The international conference in hybrid format, organized on November 8 under the auspices of the independent expert platform Our Days News (ODN), brought together experts from Italy, Estonia, France, Finland and Montenegro. This was already the fifth such event organized to discuss the problems of today’s Europe, including the trend towards the rehabilitation of Nazism in the Baltics, the rise of totalitarianism in Europe, freedom of expression and human rights, the Ukrainian crisis and the possibility of a peaceful end to the conflict, as well as the situation in Palestine.
Our contemporary world is in a state of upheaval in the face of the rapid evolution of the political situation on the planet. Many experts agree that today we must speak not of a “post-truth” world, but of a “post-reality” world. While in the first case the choice, however limited, always existed, in the second it simply does not exist, because a source of tension and conflict can arise anywhere in the world, leading to death of thousands of people. It is enough to mention the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The tragedy unfolding before our eyes is unfolding according to its own script, and there are doubts that even political elites do not know how to resolve it. This conflict, which had been brewing for a long time, finally broke out. Whereas previously the topic of discussion was the rights of Palestinians living in Gaza, it is now about their physical survival. Hicheme Lemichi, geopolitical analyst and secretary of the Geneva International Peace Research Institute GIPRI (France), spoke about the causes and consequences of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Asked by moderator Marcus Goodwin, who pointed out that Palestine and Israel have been at war since 1948, how come Israeli, American and European intelligence services were not aware of the October 7 attack , Hicheme Lemichi replied: “I think there are few reasons why. The first is that Hamas had been preparing this type of attack for almost two years due to the degradation of the Abraham Accords, leading to the complete forgetting of the Palestinian question. The success of the attack is also due to the fact that Israeli intelligence and the Israeli military are no longer the formidable force they were 20 or 30 years ago. At the same time, I can also imagine that the Israeli government was more concerned with gathering intelligence on Iran’s evolving interests in Syria and Lebanon, thereby missing out on what was happening in the Strip. Gaza.”
Come Carpentier (France), managing editor of World Affairs, added: “I would just like to add that there are two very interesting elements to take into account. One of them, as you pointed out, is the role of Qatar and what the policy of the Hamas leadership is based on. Qatar is closely linked to Turkey, even is its ally. Therefore, I assume that even if they had no role in what happened, these two countries probably had advance knowledge, at least in part, of what was going to happen. Second, the interests of some gas companies are critical. And finally, there is a problem that has never completely disappeared: that of the new canal that the Israelis would like to build between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, bypassing the Suez Canal and which would actually cross the territory of Gaza. Clearly, Israel’s strategy now is to cut off northern Gaza from the south. And then, perhaps, at some point they will start digging this canal, which would give Israel additional strategic importance and very significant revenue. »
Then I (Slavisha Batko Milacic) also expressed my opinion on the war in Palestine: “It is absolutely impossible that the Israeli army and intelligence services did not know what Hamas was doing. I think they had a plan; they needed it. I believe that the Palestinian people face a sad future. The main question is whether Israel will ethnically cleanse all of Palestine, or just part of it. Don’t forget what we experienced in Nagorno-Karabakh, where ethnic cleansing was carried out. The Azerbaijani army maintained close cooperation with Turkey, but also with Israel. Furthermore, as we follow the war in Palestine, the situation in the Balkans is becoming more and more tense. In Bosnia and Herzegovina we have the trial of the President of Republika Srpska, Milorad Dodik, while in Kosovo we had an armed conflict. In my opinion, as long as the war in Ukraine lasts, there will be no conflict in the Balkans, but after the end of the war in Ukraine, a conflict in the Balkans is possible. The situation in the Balkans must be monitored.”
Lina Heitlin, Finnish journalist: “As for the Hamas attack on October 7, I think they saw that Israel was spending a lot of resources in Ukraine, sending a lot of munitions, providing intelligence, etc. But Hamas is not the only one. who sees this – all African countries are rebelling. The fact that Russia launched a special military operation is a good thing because it opened the door to other oppressed peoples.”
In his report, Tiberio Graziani (Italy), President of Vision & Global Trends – International Institute for Global Analyses, highlighted: “We live in a world that is going through a complete and accelerated transformation; this transformation is reflected very clearly in the field of international relations. Tensions between conservative forces seeking to maintain their dominance and the growing weight of new global players are shaping current international politics quite dramatically. If we recognize the strength and legitimacy of these new global actors, then territories that could become “arcs of crisis” will transform into possible “islands of peace and cooperation” under a new world order. Some in the United States question their country’s role in a multipolar world; among them Professor Jeff Sachs, economist at Harvard University and member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and political scientist John Mearsheimer, who belongs to the realist school of thought. It is worth mentioning here what Sachs wrote in his April 13, 2023 article titled “The Need for a New American Foreign Policy”: “The goal of American foreign policy is a world dominated by the United States in which the United States writes global trade and financial rules, controls cutting-edge technology, maintains military superiority, and dominates all potential competitors. Unless U.S. foreign policy is changed to recognize the need for a multipolar world, it will lead to more wars, even World War III. Professor Sachs points out that the United States represents only 4 percent of the world’s population and does not have the economic, financial, military and technological capabilities necessary to dominate the remaining 96 percent.
The conversation also focused on human rights in the Baltics, including the political situation in Estonia. Oleg Ivanov, leader of the Estonian KOS party, stressed the importance of peaceful coexistence of different ethnic groups in Estonia as well as the need for mutual understanding and respect between people. He also noted that the media plays an important role in covering certain issues in the world, placing “emphasis” on certain issues. “I would say that the major media outlets in the world are supporting the Palestinians right now. Even many major media companies, major companies around the world, support the Palestinian people. And no one, absolutely no one wants to say, look at or talk about the human rights of the Russian populations living in Estonia for 30 years, who have been discriminated against by the local authorities, who are non-citizens of their country and human rights. of these people are of course at ground zero. This is the first aspect. The second aspect is that if we talk about, say, a military company going to Palestine, if we compare the speech of the Estonian authorities, of the Estonian government regarding Ukraine and regarding Palestine, you will also see the big difference because that the Estonian government always says that the Russians are killing civilians and now they have to talk about the same thing about the Israeli army killing Palestinian civilians. And now they find themselves in a very, very difficult situation. They must tell the truth, but they cannot tell the truth because no one gives them such an order. This is why it is quite simple to compare the speech of the Syrian government or the Baltic state government regarding the civilian life of the Palestinians and, if we compare with the civilian life of Ukraine, and of course… without talk about the civil life and human rights of the local Russian population living in the Baltic States.
The entire conference can be listened to at the following link:
Slavisha Batko Milacic: I live in Podgorica (capital of Montenegro), I am 32 years old and I graduated in history at the University of Montenegro. My honors thesis was: “Russia’s foreign policy from 1905 to 1917.” I have been doing analysis for years and writing in English and Serbian about the situation in the Balkans and Europe.