In his commentary on the IVK website, Šebesta analyzes the current conflict between Israel and the Hamas movement with historical contexts, which Czech politicians are not capable of, especially those in government, who take irreconcilable positions and moralize the whole world, let alone the UN.
“Politics is and always has been a little bit of theater. But today it seems more and more often that the theater is the only one left. The content leaked somewhere, unknown to where. Kitsch and self-importance win over themselves. “Unfortunately, this is doubly true of Czech foreign policy, which after the current government took office has collapsed into a series of activist campaigns, high-minded moralizing and waving all flags except one’s own, instead of patiently negotiating on the basis of national interests and not closing doors unnecessarily,” says Šebesta.
According to him, the current need to constantly spew content on social networks, where sensitive matters of foreign policy will do more harm than good, also plays a part in this. “It’s no exaggeration to say that the need to constantly broadcast on YouTube and take uncompromising stances on everything and everyone on social media to meet the needs of today’s virtual world, whose consumers demand a constant supply of new content, is a big part of this. This form of ‘debate’ harms foreign policy perhaps even more than other policies, especially because its nature has historically always been rather discreet. It turns out that the reality of foreign policy moral irreconcilability is unfortunately just as, or even more violent than the old order,” Šebesta thinks.
According to him, it is extremely difficult in the Czech Republic to talk rationally about, for example, the Middle East conflict. “But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. After all, it was similarly complicated at the beginning of the Ukrainian war in 2014 as well as eight years later, when it escalated to its current form. Even today, the situation is not ideal and the debate is open, but the shift is here. It will also occur in the event of a conflict over the Gaza Strip,” Šebesta compares, saying that even the topic of the war in Ukraine is presented in a very one-sided manner in the Czech environment.
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In the case of the current Middle Eastern conflict, according to Šebesta, it is necessary to be aware of the basic facts. “That this is not an age-old dispute of a ‘biblical nature’, but a century-old nationalist conflict between Arabs and Jews largely fueled by the policies of the original colonial powers, with a series of mutual injustices on both sides over the decades.” Šebesta explains that the West’s decision to create the state of Israel caused today’s problems.
So it is not a conflict that arose on October 7, but a long-term problem with mistakes on both sides. “It is a conflict that seems perfectly clear and understandable when we place its beginning at October 7, 2023, but extremely complex when we look at it over its entire length, which, after all, is evidenced by the long-term inability of anyone to come up with a solution to it,” he points out analyst.
Šebesta also warns that an Israeli military response may further radicalize the Palestinians and will not resolve the situation in the future. “Military force solutions and reliance on technological superiority and the resulting reluctance of Israel to solve the Palestinian issue in any way could not prevent such a massive attack by Hamas. If it didn’t even further fuel the radicalization leading to such fanatical killing. The current military campaign will have similar consequences. Killing loved ones logically radicalizes and instills a desire for revenge on both sides. Where there are more victims and an environment that willingly cultivates such anger, the motivation will naturally be stronger,” warns Šebesta.
After all, voices are heard even in Israel that there is no forceful solution to this dispute. “Even in Israel itself, there have long been differing and heated opinions on the approach to the conflict. And that many people here have long been convinced that there is no military solution to the conflict and that prioritizing a forceful solution, on the contrary, creates ideal conditions for strengthening Hamas. The Palestinians from the Gaza Strip will not disappear anywhere, and it will therefore be necessary to find a way out for coexistence again. Unspecified calls to their disappearance or to solve the problem once and for all – which, if not directly genocidal in nature, are very close to it – and which appear in the Czech debate, we should very emphatically reject,” says Šebesta towards Czech politicians.
Photogallery: – For Palestine at Wenceslas Square
Photogallery: – Together for Israel
Šebesta also draws attention to the uncritical partisanship of Israel, which is responsible for more civilian victims than the war in Ukraine. “We should be able to compare, for example, the number of civilian casualties in this conflict lasting several weeks with the war in Ukraine lasting more than two and a half years. Everything indicates that the number of civilian victims in Gaza is already higher today,” the analyst compares.
According to him, these views need to be brought into the debate without their author being immediately labeled as anti-Semitic. “What we shouldn’t do, on the other hand, is to allow a form of public debate to be imposed, in which someone who expresses such opinions is immediately labeled as an anti-Semite or advised to go wave the Palestinian flag, as one of the persons stated towards the author of these lines from the said photo. Israel is a very developed state, culturally and civilizationally close to us, probably the closest in the entire region. At the same time, it is an extraordinarily powerful and effective state militarily. But even the gruesome slaughter of Hamas should not be a justification for anything. The fact that Israel is our ally does not mean that we must unconditionally agree with every step it takes in the past and in the future, even though this has never been widely understood in the Czech Republic,” Šebesta explains, adding that Czech politicians should show more restraint and less powerful talk on “unavoidable collateral damage”.
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Ukraine (War in Ukraine)
Reports from the battlefield are difficult to verify in real time, regardless of whether they come from any side of the conflict. Both warring parties, for understandable reasons, may release completely or partially false (misleading) information.
You can find brief information regarding this conflict updated by ČTK several times an hour on this page. PL editorial content discussing this conflict can be found on this page.
author: Jakub Makarovič