Neocolonial agenda

Published November 25, 2023

UNDENIABLY, Israel was created primarily as an outpost of the US-led West in the heart of the Middle East for serving a neocolonial agenda aimed at projecting power in the region and maintaining a stranglehold on energy resources and vital trade routes.

The Zionist movement indeed played its role in the establishment of Israel. However, this goal would have remained a mere dream but for the political, military, and economic support of the US and other Western countries.

It was for this reason that the West, despite its strong commitment to the goal of nuclear non-proliferation, looked the other way while Israel was engaged in the development of its nuclear-weapon programme. It is against this background that the recent tragic developments in Gaza and the West Bank need to be analysed.

World War II, which caused unprecedented loss of human life and material destruction, also led to the unintended result of the dismantling of European colonial empires, resulting in the emergence of the former colonies as independent countries in Asia and Africa in the exercise of the right of self-determination of their peoples.

Thereafter, Western countries resorted to the use of political, economic, cultural, and covert means to control the policies of liberated countries and exploit their resources, giving rise to an era of neocolonialism. This phenomenon in different ways continues to inform the policies of the US-led West in its dealings with the Global South.

Developments in Gaza cannot be viewed in a vacuum.

The Middle Eastern countries, many of which had remained under the British and French control in the aftermath of World War I, have, in particular, been the victims of the neocolonial policies of the US-led West.

The US desire to dominate the region was reflected in the overthrow of the government of the Iranian prime minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953, support to Israel’s expansionism in and military occupation of Palestinian territories, its policies of ‘divide and rule’ in the Middle East, its overt and covert interventions in the region, and its military bases in various Middle Eastern countries.

It is hardly surprising, therefore, that the US was the first country in 1948 to recognise Israel, which is viewed by the US-led West as the most important asset for the protection of its interests in the Middle East. Additionally, Israel serves as an outpost of the Western civilisation in the region.

A recent example of the US support to Israel was the vote in the UN General Assembly last month on a resolution calling for an “immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce” in Gaza to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza.

The resolution was adopted by 121 votes in favour, 14 against and 44 abstentions. It is noteworthy that the US was among the small minority of nations which voted against the resolution.

Developments in Gaza cannot be viewed in a vacuum, as rightly pointed out by the UN Secretary General. The Hamas attack of Oct 7 was the direct consequence of the suffocating military occupation of Gaza by Israel for 56 years.

Israel’s genocidal response, which has inflicted collective punishment on the people of Gaza through indiscriminate bombings, military raids, and restrictions on the provision of humanitarian assistance, amounts to war crimes and crimes against humanity, besides being a blatant violation of international humanitarian law. Israel must be held accountable for the thousands of Palestinian civilians, including women and children martyred and the huge material destruction caused in Gaza by its criminal assaults.

The need of the hour is for the international community to take steps to provide badly needed humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza, and initiate the process for a just peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.

While a four-day truce is in place now, it is a pity that the US and some other Western countries prevented the UN Security Council from ordering an immediate ceasefire, betraying their double standards in dealing with human rights and humanitarian issues. However, it is not surprising, considering the umbilical relationship between Israel and the Western neocolonialism under the US leadership.

It remains to be seen whether the rest of the international community, especially the Arabs and the Muslim world, can generate enough pressure on the US-led West to modify its position in the right direction.

Unfortunately, the chances of that happening anytime soon are remote, primarily because of the weakness and disunity of the Muslim world as reflected in the irresolute outcome of the recent OIC-Arab League summit.

The writer is a retired ambassador and author of Pakistan and a World in Disorder — A Grand Strategy for the Twenty-First Century.
javid.husain@gmail.com

Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2023

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