How Israel-Hamas War Threatens World Peace

The deadly operation by the Islamist militant group Hamas in southern Israel on Oct. 7, in which 1,200 Israelis, including civilians, were killed and more than 200 hostages were taken to Gaza, shocked the world. After the attack, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that the Hamas attack was Israel’s 9/11 and succeeded in uniting the opposition and forming a war cabinet. Netanyahu has predicted that the war in Gaza will spread to the region and has vowed to change the Middle East map. Looking at the situation, one can say that both Hamas and Netanyahu are motivated to expand the conflict to the region, as Israeli forces have focused on destroying Hezbollah forces in Lebanon, bombing Syrian airports near the Turkish border and “accidentally” hitting Egyptian positions near the Gaza border. Former Hamas leader Khaled Mashal vowed to continue fighting for the liberation of Palestine. He asked Hezbollah and the Arab states for help and said in an interview with Saudi TV station Al-Arabiya on Oct. 19 that the Palestinians were prepared to sacrifice millions of people to protect their land.

US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak continue to support Netanyahu’s war in Gaza, which has left more than 11,000 civilians dead and nearly 30,000 injured, 75 percent of them women and children. According to the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza, some 1.6 million people in Gaza had been internally displaced and more than 220,000 housing units destroyed by Nov. 13. Arab foreign ministers have called for a ceasefire since the Israeli bombardment of Gaza began, while Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has offered to mediate between the leaders of Israel and Hamas. French President Emmanuel Macron has hinted that Tehran is supporting Hamas in the form of “aid” and “cooperation,” but he also said France has no official evidence of this. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, however, denied Iran’s involvement, although he did praise the Oct. 7 attack.

The African Union strongly condemned the Israeli airstrike on the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza on Oct. 17, which killed more than 500 people, Hamas claimed. The two major African nations, South Africa and Egypt, are playing a very active role in trying to stop Israel’s relentless attacks on civilians. Egyptian President Abdal-Fatal El Sisi hosted the Cairo Peace Summit on Oct. 21 in an effort to end the catastrophe in Gaza. The one-day meeting in Cairo was attended by Arab heads of state and government and representatives from France, Germany, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, the United States, Qatar, Turkey and South Africa, as well as representatives from the United Nations and the European Union. However, the absence of Israel and the presence of the United States in Cairo without high-ranking officials cast doubt on the effectiveness of the summit. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed during the summit that his country had experienced oppression by an apartheid regime not so long ago and that the world did not want to see that kind of oppression again. South African Foreign Minister Dr. Naledi Pandor, who participated in the UN Security Council open debate on the situation in the Middle East on Oct. 24, called on the United Nations to create a two-state solution in which Israelis and Palestinians live side by side in peace. She emphasized that this must be done in accordance with the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine. Pandor criticized the UN Security Council for not preventing the conflict from leading to this level of violence and harm to the civilian population in Gaza. The ruling African National Congress and the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) condemned the Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip.


A proxy war is brewing in the Middle East.

After the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) collapsed in 1991 and the Russian Federation lost its influence in Central Asia, it was not in a position to comment on the two US Gulf Wars in the Middle East. However, since Russia’s powerful leader, Vladimir Putin, has increased the Kremlin’s influence in the territory of the former USSR, the US is backing Ukraine to weaken Russia in the region, and this means that another proxy war between the US and Russia could engulf the Middle East. US President Joe Biden visited Israel to express his full support for the Netanyahu government, and the world’s largest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald Ford, was sent to Israel as a show of support after Hamas attacked. Israel is the US’s most important ally in the Middle East, where Washington has been losing its authority over major Arab states such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. At the 15th BRICS summit, which took place in Johannesburg in August of this year, the application of these three countries for BRICS membership was officially accepted. Washington is no longer dependent on the oil of the Arab Gulf states, as the US produces its own oil. The oil-rich Gulf states have lost their trust in the US government since Washington failed to protect Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates from Iran’s drone attacks in recent years. China and Russia are the two most important powers in the BRICS economic group, and China has become the largest importer of Saudi Arabian oil. On Oct. 18 the US vetoed the Brazilian-led call for a humanitarian pause and corridors into Gaza, while China voted in favor of the resolution at the UN Security Council. Prior to the vote, two amendments proposed by Russia for an “immediate, durable and full ceasefire in Gaza” were rejected by the Security Council. China and Russia had vetoed a draft resolution introduced by the US on Oct. 24, which highlighted the ineffectiveness of the Security Council in providing a unified response to end the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Hamas’ unprecedented attack on Israel and Netanyahu’s ongoing bombardment of the Gaza Strip have made any peace initiatives in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict even more difficult. Both sides claim that Palestine is their ancestral homeland. Since the British Empire took control of Palestine from the Ottoman Empire during World War I and drafted the Balfour Declaration of 1917, which announced Britain’s support for the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine, the conflict has never been resolved. The UN voted to partition Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state in 1947, but the Arabs rejected the plan and the Jews declared Israel in 1948. There were many peace talks between Israel and Palestine, but these were interrupted by outbreaks of violence. Today, around 3 million Palestinians live in the West Bank and 2.2 million in the Gaza Strip, which is one of the most densely populated areas in the world, but more than half of the population has already been displaced in the Gaza Strip.


Netanyahu is determined to expel the entire Palestinian population from the Gaza Strip, where Hamas has been in control since 2006. Qatar and Turkey are harboring Hamas leaders and Iran is arming them. NATO member Turkey’s leader Erdoğan has already stated that Hamas is not a terrorist organization and that they are liberators. Neither Netanyahu’s war cabinet nor the Hamas leadership promises a peaceful life for their people and are keen to become tools of the proxy wars of the great powers.

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