From Izvestia, Oct. 19, 2023, p. 3. Condensed text:)

Editors’ Note. – Russian Security Council deputy chair Dmitry Medvedev on why there is no hope in one of the longest conflicts in recent history.

. . . There is another war in the Middle East. A brutal war, without rules. A war based on terror and the doctrine of disproportionate use of force against civilians. Both sides are in “berserker mode,” as people like to say now. Success in the special military operation [in Ukraine], in our fight against the neo-Nazis in Ukraine, is naturally much more important to us now, but what is happening in Palestine and Israel is worrisome, if only because wars often have similar causes and develop according to the principle of communicating vessels.

The new conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis, which has every chance of developing into a full-fledged regional war – or, if things don’t go well, into a global war – is no exception. Every day we see the monstrous consequences of this confrontation, the numerous casualties and destruction. One terrible tragedy was a missile strike against a Baptist hospital in the Gaza Strip that killed hundreds of people. Many people were seriously wounded and may remain permanently disabled. This happened even though hospitals and medical personnel are protected by international humanitarian law. A barbaric act that demands strong condemnation. But this is clearly not the last barbaric act in a series of terrible events in the region.

The question arises: Who bears actual responsibility for the new round of the Palestinian-Israeli war? Today’s conflict has a long history that is well known. But since the 1940s, a distinct American trail has been visible at every turn toward increasing darkness and terror. On Nov. 29, 1947, the US was officially one of the states that voted in favor of the UN General Assembly resolution on the creation of Jewish and Arab states and the international zone of Jerusalem. However, Washington has supported and supplied arms to only one side in all the Arab-Israeli wars since the 1960s, doing everything possible to prevent the enemies from separating in peace. It was all obvious: American companies made tremendous and, most importantly, regular profits by supplying arms to the Middle East. It has always been extremely important for Washington to maintain its influence in this strategically important region constantly at war. And the best way of doing that is guaranteed and controllable instability. This is what the US sought and has succeeded in achieving.

Such a strategy became more than just a habit for the US in the second half of the 20th century.

Tear apart peoples, arm groups, bring some of them to power, use them, and if they become unprofitable, drop them without regret. Suffice it to recall all the wars America has waged through the hands of others, far from its own borders. Not just in the Middle East, but in Korea, Vietnam, Angola and other states. The list, written in blood, is well known. And it is constantly growing in the new millennium. The cynicism of the American government continues to exceed all conceivable bounds.

It’s impossible to list how many deadly weapons worth enormous sums the US and its NATO allies have sent to help the neo-Nazi regime in Kiev. How many they abandoned during their ignominious flight from Afghanistan [see Vol. 73, No. 33‑34, pp. 3‑7]. At the same time, no one was surprised or concerned that the military equipment of vassal countries was constantly being stolen and vanishing into the hands of various types of extremists and terrorists. So it’s no surprise that Kiev and Afghan weapons of American production are also killing people in Israel. The US Congress is indignantly demanding an “urgent investigation” into where Hamas procured these suspiciously familiar automatic weapons, ammunition and so forth. They are rushing to accuse Iran, Syria, Russia or basically anyone, as long as it’s not themselves, of making illegal deliveries. . . .

Any negotiation process in the Middle East that involves Washington always degenerates into a fiction and is obviously doomed. Moreover, the controlling interest in talks on a Middle East settlement was initially in Washington’s hands in light of its allied relations with Israel.

A typical example is the actions of former American president [Donald] Trump. After his election victory [see Vol. 68, No. 49, pp. 3‑7], Trump swore to work in earnest to settle the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and lead the parties to peace. Just a year later, in December 2017, Trump quite literally pulled the trigger when he ordered the American embassy to relocate from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem [see Vol. 69, No. 50, pp. 12‑15]. Until that moment, every six months his predecessors had renewed a document postponing the implementation of this decision under a law adopted by the US Congress back in 1995, understanding perfectly well what the consequences would be. Following this move, the Trump administration recognized Israel’s sovereignty over Syria’s Golan Heights [see Vol. 71, No. 13, pp. 3‑5] and refused to consider Israel’s settlement activities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem a violation of international law. Then Trump proposed the “deal of the century” as a plan for solving the longstanding problem [see Vol. 72, No. 5, pp. 3‑5]. This plan deprived Palestinians of the right to territories listed in UN resolutions. All this caused a surge of outrage in the Arab world and led to a new escalation of violence. The negotiation process, which up until that moment was actually moving forward with the participation of influential international organizations, representatives of Israel and Palestine and mediating states, including Russia, suffered a setback.

This put an end to the most important peace initiatives and obvious achievements, fitting in nicely with Washington’s policy. After all, no US administration has ever been interested in a final settlement in the Middle East or the implementation of the aforementioned UN General Assembly resolution of Nov. 29, 1947, on the partition of historical Palestine into Arab and Jewish states. And the problem isn’t just with Israel’s position on the creation of a Palestinian state. The primary problem is that an unstable, explosive region chock-full of various weapons has turned out to be very useful for the US. When there’s a problem, the services of the Americans are needed. There’s no getting around that. And if there’s no problem, the Americans will be much less important. Controlled instability that brings influence and big money.

Now America is doing what it usually does and relying only on force in an attempt to show who’s boss in the region. Instead of trying to mitigate the confrontation through diplomacy (both official and private), we are seeing American aircraft carriers off the shores of Israel and a bill in Congress about supplying over $2 billion worth of weapons (although the Israelis are asking for $10 billion). The bill proposes authorizing and combining funds for assistance to Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan. It’s all obvious. It’s all banal. Standard procedures. Eternal interests.

It’s also totally predictable that European leaders, who have become Washington’s puppets once and for all, are desperately and fruitlessly searching for evidence of Russian meddling in the escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They are closing their eyes to obvious facts and trying to varnish over the blood and death on both sides of the conflict with beautiful, empty words. Not far behind them is Kiev, which is terrified of the prospect of receiving fewer weapons and less financial assistance when the puppeteers need it more themselves. Kiev is desperately jealous of Israel as it cajoles and sheds crocodile tears.

However, it doesn’t really matter who’s saying what now. What matters is who’s doing what. The most important thing for the global community and international organizations right now is to help restart the settlement process in the Middle East. This is the most difficult of missions. It’s almost hopeless. And it is obvious that this mission is impossible right now. The only way to solve the problem once and for all is to create a full-fledged Palestinian state and implement all the foundational political decisions made since 1947. Any hope for success is, frankly, illusory. Few are even interested in it at all as they pursue their current military goals. The alternative, however, is significantly worse: A war that will last another hundred years. Or, worse yet, a brief conflict with regional states using nuclear weapons and the prospect of intervention by great nuclear powers.

Russia would like to see a resumption of comprehensive talks on a Middle East settlement, something our president recently announced. However, our draft UN Security Council Resolution calling for a ceasefire and negotiations between the parties to the conflict was valiantly defeated by our eternal opponents, led by the US. So we are prepared for events to develop however they will, regrettable as that may sound.