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In the early hours of October 7th, a day after the fiftieth anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, the Palestinian movement Hamas launched a mass-organized ground and air terrorist attack against Israel. Since the beginning of this deadly war, there have been thousands of casualties, both Israeli and Palestinian civilians. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu officially declared that Israel is in a state of war and sent the Israeli army and air force against Gaza.

Israel stated that it would do everything to free the approximately 200 Israeli hostages in the Gaza Strip and continued to warn civilians in the enclave to evacuate their homes. In recent days, the Israeli army and air force struck significant targets of Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon. In Jerusalem, the far-right coalition partner and Interior Minister of Israel, Itamar Ben Gvir, and several representatives of his far-right party Otzma Yehudit vowed to carry out a massive retaliation, with party activists claiming that the life of one Israeli would be paid for with five Palestinian lives. The big question at this stage is whether Israel will reoccupy the Gaza Strip after withdrawing from it in 2005.

The more challenging part for Israel, however, lies ahead, as every aggressive move poses a risk to the hostages. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Israeli citizens to prepare for long and protracted military actions and offered opposition leaders Yair Lapid and Benny Gantz to immediately join an expanded ’emergency government’ to deal with the crisis. So far, only Benny Gantz responded to this call for the formation of an emergency military cabinet. According to recent sociological surveys, a broad majority is forming around him in support of the idea that he would succeed Netanyahu as prime minister in the next elections. The upcoming elections are becoming inevitable with each passing day, given the growing tension in Israeli society and the inevitable question of who will take the blame for this crisis.

However, the crisis deepens, and both Israel and Palestine accuse each other of the strike on the hospital in Gaza. At this stage, it appears that Israel and the United States have presented more convincing evidence that the strike was caused by a defective rocket launched by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group. The call for an international investigation into the incident for which the Palestinian Authority lodged a complaint with the International Criminal Court cannot be honored. Israel may be a party to the treaty, but in 2002, it informed the United Nations Secretary-General that it was refusing to ratify the Rome Statute. For this reason, its signature does not imply compliance with the legislative norms and jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. The same applies to the attitude towards the ICC by the United States, Russia, and nearly all countries in the Arab world, with the only exceptions being the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, Tunisia, and Djibouti.


One of the most common questions asked in relation to this war is whether it could overshadow what is happening in Europe and redirect the attention of the USA and the West from Ukraine to Israel. The answer here is easy. The 1985 Mutual Security Pact with Israel guarantees the release of extraordinary sums by the USA in the event of an attack on Israel. This includes the $8 billion that were allocated on the first day of the war – this sum was actually voted on and frozen for emergency cases a long time ago and it was simply activated by Biden’s signature. The USA and Israel have several mechanisms for providing assistance in the event of an attack on Israel, and this will not impact the funds for Ukraine.

It’s very likely that both Republicans and Democrats in Congress will consensually release additional funds for Israel’s defense. President Joe Biden has always been one of the leading pro-Israel Democrats. One of the first countries he visited as a senator in the 1970s as a member of the Congress Foreign Affairs Committee was Israel, and his personal friendship with Benjamin Netanyahu, although it has cooled in recent years, spans more than four decades. The deployment of a second American aircraft carrier on the eastern flank in the Middle East is also a direct warning to Iran not to make sharp moves on the eve of the Israeli ground entry into northern Gaza.

What is happening in the Middle East, however, is not just a challenge to Israel but also a challenge to the USA, whose influence in the region has been eroding in recent years. The visit of the American president on October 18th aimed to understand Israel’s next moves and to implement the American initiative for de-escalation in the region. Besides declaring their strong support, the Americans sent a tactical message to Benjamin Netanyahu not to escalate the conflict further at this stage. It appears that Joe Biden has succeeded in achieving most of the tasks that the Americans had set for themselves.

This is why, on Wednesday, the USA vetoed the declaration entered by Brazil in the UN Security Council, condemning the conflict in Gaza. The goal was for the American diplomatic initiative to come into play. Although after the shelling of the hospital in Gaza, the meeting in Amman between the leaders of the USA, Egypt, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority was canceled, on Wednesday evening, President Biden managed to talk to Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The latter even agreed to release 27 trucks of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing.


The war between Israel and Hamas is turning into a second front that states like Iran, Russia, and China will take advantage of. However, it is not fair to assign Russia the role of a global mastermind behind every new geopolitical development. Moscow may have played a secondary role in the processes in Gaza by providing logistical support or silent consent, but any claims that go further than that are mere speculation.

The primary reason why Russia will never openly oppose Tel Aviv are the Russian Jews in Israel and their active role in the strategic relations between the two states. The relations between Netanyahu and Zelensky are also ebbing and flowing, and Israel obviously feels more comfortable as a mediator for peace in the Russo-Ukrainian war, realizing its goals against Iran in tacit support for Kiev.


On the first day of their terrorist attack, Hamas announced that their leader, Ismail Haniyeh, had received a call from Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, in which the latter praised the actions of Hamas and wished them success. To date, Israeli and American officials and intelligence sources have not publicly confirmed whether there is direct Iranian involvement in the conflict. What’s unusual in this case is that Iran denies its involvement, unlike many previous instances of its proxies such as the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas launching rocket attacks on Israel.

Iran has certainly played an active role in the developments in Gaza, but we can expect more aggressive moves from them only through their strongest proxy, Hezbollah. Two main reasons for this are, first, Israel’s doctrine of “nuclear ambiguity,” and second, the direct warning from the USA that interference in the conflict by other players will have consequences.

When, at the end of the 1970s, the Vanunu affair revealed that Israel had managed to create nuclear weapons in Dimona, the prominent international relations theorist Kenneth Waltz put forth the thesis that, since Israel had violated the accepted principles of “nuclear purity” in the Middle East, it was only fair for other regional Arab and Iranian powers to acquire such weapons to establish a balance. Waltz, however, overlooks the nuance that to destroy Israel, only one nuclear bomb in the center of Tel Aviv is needed, as it will directly impact at least 5 million people.

This is the reason why Israel maintains a doctrine of “nuclear ambiguity” – not to publicly acknowledge that it possesses nuclear weapons, but for all regional players to be aware of this fact. Israel has never been a member state of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and, therefore, has not violated international law. Israel’s strategy is also supported by the Meir-Nixon agreement of 1969, in which the USA declared that it would turn a blind eye to Israel’s potential development of nuclear weapons, but only on the condition that Israel does not publicly acknowledge it and keeps it a secret. This concept, which remains valid to this day, means you won’t find a single Israeli politician or military official publicly admitting that Israel possesses a nuclear arsenal. This way, Tel Aviv keeps its regional adversaries in check for at least 40 years, as they are aware that an organized attack on Israel will lead to a nuclear response.

The Arab World

However, the resolution of the conflict in Israel can be significantly influenced by its immediate neighbors, namely Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and potentially Jordan. Egypt serves as the only land access for the civilian population in Gaza, and Jordan can diplomatically intervene alongside the Palestinian government in the West Bank. Both states, however, are not actively participating in receiving refugees from Gaza due to concerns about their internal security. Egypt, in particular, is worried that some of the refugees entering the country may be activists of Hamas or have secretly supported them over the years.

As for the Saudis, their reaction at the beginning of this war has undergone a certain evolution, shifting from calls for peace to more critical statements against Israel. Judging by this, it’s evident that Saudi interests in normalizing relations with Tel Aviv have been frozen. This isn’t an easy decision, as Saudi Arabia aimed to take on the role of a mediator in the Middle East. By normalizing relations with Iran and Qatar, Riyadh signaled that it was ready to work to maintain balance in the region. Of course, this ambition of Saudi Arabia is also related to India’s project, seen as rivaling the interests of China and Iran, for a trade route through the Red Sea, Egypt, and the kingdom. After the Hamas attack, it remains to be seen whether Riyadh will be successful in achieving this ambition and becoming a negotiator in the hostage crisis and intermediary between Tel Aviv and the Hamas leaders in Tehran.

Certainly, negotiations for peace cannot be conducted without the participation of Arab states. Neither the USA, nor the EU, nor Turkey have the trust of both sides. Years ago, a survey in Israel showed that 80% of the population wanted to be part of the European Union, but the only thing holding them back is the EU’s support for the Palestinian Authority. For this reason, most right-wing parties in Israel refer to the EU as a “pro-Palestinian organization,” and relations between Israel and Spain are particularly tense on this issue.

For this reason, the way forward is for Riyadh to continue peace negotiations with Tel Aviv and succeed through diplomatic means in persuading Israel to make concessions to the Palestinian Authority. However, these negotiations will have to be conducted with the successors of Netanyahu and Abbas. In the case of Israel, centrists like Gantz and Lapid are more capable of dialogue, while with the Palestinians, it would have to be someone outside of Fatah or Hamas, such as Mustafa Barghouti or Mohammed Dahlan.

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