The battle of Gaza: Breaking the Gordian Gridlock – Chuck Stephens

In the spirit of Alexander cutting the Gordian Knot, former UK Prime Minister David Cameron proposes a bold solution to the 75-year Israel-Palestine gridlock. With Hamas escalating tensions, moderate Muslim states and the West may recognise a Palestinian state in exchange for Saudi recognition of Israel. However, the gamble faces domestic challenges for leaders Sunak and Biden as elections loom, navigating the delicate balance of global geopolitics and regional stability.

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By Chuck Stephens

According to an ancient Greek legend, whoever could untie a knot in Gordium, Phrygia, Anatolia (now central Turkey) would be destined to rule all of Asia.   Along came Alexander, the Macedonian king, who went on to be called “the Great”.  Exactly how he did it is clouded by dispute, but the popular account is that he slashed it with his sword and in one blow it fell apart.

For 75 years since the State of Israel was founded, there has been a huge gridlock.  28 nations, mainly Muslim countries, refuse to recognize what they perceive as a colony of the West.  Un-welcome Democracy encroaching in their region.

Meanwhile 55 other nations refused to recognize Palestine when forty years after 1948, its independence was declared by the PLO in 1988.  The knot kept getting tighter.

The Abraham Accords were the best effort in 75 years to unravel this gridlock.  But they were brought to you by Donald Trump, so when he lost the 2020 elections to Joe Biden, his solution was abandoned.  Biden focused his attention on the war in Ukraine and let Middle East policy drift.

Moderate Saudi Arabia was warming up to the idea of recognizing the State of Israel, to thaw the regional freeze.  But its rival in the region – Iran – heated up the radical alternative by arming its proxies to the teeth.  Hamas, Hebollah and Houthis have a common denominator of Hatred.  The 4H club! 

The knot tightened on 7 October 2023 when Hamas invaded Israel.  Any lingering leniency in Israel was washed away.

Is there a way out of this gridlock?

We are seeing that the Muslim world is divided.  There are moderates like UAE, Sudan and Morocco which have all recognized the State of Israel – under the Abraham Accords.  The radicals are led and financed by states like Iran and Qatar.  This is part of the Gordian knot.

In the West, opinion is generally pro-Israel.  Because it is pro-Democracy, and most of the 28 states refusing to recognize Israel are autocratic.

However, ex-UK-prime minister David Cameron was appointed as Foreign Secretary by PM Sunak.  He visited the region and started talking like Alexander.  What about a unilateral recognition of Palestine by the UK and the USA, in exchange for Saudi Arabia recognizing the State of Israel?  Let’s shake things up.  Let’s slash through that knot with our sword.

Anthony Blinken is talking to Joe Biden about doing this.  It would corner Israel, which is more adamant than ever after 7 October 2023 that the two-state solution is a non-starter.

Is it a non-starter or a no-brainer?

You have to remember one thing that the moderate Muslim states have in common with the West.  They are against terrorism.  Unlike the radical Muslims who see it as Jihad, holy war, just war.

And now there is clearly a crack in Hamas itself.  The ideologists sitting in the comfort of Qatar demand that the war end and Israel pull out its forces from Gaza as a pre-condition of returning the hostages.  Whereas the Hamas commanders hiding in their rabbit holes under Gaza – while civilians serve as human shields for them – say they can live with a six-week ceasefire.  They want time to regroup and dig some new tunnels.

“Surrender” is not a word in Hamas’ vocabulary.  But they could be defeated, which is the IDF’s goal.  This is gridlock.  But they should face reality – neither the democratic West nor Muslim moderates condone terrorism.  A distinction must be made between Palestinians and Hamas.

Hamas must go.  Why won’t Qatar take the remnant?  They have been is funding patron, after all.  Every day that the Hamas ideologists linger in luxury in Qatar, the IDF gets closer to its goal of military victory. 

The Muslim radicals tried to corner Israel for genocide at the International Court of Justice.  It didn’t work.  Largely because public opinion sees 7 October 2023 as Palestine’s genocide against Israel.  It was a case of gaslighting.

They have also tried the “rent-a-crowd” strategy in pro-Palestinian marches far and wide.  Oil money works in mysterious ways.

The outcome will be decided on the battlefield.  Hamas has already lost about 10,000 fighters of the 30,000 it had prepared.  It is only a matter of time.

Time is also running out for Sunak and Biden.  Both have elections on the horizon, and the polls are not in their favour.  Recognizing the UDI of Palestine might untie the Gordian Gridlock in the Middle east, but it could end up costing them the elections at home.  Support for Israel is visceral in the West.  And if Donald Trump is still standing after running the gauntlet of lawfare, he will want to renew the Abraham Accords.

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