It’s beginning to look like a rerun of the criminal aggression against Gaza four years ago that left more than 1,400 Palestinians dead, including hundreds of children. As part of its policy of ramping up tensions in the region at regular intervals, Israel has launched a series of deadly raids on the besieged Strip, which have killed more than a dozen people since last week and wounded at least 100. The most significant casualty was Ahmad Al Jabari, the operational commander of the military wing of Hamas, who was assassinated on Wednesday along with his son.
True to form, the US has strongly defended Israel’s military strikes even as Arab nations demanded the UN Security Council condemn the attacks on Gaza at an emergency meeting on Wednesday. How can Washington act in this manner and still pretend to be a neutral broker in the conflict? This blind support from the White House for the regime in Tel Aviv will only encourage it to act irresponsibly.
All this comes at a time when the region is already on fire. But there are some new realities Israel has to face up to: a different government is in power in Egypt, which has already recalled its ambassador in Tel Aviv.
For Israel to claim that its campaign against Hamas was in “retaliation” for rocket strikes is unoriginal. It began on November 8 following an unprovoked Israeli incursion into Gaza, which led to the killing of a Palestinian child. When Palestinian fighters retaliated with home-made rockets, Israel launched attacks that killed five more Palestinians, including two young boys playing football.
With an eye on the January elections in Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seems to be calculating that “acting tough” on Hamas may get him more votes. But he may end up realising that his government has bitten off more than it can chew.
The onus is now on the Arab world and the international community to urge Israel to immediately halt its brutal campaign against Gaza.