BRICS Alliances Hang In The Balance
Both Putin and Xi Jinping have taken a measured stance on the Israeli fighting in Gaza. Both leaders want peace in the Middle East, a region with important BRICS alliances.
In January, the BRICS membership of Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE will become official. On the other hand, Hamas has no relationship with China or Russia.
Israel is part of the BRI (Belt and Road Initiative) and a country in which China has invested about $15 billion. Additionally, the relationship between Israel and Russia has warmed considerably since Putin took office in the early 2000’s. Russian is the third most spoken language in Israel, behind Hebrew and Arabic. Tel Aviv hosts both the embassies of the Russian Federation and People’s Republic of China.
While both China and Russia have been strongly critical of the killing of Gaza civilians, they have maintained a neutral position in the conflict. How much effect the two countries will have on the war’s outcome and Israel’s actions is anyone’s guess, but it seems clear that they would prefer a Middle East without Hamas, while continuing their relationship with Israel.
Who’s More Right, Who’s More Wrong?
In the wake of the October 7th attack on Israel, it was truly shocking to see so much pro-Palestinian expression. The civilian deaths in Gaza is an absolute atrocity. However so is the reality that Hamas is using Gazan civilians, who supposedly they’re protecting, as human shields. The tunnels that Hamas uses are concentrated under hospitals and schools.
If anyone wants to defend Hamas, as making a statement about what it feels has been chronic mistreatment by Israel, that person also must acknowledge that the group’s guiding precept is that it will never recognize Israel and will do everything possible to destroy it.
It’s futile to propose the question as to which side is more in the wrong. The right question is; what is the solution? There’s widespread agreement that the most equitable solution would be the creation of two separate states. It seems clear that it’s Hamas, not Israel or non-Hamas Palestinians, who reject this approach.
In 1947 the Jews were willing to accept two states, the Palestinians were not, and war followed. I believe the relentless wars and many attempts to find a way of solving the differences have failed because one side or the other was not pushed hard enough.
In most cases, I think that had Israel been pushed a bit harder we would have had a two-state solution many years ago. The exception that gives credibility to this theory was the Camp David accords. In this case it was a ceaseless and determined effort by President Carter that brought what has been an enduring peace agreement between Israel and Egypt.
The Historical Pursuit For Peace
According to Wikipedia, for 21 months between December 2006 and September 2008, Israeli Prime Minister Olmert and President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority met 36 times and achieved very specific proposals about land swaps and the percentage of settlers that would stay in place.
Unfortunately, the Bush administration had to focus on an economic crisis in the U.S., which was of epic proportions. No one can say what would have happened if the Great Recession had never occurred or even if the Bush administration under any circumstances would have been willing to give Israel an extra shove and provide whatever extra help and security promises might have been needed.
In Israel, you don’t have to share either the Jewish religion or ethnicity to be a citizen. About 20% of the population are Jewish Arabs. Remember, ethnically speaking, Arabs and Jews shared genetic ancestry.
There is also a smaller percentage of Christians in Israel, who happen to be amongst the most successful citizens in the country. Both China and Israel believe in an underlying equality among people- hence why China has financially invested so heavily in Israel. Both cultures also share the belief in meritocracies that allow individuals to find their best places in the material world.
In other words, there are many reasons to believe that the Chinese will be successful mediators of the 75-year-old problem. We have to pray that the vagaries of the current situation will give them a chance. The future of humankind could depend on it.
In conclusion, Israel’s failure to know in advance of Hamas’s plans to attack on Oct. 7th is concerning, given that Egypt had passed along insider information that Hamas was planning something… Yet Israel apparently ignored this information.
That seems odd at face value, especially when you can assume that Egypt (where Hamas originated) has maintained inside contacts within the terrorist group.
Why didn’t Israel take Egypt’s intel more seriously?
One possible explanation would be that ‘another party’ assured Israel that the intelligence was wrong, with that ‘other party’ being the United States.
This is all highly speculative, but if the U.S. did play a role in allowing the Hamas attacks to take place, the motivation would be to keep Israel out of the hands of the SCO & BRICS, especially given Israel’s growing attachment to China and ties to Russia.
Lest we forget, Israel is an essential link to countries critical to U.S. security, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt, which control the Suez Canal.