View a PDF copy of our new pamphlet: A War for the Future of the Middle East 

Labour Friends of Israel today publishes its latest policy briefing: A War for the Future of the Middle East by LFI chair in the House of Lords, Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale. 

On 7 October, Hamas’ brutal assault triggered not just a war between the terror group and Israel but, as this paper argues, a multi-front battle in a struggle to shape the future of the Middle East.  

Hamas’s own statements reveal that the timing of the 7 October attacks was linked to impending Israeli-Saudi normalisation – a deal that is a key objective in US foreign policy and is linked to larger plans for the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor which would rival China’s Belt and Road Initiative. 

For years, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has armed, trained and financed Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and as well as Iran’s other proxies – Hezbollah and the Houthis – all of which have active participants in the conflict since 7 October. 

Baroness Ramsay’s policy paper argues that the Israel-Hamas war is part of a long-term strategy for Iran and its network of proxies to destroy Israel and reduce US regional influence, and that viewing the conflict at this broader level helps to explain Israel’s response and the backing it has received from the US, UK and other democratic allies. 

Since 1979, and especially since 2020, Arab-Israeli normalisation has already reaped significant benefits. UAE-Israel trade is booming. Plans for cooperation in regional security and renewable energy and water have been advancing. 

The current war threatens this vision, calling into question Israel’s long-term security and, by extension, US credibility in a region where Russia and China are also competing for influence. If Hamas is defeated, one of the most significant barriers to Israeli-Arab normalisation, and indeed Israeli-Palestinian peace, will have been removed. 

Israel’s military operation must therefore be tied to a set of political objectives that form the basis for renewed regional diplomacy: 

  • A new Palestinian administration in Gaza with international backing; 
  • Recommitment from the international community towards eventual Palestinian statehood; 
  • A peace agreement with Saudi Arabia, which will require a new governing Israeli coalition excluding the far right; 
  • A ‘Marshall Plan’ reconstruction package for Gaza. 

Read the full paper here: A War for the Future of the Middle East.