Gaza -What After ……??

Eastern Crescent
Eastern Crescent 19 Min Read 385 Views

Gaza -What After ……??

By: Mohammad Ajmal

Assistant Professor Centre of Arabic and African Studies, School of Languages, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

There have been rumors for some time that the Arab army will land in Gaza. The rumors are coming true now that Israel’s defense minister Yoav Gallant has returned from a trip to the United States amid heightened tension between Tel Aviv and “sympathetic” Arab countries. In the meantime, Israel has launched a large-scale military exercise in which the army, navy, and air force, as well as the navy’s raiding and amphibious units, are participating. According to a statement from the Israeli army, the purpose of the exercises is to “strengthen the readiness to respond to any situation in the northern part of the Gaza,” as if this is to address the tensions along the border with Lebanon. However, the marine forces’ participation in the exercise suggests a plan to destroy Rafah.

Just a few days ago from breaking into southern Israel by Hamas on October 7, 2023, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declared 1976 acres of land owned by the Palestinians in the Jordan Valley to be astateland. The land will now be used by the Israeli government to build homes for settlers. The US and French presidents said they were “deeply concerned” about the move, which they said would harm the peace process. Israeli officials are now talking about building settlements in the Gaza Strip on the same model. Gerard Kushner, former president Trump’s son in-law, dripped resin on the beautiful transparent blue beach of Gaza. He said that, if the residents of Gazaare relocated elsewhere, cleaned and redeveloped, the Waterfront of Gazawould be the best in the world. Kushner is known as the “Real Estate King”.

According to a report in the Israeli daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, at the meetings held in Washington last week, the Israeli Defense Ministry (IDM) expressed its concern that if an attack is carried out on Rafah, “1.5 million people will be directly targeted by bombing and shelling,” and “No matter what the result of the raid is, hundreds of thousands of people will die.”

The loss of Palestinian lives may not be a top concern for the American government; however, President Biden is concerned that without the backing of American Muslims, securing victory in the November election may pose a challenge. It is evident that Muslim votes play a crucial role in the states where the competition is fierce.

Therefore, the forced relocation of Rafah residents was mutually agreed upon by the United States and Israel prior to the attack. Israel’s approach during the Gaza invasion involved directing the citizens towards the Egyptian border, compelling them to migrate to the Sinai region. However, this strategy did not yield the desired results. Despite enduring six months of relentless bombardment, destruction of infrastructure, acute food shortages, and even famine, the insurgents have managed to hold their ground in most areas. Despite the utilization of American satellites, surveillance drones, and advanced equipment, Israel has been unsuccessful in tracking or locating their hostages, and establishing a permanent outpost within Gaza remains an unaccomplished goal.

Since the commencement of Ramadan, the Israeli Air Force has conducted an average of 70 airstrikes daily. Nevertheless, the Palestinian fighters remain steadfast and the resistance remains undiminished. On March 28, an Israeli commando unit commander lost his life, and 16 soldiers sustained severe injuries during a confrontation near Shifa Hospital. The stream of soldiers returning from Gaza with disabilities persists. The New Hope Party, an ally of Netanyahu government decided to separate from the coalition. Gideon Shaar, the party’s leader, told journalists that the government has thus far been unsuccessful in achieving its objectives in the Gaza strip. Given our party’s diminished ability to influence this matter, New Hope is no longer affiliated with the government.

The Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, an international human rights organization, has released a report indicating that Israel has unleashed 25,000 tons of explosives on Gaza, equivalent to dropping two atomic bombs on the 41 km long and 6 km wide. The catastrophic impact of this violence was articulated by a group of American doctors who visited Gaza on March 28. Upon their arrival at Al-Aqsa Hospital, Dr. Sania Hassan, the head of the delegation, described the dire situation, stating, “In front of us lies the lifeless body of a child whose head was struck by a missile fragment.”Close to the lifeless body lies his younger sister, gasping for her final breaths, while a significant portion of the unfortunate man’s face has been obliterated. A ten-year-old child wounded and in excruciating pain, cries out for his parents. How can I possibly convey to him that his parents have departed for the afterlife, leaving him in anguish? Beside him, his sister lies motionless, her entire body consumed by burns, rendering her unrecognizable.

A video was released on Al Jazeera the day before the visit of Galant to the US. The footage depicted a scene where two unarmed Palestinians in Gaza, holding a white flag as a symbol of surrender, were shot by a bullet fired from point blank range. It is possible that this incident could have been considered acceptable collateral damage; however, following the shooting, their bodies were then pushed by bulldozers and discarded down a pile as if they were trash. This particular scene gained widespread attention on social media in Western countries, yet there was no official condemnation or any reports of sorrow expressed regarding the matter.

The Palestinians face a grim fate, yet Gaza has transformed into a harrowing ordeal for the occupying forces. Concern among Israeli citizens has escalated to a state of hopelessness due to military setbacks. Israeli and American military analysts are of the opinion that Gaza is on the brink of turning into Israel’s equivalent of Afghanistan. While meeting with the Defense Secretary in Washington, US defense officials cautiously attempted to persuade Mr. Gallant that dismantling the resistance was no simple task, emphasizing that Israel had exhausted all available options. Nevertheless, the resolve of the oppressed to resist showed no signs of wavering.

A couple of days back, Netanyahu mentioned the possibility of Israel delaying the Rafah attack if needed. It is important to clarify that this does not imply Israel’s preference for resolving the conflict peacefully through dialogue rather than violence. The primary cause for the postponement is the Israeli army’s reluctance. Before Defense Minister Gallant’s trip to Washington, reports surfaced that the Israeli army chief had urged Prime Minister Netanyahu to hold off on the Rafah attack.

The General emphasized the necessity for additional bombs and bombers for Rafah. Mr. Gallant visited Washington with a detailed list of the required weaponry. Coincidentally, on the same day that images of a “pleasant” encounter between the Israeli and American defense ministers and “conversations” with Democratic members of Congress were featured in the Washington Post, it was disclosed that The Biden administration authorized the shipment of 1,800 of 2,000 pounds and 500 of 500 pounds bombs to Israel. The most recent delivery also consists of 25 F-35 bombers. The estimated time for these weapons to arrive in Israel is three to four weeks, hence the decision to postpone the Rafah assault.

Commenting on President Biden’s imprudent policy, Senator Bernie Sanders said, “The plea to stop the bombing and on the other hand the continuous supply of bombs to Israel…Who is the Biden administration fooling?” It should be noted that Mr. Sanders himself is a Jew. But in their opinion, Israel is fast becoming a radical country. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SPIRI), a prominent think tank in Europe, has said in a report that 69 percent of the weapons used in Gaza are American and 30 percent German.

Gaza -WhatAfter ……??

The commencement of the plan to withdraw from Rafah has already been initiated while awaiting the arrival of arms. Recent reports have indicated that three Arab nations have agreed to dispatch their troops to distribute humanitarian aid to Gaza. Although the Minister of Strategic Affairs, Ron Drummer, did not disclose the specific countries involved, it was implied that Saudi Arabia and Qatar are not among them. Furthermore, there have been indications that troops from Egypt and the United Arab Emirates are making preparations to land in Gaza. Additionally, a third country, which is a friend of Israel but not a neighboring nation, has been suggested to be Bahrain, implying the potential presence of Bahraini troops in Gaza.

Mr. Drummer stated that the pier being constructed by the United States on the Gaza coast for ships carrying relief supplies will be overseen by the Arab army. Additionally, transportation and port experts from Arab countries will be arriving in Gaza. Local Gazans who are not affiliated with the military will be employed as aid workers to assist in the distribution of aid. The primary objective of involving Gazans in this operation is to gather intelligence on resistance groups and to sway public opinion against them. This strategy aims to facilitate the delivery of aid by creating opportunities for infiltration and coercion. Furthermore, the Arab Army will supervise the relocation of the residents of Rafah to a secure and comfortable location. When questioned about the specific safe location, Mr. Drummer deferred by stating that it is premature to provide details at this time. However, he did mention that a significant portion of Gaza is no longer suitable for habitation.

It is believed that the distribution of relief goods will lead to migration towards Sinai once the Arab soldiers and Gaza volunteers gain the trust of the people. Egypt’s General Fattah al-Sisi is optimistic that, similar to his success in suppressing the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, he will be able to control the Brotherhood-affiliated Gaza rebels Hamas. However, this confidence displayed by Al-SISI reflects his lack of understanding of the situation on the ground, coupled with arrogance. The Egyptian army has not engaged in any warfare since 1973. The Muslim Brotherhood is a peaceful and unarmed Da’wah or Preaching and political movement that was suppressed with force by Al-SISI. On the other hand, the Gaza resistance is not only armed but also possesses extensive experience in combating the Israeli army.

In this particular situation, it proves to be quite challenging for the Arab army that arrived in Gaza and the Israeli forces stationed there to completely defeat the oppressors. However, the brother’s hand will likely be stained with the blood of his own brother. This could potentially be the strategy and approach adopted by the Minister.

Amongst what illustrated above, Rafahis still in the crosshairs of the storm. Given the swift and consecutive advancements concerning the anticipated Israeli ground assault on Rafah, there has been a notable escalation in Israeli rhetoric and declarations across multiple media platforms, suggesting an impending aggression. Reliable sources have revealed that the military is fully prepared and awaiting government authorization.

Despite the discussions regarding the relocation of the displaced Palestinians to Rafah and their subsequent transfer to tent camps in the Khan Yunus area, along with the official Israeli declarations about the operation’s date and their communication with the United States, it is crucial not to trust these statements blindly. This skepticism arises from Israel’s history of engaging in deceptive operations and executing unexpected maneuvers during times of conflict. As Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant once stated, “war is characterized by deception, and it is through surprise that we consistently gain an advantage over our adversaries”.

On 24 April, Army Chief of Staff Herzi Halevy and Shin Bet head of Ronen Bar visited Cairo to meet with Major General Abbas Kamel, head of the Egyptian Intelligence Service, to discuss Egypt’s concerns about a potential influx of Palestinians into Sinai after a ground attack. The political and security cabinet is expected to convene on April 18. Israeli statements suggest that the ground operation in Rafah is imminent, despite estimates indicating that the evacuation of displaced individuals may take 4-5 weeks.

It is crucial for the residents of Gaza, during this critical phase of the conflict, to be unaware of the specific date of the ground offensive on Rafah. The hostility is widespread and brutal, showing no mercy, even if civilians are evacuated, fully aware of the potential dangers of the escalating ground conflict in Rafah. The top priority is to prevent this offensive, stop it, and eliminate all possible means that could facilitate its execution. The people of Gaza, already suffering from the horrors of war and aggression, cannot endure the consequences of another catastrophic conflict, which would have devastating effects in Gaza.

Whenever the possibility of a ground operation in Rafah is discussed, the focus invariably shifts to the United States, which orchestrated the plan’s structure, pace, and context, and bears full responsibility for the impending aggression. Urgent international intervention is necessary to prevent Washington and Tel Aviv from executing this aggressive policy, which will only lead to more destruction, violence, loss of life, and suffering for the Palestinian people.

Till these views were penned up, it is imperative to mention that, Axios quoted Israeli officials as saying that Israeli officials informed their counterparts from Egypt, today, Friday, that Israel is ready to give “one last chance” to reach an agreement with theMovement for Islamic Resistance (Hamas) to release hostages before proceeding with the invasion of Rafah.“Israel informed Egypt that it is serious about preparations to launch the operation in Rafah and that it will not allow Hamas to slow down,” one of the officials told Axios.

However, the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), on the other hand said in a statement that it is open to any ideas or proposals that take into account the just needs and rights of the Palestinian people. As for, Cairo News Channel, it quoted an unnamed senior security source as saying that contacts are continuing “with the Israeli side to reach a formula for a truce agreement in the Gaza Strip,” explaining that “contacts between Egypt and Israel are limited to the truce and with the participation of security delegations only.”

The Israeli Kan channel also revealed that Hamas “informed Egypt that it will not accept any proposal that does not include a ceasefire and an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza.”

The channel indicated that the Netanyahu government is continuing talks with Egypt to formulate a proposal acceptable to Hamas. While, the deputy head of Hamas in the Gaza Strip and a member of its political bureau, Khalil Al-Hayya, accused Israel of obstructing reaching a deal.

Hamas expressed its regret for not mentioning the White House statement signed by 18 countries, which called for the release of prisoners held by the resistance without emphasizing the necessity of a permanent ceasefire and the withdrawal of the occupation from the Gaza Strip.

Gaza -WhatAfter ……??

Mr. Khalil Al-Hayya confirmed that Hamas wants to reach a permanent ceasefire and a comprehensive withdrawal of the occupation forces from the Gaza Strip, and to go to a serious and real exchange deal through which all the movement’s living Israeli prisoners, in addition to the bodies of the dead, will be released in exchange for the release of what is agreed upon. Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli prisons.

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