by Tim Akano
The unthinkable happened on 7/10, similar to the earth-shaking event of 9/11: the world tilted dangerously, leaving a permanent dent in the world’s civilization.
To achieve equilibrium, the world order stands on a tripod: cooperation, competition and conflict. However, the Middle East makes use of only one pillar: conflict.
Before the event of 7/10, serious covert efforts were being made regarding the normalization of the relationship between Israel and her Arab neighbours, especially the Sunnis, led by Saudi Arabia. Then, from the Blue Hamas managed to pull through an audacious unimaginable attack on Israel.
IDF’s statement that “animalistic behaviour requires a similar and equal response” is loaded. The world is at zero hour: IDF is fully set for a massive ground operation, meanwhile there are massive global demonstrations going on for and against IDF’s reprisal attack. IDF seems to have crossed the Rubicon, nonetheless.
However, the Mosaic strategy of an eye -for- an- eye in the ongoing war of ‘right against right’, ‘might against might’ between Israel and Hamas consequence of the horrific kamikaze attacks launched by Hamas on the Israeli civilian population will ultimately make all the inhabitants of that geographical space go blind. War has no beauty and zero benefits, it is, indeed, a zero-sum game.
Whereas a Hamas-less Palestine might be possible, and even probably necessary, a Jewish-less Middle East will never happen, and similarly, a Palestinian-less Palestine is impossible.
Which means we are still coming to the negotiation table, sooner than later.
Can’t we do the negotiation right now?
It is too late in the day for both the Palestinians and the Jewish communities to wipe each other off the Map or push each other into the Mediterranean Sea despite their toxic past and ongoing hostilities. Indeed, some scholars believe their differences are irreconcilable. Really? The Jews and Arabs, having survived numerous challenges in the past 2000 years, have both become permanent historical facts, not fiction. Hamas got it all wrong when she made the destruction of Israel her cardinal state objective.
It is, therefore, incumbent on the world’s referee, i.e. the United Nations, if it does not want to go the way of its predecessor, i.e. the League of Nations that became moribund when it became a spectator in the game it was meant to be the referee between 1918-1945.
The UN needs to quickly come up with creative, out-of-the-box solutions that will make the two antagonistic cousins manage to co-exist without bloody violence.
Going forward, humanity has to break the circle of stomach-churning, Hollywood-like horrors, avoidable deaths and humongous destruction of critical infrastructure in both communities.
As long as the spirits of the dead are not resting in peace, there will be no peace for the living in the Middle East. And without peace in the Middle East, the hope of having peace globally will remain a-will-o-the-wisp. Humanity is one!
There are 3 premises upon which most analysts on both divides draw their conclusions: History Geography and Law. But the Middle East is different, the international court in The Hague is impotent in this matter. Therefore, relying on historical or geographical narratives might not be helpful. Truth is complicated here, History is complex and there is no permanent certificate of occupancy (CofO) to determine which Geographical narrative is right. It is a long history of conquest and re-conquest that has lasted over two millenniums.
Therefore, the only useful compass that can move the needle on the Jewish-Palestinian conflict is a Moral Compass. Only pragmatism, compromise and a new mentality will work. While military victory is possible, peace is impossible without negotiation.
Humanity has on its hand a MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) exam where both parties have a valid point. This kind of challenge will task even King Solomon, despite his gargantuan wisdom.
IS UNITED NATIONS ANACHRONISTIC?
The world is at war, that is a fact. The Russia-Ukraine war is getting hotter but it has been relegated to the background
People are dying in Turkey- Kurdish PKK, Armenian- Azerbaijan, Ethiopia- Tigray wars daily. CNN cameras have been moved away from those places.
China- Phillipine cold war, China-Taiwan warm war, Saudi Arabia -Yemen (warm),
China-Japan (cold), Serbia- Kosovo (hot), Syria, Sudan, South Sudan, Congo, Libya, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Mali, coupled with the recent harvest of military coups in the Shael. The question: Is the United Nations still alive and well to its responsibility of providing peace and stability for the world? On her watch, the world is, as I write, pen-in-hand, in turmoil. Cold, warm, hot wars, civil wars, coups and rumours of coups everywhere coupled with global hunger crisis from Venezuela to Colombia and Sri Lanka among others.
From the Lens of Geography
1 Palestinian total land presently is 6,220km (365 km2 in Gaza and 5,860 km2 in West Bank) for a population of about 5 million.
2 Israel: 22,145km2 for a population of about 9.5million
3 Jordan: 89,318km2 for a population of about 11 million
4 Egypt: 1,002 million km2 for a population of about 109 million.
Putting it contextually, the entire Palestine and Israel land combined is just about 3% of Egypt in size or half of Sierra Leone, one of the smallest countries in Africa or almost equal in size to Rwanda, a tiny African country.
The implication for both Israel and Palestine is that there is no room for the organic or natural expansion of their respective population. This is the CORE FEAR fueling war between the two communities. Religion and history are secondary, Geography is it! Palestine wants more land, ditto Israel. And both needs are justifiable.
Starting with a Blank Page:
Anyone who truly desires to be a solution provider in an ongoing crisis must start with a blank page. Why? Rigidity, emotional outbursts and religious fanaticism had never worked (and will never work)
There are three options on the table in the past which didn’t work but I am proposing the fourth option to the United Nations and America today for consideration.
Option A1: One-state solution for 2 people. This is a situation where both the Jews and Palestinians are brought together in one democratic nation. However, Israel fears that since the Palestinian women’s birth rate is higher than that of Jewish women, the one-state solution will bring future demographic complications to Israel.
OPTION A2: Two-state solution.
The Oslo Accords signed on 13/9/93 between Israel and PLA failed because major sticking issues were not resolved: Israel’s security, Palestine’s rights of return and the status of Jerusalem among others.
OPTION A3: This idea was put forward by some scholars that since 70% of the Jordanian population is Palestinian by ethnicity, both Jordan and Palestine should collapse into one strong country.
But the Jordan government didn’t buy into it.
OPTION A4: A Four-State Solution I examine the four Frontline countries in this dispute: Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Palestine. Implementing the Law of Adjacent Possible, can bring a new solution.
Since Gaza has a border with Egypt in Rafah ( 456km2), Khan and Yunis, the United Nations should negotiate with Egypt to purchase land measuring 15km2 from Egypt’s massive scantily occupied land for the Palestinian refugees who are demanding the right of return.
Likewise, the UN should purchase another 5km2 of land from Jordan. With this, Palestine will have a total landmass of about 36km2 which will be more than sufficient to take care of the population growth in future and the refugee’s returnees.
Besides the commercial gains, Egypt should be her brother’s keeper (same religion, same region, same ethnicity) Egypt should back up her words of solidarity to the Palestinians with concrete steps immediately.
The UN should equally obtain a full commitment from Israel not to pull down the Al-Aqsa mosque for the temple. The status- quo- ante should remain regarding Jerusalem’s future. The holy city should be available for the Christians, Muslims and the Jews to worship.
This would not be the first time one country or entity would purchase land from another. France did with Dunkirk, Russia did with Kexholmslan,. In 1958, Pakistan purchased Gwadar situated on the South Coast of Pakistan from Oman.
Even in 1803, America purchased 530,000,000 acres of land in North America from France.
COSTS OF WAR
According to Brown University, America has spent $ 8 trillion in fighting terrorism and 900,000 deaths in 20 years. A rough check of what it cost the Palestinians to purchase the 5000 rockets used on Israel within the first 48 hours of the war and what it cost Israel to shoot down the rockets was estimated at $2B. For every rocket the iron dome shot down, It costs between $100,000-$150,000. Worse still, over 3,000 lives were lost within the first 5 days!
$500 Billion Middle East Comprehensive Peace and Development AID ( MECPDA)
1 Under the UN leadership, the following Frontline countries should serve as mediators (5+2): America, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, UAE, France and the UK in bringing the war to an immediate end.
Two, raise the sum of $500billion similar to the Marshall Plan that was used in rebuilding Japan after WW2, to be shared as follows :
Egypt ($100B cost of the land purchased and support for NAC City – the New Admintrative Center), Palestine ($100B to rebuild the city into another Dubai), Jordan ($100B- cost of land and development aid), Israel ($50B), Syria ($50B), Iraq ($50B), Turkey ($50B for her role in Syria refugees resettlement). Where will the money come from? America (60%), Europe (20%) Others (20%)
Peace is 99% cheaper than war. Interestingly, the RoI on peace is humongous, while the RoI on war is pains, deaths and economic violence and hunger.
Ramifications of 7/10!
Is this October 1962?
1 The period between 16th October 1962- 29th October 1962 was extremely dangerous for the world. That was during the Cuban Missile Crisis between Russia and America.
Likewise the period between Monday 16th October 2023- Sunday 29th October 2023 will be a period of litmus test for the world.
Russia, through the Foreign Secretary, said “if America helps Israel, Russia will help Palestine”. We can imagine what a direct confrontation between the two super powers will look like judging by what we witnessed in Syria and in the on going Ukraine war where they are both playing indirect match!
2 When Operation Iron Swords is done, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Job may go with the war. The Israeli’s genius, and arguably, one of Israel’s greatest leaders of all time will find his franchise and brand damaged after the war. His MOJO is no longer 100%. Just like Golda Meir, Moshe Dayan and Ehud Olmert who lost their MOJO after similar wars. But Bibi can look back and feel fulfilled that he did his best as the longest Israeli serving PM (14+X years), who built the economy, technology and military of Israel into a super power status
Lesson? A leader must learn to quit when the ovation is loudest. Nine out of ten politicians globally end up as zero when they overstay. A leader must know when to say:I am full, not just about food but also about power
3 The Gaza we are looking at today wil become substantially rubble after the operation, except the voice of Reason prevails.
Lesson? Never be quick to start a war you can’t win, especially when you are the underdog.
4 The World economy which is already limping as a result of China’s worsening economic situation, will get worse in 2024. If the war escalates to a regional show and goes beyond 3 months, the Oil and gas sector will be negatively affected and the world’s economy limping leg may be amputated by March 2024.
5 Russia seems to have a blank cheaqe to kill off Ukraine by instalment because Hamas has successfully distracted America’s attention away from Ukraine.and weakened Europe is war-weary and too scared of Russia. When last did CNN carry breaking News from Ukraine?
6 Right now, opinion is divided in China as to when is the best time to invade Taiwan to achieve the Greater China goal. If China takes her chances now and invades Taiwan, America will be left with no option but to go to war with China. This means America will be fighting directly and indirectly on three war fronts simultaneously. Which was what Rome did and collapsed.
If that happens, then the emerging new world order will come faster than expected, and then, everything as we know it will change. There will be no victors, it is back to the pre-civilization, stone age once atomic bombs are involved.
7 Implications on Africa: all the fragile African countries like Nigeria, Cameroon and the ‘coup countries’ should learn how to resolve their differences before it boils over. If fights break out, It- is -fight -to -finish with one another as no super power will be available to extinguish civil wars inferno.
8 It is a hyper-connected world, whatever happens in the Middle East does not stay in the Middle East!
Thomson Ivy said: when you find no solution to a problem, it’s probably not a problem to be solved, but rather a TRUTH to be accepted
Is the Middle East a problem to be solved or a TRUTH to be accepted? Your perspective?