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29 Nov, 2023

Is Travel & Tourism ready for the catastrophic fallout of the Israel-Palestine conflict?

Today, Nov 29, marks the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

It comes against the backdrop of Israel’s genocide against the Palestinian people, supported by the United States and several European countries in line with Israel’s “right to defend itself”.

The savagery and brutality of the latest round of conflict has left deep scars and hardened attitudes on both sides. The Clash of Civilisations is here to stay. It will have a deep and lasting impact on Travel & Tourism.

I warned about this looming threat in the Jan-Feb 2019 edition of The Olive Tree, the first publication to explore the linkages between Travel & Tourism and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Our eminent “visionaries, futurists and thought-leaders” all ignored it.

It’s set to get worse.

Here is an Israeli Ambassador to India saying that they they will resume bombing Gaza after the temporary pause.

The US government wants the next round of bombing to be more “surgical”.

The Arabs, the United Nations and the vast majority of countries want a ceasefire and a two-state solution.

That is not what the Israelis want, however. Here is a headline from the Jerusalem Post on 28 November 2023. It says “Finish the Job”.

“Finish the job” does not mean only targetting Hamas. It refers to much more – wiping Palestine off the map and destabilising the Arab and Islamic countries.

The next target will be Iran, then Malaysia and Indonesia. The Gulf countries may be spared if they continue to play ball.

That plan will no longer be smooth sailing. A backlash is underway. And the law of unintended consequences can kick in any time.

The images of the wholesale destruction of Gaza and the slaughter of Palestinian babies, infants, children and women have shocked the world.

Israeli credibility has taken a huge hit. It no longer has dominant control of the narrative.

Sympathy for the holocaust is dropping. Invoking the anti-semitism slogan no longer holds carries much weight.

Serious questions are arising about why the world is powerless to stop the bloodshed.

In his speech at the UN General Assembly on Sept 29, 2014, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu openly boasted: “Today we, the Jewish people, have the power to defend ourselves. We will defend ourselves against our enemies on the battlefield. We will expose their lies against us in the court of public opinion. Israel will continue to stand proud and unbowed.”

Note his words: “We, the Jewish people have the power to defend ourselves..”

Exactly a year later, in another speech at the UN General Assembly on October 1, 2015, he himself clearly and unequivocally flagged the source of Jewish power.

This economic power translates into political clout. In 2013, the late Singaporean Prime Minister, one of Asia’s most respected statesmen, Lee Kuan Yew published an autobiography publicly fingering the nefarious role of the Jewish lobby.

The power of the Jewish lobby has been on full display all through the first two decades of the 21st century.

In 2003, the US-led “Coalition of the Willing” attacked Iraq in pursuit of Weapons of Mass Destruction which proved to be a total hoax. The role of the “Jewish neocons” led by Paul Wolfowitz, the architect of the war, is well documented.

Another regime-change operation was carried out in Libya against Muammar Gaddafi in October 2011.

In Nov 1995, I was the only travel trade journalist from Asia in Tel Aviv the night the Jewish fanatic extremist terrorist Yigal Amir shot and killed Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, a Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Rabin was negotiating, slowly and carefully, a land-for-peace agreement with the Palestinians which he hoped would bring peace and tourism to the Middle East. He was assassinated very specifically to halt that peace process.

Today, as prospects of peace fade by the day, the Jewish terrorist’s cause is winning.

In Israel, right-wing extremist parties are now ensconced in the government. They want to “resettle” all the Palestinians from West Bank to Egypt, Jordan and any other country which will take them.

It’s all work in progress. And it’s going to get a lot worse.

Conclusions and takeaways

In the absence of a total change in leaderships willing to compromise and make concessions, a head-on confrontation and conflict across multiple fronts are a certainty.

Israel will resist being held accountable by any legal institution. Those who can’t get justice through the proper channels then will seek other means.


Safety and security costs will go up. Travel restrictions and visas will be tightened.

Attacks on Israeli interests will continue, targetting the same sources of Jewish power Mr Netanyahu publicised in his UN speeches.

The attacks on the shipping lines owned by the Israeli billionaires are an indicator of what’s to come. Insurance premiums have already gone up.

Israelis are working all around the world, many holding dual passports. Their personal safety is under threat, along with their business interests, especially if their companies are dodging taxes or undertaking any illegal activity.

The geopolitical situation is even more murky.

American hypocrisy and double standards will be in the dock. The US no longer has the moral high ground and will face resistance to its self-proclaimed right to be the global policeman, judge, jury and executioner.

Human rights, freedom and democracy will wane globally, Other countries will claim the same right to attack minorities by tagging them “terrorists”.

The Europeans are no longer shying away from castigating Israel. That movement, too, will grow.

Additional battles over Islamophobia and anti-semitism are sure to emerge in universities, the media, across all institutions and organisations.

The Abraham Accords with the Gulf countries can be kissed goodbye.

Israeli spyware like Pegasus will continue to be tapped to suppress dissent and target protestors, auguring ill for democracy, debate and legitimate discourse.

Under the virulently anti-Muslim Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India has become Israel’s “shared values” deputy sheriff in Asia. The Indian agenda is being advanced through the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, yet another grouping set up by the United States to corral the Asia-Pacific countries against China.

Right-wing demagogues like Geert Wilders, with their openly anti-Muslim agenda, will continue to “shock” the European political leadership.

Those are only a few of the projected outcomes.

Millions of people who stand with the Palestinian people on this day of solidarity foresee a long, brutal battle ahead.

The Clash of Civilisations is here to stay. Travel & Tourism WILL be severely impacted.

Like always, it will continue to live in denial and sweep it all under the carpet — until the crisis turns into another catastrophe.