Tel Aviv: Hamas’ surprise offensive ‘dubbed Al-Aqsa Deluge’ against Israel has plunged the region again into turmoil. Israel leadership has declared a state of war and is preparing to inflict unimaginable damage to Palestine and the Hamas leadership in particular. With thousands of rockets raining down on Israel, in an unprovoked act of terrorism, the uneasy peace that lasted since 2021 has been broken.
This act of terror from the Palestinian terror outfit begs the question what prompted them to carry out this deadly act of violence? The Hamas military commander, Muhammad Deif, said that they want Israel to stop the killing of civilians in Palestine and also asserted that this provocation is in retaliation for Israel desecrating the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
However, this act of terror must be understood in the background of recent changing geopolitical situation in the region. Some Arab countries were opening up to the prospective of closer ties with Israel. In 2020, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco established formal ties with Israel under the watch of the United States.
Lately, Saudi Arabia was also nudged by the United States to come to terms with Israel. The G-20 meeting, headed by Bharat, had outlined the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor, in which both Saudi Arabia and Israel had crucial role. The corridor passed through both Saudi Arabia and Israel enroute to Europe. The presence of Israel and Saudi Arabia in the economic corridor ushered in a sense of peace and hope for future development and economic ties across the region spanning many countries and even continents.
Interestingly, these relationships were built circumventing the terror organization Hamas, which claims the leadership of Palestinian people. Their violent and uncompromising approach against Israel could never have helped the cause for closer relationships between the Jewish state and other Arab countries.
Another major player in the geopolitics of the region is Iran. Though, Iran is antagonistic with Saudi Arabia, the UAE etc. closer ties of Arab countries with Israel could further isolate Iran in the region. Iran has been a deadly adversary to Israel and has been actively funding the Palestinian cause. That country has also called for the complete annihilation of the Jewish state. Israel too considers Iran as one of the major threats to its existence. Iran backs Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups and also the Hezbollah in Lebanon. All these terror groups are actively fighting to destroy Israel.
If closer relations are forged between Israel and other major Muslim countries in the Gulf, the balance of power could be tilted towards peace and development. This will surely isolate and make irrelevant the terror groups and its supporters.
Hamas leadership is against Saudi Arabia getting close to Israel, though, the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, had demanded that Israel give more concession to Palestinian people for real ties between the two countries to materialize. Closer ties of Muslim countries with Israel would mean the dilution of the Palestinian cause.
The only way to derail the whole process would be an outrageous attack against Israel and evoke a deadly response from the Jewish state. This would mean that Hamas, Iran and other terror organizations can be still in the game and those countries which had forged ties with Israel can be shown as traitors to the Palestinian cause and as anti-Muslim.
More than the desecration of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the changing geopolitical landscape was the trigger for this surprise attack. If this war escalates, the consequences could be catastrophic. It is sad that when the flame of peace was seen at a distance, it was doused by the waters of ‘Al-Aqsa Deluge’.