The temporary cease-fire in Gaza was scheduled to expire Tuesday, but the parties agreed to extend it for two days. Still, witnessing the joy of Palestinians being rescued from Israeli prisons, rather than the killing of Palestinian women and children, offered some relief to people around the world. It is important, however, for the international community to keep objecting to Israel’s massacres. The prisoner exchange revealed that Israel was violating the human rights of Palestinians even before the Oct. 7 attack. Hence the need to keep talking about the two-state solution and mounting pressure on Israel to facilitate a permanent cease-fire is necessary. Specifically, the backlash from the West, including Spain and Belgium, needs to continue without interruption.
Yet, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, determined to keep attacking Gaza, reiterated his goals: to eliminate Hamas, to bring back all the hostages and to ensure that Gaza does not pose a threat to Israel ever again. In other words, Israel will resume its heavy bombardment of civilians, hospitals, schools and camps along with its ground operations. Indeed, the country’s defense minister, Yoav Gallant, announced that their military operations would continue for at least two months after the temporary cease-fire. Israel also decided to fund illegal settlements – a sign that Tel Aviv remains determined to double down on the occupation.
Netanyahu – who, experts say, will lose his seat as soon as the war ends – will try to keep the massacres going just to stay in power. Honestly, there is a good chance that he himself does not know where the operation will stop. It seems unlikely for the Israeli prime minister to portray the occupation of Gaza’s northern section as a triumph to Israelis and the world.
To make matters worse, Netanyahu’s government does not have a plan for Gaza in the operation’s immediate aftermath either. What will happen to Gaza even if Israel were to defeat Hamas in a military sense? The Israeli government’s plan to put in place a security and control system indefinitely after eliminating Hamas is highly problematic and ultimately unsustainable. Moreover, it seems nearly impossible for Israel to destroy Hamas. In the wake of such atrocious massacres, it would be unthinkable for a new Hamas not to emerge in Palestine.
The Palestinian Authority cannot govern Gaza – let alone remain comfortably in charge of the West Bank. At the same time, Egypt and the Gulf states would be dragged into a quagmire if they were to take over Gaza. Finally, driving 2.3 million Palestinians out of their ancestral homeland would be a Pyrrhic victory for Israel, judging by the international community’s reaction to date. In that case, Israel would be associated with genocide, ethnic cleansing and war crimes not only in the Muslim world but also across the globe. Not even the United States and other Western countries, which continue to support Israel, would be able to defend that choice.
Obviously, Palestine deserves the establishment of a Palestinian state (in line with United Nations resolutions) according to the 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital. Israel, which drifted to the far right, may not be ready, but the international community needs to embrace the long-term agenda for Palestine.
In this article
- 24 November 2023 | Gaza Ceasefire
- 24 November 2023 | Israeli-Palestinian Prisoner Exchange
- 7 October 2023 Israel's Attack on Gaza with Disproportionate Force
- Benjamin Netanyahu
- Cease-fire | Ceasefire
- Israel-Palestine Conflict
- Israeli Prime Minister
- Israeli War Crimes
- Israeli–Palestinian Conflict
- Middle East
- The Palestine File
- War Crime
- Yoav Gallant