Both the Kashmir and Palestinian conflicts have given rise to significant human rights concerns. They involve forced displacements, curbs on free speech, and violence against civilians. In the case of Israel, it has already carried out mass ethnic cleansing of Palestinians under the cover of war. Both Indian and Israeli forces have committed war crimes and inflcited unimaginable atrocities on the civilians.
By all standards, the Israeli claim on the land of Palestine is considered unjust and unethical. The way Israeli Jews have displaced Palestinians from their homeland since their entry into Palestine, under the Belfour Declaration of 1917, is unprecedented. Over time, Israelis have occupied Palestinian territory, leaving Palestinians feeling like foreigners in their own homeland. This has been achieved through a combination of political, military, and diplomatic support, and it aligns with like-minded international actors.
The realist paradigm of international relations has dominated both interstate and multilateral relations. The principle of 'might is right' has been increasingly prevalent since the end of World War II. Any state with superior hard power and a strong economy can exert significant influence over international organizations. Unfortunately, the world has often been governed by elites pursuing their own interests, sometimes abandoning the norms and moral considerations. States operate in an environment of security dilemmas and tend to seek as much power as possible. John Mearsheimer's approach of acquiring absolute hard power to survive in an anarchic international system has become the new norm. States often acquire destructive weapons to bolster their positions in various multilateral forums. Idealists may sometimes appear utopian when arguing for states to be just and rational actors.
The British government's 1917 Balfour Declaration, which came during the First World War, was a public statement endorsing the establishment of a "national home for the Jewish people" in Palestine.
Israeli atrocities in this regard can serve as an example. Israel, due to its strong armed forces and global dominance in multi-trillion-dollar international businesses, has significant influence. It is imperative to have a comprehensive review of the Palestine and Israeli conflict in Gaza, which has the potential to escalate throughout the West Asian region and beyond. Furthermore, the Palestine and Kashmir disputes share numerous commonalities, highlighting the challenges faced by the United Nations in implementing its own resolutions.
The present leadership of the state of Israel asserts its status as the rightful proprietors of Jerusalem's Holy Land, supporting this claim with historical arguments. The Israeli perspective on their territorial claim to Palestinian land has largely centered on religious grounds, particularly Judaism. The inclusion of religious significance has served as a catalyst for Jewish settlers to abandon their established residences in Europe and the Americas, choosing instead to relocate to Palestinian territory, even in the face of potential peril, in pursuit of profound religious benefits. Let’s take a closer look at the religious orientation of Israelis for a better understanding.
The historical trajectory of Israel is multifaceted and extends across several millennia, covering biblical, ancient, and contemporary epochs. The historical origins of Israel may be traced back to the ancient Near East, namely with the formation of the Israelite monarchy. Based on the accounts presented in the Hebrew Bible, it is posited that the Israelites undertook a migration to Canaan, sometimes referred to as the Promised Land. Subsequently, they proceeded to create a succession of kingdoms, most notably the United Kingdom of Israel, which was governed by King David and King Solomon. Following the conclusion of Solomon's reign, the kingdom underwent a division, resulting in the establishment of two distinct entities: the northern Kingdom of Israel and the southern Kingdom of Judah. The northern kingdom was overrun by the Assyrians in 722 BCE, whilst the southern kingdom was seized by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. The Babylonian exile is a pivotal occurrence in the annals of Jewish history, when a considerable number of Jewish individuals were forcibly relocated to Babylon, which corresponds to present-day Iraq, subsequent to the demise of Jerusalem. The current era is characterized by the establishment of the Second Temple, subsequent to their repatriation. Later, the conquests of Alexander the Great resulted in the dissemination of Hellenistic cultural influence over several regions, including Israel. However, following the demise of Alexander the Great, the territories came under the governance of the Ptolemaic and Seleucid dynasties.
During the 2nd century BCE, a Jewish uprising, spearheaded by the Maccabees who were also referred to as the Hasmoneans ensued against the Seleucid authorities. This insurrection culminated in the attainment of Jewish autonomy and the subsequent reestablishment of the Second Temple, a momentous event commemorated annually as Hanukkah.
Since its inception, Israel has faced numerous confrontations with its Arab counterparts, including the Arab-Israel wars, the Israel-Palestine conflict, and ongoing regional tensions. The primary factor in the disputed assertion made by the extreme Jewish leadership in Israel revolves around the belief that Jerusalem is a Holy City over which they had ruled centuries ago, and therefore, it should primarily belong to the Jewish community.
In the year 63 BCE, the Roman Republic led by Pompey assumed dominion over the region of Judea, resulting in its incorporation as a Roman province. The area saw the life of Jesus of Nazareth and the rise of early Christianity during the period of Roman power. The emergence of Christianity is closely intertwined with the historical and theological legacy of Israel.
During the 4th century CE, a significant development occurred inside the Roman Empire as it underwent a conversion to Christianity. Subsequently, the Byzantine Empire emerged as the governing authority in the area, actively nurturing and promoting a culture deeply rooted in the Christian faith.
Neither the Indian nor Israeli leadership allows United Nations observers to make independent assessments, thus depriving innocent unarmed civilians of the opportunity to voice the inhuman treatment meted out to them.
During the 7th century CE, the Islamic Rashidun Caliphate successfully annexed the territory, therefore introducing the Islamic faith to the local populace. During the 12th century, the city of Jerusalem was seized by Christian Crusaders as a result of the First Crusade, leading to the establishment of a succession of Crusader nations within the region known as the Holy Land. From the 16th century until the outbreak of World War I, the Ottoman Empire exerted its dominion over the area, including the present-day territory of Israel.
The British government's 1917 Balfour Declaration, which came during the First World War, was a public statement endorsing the establishment of a "national home for the Jewish people" in Palestine. At that time, Palestine was under the Ottoman rule and had a very tiny Jewish population. Following the conclusion of World War I, the League of Nations bestowed upon Britain a mandate to assume administrative responsibility for the territory of Palestine. Later, the partition plan, which was accepted by the United Nations in 1947, had aimed to form distinct nations for both Jewish and Arab populations. Consequently, the establishment of the State of Israel occurred in 1948.
Since its inception, Israel has faced numerous confrontations with its Arab counterparts, including the Arab-Israel wars, the Israel-Palestine conflict, and ongoing regional tensions. The primary factor in the disputed assertion made by the extreme Jewish leadership in Israel revolves around the belief that Jerusalem is a Holy City over which they had ruled centuries ago, and therefore, it should primarily belong to the Jewish community. It's an unrealistic claim. Let's assume that if Israelis have a reason to occupy Palestinian land, what about the historical rule of Christians and Muslims over the same land? Therefore, it's a weak argument and lacks substantial merit. The entrenched positions held by the Israelis have presented the world with a new security challenge, especially considering the anti-Israel stance of regional powers like Iran, Turkiye, and Saudi Arabia. This situation unfolds in the context of the bipolar and anarchic international system, with China and Russia on one side and the U.S., France, the United Kingdom (UK), and the European Union (EU) on the opposing side. Such polarization, particularly among superpowers, is less than ideal for the West Asian region and the rest of the world in general. The Gaza conflict has the potential to lead to a division of the world into two distinct groups: one led by Russia and China, and the other led by the U.S.-China's growing geoeconomic influence globally, along with the United States' reduced global political role due to its exit from Afghanistan, internal political challenges at Capitol Hill, and economic uncertainties, has naturally boosted China's stature. The realignments among nations might be a source of concern for the U.S., possibly wanting it to assert its influence by becoming involved in another conflict. This move could also offer the strategic advantages of maintaining support from the influential Jewish community and countering China's significant and rapidly expanding geoeconomic influence across the continents.
Let's now draw a parallel between the Kashmir issue and the Palestine dispute. Both conflicts are commonly feared to have the potential to become nuclear flashpoints. Both issues require urgent resolution to keep the world free from more geostrategic challenges and to enable a focus on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) identified by the United Nations for the betterment of humanity and the environment.
The Israel-Palestine conflict and the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) issue are two globally significant and protracted geopolitical disputes, sharing numerous similarities and biases in terms of their perception and resolution. Both conflicts revolve around territory and border disputes. The primary focus of the Israel-Palestine conflict is the delineation of geographical borders for a sovereign Palestinian state and the establishment of Israel, which, to date, has not been universally accepted by many countries and was initially not accepted by both Arabs and Palestinians. In the case of Palestine, it is important to note that Palestinians have faced a prolonged and often brutal occupation by Israel, which has resulted in thousands of casualties over the last 75 years.
Similarly, in IIOJK, there has been a longstanding and often contentious presence of Indian security forces, resulting in the harsh mistreatment of the local population. This situation has led to significant suffering among Kashmiris, who have endured brutal and inhumane treatment, resulting in casualties under the occupation forces. In both disputes, Palestinians and Kashmiris have experienced the consequences of these prolonged occupations, enduring numerous challenges and casualties while living under the respective occupation forces.
Both of these disputes also have considerable historical and religious significance. Jerusalem has considerable religious significance for the three primary Abrahamic faiths, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, within the framework of the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict. Similarly, the region of Kashmir has considerable historical and spiritual importance for followers of Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism. In both Kashmir and Palestine cases, Muslims are in majority and under siege despite having a just cause.
Both the leadership of India and Israel are working towards erasing the identities of Kashmiris and Palestinians. The Indian action of abrogating Articles 370 and 35A from their constitution clearly indicates India's intention to change the demographic composition of Indian Kashmir, with the aim of making the Muslim majority into a minority.
Both disputes have ethno-religious elements. The Israel-Palestine conflict involves the Jewish and Palestinian Arab communities, while the Kashmir issue relates to a territory with predominant Muslim majority.
Numerous international organizations, including the United Nations and its Security Council, have been actively involved in efforts to mediate and achieve successful resolutions for the aforementioned conflicts. However, due to the crisscrossed geostrategic and geoeconomic interests of superpowers, these conflicts have not been allowed to be settled, and instead, superpowers have openly taken sides without regard for peace and humanity. Both of these conflicts have held a significant position on the world diplomatic agenda for an extended period, enduring for several decades and leading to lasting consequences for subsequent generations and the deep-seated formation of animosities. The prolonged duration of these wars has made them exceptionally challenging to resolve.
Both the Kashmiri and Palestinian conflicts have raised concerns about violations and breaches of human rights, including the involuntary displacement of populations, restrictions on freedom of speech, and instances of violence committed against civilians. Both Indian and Israeli forces have committed war crimes, inflicting unimaginable atrocities against civilians. Neither the Indian nor Israeli leadership allows United Nations observers to make independent assessments, thus depriving innocent unarmed civilians of the opportunity to voice the inhuman treatment meted out to them.
In both India and Israel, hardliner, fascist, ultra-nationalist, conservative, and authoritarian regimes are in power. The ruling parties, BJP in India and Likud in Israel, are believed to be the political faces of extremist groups, namely the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in India and a consortium of Israeli rightist parties with extremist views about Muslims. Unfortunately, both the BJP and Likud parties in India and Israel use anti-Pakistan/Muslim and anti-Palestine/Muslim narratives to gain domestic political support in order to win elections.
Both the leadership of India and Israel are working towards erasing the identities of Kashmiris and Palestinians. The Indian action of abrogating Articles 370 and 35A from their constitution clearly indicates India's intention to change the demographic composition of Indian Kashmir, with the aim of making the Muslim majority into a minority. This could potentially lead to the displacement of Kashmiri Muslims or subjecting them to Hindutva-inspired Hindu dominance. Similar actions are taking place in Palestine. Therefore, the issues under consideration are significantly influenced by the principles of nationalism and identity politics, which play a significant role in fostering discord and solidifying differing positions.
Last but not least, both of these conflicts carry substantial regional and global security consequences, altering the dynamics of relationships among neighboring states and exacerbating general instability within the region and beyond.
In conclusion, the world, especially the superpowers, must prioritize peace. While international relations are often driven by interests rather than morality, it is crucial for the sake of our planet to seek and support remedial and just measures. Inflation is reaching new peaks following the global COVID-19 pandemic. Let the global community come together and work for the betterment of future generations. Mutual growth in a peaceful environment is the only viable option, as opposed to reliance on the war economy.
The author is an expert on issues related to International Relations and currently serves as the Pro Vice Chancellor and a faculty member in the Department of International Relations at DHA Suffa University, Karachi. He is a frequent contributor to electronic media as a Defense and Security Analyst.
E-mail: [email protected]
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