DEEP DIVE: A Geopolitical Analysis of the War on Gaza

The events of 7th October and the subsequent fallout reveal major strategic differences between Israel and the US
20th December 202336 min

Geopolitics is about the relations between nation states. Specifically, it is about how nation states position themselves in the international arena, and utilize their strengths, and hide their weaknesses, in order to dominate others and secure their national interests. Geopolitical analysis looks at developments in this international arena in order to explain why these developments occur, and how they affect the global power balance.

The geopolitical analyst performs one of the most difficult forms of intellectual analysis, as in the realm of geopolitics nation states typically try to hide their actions and/or their motives for these actions. Therefore, the geopolitical analyst must collect information from a variety of fields, not only politics and diplomacy, but also economics, geography, demography, sociology, technology, and history; over a longer period of time; and then formulate the thesis that pieces all established information together, like a puzzle.

In this context we can analyse and make sense of the war in Gaza

The historical context of the War on Gaza: The Zionist Movement and international support for establishment of the State of Israel

The war in Palestine or Gaza did not begin on 7th October. Despite what many think the current War on Gaza is not a unique, isolated event.

Following the proclamation of establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, Gaza became one of the main refugee camps for the Palestinians who, under the threat of force by Zionist terrorist groups, fled their homes.[1] It is estimated that some 200,000 Palestinians, roughly 25% of the Arab population of Palestine at that time, from 144 Palestinian cities and villages, sought refuge in Gaza during 1948 and 1949. This made Gaza one of the most densely populated areas of the world, with 1,800 inhabitants per square kilometer.[2] Thereafter, during the 1956 Suez Crisis, Israel invaded Gaza militarily and occupied it until 1957. In 1967, it again invaded Gaza militarily, this time to occupy it until 2005. Since then, Gaza has been under military blockade by the Israeli military, which has severely limited the flow of goods into the area, as well as the movement of people. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights said that as a result, Gaza has been transformed into an “open air prison” for the 2.2 million people living there.[3]

There is also context to this now 75 year of war in and on Gaza. Critically important elements of this broader context are the establishment of the Zionist movement in 1897, the British government’s decision to officially support this movement in 1917, and the United States’ decision to support it following establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.

The Zionist movement was founded in Vienna, Austria, in 1897, during the first World Zionist Congress. The driving force behind this congress was Theodore Herzl. Born into a Jewish, middle-class family in Budapest, Hungary, in 1860, Herzl’s personal life had been so affected by the antisemitism that was common in Europe at the time, that he was inspired to search for a solution to this issue. Herzl intellectually reviewed various options. He considered assimilation of the Jews into European societies as a solution, but concluded that if even he himself, as a highly educated, non-religious, secular Jew, still experienced antisemitism, there was no real hope for assimilation to solve the issue. He also reflected on the option of revolution against Europe’s ruling elites, in order to establish new societies from the ground up, but concluded this was only likely to make matter worse. Jewish conversion to Christianity, meanwhile, he considered a dishonorable way to deal with the issue, as it erased the Jewish identity. The solution Herzl felt most drawn to was the Jewish nationalism known as Zionism, which proposed establishment of a national homeland for the Jews.[4]

The Zionist movement organized by Herzl was eventually able to gather the support from leading politicians in Great Britain. A pivotal person in this was Chaim Weizmann. He had been born into a Jewish family in Minsk, Russia, in 1874, but moved to Great Britain in 1904 as he thought he would be able to find support for the Zionist cause among Britain’s elite. Unlike Herzl, who had no specific views on where exactly the Jewish homeland was to be founded, Weizmann was very clear that it should only be in Palestine. As one of the leading chemists in the country, Weizmann was indeed able to establish a name for himself among Britain’s leading politicians. In 1912 he had invented a way of making acetone, a key ingredient in gun powder, from the starch in cereal grains.[5] This invention brought him into contact with people such as –

  1. Lloyd George (Chancellor of the Exchequer 1908 – 1915, Minister for Munitions 1915 – 1916, Secretary of State for War 1916, Prime Minister 1916 – 1922)
  2. Winston Churchill (Home Secretary 1910 – 1911, First Lord of the Admiralty 1911 – 1915, Minister for Munitions 1917 – 1919, Secretary of State for War 1919 – 1921, Chancellor of the Exchequer 1924 – 1929, Prime Minister 1940 – 1945).

With the support of a number of Jewish members of Britain’s elite, such as Herbert Samuel, Weizmann was able to convince Great Britain’s political leaders that their geopolitical interests aligned with those of the Zionists. Weizmann argued that if the British were to support the Zionist movement to establish themselves in Palestine, the Zionist movement would use its influence to rally public opinion in the US and Europe behind Britain in its war with Germany and the Ottomans. Additionally, he said, once established in Palestine, the Zionist movement could protect the Eastern flank of the Suez Canal against Britain’s Ottoman enemy.[6] This line of argumentation eventually led the British government to formally support the Zionist movement. In 1917 it issued, in secrecy, the Balfour Declaration, which said that “His Majesty’s Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object”.[7]

Unlike Herzl, who had no specific views on where exactly the Jewish homeland was to be founded, Weizmann was very clear that it should only be in Palestine

During the end of the Second World War, the United States became the leading geopolitical power in the western hemisphere. Regarding Palestine, its foreign policy elite gravitated between two opinions. One opinion said that in order to secure the oil of the Middle East, the United States should find a solution for Palestine that would not agitate the Arabs, and as such work to establish a “two state solution”. The other opinion said that in the conflict with the Soviet Union, the United States would benefit from a partner in the Middle East with a firmly westernized outlook, and as such should support establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. In the end, the latter opinion won the debate,[8] which led President Harry Truman to recognize the State of Israel 11 minutes following its proclamation on May 14, 1948. Initially, the practical support from the United States to Israel was limited, as the United States disliked the closeness of Israel’s political elite to Great Britain, as evidenced by joint British – French – Israeli military attack on Egypt over its nationalization of the Suez Canal in 1956. This changed in 1962 when president John F. Kennedy decided to sell Hawk anti-aircraft missiles to Israel. The idea behind the sale was that through providing advanced military support to Israel, the United States could bring Israel’s political elites firmly into its camp as a supporter of the United States’ anti-communist vision for the Middle East. This view, under which Israel is useful for the United States geopolitical strategies, has remained the foundation for the relationship between the two countries that continues to this day,[9] with the only change being that after the collapse of communism, Israel became the United States’ Middle Eastern ally for the its “War on Terror”. This explains why in 2017 Israeli president Benyamin Netanyahu described the State of Israel as a “mighty aircraft carrier” of the United States in the Middle East.[10]

While both Britain and the United States supported the Zionist movement to further their own geopolitical interests, both also found that the Zionist movement and the State of Israel were not always reliable partners. For example, in 1939 the Zionist movement took issue with the vision for Palestine formulated in British government’s White Paper of 1939. As Britain was preparing for war with Nazi Germany, it searched for a way to maintain from both the Zionist movement and the Arabs of the Middle East.[11] The White Paper therefore suggested that Britain would allow continued emigration of Zionist Jews from Europe to Palestine, but that this emigration would be capped such that the Jews would never total more than one-third of the total population of area – unless the Palestinian Arab leadership were to agree otherwise. Furthermore, the White Paper suggested that over a period of ten years Great Britain would work to support establishment of an independent state in Palestine. The policy greatly infuriated the Zionist movement, as it concluded from this British policy that Great Britain wanted them to live in Palestine as a perpetual minority, which would make it practically impossible for them to establish a truly Jewish homeland there.[12] In response, the Zionist movement launched a campaign of terror against the British administration in Palestine, which included assassinations of British officials and bombings of official buildings.[13]

The United States experienced similar difficulties in its relationship with the State of Israel. When it 1962 it provided the State of Israel important military aid, it did so on the condition that Israel would halt its nuclear program and allow for repatriation of the Arab refugees from 1948 back to their homes in Palestine.[14] While the State of Israel gladly accepted the United States’ weapons, it did not live up to its promises regarding its nuclear program and the Palestinian refugees.

While both Britain and the United States supported the Zionist movement to further their own geopolitical interests, both also found that the Zionist movement and the State of Israel were not always reliable partners

Ever since, the United States has failed to get the State of Israel to support any kind of solution for the issue of Palestine or the Palestinian refugees.[15] The Oslo Accords of 1993 and 1995 offered to solve these issues through establishment of a Palestinian authority that would be subservient to the government of the State of Israel. While some elements of the political elite in the State of Israel supported this idea, others did not. As a result, the United States has never been able to make the State of Israel live up to its commitments under the Oslo Accords,[16] and Israel’s policy of establishing Zionist settlements in lands areas it occupied through the 1967 war has continued without pause.[17]

The current context of the War on Gaza: The United States’ “Pivot to Asia”

At the end of the Second World War, the United States entered a geopolitical conflict with the Soviet Union. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and with it the communist ideology it espoused, during the 1990s the United States turned its attention to “Islamic Fundamentalism” as its next major opponent. The foundation for this view was laid by Samuel Huntington through his book “The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World order”, and the result was that the Islamic heartland, Middle East, came at the center of the United States’ geopolitical strategy.[18]

After some 20 years of focusing on Islam and the Muslims, during November of 2011 president Obama announced a new grand geopolitical strategy for the United States. This new strategy was named “Pivot to Asia” and underlying it was the view that that China had developed into the biggest threat for the United States’ global hegemony. In response, Obama announced, the United States would henceforth rebalance its resources. Fewer resources were to be used for managing the threat of “Islamic fundamentalism”, such that more resources could be used in the Asia Pacific region against the threat of China.[19]

As far as the Middle East is concerned, this “Pivot to Asia” has had a number of important implications. Fundamentally, America has had to create a situation in the Middle East that would enable the shift of resources to Asia. This is why the United States began to promote formal agreements between the State of Israel and the countries of the Middle East, the so-called Abraham Accords. Between August and December 2020, four Muslim countries agreed to normalize their relations with Israel, namely the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco.[20] Talks have been underway to bring Saudi Arabia into the Abraham Accords as well.[21]

After some 20 years of focusing on Islam and the Muslims, during November of 2011 president Obama announced a new grand geopolitical strategy for the United States. This new strategy was named “Pivot to Asia”

The Pivot to Asia has also changed the United States perspective on Iran. Although Iran provided important support to the United States during the war in Iraq,[22] the country is not seen as a reliable partner for the United States. The assassination of Iranian general Qasim Sulaimani by the American military is evidence of this.[23] As part of the Pivot to Asia, the United States has continued their efforts to bring Iran firmly into its orbit and change it into being a reliable partner. At times this is done through the United States softening up on Iran, such as in 2015 when under President Obama it signed a formal agreement with Iran.[24] At other times this is done through turning the screws on Iran, such as when under president Trump it cancelled this Iran deal.[25] Since the Abraham Accords, the United States has utilized primarily the soft approach. For example, it agreed with the United Arab  Emirates[26] and Saudi Arabia[27] that they would re-establish full diplomatic relations with Iran.

Although the issue of Palestine is not a priority for the political leadership in the countries of the Middle East[28], the United States does see it as an issue requiring a solution. The primarily reason is the opposition to any form of normalization with Israel among the Muslim public of the Middle East, a sentiment that is closely linked to the issue of Palestine, and as such Palestine continues to carry the potential of causing unwanted instability across the broader Middle East.[29] The United States continues to see a two-state solution based on the 1967 lines with agreed upon land swaps as the best way to achieve the lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians that it needs to be able to complete its Pivot to Asia.[30]

The current context of the War on Gaza: Israeli foreign policy

Israel has been highly supportive of the United States brokering of the Abraham Accords. In addition to the economic benefits the Accords bring Israel,[31] there is the more important geopolitical benefit of Israel’s existence formally being recognized by its neighbors. Both trade and formal relations with and communications greatly reduce the possibility of conflict between Israel and the Muslim countries of the Middle East. For this reason, the United States and Israel have been collaborating to bring more Muslim countries into the Abraham Accords. A formal agreement with Saudi Arabia is close to be agreed,[32] while negotiations are underway with Mauritania, Somalia, Niger and Indonesia.[33]

However, as with the 1962 agreement regarding the sale of the Hawk missile system to Israel, and the Oslo Accords of 1993 – 1995, Israel has not fully lived up to its promises under the Abraham Accords. Since 2020, regarding the issue of Palestine Israel has hardened its policies. Zionist settlements in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel have expanded, and settler violence against Palestinians has been allowed to increase. The Israeli government has also now advanced a record number of settler housing units and transferred administration of the occupied territories from military to civilian hands, which is widely interpreted as sign Israel plans to formally annex these regions.[34]

Israel has not fully lived up to its promises under the Abraham Accords. Since 2020, The Israeli government has also advanced a record number of settler housing units and transferred administration of the occupied territories from military to civilian hands, which is widely interpreted as sign Israel plans to formally annex these regions

Beyond continuing its policy to further expand its territory into the Palestinian territories through occupation and annexation, Israel has also continued its policy of dividing and undermining the Palestinians. Since its pullout from Gaza in 2005, it has sought to keep Gaza and the West Bank politically divided, and to keep both the political leadership in Gaza and the West Bank weak, such that establishment of a Palestinian State would remain practically impossible, but not too weak to avoid uncontrolled chaos in the Palestinian territories.[35]

Furthermore, in conflict with the United States’ plan for the Middle East, Israel has sought to undermine efforts to normalize relations with Iran, through assassinations on Iranian officials, cyberattacks, espionage and lobbying in the United States.[36]

And as to the United States ambition to bring Saudi Arabia into the Abraham Accords, Israel has hindered progress by demanding that Saudi Arabia should not establish a civilian nuclear program similar to the United Arab Emirates.[37] The Israeli demands regarding the final agreement have slowed down progress towards a deal that the United States sees as a critical element of its current geopolitical strategy.[38]

In summary, therefore, while Israeli foreign policy has been generally aligned with the United States, in particular areas that are critical for overall progress of the United States’ plans has Israel been an obstacle. As such, Israel has been a hindrance to the United States achieving the “new Middle East” it envisions and which practically enables its pivot to Asia.

United States – Israel relations ahead of 7th of October

The United States dissatisfaction with the foreign policy of Israel was made evident by both presidents Trump and Biden. President Trump said Israeli prime minister Benyamin Netanyahu was a bigger obstacle to peace than Palestinian prime minister Mahmoud Abbas, and was quoted as saying Netanyahu “never wanted peace” with the Palestinians.[39] In a break with traditional protocol, President Biden refused to include Netanyahu in a group of foreign leaders whom he called during the first weeks after taking office in 2021.[40] In a further sign of discontent, Biden also refused to meet Netanyahu until after he met the leaders of China, India, Russia and Saudi Arabia.[41] When Biden and Netanyahu finally met, during September of 2021 on the sides of a United Nations meeting in New York, Biden let Netanyahu wait for 30 minutes and focused the post-meeting briefing to journalists on Israel’s side of the Abraham Accords, specifically its obligations towards the Palestinians.[42] Reportedly, further causes for the United States’ displeasure with Israel were its efforts to block the United States’ plan regarding Iran normalization.[43]

therefore, while Israeli foreign policy has been generally aligned with the United States, in particular areas that are critical for overall progress of the United States’ plans has Israel been an obstacle. As such, Israel has been a hindrance to the United States achieving the “new Middle East” it envisions and which practically enables its pivot to Asia.

Since then, Israel’s policy has not changed in the direction that makes it more aligned with the United States. In fact, the opposite has happened.[44] In December of 2022 prime minister Netanyahu formed a new government, generally considered the most “right wing” government in Israel’s history, consisting of parties that are religiously ultra-conservative, transparently Jewish ethno-nationalist and expressly racist anti-Arab. Among the policy objectives agreed by the coalition were formal annexation of the West Bank, a weakening of Israel’s judiciary which the coalition sees as an obstacle to its Greater Israel agenda and strengthening Israel’s religious Jewish character.[45] The United States communicated its displeasure with this Israeli policy direction, and applied pressure on Netanyahu to make him change course, but failed to have a meaningful impact.[46]

Therefore, relations between the United States and Israel have been at historical lows, because Israel under prime minister Netanyahu has chosen a policy track that conflicts with the United States’ plans for the Middle East.

The 7th of October

It is by now well known that Israeli officials obtained Hamas’s battle plan for the 7th of October attack more than a year before it happened.[47] In addition, Israel’s border surveillance forces had on numerous occasions warned that Hamas was conducting training exercises on the basis of the plan.[48] Furthermore, Israel had repeatedly been warned by Egyptian intelligence that “something big” was likely to take place.[49]

As to how it was nevertheless possible for Hamas to do what it did, there are three opinions.

The first opinion explains the 7th of October as an “intelligence failure”.[50] A bad, but honest mistake. This view says Israel underestimated Hamas’ capabilities, and therefore was prejudiced when confronted with such information regarding Hamas’ plan and preparation: “They are not capable of doing that so we can ignore everything”. Perhaps even more importantly, this opinion says that Israel overestimated its own border security system. Israel’s border with Gaza was known as the “Iron Wall”, consisting of a 6-feet-tall double fence, including razor wire, combined with cameras and state-of-the-art sensors, fortified with a concrete base against tunnels and remote-controlled machine guns. Due to a resulting overconfidence, this opinion says, Israel ignored the intelligence warnings.

The second opinion says the Netanyahu government of Israel knew about Hamas’ plan, but purposely allowed it to happen.[51] This opinion criticizes the first opinion, arguing that it does not align with standard military operating procedures. This standard operating procedures always assumes the worst. It would therefore prescribe increased border security, if detailed information had been received about a plan of attack. And if an initial assessment of this plan would have been that it was “non-credible”, and as such not deserving of increased security, then most certainly the observation of preparations would have forced a reassessment, followed by an order for increased security. under standard military operating procedures, specific warnings by an ally would lead to increased security even if there is no information about a detailed plan of attack, or the observation of actual preparations for an attack. Since the Israel intelligence and defense forces are highly professional, the event of the7th of October can only be explained by a conscious decision among elite intelligence and defense circles to allow it to happen.

The opinion argues that the Netanyahu government is the likely origin of the decision to allow the 7th of October to take place, as this could serve as a pretext for a massive, long-planned military assault on Gaza, designed to expel its population, after which the area was to be annexed by Israel.

The third opinion agrees with the second opinion that the 7th of October could not possibly have been an “intelligence failure ”Because too many “mistakes” were made in a series of event, which is something that under standard military operating procedures simply could not have happened. But, this third opinion argues that the source of the decision to allow the 7th of October was most likely not the Netanyahu government, primarily because the 7th of October was a major embarrassment for Netanyahu and his government. The Egyptians told media outlets that their Intelligence Minister General Abbas Kamel had personally called Netanyahu only 10 days before the attack, warning that the Gazans were likely to do “something unusual, a terrible operation”.[52] Netanyahu himself was further personally embarrassed by the revelation that he himself had ordered the redeployment of two of the three Israeli army battalions guarding the Gaza border to the Westbank, in order to enable Zionist settlers there to hold a religious festival[53], and by the inability of the Israeli army to respond to the Hamas attack in an appropriate and timely manner.[54] As a result of the 7th of October, therefore, and quite predictably, Netanyahu and his government have found themselves under significant pressure to resign.[55]

Further support for this third opinion include that members of the Israeli elites chose to allow the 7th of October to happen, in order to put pressure on Netanyahu and his government, comes from the fast and coordinated response from the Israeli opposition parties. While the Israeli army was still in a state of complete disarray, Israel’s main opposition politician Yair Lapid already communicated a plan for a political pathway forward. It is well known Lapid is much more closely aligned with the United States’ geopolitical strategy for the Middle East than Netanyahu. This was made evident by the fact that Lapid was invited to Washington DC to meet with United States president Biden’s closest advisors before Israeli prime minister Netanyahu.[56] During this meeting, Lapid was reportedly asked by the United States to work with Netanyahu, to ensure the Netanyahu government went along with the United States’ plan for normalization of the Israeli relationship with Saudi Arabia and the Palestinians.[57] Lapid’s plan of the 7th of October called for a national unity government, with as a condition that Netanyahu remove from his government the far-right parties that are fundamentally against any kind of normalization with the Palestinians.[58] This indicates that the Israeli opposition was prepared to use the events of the 7th of October to get prime minister Netanyahu to do what the United States’ geopolitical plans want him to do.

The United States response to the 7th of October

The above analysis essentially says that the United States was informed of what Hamas planned to do on 7th October, and worked with elements of the Israeli elites in political and defense circles to allow these plans to be successfully executed, such that it could use the 7th of October to embarrass Netanyahu, and get him to align himself and his government with the United States’ geopolitical plans.

This analysis is supported by the United States response to the 7th of October. While it has offered verbal and military support to Israel, it has consistently called for a very specific Israeli response, based on the United States’ geopolitical plan explained above. For example, because the Israeli government wanted to expel the population of Gaza into Egypt[59], and even contacted Egypt to discuss the subject[60], the United States president Biden spoke to Egyptian president Sisi to ensure Egypt would refuse the idea.[61]

The United States has consistently spoken out against the Israeli government’s military plans. Because Israel could not get support for its idea to relocate the people of Gaza, the objective behind the Israeli military plans is to make Gaza practically uninhabitable, and cause mass suffering among Palestinians in the process. This is evidenced by the fact that Israel cut the people from Gaza off from food, electricity and water, a form of collective punishment that is a war crime under international law;[62] made heavy use of unguided “dumb bombs”, which in the densely populated area that is Gaza inevitable causes massive casualties and destruction of non-military building and infrastructure[63]; and used so many of these and other weapons that has caused a destruction in Gaza that is proportionally greater than that which Germany experienced in World War II.[64] At no point has the United offered verbal support for any of this. Instead, it has consistently called upon Israel to utilize a different military approach[65]; one based on “surgical interventions” on military targets, to minimize civilians casualties[66]; and warning that Israel’s military approach would lead to a strategic defeat for the country[67], as it would make it lose international support.

The United States has consistently spoken out against the Israeli government’s military plans

While the United States has criticized, and on occasion blocked the plans of the Israeli government, it has consistently laid out what it believes Israel should do instead. It has been pushing Israel to finally accept the two-state solution that has been the United States vision for decades.[68] And it has been working with the Palestinian Authority to prepare it to take the leadership position in the to be formed, unified Palestinian State[69], both politically[70] and security wise.[71]

In conclusion

Our geopolitical analysis of the War on Gaza concludes that the United States was most likely aware of the Hamas plans for the 7th of October, and worked with elements of Israel’s political and security elite to allow these plans to be executed successfully. The United States’ objective was to use the 7th of October to put pressure on Israeli prime minister Netanyahu, in order to get him to align with the United States geopolitical strategy for the Middle East, which requires him to agree formal treaties with Saudi Arabia and the Palestinians. Of course, the United States was well aware that its plan would cause mass casualties on both the Israeli and Palestinian side. But history is testimony to the fact that when it comes to geopolitical strategy, the casualties of others do not play a role in decision making.

Of course, the United States was well aware that its plan would cause mass casualties on both the Israeli and Palestinian side. But history is testimony to the fact that when it comes to geopolitical strategy, the casualties of others do not play a role in decision making

So far, the United States has not succeeded in getting from Israeli prime minister Netanyahu what it wants. In fact, he has publicly, and explicitly, rejected the American plan.[72]

Lastly, we recognize that a number of questions could be raised to challenge this analysis, such as: “If the United States is against Israel’s response to the 7th of October, why has she supported Israel throughout? Why has it supplied weapons to Israel? Why has it sent its navy to the Mediterranean to provide cover for Israel? Why has blocked United Nations resolutions calling for a ceasefire? If the United States wants Israel to do something, why doesn’t it just force it to do so? The United States does this regularly with other countries, after all.

Firstly, the United States allowed and even enabled Israel to launch a military attack on Gaza, because its geopolitical strategy for the Middle East requires Israel to have an image of “military superior over its neighbors”. Without this image, and without the military power to back up this image, it will be impossible for the United States to make the current status quo in the Middle East a permanent reality. The hatred against Israel’s Zionist colonialism in the Middle East is so great, that any perceived weakness of Israel will translate into public pressure on the ruling regimes in the Middle East to use military force to end the Zionist colonization of Palestine.

Secondly, the above consideration is one of the reasons why the United States presents itself as “unshakeable in its resolve to protect and support Israel”, because that supports Israel’s image of “military superior over its neighbors”. It is also why the United States arms the Israeli military[73], and most recently sent its navy to the Mediterranean to cover and protect Israel during its war on Gaza.

Thirdly, another reason the United States sent its navy to the Mediterranean to cover and protect Israel was that its geopolitical strategy wants stability in the Middle East. As such, the United States does not want the war on Gaza to escalate horizontally and become a regional conflict involving multiple countries.

Fourthly, the relationship the United States has with Israel differs from the relationship it has with other countries. Towards most other countries, the United States can behave as a slave master toward his slave, dictating and demanding, and not allowing any pushback. In Pakistan, Imran Khan experienced what happens if a political nevertheless tries to push back.[74] In the United States an exceptionally influential “Israel Lobby” exists, with a long history. Analysis has shown that this lobby has, on various occasions, caused the United States to go against its own interests, in defense of Israel.[75] There is very clear evidence that in the current Israeli War on Gaza, this lobby is constraining the United States in its response, holding it back from taking a more forceful position in opposition to the Netanyahu government’s plans. The United States State Department (foreign ministry) has realized that the unconditional support for Israel is severely damaging the United States’ image across the world, the Muslim in particular.[76] But instead of adjusting course such that the United States’ soft power is preserved, it has worked to suppress the resulting anger among its diplomats, civil servants and other employees.[77] The fact that the United States president Biden is getting ready for an election campaign severely limits his ability to push back against Israel, as this would be used against him by the Israel Lobby during this election campaign.[78]

As a result of the above, our expectation is that the United States will fail to achieve its objective. Israel will continue to resist, preferring its own interests which revolve around the “Greater Israel” vision that has underpinned its geopolitical strategy since inception of the country, even during the time of the Oslo Accords. The result of this will be continued Palestinian suffering.

 


 

[1] Thomas Suarez, “State of Terror: How Terrorism Created Modern Israel”, Olive Branch Press, 2016; see also J.L. Peeke, “Jewish-Zionist Terrorism And The Establishment Of Israel”, U.S. Department of Justice, 1977, www.ojp.gov/ncjrs/virtual-library/abstracts/jewish-zionist-terrorism-and-establishment-israel

[2] Beryl Cheal, “Refugees in the Gaza Strip, December 1948 – May 1950”, Journal of Palestine Studies, volume 18, 1988, https://www.jstor.org/stable/2537600

[3] “Israel occupation makes Palestinian territories ‘open-air prison’, UN expert says”, Reuters, 2023, www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/israel-occupation-makes-palestinian-territories-open-air-prison-un-expert-2023-07-11/

[4] William Eichler, “Theodor Herzl and the trajectory of Zionism”, Open Democracy, 2016, www.opendemocracy.net/en/north-africa-west-asia/theodor-herzl-and-trajectory-of-zionism/

[5] Michael Freemantle, “The Weizmann contribution”, Chemistry World, 2017, www.chemistryworld.com/opinion/the-weizmann-contribution/3007435.article

[6] Azriel Bermant, “Chaim Weizmann, the Guardian and the Balfour Declaration”, Fathom Journal, 2017, https://fathomjournal.org/balfour-100-chaim-weizmann-the-guardian-and-the-balfour-declaration/

[7] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balfour_Declaration

[8] Undoubtedly, the Soviet Union’s vocal support for a national home for the Jews in Palestine was one of the reasons for president Truman to take this decision. Josef Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union, wanted to use the Zionists to establish a bridgehead for communism in the Middle East and undermine Great Britain’s influence. See: Jiri Valenta and Leni Friedman Valenta, “The Birth of Israel: Prague’s Crucial Role”, Middle East Quarterly, 2019, www.meforum.org/7263/the-birth-of-israel-prague-crucial-role

[9] Sarah Alexander McIntosh, “The Ties that Bind: The Causes and Ramifications of the 1962 Sale of Hawk Anti-Aircraft Missiles to Israel”, The University of British Columbia, 2015, https://open.library.ubc.ca/soa/cIRcle/collections/undergraduateresearch/52966/items/1.0076013; see also Ariel Gomberg, “The Roots of the U.S.-Israel Relationship: How the Cold War Tensions Played a Role in U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East”, Union College, 2013, https://digitalworks.union.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1698&context=theses

[10] Barbara Opall-Rome, “Netanyahu on Israel: A ‘mighty aircraft carrier’ of the US”, Defense News, 2017, www.defensenews.com/naval/2017/07/03/netanyahu-on-israel-a-mighty-aircraft-carrier-of-the-us/

[11] Ben Crome, “Perfidious Albion or Strategic Realpolitik? Reassessing Britain’s 1939 White Paper”, Fathom Journal, 2020, https://fathomjournal.org/mandate100-perfidious-albion-or-strategic-realpolitik-reassessing-britains-1939-white-paper/

[12] Chaim Weizmann, “The Jewish Case Against the Palestine White Paper”, 1939, https://www.bjpa.org/content/upload/bjpa/the_/THE%20JEWISH%20CASE%20AGAINST%20THE%20PALESTINE%20WHITE%20PAPER%20JUNE,%201939.pdf

[13] Lubomir Zvada and Jiri Lach, “Bloody years of the Jewish Insurgency in British Mandatory Palestine 1939-1948: From the White Paper to the State of Israel”, 2022, www.researchgate.net/publication/363887563_Bloody_years_of_the_Jewish_Insurgency_in_British_Mandatory_Palestine_1939-1948_From_the_White_Paper_to_the_State_of_Israel

[14] Sarah Alexander McIntosh, “The Ties that Bind: The Causes and Ramifications of the 1962 Sale of Hawk Anti-Aircraft Missiles to Israel”, The University of British Columbia, 2015, https://open.library.ubc.ca/soa/cIRcle/collections/undergraduateresearch/52966/items/1.0076013

[15] Galia Golan, “The History of the Two-State Solution”, Palestine – Israel Journal, 2019, https://www.pij.org/articles/1946/the-history-of-the-twostate-solution

[16] Anshel Pfeffer, “Benjamin Netanyahu, the Undertaker of the Two-state Solution”, Haaretz, 2019, www.haaretz.com/israel-news/israeli-palestinian-conflict-solutions/2019-04-01/ty-article/.premium/benjamin-netanyahu-the-undertaker-of-the-two-state-solution/0000017f-e9fb-d4a6-af7f-ffff3f8c0000

[17] “Land Grab: Israel’s Settlement Policy in the West Bank”, B’Tselem, 2002, www.btselem.org/publications/summaries/200205_land_grab

[18] Leon T. Hadar, “The “Green Peril”: Creating the Islamic Fundamentalist Threat”, CATO Institute, 1992, www.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/pubs/pdf/pa177.pdf

[19] Kenneth G. Lieberthal, “The American Pivot to Asia”, Brookings Institution, 2011, www.brookings.edu/articles/the-american-pivot-to-asia/

[20] www.aapeaceinstitute.org

[21] “The Abraham Accords and Israel–UAE normalization: Shaping a new Middle East”, Chatham House, 2023, www.chathamhouse.org/2023/03/abraham-accords-and-israel-uae-normalization/07-how-leverage-abraham-accords-challenges-and

[22] “The Unnoticed Alignment: Iran and the United States in Iraq”, STRATFOR, 2003, www.stratfor.com/weekly/unnoticed_alignment_iran_and_united_states_iraq

[23] “U.S. Strike in Iraq Kills Qassim Suleimani, Commander of Iranian Forces”, The New York Times, 2020, www.nytimes.com/2020/01/02/world/middleeast/qassem-soleimani-iraq-iran-attack.html

[24] https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/issues/foreign-policy/iran-deal

[25] “Trump Abandons Iran Nuclear Deal He Long Scorned”, The New York Times, 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/05/08/world/middleeast/trump-iran-nuclear-deal.html

[26] “The Abraham Accords and Israel–UAE normalization: Shaping a new Middle East”, Chatham House, 2023, www.chathamhouse.org/2023/03/abraham-accords-and-israel-uae-normalization/07-how-leverage-abraham-accords-challenges-and

[27] “Iran-Saudi Arabia deal not a setback for US, analysts say”, Al Jazeera, 2023, www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/3/16/iran-saudi-arabia-deal-not-a-setback-for-us-analysts-say; see also “Saudis kept U.S. informed on talks with Iran – White House”, Reuters, 2023, www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/saudis-kept-us-informed-talks-with-iran-white-house-2023-03-10/

[28] “Saudi Arabia’s Prince Bandar bin Sultan calls out Palestinian leaders over peace deal”, Al Arabiya, 2020, https://english.alarabiya.net/features/2020/10/05/Saudi-Arabia-s-Prince-Bandar-bin-Sultan-calls-out-Palestinian-leaders-over-peace-deal

[29] “Arab Public Opinion on Arab-Israeli Normalization and Abraham Accords”, The Washington Institute, 2022, www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/arab-public-opinion-arab-israeli-normalization-and-abraham-accords

[30] “Biden backs two-state solution along 1967 lines to end Israeli-Palestinian conflict”, Axios, 2020, www.axios.com/2022/07/15/biden-two-state-solution-palestinians-israel-conflict

[31] “Peace Dividend: Widening the Economic Growth and Development Benefits of the Abraham Accords”, Rand Corporation, 2021, www.rand.org/pubs/perspectives/PEA1149-1.html

[32] “Israel on cusp of region-reshaping peace with Saudi Arabia, Netanyahu says”, Reuters, 2023, www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/israel-cusp-region-reshaping-peace-with-saudi-arabia-netanyahu-says-2023-09-22/

[33] “Israel engaging 4 Muslim nations to expand Abraham Accords”, Israel Hayom, 2023, www.israelhayom.com/2023/03/07/israel-working-to-expand-abraham-accords-with-4-more-nations/

[34] “Forget ‘peace,’ did Abraham Accords set stage for Israel-Gaza conflict?”, Responsible Statecraft, 2023, https://responsiblestatecraft.org/abraham-accords-peace-middle-east/

[35] “For years, Netanyahu propped up Hamas. Now it’s blown up in our faces”, Times of Israel, 2023, www.timesofisrael.com/for-years-netanyahu-propped-up-hamas-now-its-blown-up-in-our-faces/; see also “ ‘Buying Quiet’: Inside the Israeli Plan That Propped Up Hamas”, The New York Times, 2023, www.nytimes.com/2023/12/10/world/middleeast/israel-qatar-money-prop-up-hamas.html

[36] Ilan Evyatar, Yonah Jeremy Bob and Jonathan Davis, “Target Tehran: How Israel Is Using Sabotage, Cyberwarfare, Assassination – and Secret Diplomacy – to Stop a Nuclear Iran and Create a New Middle East”, Simon & Schuster, 2023; see also “How Israel Sabotaged U.S. Nuclear Diplomacy with Iran”, Marc Martorell Junyent, 2023, www.juancole.com/2023/11/sabotaged-nuclear-diplomacy.html

[37] “Israeli opposition rejects idea for Saudi Arabia to enrich its own uranium”, Financial Times, 2023, www.ft.com/content/95aa1e7a-4a22-4aba-9d6f-db2aa96bcd35

[38] “US House of Reps. promotes special envoy role to advance Abraham Accords”, The Jerusalem Post, 2023, www.jpost.com/american-politics/article-746232

[39] “Trump says Netanyahu “never wanted peace” with the Palestinians”, Axios, 2021, www.axios.com/2021/12/13/trump-middle-east-peace-netanyahu

[40] “White House denies Biden is snubbing Israel’s Netanyahu”, Reuters, 2021, www.reuters.com/article/usa-biden-israel-int/white-house-denies-biden-is-snubbing-israels-netanyahu-idUSKBN2AC2HV/

[41] “Joe Biden keeps snubbing Netanyahu — here’s why”, The Hill, 2021, https://thehill.com/opinion/international/4074635-joe-biden-keeps-snubbing-netanyahu-heres-why/

[42] “Inside the Biden-Netanyahu meeting”, Axios, 2021, www.axios.com/2023/09/20/biden-netanyahu-meeting-israel-un

[43] “Biden’s refusal to call Israeli PM Netanyahu sparks questions over leaders’ relationship”, Middle East Eye, 2021, www.middleeasteye.net/news/biden-call-israel-netanyahu-stirs-questions-over-relationship

[44] “Biden and Netanyahu Gear Up for a Complicated New Era”, The New York Times, 2022, www.nytimes.com/2022/11/03/us/politics/biden-netanyahu.html

[45] “Israel’s Winning Coalition: Culmination of a Long Rightward Shift”, International Crisis Group, 2022, www.crisisgroup.org/middle-east-north-africa/east-mediterranean-mena/israelpalestine/israels-winning-coalition

[46] “Biden’s Israel dilemma: Few good options to counter Netanyahu’s defiance”, Reuters, 2023, www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/bidens-israel-dilemma-few-good-options-counter-netanyahus-defiance-2023-07-25/

[47] “Israel Knew Hamas’s Attack Plan More Than a Year Ago”, The New York Times, 2023, www.nytimes.com/2023/11/30/world/middleeast/israel-hamas-attack-intelligence.html

[48] “Our warnings on Hamas were ignored, Israel’s women border troops say”, Politico, 2023, www.politico.eu/article/israel-border-troops-women-hamas-warnings-war-october-7-benjamin-netanyahu/

[49] “Egypt intelligence official says Israel ignored repeated warnings of ‘something big’”, The Times of Israel, 2023, www.timesofisrael.com/egypt-intelligence-official-says-israel-ignored-repeated-warnings-of-something-big/

[50] “How new reports reveal Israeli intelligence underestimated Hamas and other key weaknesses”, The Conversation, 2023, https://theconversation.com/how-new-reports-reveal-israeli-intelligence-underestimated-hamas-and-other-key-weaknesses-219187

[51] “Documents expose Israeli conspiracy to facilitate October 7 attack”, World Socialist Web Site, 2023, www.wsws.org/en/articles/2023/12/02/klox-d02.html

[52] “Egypt intelligence official says Israel ignored repeated warnings of ‘something big’”, The Times of Israel, 2023, www.timesofisrael.com/egypt-intelligence-official-says-israel-ignored-repeated-warnings-of-something-big/

[53] “ ‘NETANYAHU IS FINISHED’ ”, Seymour Hersh, 2023, https://seymourhersh.substack.com/p/netanyahu-is-finished

[54] “The Long Wait for Help as Massacres Unfolded in Israel”, The New York Times, 2023, www.nytimes.com/interactive/2023/10/11/world/middleeast/israel-gaza-hamas-attack-timeline.html

[55] “Israelis are furious at Benjamin Netanyahu”, The Spectator, 2023, www.spectator.co.uk/article/israelis-are-furious-at-benjamin-netanyahu/; see also “Many Israelis are furious at their government’s chaotic recovery efforts after Hamas attack”, AP News, 2023, https://apnews.com/article/netanyahu-israel-government-hamas-war-anger-failure-0e8712cb539b84befb95a4a061813b79

[56] “Lapid headed to Washington, while Netanyahu still awaits date for Biden meeting”, The Times of Israel, 2023, www.timesofisrael.com/lapid-headed-to-washington-while-netanyahu-still-awaits-his-invitation/; see also “Lapid meets with Biden advisers in Washington”, The Jerusalem Post, 2023, www.jpost.com/breaking-news/article-757705

[57] “US ‘urges Lapid to join Netanyahu government’ amid worry over Saudi demands for uranium enrichment”, The New Arab, 2023, www.newarab.com/news/us-urges-lapid-join-netanyahu-govt-normalisation-push

[58] “Netanyahu, Lapid and Gantz discuss forming emergency government as country faces war”, The Times of Israel, 2023, www.timesofisrael.com/lapid-urges-emergency-government-says-pm-cant-manage-war-with-extreme-cabinet/

[59] “Expel all Palestinians from Gaza, leaked Israeli report says, in new bid to ethnically cleanse the enclave”, The New Arab, 2023, www.newarab.com/news/expel-all-palestinians-gaza-leaked-israeli-report-says

[60] “Israel Quietly Pushed for Egypt to Admit Large Numbers of Gazans”, The New York Times, 2023, www.nytimes.com/2023/11/05/world/middleeast/israel-egypt-gaza.html

[61] “Biden and Sisi Agree Gazans Shouldn’t Be Displaced to Egypt”, Bloomberg, 2023, www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-10-30/biden-and-sisi-agree-gazans-shouldn-t-be-displaced-to-egypt

[62] “Israel: Starvation Used as Weapon of War in Gaza”, Human Rights Watch, 2023, www.hrw.org/news/2023/12/18/israel-starvation-used-weapon-war-gaza

[63] “Exclusive: Nearly half of the Israeli munitions dropped on Gaza are imprecise ‘dumb bombs,’ US intelligence assessment finds”, CNN, 2023, https://edition.cnn.com/2023/12/13/politics/intelligence-assessment-dumb-bombs-israel-gaza/index.html

[64] “Top EU diplomat: Gaza destruction proportionally ‘even greater’ than in WWII Germany”, The Times of Israel, 2023, www.timesofisrael.com/top-eu-diplomat-gaza-destruction-proportionally-even-greater-than-in-wwii-germany/

[65] “Blinken returning to Israel to try to limit death toll from an invasion of Gaza”, The Guardian, 2023, www.theguardian.com/world/2023/oct/15/egypt-moves-troops-to-gaza-border-amid-fears-of-expulsion-of-palestinians

[66] “U.S. Has Warned Israel to Fight More Surgically in Gaza, Officials Say”, The New York Times, 2023, www.nytimes.com/2023/11/28/us/politics/israel-gaza-war-military.html

[67] “Israel’s Wider War Has US Cautioning of ‘Strategic Defeat’”, Bloomberg, 2023, www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-12-04/israel-s-expanded-strikes-drive-us-to-warn-of-strategic-defeat

[68] “Biden: Israel-Hamas war must end with vision for a ‘two-state solution’”, CNBC, 2023, www.cnbc.com/2023/10/25/biden-israel-hamas-war-must-end-with-vision-for-a-two-state-solution.html

[69] “Palestinian Authority working with US, UK on postwar plan for Gaza”, The New Arab, 2023, www.newarab.com/news/pa-working-us-uk-postwar-plan-gaza

[70] “Biden: Palestinian Authority Should Ultimately Govern Gaza, West Bank”, Voice of America, 2023, www.voanews.com/a/biden-palestinian-authority-should-ultimately-govern-gaza-west-bank-/7360900.html

[71] “US wants Palestinian Authority security forces deployed to post-war Gaza: report”, The New Arab, 2023, www.newarab.com/news/us-wants-pa-security-forces-deployed-post-war-gaza

[72] “Rifts between Biden and Netanyahu spill into public view”, CNN, 2023, https://edition.cnn.com/2023/12/12/politics/biden-israel-losing-support-netanyahu/index.html

[73] “What to know about U.S. aid to Israel”, Axios, 2023, www.axios.com/2023/11/04/us-israel-aid-military-funding-chart

[74] “Secret Pakistan Cable Documents U.S. Pressure to Remove Imran Khan”, The Intercept, 2023, https://theintercept.com/2023/08/09/imran-khan-pakistan-cypher-ukraine-russia/

[75] “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy”, Harvard Kennedy School, 2006, www.hks.harvard.edu/publications/israel-lobby-and-us-foreign-policy

[76] “Biden administration privately warned by American diplomats of growing fury against US in Arab world”, CNN, 2023, https://edition.cnn.com/2023/11/09/politics/biden-diplomats-warn-middle-east-fury/index.html

[77] “State Department rushes to respond to internal outcry over Israel-Hamas war”, CBS News, 2023, www.cbsnews.com/news/gaza-war-growing-outcry-us-diplomats-administrations-handling/

[78] “Why Biden Won’t Break With Netanyahu”, Foreign Policy, 2023, https://foreignpolicy.com/2023/12/18/biden-netanyahu-israel-hamas-war-gaza-us-support/

One comment

  • Dr. Aijaz Rasool

    31st December 2023 at 11:48 am

    Jazakallah for this nice analysis.

    It would have been better if you enable a pdf option for download ling.

    Reply

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