Did you miss any of our events? Are you interested in the most interesting information from our events? Now you will not miss anything important.


5. 3. 2024

More about this event

Interview with Dan Schueftan, security expert and former advisor to the Israeli Prime Minister. Hosted by Jan Macháček, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Politics and Society, and Štěpán Hobza , editor of Lidové noviny.

In the wake of the continuously tumultuous war between Israel and Palestine, Dan Schueftan discusses how the international community has reacted to the conflict and how it has influenced the war. He explores possible resolutions to the fighting and addresses how they would affect the future political climate of the Middle East. While finding a solution to this daunting conflict is ideal, Schueftan points out the difficulty of altering a society that has no desire to be changed.

It has recently surfaced that United Nations agency workers were actually directly involved in the attacks on the 7th of October. Is this really surprising?

“Nothing negative about the United Nations can be surprising because there is something profoundly wrong with this organization.” – Dan Schueftan

The United Nations is an organization controlled by regimes that do not truly support pluralism, human rights, and democracy. According to Schueftan, barbaric and immoral nations are abundant in the organization, making it unreliable and morally corrupt. Therefore, its support of Palestine is unsurprising.

“You ask me if I am surprised? No way.” – Dan Schueftan

“No matter what [Palestinians] do, they can always get assistance. So they can behave like barbarians… and get billions of dollars from all over the world.” – Dan Schueftan

Therefore, why would they act any differently or seek responsibility when they already get tons of financial aid and support? Salam Fayyad served as the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority and was an impressive and ambitious nation-builder. While America made him prime minister, he never gained the support of his fellow Palestinians and failed to gain any political traction. Palestinians should look towards figures like Fayyad to develop their nation and build it into a better place.

Why would the United Nations support Palestine, a nation more focused on killing others than building its own society? American approaches to these issues are always operational and focused on finding solutions. However, human problems like these rarely have solutions. Instead, nations must take a more strategic approach to focus on damage control and response. Resilience and good welfare from this strategic thinking can bring poverty and unrest significantly down. You cannot change the political culture of Palestine by giving them money, as you can’t change culture unless the people want to be changed.

If you raise this in Europe, usually they will tell you “Well we know that the UN is far from perfect, but it’s actually our only means to support Palestine.”

“Why would you support people who want to kill somebody else and are not trying to build their own society.” – Dan Schueftan

The problem is that there is no solution the United Nations can find. This is a good way of thinking for engineers. Human nature dictates that certain problems will always be there.

“You can’t change a culture unless people want to change their culture.” – Dan Schueftan

Palestine has the option of compliance, but because of its unwillingness to change, progress cannot be made. Based on the Oslo process, Palestinians can participate in elections if they accept the existence of Israel, making Hamas unable to participate. Therefore, solution-building is limited to Palestine’s willingness to comply.

While a two-state solution is desirable, it is nothing but a fantasy. If you let Palestine have sovereignty in the West Bank, it will bring Iran dangerously close to Tel Aviv. This will pose a threat to both Israel and Palestinians.

Is there a difference between a two-state solution and Palestinian statehood?”

Palestinians are cheating themselves by allowing Hamas to participate in their journey for statehood. Hypothetically, if Palestinians changed, progress towards this goal could be made. However, in the last 100 years, they have not shown a willingness to abandon dangerous concepts and practices like refusing to legitimize the Jewish state and encouraging the killing of Jewish people for honor, respect, and money. If Palestine presented strong leadership, the negotiation for Palestinian statehood would go much more smoothly.

To an extent, Israel is quite dependent on the Americans financially and with military aid. How closely must you listen to them? What is the end game?

“There is no solution.” – Dan Schueftan

If the change comes for the end game, it must be positive. There have been positive changes in the Arab world (such as the UAE). But it is also necessary to take a close look at Palestine. From Palestinian patterns throughout history and currently, why would one expect the Palestinian state/ West Bank to not have corruption, disorder, and dangerous anti-Semitic practices?

America suffers from terminal optimism, and if Israel follows American advice directly, it will be the end of Israel. To America, everyone is an option to save and provide a “better life” for. However, it is important to recognize that the relationship between the US and Israel is not unilateral. If America hopes to leave the Middle East, who will it leave the Middle East to? How will America keep it from succumbing to radicals?

What will happen regionally? 

“The harsher we are in Gaza, the better our relations with the Arab world.” – Dan Schueftan

By focusing on deterring radical behavior in the Middle East, Israel sends a message to other states acting in similar ways. According to Schueftan, the destruction of Gaza will bring more peace. Contrary to American beliefs, being nice does not work, as there is no way of appeasing them.

“The destruction in Gaza is a byproduct of Israel defending itself and a message to the Muslim world on what happens when you behave like a barbarian.” – Dan Schueftan

Israel hopes that by taking a firm stance in Gaza, it is also protecting the Middle East from the dangerous force of Iran.

“Iranians threaten everything that you can possibly consider positive anywhere you are.” – Dan Schueftan

Is support of Israeli society for the Emergency War Cabinet still holding? 

Currently, there is unbelievable solidarity in the Israeli Society. While the Israeli public might not be behind the war on a very very high level, around 80% would agree with most of Israel’s decisions during the war. Israelis will not accept the dictate of Hamas, and while they empathize with hostages and all those devastated by the war, their priority is no longer being threatened by Hamas.

What is your best guess on how long the ground operation is going to take? 

The ground operation is predicted to take between 3-6 months. The North is crucially important to Israeli victory. It cannot initiate a full-out war with Hezbollah, as it would cause enormous destruction to Israel that could risk Iranian and US involvement which would only further hurt international diplomacy. Israel is not initiating a war in the North, but risking one.

In the South, it depends on the ability to reach an agreement with Egypt. Egypt must protect its reputation in the Arab world, and Israel hopes to turn to modus operandi at a 60% compromise.

“Can we reach some kind of modus operandi with the Egyptians so that we can do in RAF not everything we want to do but 60% of what we want to do.” – Dan Schueftan

“This war is crucial for Western Civilization. Because the real question that is at stake is ‘can civilized people defend themselves against barbarians even when barbarians put their weapons among their children.” –Dan Schueftan.

Gaza is the most fortified position ever in human history. It is not only governments but organizations like The New York Times, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch that are defending Hamas. Schueftan believes that Israel must prove that it can destroy not only terrorist groups but including the attempt of human rights organizations to defend it as well. After all, the conflict is partially an outcome of powerful organizations’ attitudes.

What is the risk of a great war in the Middle East? 

The risk of an outbreak depends on the Iranians and Hezbollah. Schueftan, if he could put a number to it, predicted 70/30 against. A great war will not happen because people want it to, but the stakes are very high and the Iranians understand that if they hurt Israel they can devastate Beirut. Israel is not only very strong but also willing to use its threats. If it must, we can be very nasty. Being nice is life-threatening in the Middle East, and pluralism does not exist.

“If they aren’t afraid of us they are going to kill us.” – Dan Schueftan

“In the Middle East, if they’re not afraid of us we should be afraid of them.” – Dan Schueftan

Shouldn’t Israel politically/rhetorically be more supportive of Ukraine in general? 

Yes. While Israel needs to keep a low profile, it should be more supportive towards Ukraine. There are also ways to keep a low profile and provide real help. Particularly, Israel must consider the background of the relations between Russia and Iran. It still must remain very careful, but regardless many things can be done.