Worldview with Suhasini Haidar | One month of Israel-Hamas war | 10 outcomes the conflict could have on the world

In this episode of Worldview, we discuss the big outcomes that the Israeli war on Gaza could have on the world and is there any role for India

Updated - November 10, 2023 10:09 pm IST

Published - November 10, 2023 09:06 pm IST

One Month into Israel’s reprisal on Gaza for the October 7 attacks by Hamas- international diplomacy flounders over differences on whether there should be a ceasefire. US top envoy Blinken is on a whistle stop tour of Asia, including in Delhi….Are there any endgames to the incessant suffering, and is there any role for India? We will tell you the 10 big outcomes that the Israeli war on Gaza could have on the world 

More than 30 days after the world was horrified by Hamas terror strikes along Israeli border areas, the world is mortified by Israel’s continuing reprisal attacks on Palestinians in Gaza. 

In this month: 

  • Both sides are counting the casualties- 1439 Israelis dead in the attacks, more than 10,300 Palestinians dead in the bombings 
  • 750,000 Gaza residents have been forced out of their homes, by Israel’s calls for an evacuation of North Gaza  Israeli Defence Forces are closing in with a ground offensive on Gaza city, and have effectively cleared area so as to divide Gaza for its operations 
  • Hospitals, Schools, refugee camps have all been bombed, as Israel hunts for Hamas militants and searches for 240 Israeli hostages taken there 
  • Of those killed in Gaza, an estimated 4,000 are children 

“Gaza is becoming a graveyard for children. Hundreds of girls and boys are reportedly being killed or injured every day. More journalists have reportedly been killed over a four-week period than in any conflict in at least three decades. More United Nations aid workers have been killed than in any comparable period in the history of our organization…. The unfolding catastrophe in Gaza makes the need for a humanitarian ceasefire more urgent with every passing hour” - Antonio Guterres, UN Chief

Internationally, heres what is happening 

-US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in India, after visits to Tel Aviv, Ramallah, Amman, Baghdad and Ankara, also Seoul and Tokyo where he attended a G7 meeting 

-After talks with External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, and 2+2 dialogue between Indian and US foreign and defence ministers

We will come back to India’s role in just a bit, but here are some of the other international responses 

G7 countries met in Tokyo, affirmed support to Israel, no ceasefire, but called for humanitarian pauses in the bombing of Gaza to allow aid to go in. 

-This weekend, Saudi Arabia is hosting the Arab League, followed by an OIC summit to discuss the way forward- expect condemnation of Israel’s bombing there 

-While leaders of many countries have visited Jerusalem in the last month to express support,  at least nine countries have withdrawn their diplomats from Israel to protest as well. South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor went a step further this week

Let’s get you the long view- what analysts fear will be the wider impact of the crisis 

1.     Growing global polarisation- after Ukraine, over Taiwan, now Middle East 

2.     Saudi Israel normalisation of ties on hold, Abraham Accords countries UAE, Bahrain, Morocco may rethink ties with Israel 

3.     Future of Gaza and refugees from Gaza, and their impact on Egypt and Jordan in particular 

 4.     Impact on the Palestinian movement- as Palestinian Authority headed by President Mahmoud Abbas is seen as ineffectual at countering Israel could violent movements like Hamas gain support, and violence could engulf West Bank as well, where more than 150 have died. 

5.     Questions about Israel’s ability to protect itself- how did this attack evade intelligence, counter action, pursuit of attackers, bringing back hostages etc poses problems on Israeli security capacity, once thought invincible 

6.     Worries over conflict between Israel, Hamas and Iran and its allied organisations- like Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Houthis in Yemen- that could see the violence spread 

 7.     US resources even more stretched- Middle East, Ukraine, Indo-Pacific. Here’s what US President Biden said when asked about multiple conflicts, polycrises: 

However, alluding to how it ended in Afghanistan, US President Biden had said this a month ago 

“Justice must be done, but I caution you while you feel that rage, don’t be consumed by it….we made mistakes.” 

8.     Impact on global and regional connectivity initiatives like the - IMEEC announced in September of the I2U2 or other multilateral plans 

9.     A rise in Anti-Semitic/Islamophobia sentiments in different capitals- we have already seen police clashing with radical protestors, and identity based attacks on people in the US, Europe, China etc 

10.  United Nations in decline 

  • Killing of UN workers 
  • No heed to call for ceasefire 
  • No movement at UNSC- no peacekeepers 
  • And the wilful violation of international humanitarian law and other human rights convention 

Where does India stand? In a pointed departure from the past, India voted to abstain on a UNGA resolution calling for a ceasefire, as it said the resolution didn’t reference the October 7 attacks- my analysis of the vote

This week, MEA spokesperson spelt out India’s new balancing position : “We have strongly condemned the horrific terrorist attack on Israel, urged the need for zero tolerance for terrorism and called for immediate and unconditional release of hostages. We have also conveyed our deep concern at the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the increasing civilian toll and welcomed efforts to de-escalate the situation and provide humanitarian assistance. India has also sent 38 tons of humanitarian relief material. We have emphasized the need for strict observance of international humanitarian law. We have also urged the parties to de-escalate, eschew violence and work towards creating conditions for an early resumption of direct peace negotiations towards a two-state solution.” -

To sum it up:

  • Affirming ties with Israel 
  • Zero tolerance for terrorist attacks on civilians 
  • Sending aid to Gaza 
  • Concern for civilians killed 
  • India hasn’t sent an envoy to the region 
  • India abstained at the UN on calls for ceasefire but have voted for several resolutions criticising Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories 
  • In short, like other such conflicts in the recent past including in Syria, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Myanmar and others, the government has decided to adopt the least intrusive, and non-interfering positions that also antagonise neither side 

WV Take: Israel’s anger can be understood, but a state has a responsibility to not allowing its desire for revenge to cloud its search for justice. With massive civilian casualties, little to show by way of dismantling Hamas, and no sign of the hostages return, Israel’s unceasing bombing of Gaza is unsustainable in any term and time period, as the indiscriminate bombing will only sow the seeds for the next generation of violence. The conflict itself poses the biggest challenge to international world order, and shows the United Nation in the poorest, least effective light. India’s leadership on this issue would be welcomed, its abstention from a position at the UN is disappointing to many in the region, in Asia and the Global South who voted differently from Delhi. 

WV Reading Recommendations: 

Please do see the recommendations in WV Ep 127. 

Here are some more: 

  1. The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917–2017 Rashid Khalidi also author of The Iron Cage : The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood
  2.  The Gun and the Olive Branch: The Roots of Violence in the Middle East by David Hirst 
  3. Killing a King: The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the Remaking of Israel by Dan Ephron  
  4. Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East by Michael Oren 
  5. Failing Peace: Gaza and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict by Sara Roy 
  6. Blind Spot: America and the Palestinians, From Balfour to Trump by Khaled Elgindy 
  7. Terror: How Israel Has Coped and What America Can Learn by Leonard Cole 
  8. The World in Conflict by John Andrews  
  9. The Tragedy of Great Power Politics by John J. Mearsheimer. 

Script and Presentation: Suhasini Haidar

Production: Gayatri Menon and Shibu Narayan

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