Wednesday 8 November 2023

Gaza and Ukraine are part of a larger war

"We must fight terrorism as if there's no peace process and work to achieve peace as if there's no terror."

Yitzhak Rabin. As Rabin tried to achieve peace and a Palestinian state, Likud rallies involved depictions of Rabin in an SS uniform or in the crosshairs of a gun. In July 1995, Netanyahu led a mock funeral procession featuring a coffin and hangman's noose at an anti-Rabin rally where protesters chanted, "Death to Rabin". The chief of internal security then told Netanyahu of a plot on Rabin's life and asked him to moderate the protests, which Netanyahu declined to do. Rabin was then assassinated by a supporter of Netanyahu. Netanyahu did not press the trigger of the assassin's gun.


“The evening courier had just informed me that we had re-established ourselves on the heap of tumbled stones which I called Aelia Capitolina and which the Jews still called Jerusalem; we had burned Ascalon, and had been forced to mass executions of rebels in Gaza… If sixteen years of rule by a prince so pacifically inclined were to culminate in the Palestine campaign, then the chances for peace in the world looked dim ahead.” 
Marguerite Yourcenar's novel Memoirs of Hadrian

It’s likely that a new round of aid for Ukraine will be approved in the end, but it’s clear that US support for Ukraine is nearing its expiry date.

Once that happens, given the EU is neither able nor willing to plug the gap left by the US, Ukraine will be left with no other choice but to negotiate a truce, if not an actual peace deal, which will necessarily involve some kind of territorial compromise with Russia. According to NBC, the West has already begun secret talks with the Ukrainian government about what peace negotiations with Russia might entail. Publicly, however, the topic is still taboo — not only because it would be a de facto admission of defeat for Nato, but also because it would have to explain why it prohibited Kyiv from conducting peace negotiations with Moscow in March 2022, when Ukraine had a chance to end the conflict on better terms than it could ever hope for today.

This situation has been further complicated in the past month. For the wars in Israel-Gaza and Ukraine are more closely related than one may think — not in the simplistic good-versus-evil terms used by Biden, but because they effectively represent two fronts of a global proxy war in which the West is pitted against a growing front encompassing Russia, China and Iran. This is why the West can’t accept a public defeat in Ukraine at the moment. What happens in the Middle East has direct implications for the conflict in Ukraine and vice versa, and both sides know it.

By helping Iran exacerbate the conflict between Israel and Iran’s regional allies in the Middle East, Putin is surely aware that he is pushing the United States to allocate additional resources to Israel rather than Ukraine. By the same token, it’s probably not a coincidence that the US approved the long-delayed provision of ATACMS missiles to Ukraine only following the outbreak of the conflict in Gaza, in a likely attempt to discourage further Russian involvement in the Middle East.

Ultimately, however, just as in Ukraine, it is hard to see how the West can win in Gaza. Even if Israel succeeds in completely eradicating Hamas, the high civilian death count will only harden anti-Western sentiments in the region, and beyond. If the West believed encouraging war would rekindle its waning influence in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, on both fronts, it seems we are fighting a losing battle.
Thomas Fazi today in Unherd. I don't see any reason to disbelieve Iran and Hezbollah when they said that they did not have anything to do with the Hamas attack. Did America encourage Israel's response to Hamas?  I think Israel would have done as she is doing without encouragement. Nor, I hope, did the US want a war in Ukraine. But America is in trouble in both wars and neither are in parts of the world where American interests are involved. The American southern border is where the defence threat to America is. Britain, as ever, is the American running dog, to use an old time Maoist expression. Our defence threat too comes from illegal immigrants and refugees, not Russia or Hamas.

"It’s the most 2020s thing in the world that there’s an active genocide currently underway and it’s the people who oppose it who are being called Nazis."
Caitlin Johnstone. The British press almost unanimously thinks a march for peace in the Palestine on Armistice Day would be an insult to the memory of the British soldiers, sailors and airmen who died in the two world wars, though Churchill's nephew, Nicholas Soames, points out that they died for freedom of speech, not restrictions on freedom. People who want pro-Palestinian arguments suppressed by the police no longer have the right to argue against cancel culture and unfair accusations of racism. 


  1. Here are some of things I believed unquestioningly for most of my life: that the British Empire was, on balance, a jolly good thing; that - as Jim Morrison said - the West IS the best; that the Royal Family were bumbling but fundamentally decent national figureheads; that Conservatism - and the Conservative Party - was our best defence against economic and social decline; that we needed a strong military to defend the realm and project power; that the Enlightenment freed us from superstition and dogma; that every war we’d ever fought in, except maybe the Crimean one, was justified and worth it; that voting makes a difference; that Oxbridge and Ivy League trained ‘elites’ are best placed to run the world; that sex n drugs n rock’n’ roll are kinda cool; that cinema reflects society rather than shapes it; that Robert Johnson selling his soul to the devil was a blues myth; that landing on the Moon was man’s greatest achievement; that vaccines were just great because they stopped you getting all sorts of diseases which were the curse of less advanced generations; that the CIA and MI5 were goodies and the Russians and the Chinese the baddies; that the greatest threats to my life were, initially, Communism, and then later in life Islamism; etc.

    To shed so many layers of yourself, so much of the belief system to which your identity was bound, is a deeply traumatic experience - and one which no one would choose were there any alternative. You do it because you realise that seeking the truth, however uncomfortable it might be, is the highest calling. You do it because you understand that the truth is the ONLY antidote to a fallen world presided over by the Prince of Lies.

    James Delingpole

  2. As courage and intelligence are the two qualities best worth a good man's cultivation, so it is the first part of intelligence to recognise our precarious estate in life, and the first part of courage to be not at all abashed before the fact. A frank and somewhat headlong carriage, not looking too anxiously before, not dallying in maudlin regret over the past, stamps the man who is well armoured for this world.

  3. The English are a modest people; that is why they are
    entirely ruled and run by the few of them that happen to be immodest.

  4. “Remember the words: 'Set, O Lord, a watch before my mouth' (Psalm 140:3). Do not teach if you are not asked!”

    Archbishop Seraphim of Boguchar

  5. The first half of the Rabin quote is alive and well.

    Good times for political imagination!

  6. And the northern border.