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24 July, 2024
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The big picture

What's really at stake behind the recent atrocities in the Israeli - Palestinian conflict?

Eleni Xenou

Eleni Xenou

With whom do we stand? Is it conceivable that this question might be circulating, whether discreetly or openly, in the wake of the atrocities we've witnessed? Is it conceivable that even in the face of these horrors, our personal "ideological" narratives take precedence? Instead of taking a resolute stance against these horrors, do we hastily rush to find a way to justify our various "yes, but" arguments?

Could it be that we fail to realize that the only way to unequivocally denounce these atrocities—without any "yes, buts"—is to declare loudly that justice cannot tolerate or condone blind fanaticism and violence? These lead only to the dehumanization of humanity and the imposition of a law-of-the-jungle mentality. What else can it be but a law of the jungle when we revel in the death of a young girl and desecrate her memory?

Is it possible that we don't see that these "yes, but" arguments inadvertently provide room to legitimize the existence of these obscurantist organizations? These groups, in addition to committing atrocities against the very people they claim to protect, are also oppressing. Instead, wouldn't it be more useful to transcend personal biases and examine the bigger picture, asking the right questions?

Among those questions are: Whose interests do these fanatical Islamist organizations, who talk about jihad, truly serve? As Mr. Michaelides, a distinguished anthropology professor at Princeton, aptly states, "These Islamist organizations exploit and alienate the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinians and are essentially financed by foreign entities (e.g., Iran and Turkey)." "The influence of Iran, Turkey, and more recently Russia and China in Palestinian society," Michaelides states, "has gradually altered the character and practices of the Palestinian movement, which, regrettably, is now largely dominated by jihadist fanatics.

Furthermore, lamentably, the most extreme fundamentalist voices in Israeli society have also gained strength in recent years, both in terms of demographics and politics. In other words, the less conciliatory, more extreme elements have gained influence in both communities, which is far from encouraging for the region's future of peace and coexistence."

So, is this merely a localized conflict over liberation and territorial control, or does it have broader implications? If, indeed, Iran, Turkey, Russia, and possibly China are behind the Hamas terrorist attacks, what does this imply for the region? Are Hamas' terrorist actions, under the pretext of protecting Palestinian rights, undermining the Abrahamic Arab-Israeli agreements, Israel-Saudi rapprochement, and, more importantly, jeopardizing the recently unveiled historic project to establish a trade corridor between India and the EU through Israel and Greece?

Furthermore, weakening Israel would jeopardize Eastern Mediterranean energy projects, which are vehemently opposed by Russia and Turkey. So, is all the horror we witness rooted in issues far more intricate than the various "yes, but" arguments we hastily put forth?

Michaelides suggests that "it's disheartening to witness authoritarian states intervening to destabilize the region and undermine the prospects of Palestinians and Israelis, as well as the energy security of Europe. The Western world must adopt a broader perspective and respond accordingly. Palestinian civilians must be protected, and Israeli citizens must live in safety and peace. A stable, secure, and democratic Israel is in the interest of Palestinians and the broader democratic world." Could this be the big picture we need to consider?

[This opinion piece was translated from its Greek original and may not exude the same flavor as the original]

Cyprus  |  Israel  |  Hamas

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