Depending on where you get your news, there won’t be many days where you don’t see a piece about the Middle East conflict, and the problems which plague the region.
Israel and Palestine are currently ‘negotiating’ in the latest round of peace talks, which come to an end in mid-April. A solution still looks no closer to being found.
Israel continues to build settlements in occupied territories – a breach of international law and breaking the fourth Geneva Convention (which defines the humanitarian protections for civilians in a war zone) despite maintaining their innocence.
The United States is currently facilitating the peace talks, with Secretary of State John Kerry playing a key role in the process, but America clearly supports the Jewish state of Israel. A quick scan of their media coverage of the conflict will confirm this.
Palestine, and the neighbouring states who support them, are of course not innocent in this conflict either.
If they had their way, Israel would be wiped of the map – a worrying thought, whichever side off the fence you sit on – and terrorist organisations on this side regularly carry out attacks.
Hamas currently holds the majority of seats in the Palestinian parliament (74), but is listed as a terrorist organisation by the US, Britain and the European Union, Egypt and Japan, to name a few. Iran, Russia and Turkey are some of the big names who do not classify Hamas as a terrorist organisation.
Hezbollah, the Iran-funded, Lebanese-based, political party is also regularly involved in conflicts with the state of Israel, and its paramilitary wing is considered to be more powerful than the Lebanese army. It too is considered a terrorist organisation by America, France and Canada among others, while Britain and the EU only consider the military wing to be terrorist.
The fact that there is no clear ‘good guy’ in the conflict makes it difficult for the West and other developed nations to intervene.
But it is not helped by the fragility of the region either. The enemies, allegiances and aims of each player in the conflict contradict the other.
Unlike the Second World War, where the battle lines were clearly drawn between the Allies and the Axis forces, the Middle East conflict is a mire of battle lines. If one domino goes, the entire stability of the region will inevitably collapse.
This is why Iran should not be allowed to develop the nuclear bomb.
No secret has been made of the fact that if they did get to the point where they were successfully able to develop a nuclear weapon, Tel Aviv would be in the crosshairs.
Israel has made this point explicitly clear in the UN Security Council and great effort is being put into ensuring they do not develop the capability.
But at the same time, they want to develop nuclear power. Is allowing Iran to enrich uranium a risk too far? But then why can Israel have atomic weapons?
If Iran is to go undefended against the threat of annihilation from the Jewish state, I would argue that Israel should have to give up their weapons of mass destruction in the interest of balance.
Although the nuclear weapons are not officially declared by Israel, they have been listed as one of the four nuclear-armed countries not designated a Nuclear Weapons State by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty – the others being North Korea, India and Pakistan.
This poses one of the biggest threats to the region as the rhetoric escalates, and it seems unlikely Iran will stop pushing to get one of their own while the mushroom cloud looms overhead.
See our cover article to read about the Iranian hackers who took over a BU server in political protest against Israel.