Could Hamas-Israel War Implode After 12th?
The Israel-Hamas conflict could take on an unexpected turn after the 13th of December when COP 28 finally ends. This may have been the silent influencer in the Israel -Hamas war that few have paid attention to. Once the UAE is free from COP, and any possibility of disrupting its great moment passes, it is likely that attention will swiftly transfer to Israel -Hamas was and positions will begin to harden.
COP 28 is a very important event for UAE. With 80000 people attending, major decisions being made, all the world’s States represented and World Leaders dropping in, UAE could not afford to risk the Palestinian conflict spreading out and threaten the event.
Most of the Middle East countries cooperated in this situation. UAE didn’t want a security threat stopping the COP. Hence Arab States and Iran have been a bit restrained.
However COP ends, the mood may change. Iran may feel it is no longer obliged to hold back. Some of the other Middle Eastern countries have also been under immense pressure from their populations to assist the Palestinians.
Israel must be fully aware of this. It is no coincidence that Netanyahu has tried to take advantage of this gap and pounded Palestine remorselessly. Israel’s ferocious attacks appear to be a desperation trying to meet deadlines. Netanyahu gives the impression of a man in a hurry.
The public narrative is that Netanyahu is trying to achieve as much as possible before public opinion within Israel and international opinion generally forces Israel to a ceasefire. However the reality may be that Israel may be aware that the atmosphere of refrain by Muslims countries is likely to change after 12th December, the final day of COP.
The current Israel strategy has done it a great deal of damage. Israel and the Jews in general have benefitted from the sympathy poured by the world after the Holocaust. The Holocaust stands out as an unimaginable crime in world history and the world in general feels a sense of guilt, understanding and kindness for Jews. Despite antisemitic stories, many countries have enacted antisemitic laws and pursued policies against antisemitism.
However the fury of the Israel State has shocked the world. The October 7 attacks are not endorsed by anyone and rightly condemned almost universally. However the way Israel has responded by killing nearly 20000 Palestine civilians, destroying the Palestine infrastructure, houses and hospitals has numbed this sympathy in many places. Whatever Israel says in its defence, the public narrative hasn’t helped it. Some of the responses by its spokespersons have been arrogant and lacking empathy for the civilian victims of the onslaught.
The world had expected Israel to show the ‘wisdom’ of the victim, the scars and emotional trauma of the holocaust. The world expects Israel to be kind and benevolent. The images that have gone around the world, show another side.
Of course Israel has the right to defend itself. Israel’s history has been traumatic for thousands of years. It remains insecure with surrounding countries once attempting to remove it out of existence. This fear has hardened Israel’s resolve to survive at any cost and crush external enemies hard. However, what may be militarily right is not always strategically right in the long run.
The October 7 attacks not only shocked and alarmed the Israel public but offended people around the world. Nevertheless, the response has now turned world opinion the other way. The unsuccessful UN Security Council resolution calling for ceasefire is an example. All members except USA were for it. It is likely that in the General Assembly, Israel will have very few friends, if any.
Strategically this may not bode well for Israel. It will isolate the country for a long time. More importantly, antisemitism has now arisen exponentially despite the laws and media gags. This is not a state that Jews generally wish to see. A people scarred by the events of second world war, may find the rising antagonism very difficult to bear.
Israel needs to act quickly. It needs to accept a ceasefire and appeal to Arab countries to isolate Hamas. It needs to seek a solution and a guarantee for its survival by asking its neighbours for understanding and intervention.
Israel now has only a few days before the Muslim anger against it comes out in the open, becomes entrenched and unshakeable. President Putin has visited UAE. It was surely not a ‘friendly’ visit nor because he had nowhere else to go. He must have offered support for any Arab response to Israel. A general war in Middle East will drag the United States and put it squarely on the other side. US will be forced to ditch Ukraine and lose once staunch allies in the Middle East.
If the revenge offensive against Israel starts, there will also be little sympathy for it around the world, given the imagery that has challenged people’s sentiments. It may be a mistake to think that Arab countries are restrained out of fear around taking on Israel. It may just be that they are letting UAE enjoy its hour of glory around COP 28 and then let rip. Putin’s visit is ominous.
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