Nakba 2.0 for Palestinians; Geopolitical Blunder for Israel and US
17:29 16.11.2023 (Updated: 12:08 18.11.2023)
The ongoing Israel-Hamas war has laid bare the glaring hypocrisy of the US and its allies. S.L. Kanthan, a geopolitical analyst, in a column for Sputnik India, elucidates the true stance of the US in the conflict in the Middle East.
After five harrowing weeks of war on Gaza, a helpless world is watching an unprecedented humanitarian crisis and a dangerous geopolitical gamble unfold in real time. More than two million people stuck in one of the most densely populated areas in the world have been mercilessly bombed every day. 11,000 civilians have been slaughtered, of which 75% are women and children. What might be transpiring is a blatant ethnic cleansing, the second Nakba that Palestinians have faced since 1948 when Israel was founded.
Rather than mediate a peaceful settlement between Israel and Palestine, the US is flexing its military and diplomatic muscles to achieve a Pyrrhic victory against a people confined in a virtual concentration camp. Perhaps this conflict provides Biden an excuse to quietly dump Ukraine in the lost proxy war against Russia. However, the geopolitical cost for the US will be colossal -- getting mired in the Middle East for years to come, and facing a more powerful and confident trio of Russia, Iran and China. 2023 might also be the year when the American Empire lost its soft power and the respect of its client states. India’s geopolitical strategy should be calibrated to align with the future defined by the end of Western domination of the world.
The World Stands with Gaza
Inside the echo chamber of Washington DC, the US is the greatest country and the international community is made up of pliant vassals. However, the reality is very different.
At the UN, 120 countries have voted for a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza
. Last week, a similar number of nations – including India – also condemned illegal Israeli settlements in Palestinian lands and in Syria’s Golan Heights. On the other hand, only a handful of countries are supporting the US and Israel – some of them are American colonies like Palau and Marshall Islands.
A handful of countries like Bolivia, Colombia and Chile have expelled Israel’s ambassadors; and some have severed their diplomatic ties with Israel altogether. On the other hand, the responses of most Arab countries have been pitiful for the most part. Even the “extraordinary” meeting of the OIC resulted in tough talk but no demonstrable action like an oil embargo.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that "Gaza is becoming a graveyard for children." “The collective punishment by Israel of Palestinian civilians is a war crime,” declared the UN Human Rights Chief.
Even the Human Rights Watch – a Western deep state NGO – says that Israeli hospital attacks “should be investigated as war crimes.”
The Russian envoy to the UN cited international laws and pointed out that Palestinians have the right to fight against their occupation. Thus, Israel’s claims of self-defense are Orwellian Newspeak. China has also refused to condemn Hamas, while pointing to the historical injustice that Palestinians have faced.
(A note on India’s historical position on Palestine: India was the first non-Arab country to support Palestinian statehood; and India was the first non-Arab country to recognize the PLO as the sole representative of Palestinians).
There are massive and peaceful protests all over the world against the “genocide” in Gaza. From Los Angeles to London, Chicago to Cairo, Berlin to Bangalore, and Madrid to Malaysia, millions of people are marching for peace – the largest mobilization since the Iraq war protests in 2003.
In a recent Reuters/IPSOS poll, 68% of Americans said that there should be a ceasefire, and Israel should negotiate with Palestinians. (Interestingly, 0% of US politicians would say the same publicly).
US diplomats in the Middle East are sending alarming cables to Biden’s team
with messages like these:
“Israel's military campaign is making the US lose the Arab public for a generation.”
“We [US] are losing badly in the messaging battle space. US support for Israel is viewed as moral culpability in war crimes.”
“President Biden’s cruelty and disregard for Palestinians exceeded all previous US presidents.”
Even European politicians are discovering their backbones. The deputy prime minister of Belgium has this to say: “It is time for sanctions against Israel. The rain of bombs is inhumane.” Spanish Minister of Social Rights, Ione Belarra, has accused Israel of committing a “live genocide,” and has called for prosecution of Netanyahu at the ICC. After visiting Israel and even trying to ban pro-Palestine protests, French president Macron changed his mind and has called for ceasefire, adding that, “It's impossible to explain we want to fight against terrorism by killing innocent people.”
Israeli historian and Holocaust scholar Omer Bartov admits in a New York Times article that Israel’s actions in Gaza amount to war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity.
As for whether what is happening is a genocide or not, consider that the US alleged "Russian genocide in Bucha", Ukraine, where about 100 civilians were killed. Compare that to Gaza, where 100+ children
have been killed every day since the conflict began
. Where is the comparison? (Moreover, experts like Scott Ritter have convincingly argued that the civilians in Bucha were murdered by the Ukrainian military).
Also, where is the cowardly and immoral International Criminal Court (ICC), which was all too eager to indict Russian President Putin? By the way, South Africa’s foreign minister, Naledi Pandor, has openly called upon the ICC to arrest Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu for war crimes.
The photos and videos coming out of Gaza are simply heart-wrenching. There is no respite for the civilians. Their homes get bombed; when they move to their relatives’ homes, they still get bombed; when they get hurt and take an ambulance or go to the hospital, they get bombed; and when children go to schools, they get bombed.
Half of all homes in Gaza – the world’s largest open-air prison – have been pulverized or damaged by Israeli missiles. More than 200,000 people have fled northern Gaza; and 700,000 children have been displaced and turned into refugees. Israel has shut off Gaza’s fuel, food, electricity, and water. Newborn babies in incubators are dying because of lack of electricity. And an impotent Egypt, which has a border with Gaza, is unable to supply humanitarian aid. Similarly, other Muslim countries could send food and medicine to Gaza by boats and ships, but have not done so.
It is depressing that the world is passively watching this tragedy
. Think about how the US and NATO bombed Libya to stone age after just a week of violent protests, which the West cynically used to claim that Gaddafi “was killing his people.” The double standards of the West are appalling.
Western Double Standards and Cynicism
Everything about the West’s geopolitics is built upon double standards and hypocrisy. They create new phrases and logic-for-the-moment to justify or demonize anything. American leaders endlessly talk about “rules-based international order,” but nobody has seen those rules! The rule is simply that America is always right and it must always win.
Hillary Clinton tweeted last year: “If Russian leadership would rather not be accused of committing war crimes, they should stop bombing hospitals.” How about now in Gaza?
When the US tortures people in Guantanamo or other CIA dark prisons, it is called “enhanced interrogation.” When Israel carries out ethnic cleansing in Gaza, it is called “voluntary migration.” When the US arms terrorists, they are called “freedom fighters” or “moderate rebels.” When the US arms and funds Nazis in Ukraine, the situation “is complicated” and it is understandable why Ukrainians would embrace Nazism
The ICC can indict and arrest leaders around the world, but it cannot even investigate American crimes. The US has threatened to arrest ICC judges, and has given itself the right to invade the Hague, if any American – even a soldier – gets arrested. Also, have the US and NATO ever been guilty of any war crimes? Never. Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright admitted in an interview that US sanctions killed half a million Iraqi children, but she blithely followed, “It was worth it.”
When the US builds 800 military bases in 140 countries, it’s about freedom. Similarly, when NATO keeps expanding, the logic is that sovereign nations can decide whatever they want. However, if there is just a rumor of China establishing a military post in the Solomon Islands or Oman, the US loses its mind, Biden makes urgent phone calls, and Western media urges that Solomon Islands should be bombed. The US has the Monroe Doctrine, which treats the entire North and South Americas as its province, but China and Russia have no right to have a buffer zone free of US/NATO troops.
Israel can have nuclear weapons and can prevent UN inspectors; but Iran cannot have nuclear weapons.
The US can build political grassroots movements or support separatists in other countries to overthrow democratically elected leaders – i.e., stage color revolutions
. However, no other country can interfere in US elections or politics. The US can even appoint leaders for other countries – like how the US claimed that Juan Guaido was the real president of Venezuela; or how the "US created Taiwan" and asserted that it was the real China. Can Russia appoint leaders for any European countries? Of course, not.
The US talks about free speech, free press, free election, and free politicians, but it’s a giant illusion. Recently, the CEO of Web Summit – Paddy Cosgrave – was fired for retweeting a satire article that expressed support for Palestinians; American journalists get fired for calling Israel an apartheid state; US social media are filled with ex-employees of CIA, FBI and other deep state organizations, who engage in blatant or sophisticated censorship – such as demonetization or shadow-bans; nearly 100% of Congress are aligned with American wars and imperialism.
The USA has a uniparty system with two fake parties, who are controlled by the same oligarchs and lobbyists. Democrats and Republicans merely pretend to fight with one another on social issues.
The entire American Empire is based on theories of Goebbels and Orwellian concepts. However, all their lies get repeated by countless websites, magazines, books, TV, movies, documentaries, academics, politicians, social media influencers, and Wikipedia. Thus, lies turn into truths and facts. This is what is happening with the Israel-Palestine conflict.
So, what is really driving the Israel-Gaza conflict?
First, it is about history and the struggle for sovereignty. The origin of this conflict goes back to the 1917 Balfour Declaration in which the British simply agreed to give Lord Rothschild a piece of land in Palestine, which was a part of the British Empire at that time. That letter also specified that the creation of land for the Jewish people should not affect the rights of the existing people – an important clause that was ignored eventually.
Later, in 1948, Israel was created, and more than 700,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes and lands. In the next four consequential wars with the neighbors, Israel won decisively and even expanded its territory. Thus, Gaza and West Bank came under Israeli occupation and settler colonialism after the Six-day war in 1967.
So, when people talk about the “two-state solution with 1967 borders,” they are referring to a new Palestine nation created out of Gaza and West Bank. This is not a bad deal for Israel, since it will get to keep 78% of the original Palestine. In the 1990s, the two parties came very close to ending the conflict after the Oslo Accords. However, the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin – just a month after the landmark deal – has led to Israel being taken over by far-right political parties.
While land and security have been the primary issues, now natural resources and geopolitics have taken more significant roles.
Not surprisingly, the curse of oil and gas has struck the region. Just off Gaza, there are about ten oil and gas fields, some of which are within the economic zone of Gaza
. These contain oil/gas reserves worth hundreds of billions of dollars. Ergo the incentive to expel the 2.4 million people in Gaza.
Second, there is a possibility of the Ben Gurion Canal, which would rival the Suez Canal by linking the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea via the Gulf of Aqaba. The shortest path would go through Gaza.
Finally, there are serious ideas to link the UAE and Saudi Arabia to Israel’s Haifa port via railways, which would not only circumvent the Suez Canal but also turn Israel into a shipping hub and a geopolitically vital center.
The confluence of these factors has made ethnic cleansing of Gaza an imperative. Of course, the humane, legal, and pragmatic approach would be for Israel to cooperate with Palestinians and share the profits from such projects.
If the US and Israel proceed with ruthless ethnic cleansing of Gaza, the result would be a Pyrrhic victory. Here’s why:
The US tried to bring down Russia with a proxy war modeled after the Afghanistan war in the 1980s – replace Mujahideen with Nazis, and impose shock-and-awe sanctions. Well, that brilliant plan has been an epic failure. The US and the EU are so deindustrialized that they have supplied Ukraine with only half of the promised ammunition
. When it comes to 155 mm artillery shells, what the US manufactures in a month is used by Ukraine in four days. Worse, the West has depleted many years of its own inventory of crucial weapons such as Javelins and Stingers.
Howsoever the Western pundits may spin it, America’s defeat in Ukraine is a dire warning for the allies like Japan and the Philippines, who might have been contemplating a war against China.
With Gaza, the US has signed up for a long war of attrition
. Even if US/Israel manage to ethnically cleanse Gaza in another Nakba, there are still 2.7 million Palestinians in the West Bank. And the guerilla warfare will continue with the help of groups like Hezbollah, which is way more powerful than Hamas. Furthermore, American military bases in Iraq and Syria will continue to face debilitating attacks by numerous militant groups. This will drain American resources when it should really be focusing on China.
The loss of America’s soft power will be significant in the coming years. The US has lost the Muslim world, which will increasingly turn towards Russia, China and BRICS.
There is only one viable option: peace between Israel and Palestine. We have the required technology and fiat money to build great cities for Jews and Palestinians to coexist in peace and prosperity. A two-state solution will also be a public relations victory for Israel, which can then establish diplomatic and economic relations with all its neighbors, including Iran.
Americans must also realize that Pax Americana is coming to an end
. The US government, corporations and households are drowning in debt, while dedollarization is accelerating across the world
. The US is bankrupt, and its days of monetary Ponzi scheme are numbered. Chinese yuan has already surpassed the Euro in global trade. It’s only a matter of time before Saudi Arabia and the rest of OPEC start selling oil for yuan. The end of dollar hegemony means the end of the American Empire. In technology, China is making progress leaps and bounds in spite of US sanctions and tech wars. In 37 out of 44 critical technological areas, China has surpassed the US.
The United States’ attempts at containing Russia and China are imploding. There are only two options for the US: Either be a responsible stakeholder in the emerging multipolar world by cooperating with Russia, China and the Global South; or, collapse in infamy while trying to hold on to a dying empire.