South Asia and Beyond

‘Major Powers Think They Can Have The Cake And Eat It Too’

NEW DELHI: “It’s been a month since the October 7 Massacre. While the world might have moved on, we don’t have that privilege. Hamas started this war—yet it’s a war we must fight. A war we must win.”

The Israeli defence forces know what they want as the offensive against the Hamas terror network in Gaza continues. Global calls for an immediate  ceasefire have been rejected by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but he is willing to allow “small tactical pauses” to allow aid into Gaza and facilitate the exit of hostages. Israel will take control of Gaza’s “overall security” after the war, he claimed.

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Fears that the Israeli pounding of Gaza will widen the conflict to a regional one haven’t come true as yet. There have been street protests against Israel in the Arab world, even by Palestinian supporters in the West.

“The Arab streets are easier to unite than the Arab governments but the governments can’t live too far above the streets. And it’s a myth to believe that governments that are not democratic don’t have to listen to the people, they have to,” says analyst and author MJ Akbar.

The Israel-Palestine issue remains a festering sore. The world hasn’t had a grip on the region for decades; the problem is finding a confluence between actuality, imagined fears and history benighted, Akbar told StratNews Global in an exclusive interview.

Role Of Major Powers

Need a much stronger will than the world has to define a settlement, says Akbar. “So far, the major powers think they can have the cake and eat it too”. He feels diplomacy isn’t being targeted right to achieve the desired results.

“Diplomacy is not about exercising influence on your enemies; the enemies will be influenced only by your defence and hard power. Diplomacy is about exercising the maximum mutually beneficial relationship with friends.” Akbar feels this is the moment for friends to step in and tell both sides that hostility by itself is not a solution, and that the concept of a complete military victory is gone.

People Hold Out Hope

The rational street, not the emotional street, is demanding that some settlement has to be arrived at, says Akbar. The issue has bled the world and as nations milk the crisis to cater to their domestic constituencies, but “hope lies in the people; leaders will do nothing except live comfortably”.

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