Examining the geopolitical landscape of perhaps the two most afflicted regions of the globe Kashmir and Palestine, approximately 3750 kilometres apart, paints a rather unappealing picture of these regions. The ongoing issues and security challenges in these regions are frequently regarded as complicated and influenced by the diverse narratives and perspectives of international political actors.
Throughout their prolonged histories, Hundreds of lives have been lost in both India and Israel as a result of persistent insurgency and armed conflict in these regions. In the aftermath of the 1947-1948 Indo-Pakistani conflict, the United Nations Security Council under resolution 47 enacted several resolutions calling for a ceasefire and a referendum to determine the future status of the region. Due to numerous disagreements and conflicts between the two countries, this referendum has never taken place. Respecting the aspirations of the Kashmiri people, the UN has called for a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue through dialogue and negotiation between India and Pakistan. The United Nations has maintained a position urging both parties to engage in meaningful dialogue in order to reach an enduring resolution.
In a similar vein, The UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 181 in 1947, which recommended the partition of Palestine into distinct Jewish and Arab states, as well as a regime for Jerusalem that was international in nature. Nonetheless, this plan was not entirely executed, resulting in conflict. In addition, the UN has repeatedly condemned violence and violations of human rights on both sides of the conflict. It has advocated for a two-state solution in which Israel and Palestine coexist in harmony and safety.
In these two geographical areas, a diverse array of security concerns endure. It is both significant and imperative to meticulously monitor the transformation of militant activities and organizations across the course of the past century. Over time, militancy in these regions has undergone a notable development, adopting a hybrid form that incorporates terrorism. This evolution is deeply intertwined with the utilization of technology and other methodologies to execute such actions. The repercussions of these actions extend beyond local contexts, impacting the broader national security landscape within these regions.
Over the recent years, a fresh generation of armed factions has surfaced within the Palestinian population of the West Bank. This development has garnered attention from both Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), as well as the international community. While the emergence of these groups is noteworthy, it is not without historical precedent. Historically, similar groups had affiliations with prominent political entities, often aligned with a component of the Palestine Liberation Organization or the Islamist movement Hamas. In contrast, recent research conducted in Nablus in March suggests that these new organizations lack a structured hierarchy and operate independently. Their motivation stems from a vague yet profound discontent with the prevailing circumstances. This dissatisfaction spans from the perceived ineffectiveness of Palestinian leadership to the perceived severity of the Israeli occupation and the faltering economy.
Another important element for Israeli security lies in the recent tensions which have escalated between Israel and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah in the wake of Iran’s nuclear program and heightened tensions between Israel and Palestine. Israel views Hezbollah, which was established in 1982 by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, as the greatest border threat. The conflict of 2006 claimed the lives of 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and 157 Israelis, mostly soldiers. Since then, the arsenal of Hezbollah has grown. These escalating tensions in Israel’s Northern Front inevitably raise security concerns which compliment the ongoing tensions in the West bank with new Palestinian terrorist forces.
Drawing parallels, several new militant groups have emerged in Jammu and Kashmir over the past three years, fueled by public dread and anger over the central government’s efforts to alter the demographic composition of the region after 2019. New groups with non-religious names such as The Resistance Front, Kashmir Tigers, People’s Anti-Fascist Front or United Liberation Front of Kashmir are at the forefront of militant activity, and many have claimed responsibility for attacks on minorities.
These shifting dynamics in these two areas underscore a growing set of difficulties for the national security of both India and Israel. These developments could potentially play a significant role in shaping diplomatic interactions between these two nations. Violence in these regions is expected to grow if hybrid militancy and armed insurgencies in these regions is not scrutinized in a proper manner to protect both local and national security complementing to these regions.
The role of the United States and its foreign policy is one Instrument that can prove to be beneficial for the current security and border issues in both these regions. The United States has maintained a longstanding alliance with Israel and has been its primary partner in matters of security due to the US’s endorsement of a Jewish state. Throughout the Cold War era, Israel was seen by numerous US defense strategists as the optimal collaborator in countering Soviet influence in the Middle East, and it later played a significant role in US efforts against terrorism.
In the present day, Israel remains the closest strategic associate of the United States in the Middle East. Both nations share concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear aspirations and its backing of Islamist militant groups, particularly Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas. As a result of these shared concerns, the United States has committed to ensuring Israel’s military superiority over any coalition of hostile countries in the region. According to law, the US government is obligated to guarantee that arms sales to other Middle Eastern countries do not “negatively impact Israel’s qualitative military advantage over threats to Israel.”
Likewise, the United States possesses numerous motives to address the escalating presence of terrorist groups in Kashmir, even though it is not required to assume the role of an official mediator in the region. While India maintains a firm stance on the Kashmir matter, it certainly comprehends that the ongoing and evolving situation in Kashmir is drawing China into the conflict. Although China has traditionally followed a neutral position with regard to the Kashmir dispute, it has recently started expressing its opinions more openly, similar to its response after the India-China Standoff in 2020. The United States can play a constructive role in shielding negotiators from external interference and can also offer guidance and viable suggestions to maintain peace and Stability in the Region.