If the Jews were tortured or driven out by Hitler during the World War and the Allies had to rehabilitate them somewhere after the war, they could have found a place in Germany itself. Why carve out a land for the Jews in Palestine? Here lies the root cause of the constant Israel-Palestine conflict in the middle-east. The Israelis, with the constant support especially of the US, have grown from strength to strength, while the Palestinians complain that they were made ‘refugees’ in their own land.
The sudden attack of Hamas, the Palestinian guerillas, which killed thousands of unprepared Israelis, is to be condemned. But the counter hammering which the Israelis have started on the Gaza strip, from where Hamas operates, is equally ferocious. Peace in the world is disturbed again, while the Russian attack on Ukraine is still on. The geo-political impact is expected to be long drawn and far-reaching: both economically and politically.
For the last one week, the stock markets have been reacting negatively. Global oil prices are on the rise and inflation has already hit our daily lives. The G20 meeting recently concluded in Delhi had opened up the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC). Some say, including President Biden, that this Hamas attack was aimed at scuttling this important move which is planned to improve trade relations between Europe, the Arab countries and India. This new trade corridor is naturally considered a rival to China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR). And China is one of the few countries which do not consider Hamas as a terrorist outfit as the rest of the world does. The IMEC was announced on the sidelines of the G20 meeting when a memorandum of understanding was signed between the European and seven countries namely India, the US, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), France, Germany and Italy. Observers said that the corridor was supposed to reconnect “Alexander’s Greece with Porus’s India in the 21st century”. The Corridor which connects Mumbai with Piraeus in Greece passes through the Haifa port of Israel. The US considers the IMEC project as a tool to normalize relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia. But the sudden Hamas attack on Israel seems to upset all such peace plans.
But while this IMEC trade corridor is taking shape, it is not without internal conflicts. Turkey, another country which supports Hamas, is upset at being left out from this trade route. Turkey claims that the trade route passes through ‘troubled waters’ where the Greek and Turkish navies fight for supremacy. IMEC route passes through disputed territories of Greece and Turkey – just as OBOR passes through disputed Pakistan occupied Kashmir (POK). IMEC countries are supposed to meet in November to further their project where the Turkish objection may also be taken up.
‘Extreme positions’ taken by the countries can find no solutions in geo-politics. The persecution of Jews goes back to the days of Jesus Christ. But Israel today is a strong democratic country which cannot be wished away. India has stood by the Palestinians from the days of Mrs. Gandhi, Atal Behari Vajpayee, Manmohan Singh and even Narendra Modi. Modi is
perhaps the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Palestine. But he has condemned the attack on Israel. The only solution to the long standing conflicts in the Middle East can come through better trade and commerce. The development of these transnational trade corridors could be a modern way of bringing back peace to the war torn Middle East.