As the latest conflict between Israel and Palestine unfolds, the blame game is in full swing. While some point fingers at Hamas for its undeniable role in the attacks on Israeli civilians, others attribute the crisis to Israel’s long-standing occupation and treatment of Palestinians. However, this binary perspective often overlooks other significant factors that have contributed to the current situation.
The roots of the conflict can be traced back to various historical events, but a significant turning point was in 1991 when the U.S. became the dominant external power in the Middle East. This shift in power dynamics led to five key episodes that have shaped the current crisis.
The first was the 1991 Gulf War and the subsequent Madrid peace conference. The U.S.’s display of military prowess during the Gulf War and its diplomatic efforts in the Madrid conference laid the groundwork for a peaceful regional order. However, the exclusion of Iran from the conference led to a backlash that disrupted the peace process and strengthened ties between Iran and Hamas.
The second pivotal event was the combination of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. The invasion, intended to eliminate the supposed threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and pave the way for a democratic Middle East, instead resulted in a costly quagmire and a boost to Iran’s strategic position. This shift in power dynamics alarmed other Gulf states and led to a reshaping of regional relationships, including some Arab states’ relations with Israel.
Read more at Foreign Policy.