Palestine and Israel in the reconfiguration of the world system

Khaled Hourani, Unnatural Landscape, 2020


Three factors on the global table contextualize this new bloodshed

This geography is controversial to explain just by taking a photo of the present. What particular relationship do they have with this relatively small portion of territory, which does not have large deposits or riches in raw materials? It is a nuclear installation at a geostrategic and geopolitical level.

Why the new escalation of violence? This is a reflection of the reconfiguration of the world system. Three factors on the global table contextualize this new bloodshed. The influence of the United States and its relative decline in the Middle East, plus the erosion of the conflict in Ukraine, the power of China and its alliance with Russia. US influence and its relative decline in the region and the Middle East. This is why it is crucial to understand the importance of analyzing the regional context and geopolitical implications of this issue.

Although this violence is cyclical, it shows how the world has changed, especially since 2013-2014. We face a long-term crisis in the United States, a relative decline in several economic aspects, in addition to maintaining financial and technological primacy, its global hegemony is being questioned. It is guided by the “Asian pivot” since Obama in 2011, prior to the Belt and Road Initiative of 2013, and by Russia and China's brakes on the imminent destruction of Syria, which would have been the corollary of the destruction of Iraq (1991) . and 2003), Afghanistan (2001), Libya (2011). Therefore, it retreats in some key locations such as the Middle East, where China and Russia are advancing.

The United States, in its strategy of not giving up its primacy, has sought military expansion and intervention. Three areas of tension emerge as main ones: Eastern Europe with the Ukraine-Russia conflict; the Middle East, Israel-Iran, and Taiwan in the Asia-Pacific region with China. In addition to these, we have to take into account the Sahel region revolutionized by emancipatory movements and a “second wave of independence” in Atlantic Africa.

The pattern of symbolic and material violence around the world, especially since 1945, increased in 2001, with what they called the “war on terrorism”. Now there is an attempt to renew this reconfiguration of the world system, with the rise of Chinese power accompanied by the strategic alliance with Russia, to which Iran adheres.

Ukraine as an axis of confrontation is more worn out. There is an incipient process of de-dollarization due to planning in this direction on the part of the great emerging powers that seek to balance global power and avoid the weapon of US economic sanctions, as happened with Russia or Iran. The global system is also reconfigured by the ten years of “Belt and Road”. We have axes of tension on these routes and in the reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and Iran. It is an analytical error to observe only what happens in Palestine-Israel and dissociate it from its regional and global context.

BRICS+ changes everything, or almost

The key is the expansion of BRICS+ (plus the US elections in 2024) to eleven countries: Egypt, Ethiopia, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Iran (plus Argentina). They constitute a new axis of approach to Eurasia, of increasing oil production and of global geostrategic passages that cross the region, such as the Suez Canal, the Strait of Bab el-Mandeb and the Strait of Hormuz. With the exception of Russia, they are colonized countries or semi-colonies of the G7 powers in recent centuries.

It is a fundamental change that opens up new possibilities for relationships and exchange, at a symbolic level, but above all at a geostrategic, geopolitical and geoeconomic level. With the possibility of balancing the world chessboard in different ways given that with the greater Western dominance of international, economic and financial organizations, in addition to the military, (NATO, IMF, World Bank, use of the dollar) the scenario has changed in at least this sense and a group of countries defends it in an organized and joint way.

It represents “a systemic explosion in the international order”, according to José Luís Fiori. It generates expectations not only among its eleven associates, but also in what it spreads to others. It acquires a planetary nuance, joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) (China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, India and Iran), OPEC+ and the EAEU (Eurasian Economic Union). New global bonds are woven with a perspective that challenges the Triad.

These organizations undermine the hegemonic power of those promoted by the United States since Bretton Woods, such as the IMF, the World Bank and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, continued from 1949). This could create a range of possibilities with more dimensions and an opportunity to unify the policies of Our America or the Middle East to deal with the powers.

An alliance of this magnitude reflects the geoeconomic and tectonic changes that imply a hegemonic rebalancing of the capitalist system. Among them is the possibility that gas and oil will not be priced or traded under the auspices of the dollar. A systemic change on the rise since the capitalist crisis of 2008, then with the announcement of the BRI in 2013, which marks its first decade. Cultural, economic and even technological relations, including nuclear energy, will be favored by their incorporation into this multipolar project. In the medium term, it could establish a new energy transition paradigm for renewable energies in these same countries. Despite this, inequality continues to increase in the societies of BRICS+ countries and abroad, and this is the issue to be resolved.

BRICS+ or BRICS 11 involves the redesign of economic and financial policies that span several continents and, therefore, acquire global relevance. The new additions indicate the sum of currently strategic resources in energy, territory, population and geostrategic locations. Therefore, the organization of these countries with a collective vision and the establishment of other types of relations between countries in relation to those we have witnessed, especially since the fall of the wall and the development of so-called neoliberalism, generates a certain expectation of changing “the order rules-based”. And this is evident, for example, in Argentina's payment to the IMF in yuan, and in the correspondence to the dependence on the dollar in many other countries.

Palestine-Israel is one of the epicenters of the new cold or hybrid war

The Israeli army is a bastion of the imperial system of the United States and NATO, which possesses nuclear weapons and the most modern destructive technology, with which it confronts guerrillas and a civilian population. Although both peoples suffer, the asymmetry of power between the contenders and the situation of the Israeli colonial advance show who must put an end to their warlike stance. It is sustained thanks to its co-imperial role as an appendage to the imperial system (Katz, 2023) led by the United States. In that region, in this continuity of more than two decades called the war on terror, the human costs are terrible, millions of refugees, deaths and people affected throughout the region.

Joe Biden in Congress in 1986 declared: “Israel is the best investment of three billion dollars a year that we make. If Israel did not exist, the United States would have to invent an Israel to protect our interests in the region.” Greater foreign military aid in a disputed scenario like the Middle East that accelerates or anticipates systemic changes at a global level.

The small country on the Mediterranean coast has three policies towards Palestine. First, a Master Plan for Judaization, for de-Arabization, for the generation of a majority of the Jewish population as a matter of political majority and based on structural racism. We can differentiate the form used in Jerusalem, declared the single, indivisible and eternal capital in 1980, unilaterally and with the intention of undermining (forty years ago) the possibility of Palestinians achieving their self-determination, their self-government. The Maale Adunim Colony intends to dissect the West Bank into two, or what remains of it.

The plan for the territory is fulfilled in Al-Quds/Jerusalem exponentially. An international city of “separate body” in accordance with the unjust partition recommendation of UN Declaration 181 of 1947, given its sacred status for three monotheistic religions that consider sites such as the Esplanade of the Mosque for Muslims – 1,6 billion believers – the Western Wall for Jews – 15 million – and the Holy Sepulcher for Christians – 2,4 billion.

Secondly, in the West Bank, where territorial annexation is also sought, which was sought to be legitimized in 2020. The trickle-down expulsion follows the mass deportations of 1948 and 1967, and this year. Settlement colonies (XNUMXst century colonialism), the organ of Israeli territorial conquest, grew at twice the rate of growth in other areas of Israel.

The above is complemented by the strategy for the so-called “Judea and Samaria” (names of the Torah) West Bank, a series of roads, checkpoints, armed settlers ideologically prepared to advance against their Palestinian neighbors, and a daily presence of the Israeli army at all levels, that is, of an occupier against a people prevented from exercising its sovereignty.

Third, Israel, the only possessor of nuclear weapons in the region and one of the most sophisticated, breaks out with mass murders in the Gaza Strip in 2023, after what was done in 2008-2009, 2012, 2014, 2021, 2021. This territory blocked by land, sea and air, entire populations are bombarded, which they try to resist with rocket launches, whose power is diametrically opposed. In short, Israel intends to colonize and seize these lands, control them through its military occupation forces, the result is a series of unconnected populations or South African-style bantustans.

Terrorism, apartheid, resistance, BDS

Everyday micro-violence becomes less noticeable to the media, or rather, they choose not to show it. What is the intention behind the term terrorism? It is a concept distorted to the point of losing its possible meaning, at the same time used with an uncritical intention, and then making inroads against a certain country. When there is no doubt that capitalism is the axis of all the dilemmas of the last five centuries, and especially these last two, accentuated even more by the dissolution of the Soviet Union. In the average of these last three decades, the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT) was turning towards “Great Power Competition” (GPC). GWOT is the name that seeks to hide the device of destruction and reconfiguration of the Middle East.

Different organizations have verified that Israel has established an apartheid regime that oppresses the Palestinian people. Regarding human rights, the Israeli B'Tselem (2021) stated: “The Israeli regime decrees a regime of apartheid throughout the territory it controls (sovereign territory of Israel, East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip). Israeli policies seek to perpetuate the supremacy of one group, the Jews, over another, the Palestinians. “Rejects the perception of Israel as a democracy (within the Green Line) that advocates temporary military occupation (beyond).” Furthermore, he concluded: “…the dividing line for defining the Israeli regime as an apartheid regime was reached after considering the accumulation of policies and laws that Israel devised to strengthen its control over the Palestinians.”

The Fourth Geneva Convention explicitly prohibits the transfer of the civilian population of the occupying power to the territory it invades. And both the United Nations Security Council and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) declared the illegality of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

The Gaza Strip is the largest open-air prison in the world. This benefited from Israeli resources, in the beginning, in the late 1980s, Israel supported Hamas to divide the Palestinian movement. The intention was to fragment them as a national political movement, geographically and in the strategic move to overthrow the secular nationalist regimes in the region. Hamas is a political movement that has an armed wing, the Izzedin Al-Qassam Brigades, just as Israel has an army, which due to the disparity in power uses both different but questionable forms of violence. The contrast is in the previous context and circumstance, in addition to the unequal results and media manipulation.

There is Palestinian resistance to apartheid, peaceful (such as Boycott, Divestment and BDS Sanctions) and sometimes violent, through human rights demands and forms of armed resistance. The situation of previous invasions disturbs the territorial scenario and the population of both countries pays the consequences, which are also unequal, like everything that happens there.

The Palestinian incursion into Israeli territory is linked to a long period of previous and daily oppression of Palestinians in general, both in the West Bank and in Gaza. Although this does not justify it, it contextualizes it within the spirals of violence in that territory. The Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated places in the world. They have very few hours of daily light and little availability of drinking water.

The 1993 Oslo Accords sought to avoid suffering another intifada – which also occurred – or the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) controlling the most revolutionary Palestinians. How does this differ from any monopoly on the exercise of violence by other states? The Israelis seek to conquer more land, but the device fails to consider a Palestinian population. They continue with their annexation plans and since 1967, increasingly, the Palestinian population has been swallowed up by a network of Israeli cities, but without having the rights that this citizenship would provide.

The dispute, unequal in most aspects, occurs across geographic, historical, linguistic, archaeological and artistic limits and breaks the balance, as the media is and has been. However, Israeli technological and military power is guaranteed by the greatest historical power in this sense, which openly promises it a “qualitative military advantage” in the region, the Pentagon, the great puppet master.

Martin Martinelli Professor at the Department of Social Sciences at the Universidad Nacional de Luján (Argentina). Author of the book Palestine (and Israel). Between intifadas, revolutions and resistances (EdUNLu).


Katz, Claudio (2023). The Crisis of the Imperial System.

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