News APP

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  gplay  » News » 'Israel like James Bond has a licence to kill'

'Israel like James Bond has a licence to kill'

November 21, 2023 10:29 IST
Get Rediff News in your Inbox:

'But unlike Bond who killed an individual, Israel is killing a nation.'

IMAGE: An image taken from a video released by Hamas shows what it says are its fighters firing mortar shells at Israeli forces during Israel's ground offensive in Gaza, obtained by Reuters. Photograph: Hamas Military Wing/Handout via Reuters

We all know what is happening in Gaza. But why it is happening, is clouded in disinformation, the perception of the West, the persecution complex of both sides and the blocking of real information coming out of that troubled area.

At an interaction in Chennai on Monday, Talmiz Ahmad, India's former ambassador to Saudi Arabia and a well known authority on West Asia (he explained that it is Middle East for London, but for us it is West Asia), tried to explain the gravity of the geopolitical, regional and humanitarian crisis in Gaza, in conversation with Vaishna Roy, editor of Frontline magazine, which moderated by A S Panneerselvam, senior journalist and author.

A Ganesh Nadar listened in.


IMAGE: Ambassador Talmiz Ahmad.
Photograph: A Ganesh Nadar for

The source of instability and turmoil is this area is a result of the interaction between Europe and West Asia, the way they looked at each other in the 19th century. The interaction was mixed.

For the Muslims it was a setback, they were experiencing deficiency in political, economic, science and technological outlook. The West was advanced. The Muslims thought they were deviating from the past and that is why they were suffering.

Some people were interested in reforming the region, but the West wanted dominance. Western dominance is the root cause of conflict here. They promised a State for the Jewish people without taking into account the people already living there.

Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan were created, divided by the British and the French after the two World Wars. These States are dependent on the Western powers.

Israel was created in 1948 and it is dependent on the United States. On October 7, 2023, Hamas attacked Israel and from 8th October the US started supplying weapons to Israel.

The original idea was that Arabs and Jews would stay together. There was too much violence before World War II and so they divided the land. The fertile land was given to Israel and the desert to Palestine.

In the Six-Day War in 1967 Israel took 75% of the land. It occupied territories in the West Bank from Jordan and Gaza from Egypt. It also occupied East Jerusalem. In 1948 Israel was created. In 1967 it created the Occupied Territories. There are 700,000 Jews living in the Occupied Territories.

Then came the Oslo Accord of 1993 and 1995. The Palestine Liberation Organisation recognised Israel and Israel recogniSed Palestine and the PLO as its representative.

Palestine covered the West Bank and Gaza.

There were three issues pending after the Oslo Accord. The settlements in the Occupied Territories, East Jerusalem which Palestine wanted as its capital, and the right of refugees to return or to be compensated. Israel accepted the two-State solution.

Ehud Barak was a weak Israeli leader, he did not have the credibility to give in to the Palestinian demands. Yasser Arafat was weak because there were too many settlements in his State.

The Islamic world did not want to give East Jerusalem to Palestine as it has the third most important mosque in Islam there. Ehud Barak was handicapped as he was to shortly face an election. Thus, the issues are still pending.

The PLO was secular. Hamas as a resistance movement was supported by Israel in the beginning to weaken the PLO.

Hamas also had a political unit which won the election in Gaza in 2006 and the PLO won in the West Bank. Regular violence erupted between Israel and Palestine but the damages were disproportionate. For every Jewish death there were 10 Palestine deaths and sometimes 20.

Israel, like James Bond, has a licence to kill, but unlike Bond who killed an individual, Israel is killing a nation. America is totally committed to Israel and anyone opposing this was immediately labeled anti-Semitic, which in the US spelled political death.

Today more firepower is available to Palestine which was seen in the attack on Israel on 7th October. The right wing, racist, rulers in Israel have armed the settlers in the West Bank. The Al-Aqsa mosque has been desecrated.

The attack on 7th October was an Israel intelligence failure. 1,200 Jews were killed which included 365 military personal and 200 civilians were taken hostage. Within three weeks, 13,000 Palestinians have been killed out of which only eight were from Hamas.

Israel will prolong the war, it will never end. This is because it wants to avoid an inquiry which will happen if the war ends.

There are 2.3 million people in Gaza and Israel is attempting to drive them into the Sinai desert. To be a Jewish State they have to send out the Palestinians. The right wing is very influential in Israel. For them it is the Promised Land mentioned in the Bible and non-Jews cannot live there.

Right wing dominated Israeli politics where you have God on your side, and thus you have a right to annihilate everyone else, this they get from the Old Testament.

A feeble attempt has been made by Benjamin Netanyahu to cover up the intelligence failure, the failure of the army; Israelis were shocked by the attack as they expected their army to protect them.

Hitler eliminated six million Jews and they are still robust. You cannot eliminate an ethnic group of people.

Politically, the Arab world does not exist, it exists linguistically. There are 30 sovereign States in the Arab world, each with its own national interest, and there is no Arab cause or Arab interest.

The nearby Arab States will not take in the Palestinians because no domicile population will integrate a foreign alien people. When they go to a new country they are scapegoats for every possible problem in that country, that is human behaviour.

The Sinai desert has the Suez Canal. It has many extremist elements living there; the Egyptian army attacks them frequently. The entry of Palestinians in this area will boost extremism threatening Egypt.

Jordan already has a large population of Palestinians who live there as second-class citizens.

They have lived in this land for 2,000 years. Expulsion is not a solution. Jordan and Egypt do not want them. Israel wants the land between the Jordan river to the Mediterranean, the Promised Land.

Gaza has gas reserves which Israel doesn't allow it to exploit.

The PLO has a feeble leader Mahmud Abbas, who is now 89 years old. The Hamas is a resistance movement which is now being labelled an Islamic movement.

Islam has three versions, the Wahabbi where the ruler is all powerful, that the Saudis follow. Then there is a Muslim Brotherhood which is a grass root movement for parliamentary democracy, and finally there is the jihadi version.

Hamas doesn't enforce strict Islamic laws, thus al-Qaeda and ISIS are opposed to it. Hamas is an effective resistance movement and not Islamic.

There are 3.6 million Palestinians and 700,000 Jews in the West Bank. 50% of the West Bank has settlements and security forces to protect them. The Palestinians have small colonies where they live surrounded by settlements.

Israel violates international law in the Occupied Territories. The right wing in India is trying to make it a religious fight between Jews and Muslims whereas it is actually about land and not religion.

Hamas in not jihadi, but the right wing sees it as an Islamic movement.

Every time someone has a problem with Israel's policies he is called anti-Semitic. Disagreeing with their policies and actions doesn't mean hating Jews.

Every war has disinformation as a part of it. Advanced technology makes it easier to disseminate disinformation.

Terrorism, like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder. The correct word for it is violent extremism. Violent extremism is justified when you are living in the Occupied Territories.

By calling them terrorists, you are de-legitimising them, stigmatising them.

IMAGE: Ambassador Talmiz Ahmad with Vaishna Roy, editor, Frontline magazine, in Chennai, November 20, 2023. Photograph: A Ganesh Nadar for

Hamas knew that Israel would retaliate brutally, but it still attacked them on 7th October.

A Palestinian replies to this, 'Rather than live with humiliation on a daily basis I would rather face a bullet in my chest.'

All Arab nations are authoritarian. The common people in these countries support the Palestine people. There is popular support for Palestine.

Israel wants to build ties with Arab nations without any concession to Palestine.

After the 1967 war, Arab military help to Palestine ended. The people of Palestine know that the Arab nations will not support them with their armies, but will support them politically.

India has 5,000 years of connecting with West Asia. It is very sad that today China is playing mediator and not India.

8.5 million Indians work in West Asia, but India has no strategic role to play. It was a sad day when China brokered an agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia, India was missing.

India has bilateral and transactional relations with the Arab nations, but we have no platform to influence them.

Get Rediff News in your Inbox:
A GANESH NADAR / in Chennai
India Votes 2024

India Votes 2024