The Israeli – Palestine War (5.)

International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES[1]) from Ljubljana, Slovenia, regularly analyses developments in the Middle East, the Balkans and around the world. Dr J Scott Younger is a President Commissioner at Glendale Partners and member of IFIMES Advisory Board. In his text entitled “The Israeli – Palestine War (5.)“, he continues with the analyse of the Israeli – Palestine war in Gaza.

 Dr J Scott Younger, International Chancellor of the President University in Indonesia,Honorary Senior Research Fellow of the Glasgow University and member of IFIMES Advisory Board


The Israeli – Palestine War (5.)


The last period has seen some new activity, not necessarily for the better. Now there is threatened an escalation between the two main protagonists, Israel and Iran. Going back about 3 weeks, Israel was at a pause point, brought about by its targeting aid trucks and openly killing 7 aid workers, including 3 British acting for protection and 1 American. This brought a storm of protest from western allies, and Israel was advised very strongly not to pursue its plans to attack Rafah in an attempt to clear out the thugs of Hamas. This action would not receive whole-hearted backing. 

PM Benjamin Netanyahu faced a quandary. The US and western allies sent a forceful message that they would not condone a heavy-handed entry into Rafah with many civilian casualties as witnessed in previous actions in Gaza. Israel was losing the high moral ground. To regain this they had to provoke the opposition, led by Iran, to take some action against Israel which would concern the west. Consequently, they took a limited action strike on an Iranian consular outpost in Syria, killing a handful of people, including two senior members of the Republican Guards. Naturally, this invoked a serious response, the consulate perceived as Iranian land, as any such diplomatic posts are. As witnessed last weekend, 13 April, over 300 missiles and drones were fired at Israel. Fortunately, nearly all were taken down by Israel’s air defensive shield along with US and UK planes put into service. This was condemned by the west, fearing an escalation, but the west has made little mention of the earlier Israeli provocation that led to the Iranian action.

The US and the west have advised Israel strongly to de-escalate the situation and take the ‘success’ of last weekend, drawing a line under the tit-for-tat. The British and German foreign secretaries met with the Israeli cabinet and put this point, but acknowledged that Israel always had a right to defend itself, puzzlingly not referring to the earlier provocation. However, the Israelis are not listening. PM Netanyahu feels he has regained the high moral ground, his allies are once again backing him, and he has rejected the advice. He has tried a modest 3-prong probe including on the nuclear facility of Isfahan, no harm done. He wanted to show that Israel would retaliate despite having started the recent exchange. The west should be worried, a potential escalation could be looming. 

PM Netanyahu feels that he can once more proceed with his war aim to destroy Hamas and risk Iranian led bombardments on Israel and escalation of the Middle East tension. Consequently, the Israelis have started to step up their aerial attacks on Rafah, killing several innocent children playing around the rubble. It appears that they are gearing up to carry out a full-scale invasion of Rafah, the aim to finally eliminate the Hamas thugs. The hostages taken on 7 October, those left alive from the brutal and abusive conditions in which they are held, are apparently a secondary consideration. 

One has to go back two decades or more in which PM Netanyahu has held some power, and influenced the Israeli political thinking towards the Palestinians, his long-time disdain for all Arabs, particularly since Hamas took power in 2006 in Gaza. In no way would he tolerate a 2-state solution as the west are backing and as indicated would be the outcome following the division of the land called Palestine in 1948, the initial intent. He sees this as the best chance, with a vacillating American government, which he has learned to ‘play’, despite considerable unpopularity at home, to put Israel in charge of the total land area of 1948 Palestine. The Palestinians will either leave or put up with a secondary role, apartheid.

In the meantime, while eyes are turned to overseas or to Rafah, the right- wing settlers are pushing the Palestinians back, burning homes and destroying livelihoods in the West Bank. The police and soldiers, who are supposed to be keeping the peace, are standing by and watching. Unforgiveable! One cannot understand that this is permitted to happen. 

Meanwhile, we watch this shameful position continue, the arming of Israel and the weakness of the west to have their say. Enemies are watching! The only good thing of the last few days is the approval by Congress in the US to send arms to Ukraine, although it must be followed up by granting membership of NATO. That is another story.

About the author: 

Dr J Scott Younger, OBE, is a professional civil engineer; he spent 42 years in the Far East undertaking assignments in 10 countries for WB, ADB, UNDP.  He published many papers; he was a columnist for Forbes Indonesia and Globe Asia. He served on British & European Chamber boards and was a Vice Chair of Int’l Business Chamber for 17 years. His expertise is infrastructure and sustainable development and he takes an interest in international affairs. He is an International Chancellor of the President University, Indonesia and Honorary Senior Research Fellow of the Glasgow University. He is a member of IFIMES Advisory Board. Lived and worked in Thailand from 1978 to 1983 and visited Burma, Bangladesh and Nepal for projects.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect IFIMES official position.

Ljubljana/Glasgow, 4 May 2024

[1] IFIMES – International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies, based in Ljubljana, Slovenia, has Special Consultative status at ECOSOC/UN since 2018 and is the publisher of the international scientific journal “European Perspectives”.