Palestine is engulfed by fire again. Israel launched aerial strikes on Gaza in retaliation for killing of 3 Israeli teenagers. More than 200 people are dead by now. Hamas fired over one thousand rockets against Israel, yet no Israeli was killed. International community remains largely idle with respect to this event. Tel-Aviv shows no signs of abandoning its plans. In the most recent development Israel responded positively to Egypt’s ceasefire proposal. Although this process has started, end to the Palestine problem in the Middle East is nowhere to be seen. It must be admitted that some clandestine geopolitical agenda is being pursued here. It would be compelling to evaluate these clashes in this particular context.
End of the Sykes-Picot Agreement: Who Is Ruining the Game?
It is not accidental that the Middle East remains in the focus of the international politics. As the experts research the history of this region in the last 100 years, they determined the core reason of the current development. The process was initiated by the treaty between the Britain and France regarding the division of the Ottoman Empire – the Sykes-Picot Agreement.
The very agreement envisaged establishment of independent Arab states in the Middle East. Eventually, however, London and Paris drew the boundaries at their will and created improvised states. Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia and others were the outcome of the ”borders drawn on a sheet of paper”. It was no coincidence that even the mastermind of Arabian uprisings against the Ottomans – English secret agent T. Lawrence objected such a decision. Rebellions in Syria were brutally crushed, coupled with the establishment of radical groups that had upset the unity of the Muslims (see: Петр Львов. Глобальные последствия иракского кризиса / ”Новое Восточное Обозрение”, 5 July 2014). As of then, the situation resembles a ticking time bomb planted in the Middle East. All of the events in Syria, Egypt, Iraq and Palestine emanate from the politics pertaining to those very times.
Amazingly, the world has changed a lot, but politics on the Middle East saw no substantial transformation. There are no tangible changes to the policies of Russia, China and Iran regarding this region. Likewise, some experts argue that terrorism in the Middle East can be eradicated through cooperation between Russia, Syria and Iran (see: previous reference).
Nonetheless, the Middle East is ablaze. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has entered a more vicious phase, with the involvement of missiles, jets and artillery. Moreover, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq appear implicated in the conflict. Media reports claim Israel launched air strikes against certain targets in Syria and Lebanon, allegedly in response to rocket attacks from their territory. For some reason though, rockets launched by Arabs land in open fields, away from residential areas. Such facts amplify an assertion that these actions are part of the Israeli intelligence’s plans (see: Erkan Ertosun. Israil ve Filistin’de guvenlik ikileme nereye kadar? / ”Zaman”, 14 July 2014). Some claim that intelligence services were behind the kidnapping and subsequent killing of the Israeli teenagers. Speculations are that there were a significant number of agents that infiltrated the ranks of Hamas (see: previous reference).
There can be different narratives of this conflict. What is true is that Palestinians are dying in numbers, fighting ravages in their lands and no political resolution is found, including the establishment of a viable, independent Palestinian state. Furthermore, since late 1990s Israel has erected a wall within the Palestinian territory, relocated the Jews there and actually divided this country in two. A notion of indivisible Palestinian state has become something theoretical, although, Israel was involved in drafting the “road map” in Oslo, in 1993, that envisaged the establishment of a Palestinian state (see: previous reference).
Radical Groups And Big Powers: Geopolitical Dynamics’ New Parameters
What can we make of this picture, if Israel-Palestine relations are viewed in light of these facts? Indeed, another aspect must be added here – geopolitical developments across the Middle East, including the factors of Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Iran. Terror reigns in Iraq. ISIS threatens to attack Israel. In fact, they are moving towards establishing a state to cover Syria and parts of Iraq. They have already named it a “Caliphate”.
Perhaps, Israel is taking preemptive measures, fearing that new wave of terrorism would stem from Gaza. That is to say that ISIS and Al-Qaeda may use those territories to sneak armed men into Israel. In any event, Tel-Aviv is concerned about the emergence of new, radical and violent terrorist groups.
Israel also does not remain indifferent towards regional leadership aspirations of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt and Iran. ”Sunni Axis” and ”Shiite Crescent” in the region is the idea being debated upon (see: Петр Львов. Previous reference). Shiite Crescent includes Iran, Iraq, Syria, South Lebanon, Bahrain and eastern provinces of the Saudi Arabia. How would Israel react to the emergence of such a power? Question is rhetorical. Therefore, it is no secret that Tel-Aviv would not remain at rest.
Apparently, Israel’s offensive against Hamas is influenced by the geopolitical processes in the region. Over 1000 armed groups currently in the field may later turn their arms on Israel. It is understandable. What defies imagination is Tel-Aviv’s widespread bombardment of Gaza. It claims live of children, women and the elderly. It cripples thousands. And the world remains indifferent to such a grave humanitarian disaster.
Although U.S. condemns these actions, it does nothing to stop the conflict. Similar position is displayed by the European Union. EU is more preoccupied with Ukraine, China and Latin America. In the meantime, none of the Muslim states are capable of standing up against Israel. Turkey’s once resolute position was not really buttressed by major Arab powers.
This means that the Palestinians are virtually defenseless. They will be battered until new conditions imposed upon them are accepted. Innocent Muslim blood will be shed again. The outcome is difficult to predict but the conflict will surely not be solved. The geopolitical landscape of the Middle East will remain obscure.
All of this testifies to the presence of quite a dangerous factor behind the aggravation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Evidently, a struggle for leadership over the armed group in the region has escalated. For years there have been speculations that ISIS, Al-Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda and others were devised by different nations. Some analysts argue that ISIS for example, is a brainchild of the CIA and NATO (see: William Enghdahl. ISIS in Iraq stinks of CIA/NATO ”dirty war” op / ”RT”, 24 June 2014).
This new wave is likely to bring new cycle of violence to the region. Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Qatar, Egypt and other countries may witness resurging activity of the radical factions. Should such a scenario be engaged, one cannot exclude that the geopolitical struggle would acquire new substance.
In this context, response of Israel and Hamas to the ceasefire proposal by Egypt is fascinating. Tel-Aviv agreed to Cairo’s offer. Hamas is still hesitant. Organization’s wing in Gaza has expressed its displeasure – it demands reaching of a comprehensive agreement. Yet, Hamas’s attacks on Israel resulted in zero casualties while Israeli forces have already killed 197 Palestinians (see: ХАМАС пока не сформулировал ответ на мирную инициативу Египта / ”РИА Новости”, 15 July 2014). What conditions can Hamas insist on given such a disparity?
Presumably some outside forces are behind these developments. They are not interested in subsiding of tensions in the region. While innocent lives are lost, the geopolitical fate of the Middle East remains vague.