedly cleared the position of the Western World including the United States that is providing diplomatic, financial and technical support to Israel. The question here is, what are they offering to Palestinians as a nation?
The unarmed Palestinians in the GAZA strip are under siege by Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and the Israeli Defence Minister announced that the region will not receive any electricity, food, water, or fuel. Notably, a significant portion of Gaza’s electricity supply relies on Israeli power lines. So far, thousands of Palestinians have been killed during Israeli air strikes, including hundreds of children. The IDF has issued a warning to evacuate the northern part of Gaza and as a result, more than 1 million Palestinians are moving from northern Gaza to the Southern side ahead of a ground invasion by the IDF. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), Israel has used white phosphorous on civilians. The report underscored that using white phosphorus in densely populated areas constitutes a breach of Israel’s responsibility under international law to employ all possible measures to prevent harm to civilians.
As a result of this ongoing situation in the Middle East, there have been mixed responses from the world. From the Western world to the Middle East and Asia, everyone is debating about this conflict differently. But, to me, this conflict is a defining moment for Palestine and Israel, and it marks the beginning of a new era in the Middle East for a number of reasons. Let’s discuss it thoroughly.
Firstly, under the current Biden administration, the U.S. has a categorical approach to backing Israel in terms of its safety and security during the ongoing conflict with Hamas. President Biden agreed to assist Israel militarily to restore the Iron Dome air defence system. The military advantage of Israel, bolstered by U.S. support, significantly outweighs the capabilities of Palestinian freedom fighters. However, the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) possess ample capacity to prevail over Palestinians, particularly with unwavering U.S. backing.
Secondly, Israel has been endeavouring for a long time to develop and normalise relations with Middle Eastern countries as part of the Abraham Accords. It became successful broadly as some of the players in the Middle East recognised Israel while the “greater ones” are climbing the ladder gradually in the name of the socio-economic development of the region. This clearly suggests that Israel’s diplomatic efforts in engaging the Arab world have not only yielded positive results but have also led to a shift in these nations’ support away from the Palestinian cause. Consequently, in the current scenario, Israel might feel emboldened to employ force extensively to weaken Palestine and its people, believing that there is little active support from external parties, except for verbal statements.
Thirdly, when it comes to the other nations, some are struggling with their domestic challenges while others are more focused on diversifying their economies. For the latter, they need to have good relations with the Western world for multilateral trade, investment and advanced technology. Having these aspirations in mind, no Middle Eastern key player except Iran (due to its own reasons) is ready to deteriorate relations with the U.S. or its allies including Israel for the Palestinian cause. Therefore, it is the right time for Israel to materialize “permanent objectives” towards the mass extinction of Palestinians and eradicate every possible future threat from them in the light of just rhetorical support from the world in general and Arab nations in particular.
Fourthly, the “toothless tiger” role of the United Nations is an order of the day. Its primary duty was to enforce its resolution concerning the two-state solution, yet it even fell short in protecting its own humanitarian personnel from Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip while they were providing essential assistance to Palestinians in dire need. This situation is equivalent to charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. In such circumstances, less powerful nations can hope for and rely on this platform to fulfil its mission of safeguarding sovereignty, territorial integrity, and the right to self-defence against unlawful occupation.
In conclusion, the current Israel-Palestine conflict represents a defining moment. It will not only lead to the mass extinction of Palestinian people but will also reshape the dynamics of the Middle East. In addition to that, it will also set a precedent for illegal occupations by powerful nations, potentially extending crimes against humanity. This serves as a clear call to the conscience of liberal democracies, the Arab world, and Asian nations who aspire to a just world, urging them to play a substantial role in de-escalating the ongoing conflict. Otherwise, the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must!
—The author is an independent researcher based in Islamabad (firstname.lastname@example.org)