In a barbaric show of force, Israel escalated its airstrikes in retaliation for the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation by Hamas in an attempt to regain its shattered deterrence by destroying homes, killing children, elders, and women, and intensifying the blockade and genocidal actions.
As declared by the leaders of Hamas and al-Qassam Brigades, Al-Aqsa Flood operation aimed to put an end to the provocations of the herds of settlers who control the Israeli government. It intends to deter them from storming and desecrating al-Aqsa Mosque. Al-Qassam Brigades succeeded in exposing the fragility of Israel’s deterrence and the security upon which Netanyahu relied during the election campaign and pledged to achieve.
The failure of the religious Zionist rightwing is indisputably affecting their political agendas which has generated panic among the population and hinders peace. This failure will prevent Israel from gaining independence from the US and its policies, which the religious Zionist rightwing has violated and rebelled against.
Hence, Hamas’s objective was to curb Israel and send a message to the Israeli society that the Palestinian issue could not be overlooked despite the rush of Arab countries towards normalisation.
Consequently, the deadlock in the political process aimed to be broken. This was made clear by the renowned Haaretz Israeli journalist Gideon Levy on 8 October. He accentuated the need to address the root of the conflict, namely the Palestinian issue.
It is worth noting that despite the exceptional US support for the Israel in this confrontation due to strategic considerations regarding its security, the US has a different approach in the political aspect concerning the Israeli government, its components, agendas, and behaviour.
According to a report in Haaretz titled “The Mayor of Ramallah Won’t Approve,” the “Palestinian component” , the normalisation agreement between Israel”and Saudi Arabia has caused tension in recent days between the government of Benjamin Netanyahu and the Joe Biden administration due to Israel’s insistence on reducing what can be granted to the Palestinians as part of the normalization agreement.
The report stated that senior “Israeli” officials in talks with White House representatives downplayed the importance of President Mahmoud Abbas, describing him as the mayor of Ramallah. However, the Americans insist that without significant steps in favour of the Palestinian Authority, reaching an agreement and passing it in the US Senate would be difficult. Offering something to the Palestinians is necessary to save Saudi Arabia’s face, as described by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Following the ongoing dispute between Netanyahu and the Biden administration, Netanyahu saw the operation that Hamas had determined to execute as an opportunity to shuffle the cards, shift his domestic crisis to an external danger, and manoeuvre to gain time and secure normalisation with Saudi without making any concessions in return. However, Netanyahu, the military, and the intelligence agencies, whose slackness regarding the operation was corroborated by a host of indications, were surprised by the magnitude, results, and implications of the operation.
It can be said that Netanyahu lost his bet from day one, and his government is now in the eye of the storm. However, he is making every effort to rescue his position with an emergency government that shares the responsibility for the war among all political forces, as well as the security and military institutions. This is because the situation requires embarking on a dangerous adventure that necessitates a large-scale military operation, incurring a high cost and longer-than-usual time. The damage to the entity’s prestige, security, deterrence power, and its strategic value derived from its functional role and external support, along with the involvement of regional leaders and regimes, represents an existential challenge to the entire entity, not just a political challenge to its future. Therefore, the external, domestic, and personal factors have left him no choice but to move forward, attempting to plug the gap that storms have been relentlessly battering from all sides.
It is no secret that the Jordanian regime’s satisfaction and the standpoint of the Palestinian Authority reveals their fears regarding the rightwing religious direction that is guiding Israeli policies, which entail risks that are challenging to manage. Abbas did not condemn this operation, even though he is a staunch opponent of the resistance and the military option. In fact, he indicated his approval by saying that the Palestinian people have the right to defend themselves. His previous positions on previous battles and his cooperation with Israel’s actions against the people of Gaza were marked by security coordination and his recorded instructions to kill those who fired at “Israel”. This was during a time when the “Israeli” government was engaged in deceptive negotiations.
But now that the religious extremist rightwing are dominating Israeli society and the Israeli government, and that now that they have erased the Palestinian issue form the equation designed to settle it under the theme of the deceptive American two-state solution, Abbas has tactically changed his position without relinquishing the process of settling the issue according to the devised formula.
Hence, what America is now seeking in the midst of this operation is taming and downsizing the resistance, and also harnessing the operation to rein in or topple the Israeli government which is dominated by the religious Zionist rightwing, and whose political standpoint that contradicts the American approach was expressed by Netanyahu in his speech before the United Nations General Assembly in New York, saying, “Peace with the Palestinians can be achieved as a result of peace with Saudi Arabia, which is now close.” He presented a map of the “new Middle East,” in which the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights were part of the “State of Israel,” with no presence of any Palestinian state or entity.
This is why we also notice that the Egyptian position does not align with its usual support for Israeli action against the people of Gaza and its full support for the occupying entity. Al-Sisi hypocritically declared his “support for the Palestinian cause,” implying his alignment with the American perspective on “the issue” and his support for the American stance regarding the Israeli government’s extremism.
Hence, he revealed that he had informed Netanyahu of the Hamas operation three days before it happened to embarrass Netanyahu and his government, holding them responsible before Israeli society and undermining the foundations of the rightwing electoral bloc in favour of their rivals. Al-Sisi’s pretence of sympathy for the people of Gaza is undoubtedly part of his electoral strategy.
On the other hand, Hezbollah and the Islamic Jihad’s skirmishing with the Israeli army on the northern borders of Lebanon and Syria aims to weaken the Israeli military and exert pressure on Israeli society. This reflects Hezbollah’s understanding of the political equation, one in which the US keeps silent over targeting the Netanyahu government but does not allow undermining the Israeli entity itself.
Consequently, the US dispatched the aircraft carrier “Gerald Ford” to the eastern Mediterranean to stabilise the situation and prevent it from spiralling out of control or going beyond containment. This comes in the context of political manoeuvring and regional jostling for influence and functional roles in the area.
Hence, Operation al-Aqsa Flood sends an exceptionally powerful message to Israel that this is the alternative to the political path that has been abandoned by the far-right Zionist religious faction. It signals that the grand Israeli idea has no place amidst current international approaches and regional dynamics, including Iran’s scarecrow and Turkish interests.
This does not imply that there are anticipated international political solutions in favour of the Palestinian cause and its people. What is expected is the harnessing of the achievements of the Palestinian groups to open up the prospects that were blocked against the political path. The political implications of the operation may result in providing more fuel for the Abraham Accords caravan according to Biden’s vision, without achieving anything meaningful for the Palestinian people, except for improving the conditions of the occupation and the livelihoods of Palestinians.
At most, this might involve granting Palestinians municipal administration and preventing the expansion of settlements deep into the West Bank, as well as freezing the recent Israeli government decisions related to their expansion.
Israel has defined two goals for its war on the people in Gaza, namely freeing the hostages and to delivering a devastating blow to Hamas, thereby generating a new reality in Gaza. The Netanyahu government has formed a war council and an emergency government involving different factions and rivals. This has no purpose other than unleashing revenge and committing massacres that Gaza and its people have not witnessed before. They have manipulated global public opinion to sympathise with them and turn a blind eye to their atrocities through deceptive propaganda. They have also prepared their domestic front to accept the price that the war will bring. The Israeli Defence Minister, Yoav Galant, told his soldiers on the borders of Gaza, “I have removed every restriction — we will eliminate anyone who fights us, and use every measure at our disposal,” and an Israeli security official told Channel 13, “Gaza will ultimately turn into a city of tents… There won’t be any buildings.”
Copyright LCIR 2023