Israel must de-escalate Gaza conflict before it becomes spark that ignites Third World War – Scotsman comment

There are serious humanitarian, economic and geopolitical reasons to end the fighting in Gaza as soon as possible

Given the attacks by Yemen’s Houthis on international shipping, airstrikes by the US and UK were entirely justified. However, as the Iran-backed rebel group threatened to retaliate, it is clearly in the interest of the West, and indeed, the world, to try to calm tensions. Analysts have warned for years that the Middle East is a tinder box which could potentially ignite a Third World War – these should not be mistaken for ‘countries far away, of which we know little’, to paraphrase Neville Chamberlain.

While Israel was justified in its decision to attack Hamas, following the October 7 massacre, the situation in Gaza has become a humanitarian crisis that cannot be ignored. For that reason alone, Israel needs to move quickly to allow aid to be delivered in the necessary quantities and bring an end to the conflict. But there are also geopolitical and economic reasons.

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Hamas deliberately sought to provoke Israel into a response that would outrage people throughout the Middle East in the hope this would create a wider conflict. They have the blood of innocent Palestinians, as well as Israelis, on their hands. In this, they were aided and abetted by Iran, a close ally of Vladimir Putin, who will be delighted the West is now having to deal with another major crisis, distracting attention and resources away from his war of aggression in Ukraine.

If the conflict continues, the despots in China may also sense an opportunity, particularly if Donald Trump is elected US President, to invade Taiwan, with the democratic world’s ability to respond stretched thin. China’s expansionist ambitions have created another flashpoint that could turn into a global war.

Less apocalyptically, the disruption to shipping in the Red Sea has already caused economic problems, although some vessels were continuing to use the route yesterday. As seen during the height of the Covid pandemic and following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, our modern, globalised economy is susceptible to major shocks.

Persuading Israel to de-escalate the situation in Gaza may be difficult but, along with a stronger stance towards bad-actor Iran, it is vital if the peace of the world is to be restored.



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