Friday, November 24, 2023

Michael John Schmidt: Middle East Realpolitik

We all have a responsibility to inform ourselves as far as practical and, especially if we are politicians, to verse ourselves in “Realpolitik”.
  • Realpolitik refers to a pragmatic approach to politics, focusing on practical and realistic considerations rather than on ideological or moral principles.
Regarding being ideologically driven and ill-informed, we have Chlöe Swarbrick, providing advice (20 November 2023) on international affairs, i.e. the current conflict in Israel/Gaza. She said, “… it is incumbent on all political leaders in this country to stand-up to the plate (maybe she meant “step up”) and to say they call for a ceasefire and a return of the hostages and I would say for the incoming government to recognize the statehood of Palestinians…”

On October 6th there was a ceasefire…another ceasefire could be called but there would still be the possibility of a repeat of October 7th. Who is being asked to take this risk? Israel.

Many calling for a ceasefire face no risk whatsoever for themselves. It is very easy to be virtuous at others’ expense.

Regarding the return of hostages, that matter is self-evident so there is no insight there, other than to admit that the taking of hostages is a means to an end – and what are those ends?
  • But what about the proposed solution of the statehood of Palestinians?
The two-state solution has been a proposed resolution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for several decades, aiming to create two separate states for Israelis and Palestinians to live side by side in peace and security.
  • Various iterations and proposals for a two-state solution have been put forth by different parties, including governments, international bodies, and peace initiatives. The idea of a two-state solution has been discussed and presented numerous times.
Some notable instances where the two-state solution was discussed or offered include:

United Nations Partition Plan (1947): The United Nations proposed the partition of Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states, which would have created two states. However, this plan was not fully implemented due to the subsequent Arab-Israeli War in 1948.

Oslo Accords (1993 and 1995): Negotiations between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) resulted in the Oslo Accords, which aimed to establish a Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority in parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This laid the groundwork for a future Palestinian state. However, the final status issues, including borders and Jerusalem, remained unresolved.

Camp David Summit (2000): A summit was held between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat, mediated by US President Bill Clinton. Barak proposed a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with shared control over Jerusalem, but the negotiations collapsed without an agreement.

Annapolis Conference (2007): The conference aimed to restart Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Both sides agreed to work towards a two-state solution but no significant progress was made.

Various International Initiatives: Over the years multiple international organisations, and entities, including the United Nations, the European Union, and other nations, have endorsed the two-state solution as the basis for resolving the conflict. They’ve periodically reasserted support and encouraged negotiations between the parties.

In substance, it has always been the Palestinians that have left the negotiating table. As an example, we have the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations at Camp David in July 2000. During these negotiations, there were high hopes for a breakthrough in the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. The talks, mediated by President Clinton, aimed to resolve long-standing conflicts, and establish a framework for peace, including issues like borders, Jerusalem, refugees, and settlements.

However, at a critical juncture in the discussions, Arafat abruptly left the negotiations without offering any clear explanation or rationale. His departure was seen as a significant setback, as it disrupted the momentum of the discussions and left the parties without reaching a consensus or agreement. President Clinton and many involved in the negotiations expressed disappointment and frustration at Arafat’s unexpected departure.

What is to stop a similar, and sixth, occurrence?

Many politicians in New Zealand and abroad display a naïve yet ostensibly virtuous stance that proves unrealistic. They appear unwilling to acknowledge the demand is for Israel to take risks, stemming from their misunderstanding or refusal to confront the Middle East’s geopolitical and religious complexities.

Hamas founding member and former chief, Khaled Meshaal, along with Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian militant group aligned with Hamas, have urged for a jihad against Israel. Their call does not refer to an internal struggle or external ‘resistance’ but rather ongoing aggressions akin to those of October 7th. They intend to persist until their objective is accomplished (the elimination of Israel and the death of the Jews) and the evidence of past negotiations abandoned, and subsequent reinitiated conflicts, indicates that they are not swayed by external political discourse; rather they will use these pauses as an opportunity to regroup and rearm.

Michael John Schmidt left NZ after completing postgraduate studies at Otago University (BSc, MSc) in molecular biology, virology, and immunology to work in research on human genetics in Australia. Returning to NZ has worked in business development for biotech and pharmacy retail companies and became a member of the NZ Institute of Directors. This article was first published HERE

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

“Israel and Hamas have agreed to a breakthrough deal to release 50 women and children who were kidnapped and held in Gaza, a potential landmark deal that will also involve a four-day pause in fighting, the delivery of hundreds of aid trucks, and the release of 150 Palestinian women and children* held in Israeli jails.”

*Note that when Israeli civilians are held in Gaza, they were “kidnapped” and are termed “hostages,” but when Israeli jails Palestinian women and children with no charges or judicial process of any kind, they do not receive the benefit of the same designation in Western corporate state media. That’s how subtle propaganda can get, and it’s easy to miss it if you’re not attuned to the pettiness with which these organizations play semantical games.

Curiously, though, Israel is not making any effort to get non-Israeli hostages released — only Israeli.

At this moment, the United States is Israel’s only geopolitical ally left that’s fully on board with the program.

Another reason Israel would like to draw out the military operation in Gaza as long as possible using whatever pretext it can is that it’s stalling for time to figure out what to do with all of the Gazans it would like to displace. A leaked “concept paper” from the Intelligence Ministry proposed expelling the Gazans into the Sinai Peninsula to live in tent cities, which did not go over well diplomatically, to say the least. More recently, it’s been pressuring America and Western Europe to take the Gazans off of their hands. So it needs some wriggle room to devise alternative solutions.