The “two state solution” has long been trumpeted as the formula to resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict as it would mean creating two separate, independent countries.

The overwhelming majority of countries, including Israel’s closest ally, the United States, have publicly supported this. India, Israel’s new major ally, agrees. It is tempting to believe that this is the answer to peace in West Asia.

There was a glimmer of hope till October 7, when Hamas militants launched their attack on Israel.

Now, matters are now likely to be decided militarily, as is happening in Ukraine, where the war with Russia completes two years this month. This is the result of the changed military balance in the region as well as of how Israel and the US responded to the attack by Hamas.

Israel’s military siege on Gaza has killed over 26,000 Palestinian civilians, the majority of them women and children. Hospitals, schools, refugee camps, homes, buildings of United Nations organisations and civilian facilities in the area have been bombed. Some observers have compared the level of destruction to the fire-bombing of Tokyo and the German city of Dresden during the Second World War.

Northern Gaza has been carpet-bombed with 2,000-pound gravity bombs, supplied by the US, that have flattened entire neighbourhoods. After first warning Palestinian civilians to evacuate their homes in Northern Gaza and move to the south, Israel has done the same thing in southern Gaza. Israel is now bombing Khan Yunis, a major city in the south, and has indicated that it will not stop until “Hamas is destroyed”.

This is happening in full global view, including the self-appointed guardians of human rights in the West who never tire of lecturing the rest of the world about safeguarding human rights. The mainstream Western media has chosen to bury its head in the sand – not the first time it has done so.

The vast majority of the Israeli public has openly supported their government and called for more violence against the Palestinians. It does not seem to matter that the majority of the “Global South” view Israel’s military siege as a genocide.

The violence unleashed by Israel on the Palestinians has reached such levels that even the US is publicly calling for restraint. Analysts say that the majority of the American public does approve of Israel’s actions in Gaza. But that has not prevented the US government from vetoing all proposals in the UN Security Council calling for a ceasefire, or from continuing the supply of lethal weapons to Israel.

A military vehicle near the Israel-Gaza border on February 4.

The Benjamin Netanyahu-led regime openly proclaiming its aims to get rid of the Palestinians “from the River to the Sea” reinforce the futility of the two-station solution.

But this point was not reached overnight. It has been building up over the last two decades at least. Since the early years of this century, Israeli prime ministers Ariel Sharon and then Netanyahu made no secret of their contempt and hatred of the Palestinians. More recently, members of the Israeli cabinet publicly called the Palestinians “human animals”. This reflects in the actions of the Israeli regime, which is hounding them from northern Gaza to the South and killing them.

The United States, the only country capable of reigning in Israel, has chosen not to do so, even after the January 26 verdict of the International Court of Justice, which used the word “genocide” multiple times. That is because the US government only pays lip service to the two-state solution, designed to pacify the American public and the international community. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has been performing some shuttle diplomacy with Israel, but all that it has produced is a further intensification of Israel’s atrocities on the Palestinians, including those in the West Bank.

Israel perhaps does not understand that continuing its assault on Gaza will only harden the resolve of the Palestinians and their allies, not extinguish it. It also does not understand that the myth of its military superiority over the Palestinians has been shattered.

Moreover, the military capabilities of state and non-state actors opposed to Israeli policies have increased dramatically over the last decade and a half.

Or else, it was difficult to think that an outfit like the Ansar al-Allah, also known as the Houthis, in Yemen would disrupt Israel and US-linked shipping in the Red Sea. Hezbollah, the Lebanese resistance group, has exchanged fire with Israel. But in the wake of the threat Hezbollah poses, Israel in October ordered the evacuation of more than 20,000 citizens from towns close to South Lebanon. On January 28, three American soldiers were killed and 34 wounded by a drone attack on an illegal US base in Al Tanf in Syria.

If non-state actors can cause non-trivial damage to Israel, it is not difficult to guess what Iran can do. Iran’s missile and drone capabilities have improved in the last decade to the extent that they can pose an existential threat to Israel. But Israeli politicians and neoconservatives in the US seem oblivious to this.

It is not clear if Israel and the US have grasped the implications of the changed military balance in West Asia. The situation is likely to be somewhat different from what has happened since the formation of Israel 75 years ago.

So far, India has walked a thin line between its newfound ally, Israel, and its long-standing support for the Palestinians. That is fine, but it perhaps requires some fine-tuning.

Hubris has led to the downfall of powerful empires. That could happen again.

The writer is a former ambassador of India and has spent more than 10 years in Syria, Libya and Saudi Arabia.