The Israeli-Palestinian War

Another Israel-Palestine war has erupted in the Middle East, adding more tension to the world that is already on fire.

What is the conceptual depth of the conflict? What is its geopolitical dimension? And what are the possible implications for Ukraine? Igor Semyvolos, the Executive Director of the Association of Middle East Studies, shared with UkraineWorld a Ukrainian perspective on this conflict.


The Israel-Palestine conflict is multifaceted, which would make any attempts to fit it into any dichotomies, oversimplification, and banalization.

It’s impossible to say it’s a conflict between good and evil or between democracy and authoritarianism. It has many aspects that create ambiguity.

On the one hand, there is Israel, which has come a long way in terms of struggle and development. Israel is a democracy. Representatives of all nations who are Israeli citizens have the right to vote and participate in politics.

On the other hand, Israel has a law governing the Jewish nature of the state, which poses a problem for the country’s ethnic minorities.

Palestinians are represented by two different factionsFatah stands for Palestinian autonomy. It is a faction that believes in a two-state solution and is willing to negotiate with Israel.

Hamas controls the Gaza Strip and is opposed to any negotiations that involve terrorizing both Israel and its own people. It’s possible to describe it as an authoritarian force.

It’s difficult to call Palestinian authorities democratic. Various internal and external factors have paralyzed the political process. Palestinians, on the other hand, are fighting to reestablish their own state. It is, in other words, their national liberation movement.

The media is rife with actors attempting to take sides in this conflict or draw various parallels. However, the conflict is far more complicated.

Yes, Israel is a democratic country that fights for its security. At the same time, it continues to build settlements on territories that, according to the UN Security Council resolution – read international law – belong to Palestinians and violate their rights.

Yes, Palestinians are struggling for their statehood. At the same time, they have terrorist representatives – factions and organizations – who use brutal, illegal means to achieve their goals.

It also creates a vicious circle of violence. As a result, all parties undermine the possibility of a two-state solution.

Because of the nature of the conflict and global reactions to it, democratic institutions worldwide are eroding, demonstrating double standards or demonstrating that authoritarian forces can achieve tangible results.

That is why the international community is focused on this conflict; resolving it is vital.


The geopolitical dimension of the Israel-Palestine war is manifested by third-party interests in the region. Russia and Iran share a strategic goal of countering US influence in the region while expanding and solidifying their own.

Iran is an active player in this regard. Given that the United States has reduced its presence in the Middle East, Iran’s main goal is to prevent the formation of an America-backed alliance of states that would prevent Iran’s expansionism in the region.

It means that Iran is interested in undermining the Abraham Accords and stymie the negotiations between Israel and Saudi Arabia. The escalation of the conflict provoked by Iran-backed Hamas serves this aim.

Moreover, it’s an obstacle to creating the state of Palestine – a long-term issue that would let Iran play this game.

Iran’s and Russia’s efforts to destabilize the situation wouldn’t be that effective if only they were the ones interested in it. Israel does not support Biden’s administration’s strategic vision for the region’s peace process.

It would be an exaggeration to state that Israel wants the US to fail in the region. However, the idea of the two-state solution and negotiation process doesn’t match the strategy of the current government in Israel.


The war in Israel is a challenge for Ukraine. First, it shifts the focus of global attention from the Russian aggression against Ukraine.

Even though the developments in the Middle East are of paramount importance, the war in Ukraine is still a major global security problem, and it necessitates constant attention.

Second, it damages Ukraine’s image in the Arab world. The statement President Zelenskyy made on October 7, when Hamas attacked Israel, was perceived as pro-Israeli there, even thoughit aimed to denounce terrorism in all its forms and support the right to self-protection.

This perception can be largely explained by the widely disseminated Russian narratives in the region and significant Russian influence. That’s why Ukraine needs to build correct communication with the regional players despite the unfavorable ground.

Ukraine cannot afford to take sides in this war but instead advocate for adherence to international law, which means that Ukraine supports Israel’s right to protection while also advocating for a political and diplomatic resolution of the conflict and the implementation of the principle of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace.


The World Through a Ukrainian Lens is a series of analytical materials that allows you to look at key international events with the eyes of Ukrainian experts. Experts express their own opinions, which do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial.

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