The Oslo Accords’ two-state solution for Palestine-Israel, visualised Gaza and the West Bank as self-governing entities under the Palestinian Authority. That political hope existed in an expanding global economy led by the U.S. and secured by American armies, with the promise of capital flows and investments to develop Palestine on its way to statehood. All this changed in the 2000s, as both Israelis and Palestinians became significant regional actors.
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Hamas faces an existential crisis in Gaza now that the Israeli army has captured its military headquarters and operating tunnels in northern Gaza. So far Israel has successfully ignored international pressure to limit its ground operation. In between are the Gazans, caught within an ideology they don’t trust.
By blending Islam, Marxism-Leninism, Arab nationalism, and Third World radicalism during the 1960s, Yasser Arafat succeeded beyond expectations, in impactfully putting the Palestinian question forward for international attention. The spoiler was Hamas, with its jihadi calls for the cause of Palestine and rejection of peace initiatives.
The Israel-Hamas War has shown the devastating impact of disinformation as a strategy of unconventional warfare. This narrative-led approach begins before hostilities start and seeks to set the agenda for leaders, their militaries and geopolitics. Democratic societies like India must prepare for similarly coordinated strategies and build societal resilience to manipulation.
The October 7 intrusion of Hamas into Israel has exposed a respectable military institution and one of the most influential intelligence agencies, impacting their image in a contest where prestige is crucial. It weakens the Palestinian Authority internally and abroad, diminishes any peace processes, buries hope of a two-state solution, and marks the beginning of an unprecedented phase of war with repercussions far beyond the region.
The Israel-Hamas conflict can further destabilise a world already weighed down by the Ukraine war and U.S.-China tensions. Escalation is inevitable, unless Europe recovers its traditional mediating role of advocating for ceasefire, dialogue and negotiated solutions, the Axis of Resistance desists, and the BRICS-11 play balancer. For the first time, there are many actors in an arena where the US was accustomed to being a soloist.
Since the end of the cold war, India has deepened its engagement with Israel while continuing to support the Palestinian cause. India’s position does not emerge out of a vacuum. The country has had many geopolitical and moral considerations to take into account before determining its stance.
Today ISIS is the gravest international security threat. To defeat ISIS, the world should pay heed to India’s experience of the need to isolate state sponsors of terrorism. Ultimately, only when Saudi Arabia acknowledges the danger to its own survival from past policies of alleged support to extremist groups, can it be a reliable partner in the fight against ISIS.
The announcement in June of a Saudi-Israeli alliance against Iran has to be seen in the context of the strategic dimensions of India’s relations with Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iran, and the U.S. And it has far-reaching implications for India’s policy towards West Asia
Obama’s strategy to target the IS in Syria within the framework of a U.S.-led international coalition has met with a tepid response. There are reports that the U.S may offer India a non-NATO ally status during Modi’s upcoming visit in a bid to seek greater support – a gesture that India will do well to disregard.