June 5, 2024 | Hoover Institution

What Has Changed in the Middle East

June 5, 2024 | Hoover Institution

What Has Changed in the Middle East

Excerpt

After Israel’s token response to the Islamic Republic’s intercepted missile-and-drone barrage, there is one overarching question in the Middle East:  Has anything—beyond the horrendous loss of life—really changed since the Gaza war started on October 7th? Consider a few subsidiary questions: Has the Palestinian–Israeli imbroglio, which has now left Gaza in ruins, fundamentally altered Arab–Israeli ties, the American–Israeli alliance, or the Jewish state’s relations with Europe? Are we really in a new era because Iran and Israel are now dueling openly, striking each other’s territory directly? And last but not least, has Iran’s nuclear disposition—a slow, cautious march towards a nuclear weapon—likely changed because of the conflict?

The Palestinian issue has certainly been amped up, making it more difficult for most Arab political elites, who long ago tired of the Palestinian cause, to deal with the Jewish state publicly. The Abraham Accords, which many Israelis thought beckoned a new era, will likely survive in a deflated form.  Arab rulers who had decided that Palestinian revanchism was no longer their battle premised their acceptance of the accords on a proposition: that they could do an end run around the Palestinians, who continuously hurl both Islamist and Arab nationalist rhetoric against Arabs no longer motivated by the one-hundred year-old struggle with Jews, especially at a time of Persian Islamist ascendancy.

Reuel Marc Gerecht is a resident scholar at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Issues:

Arab Politics Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran-backed Terrorism Israel Israel at War Palestinian Politics