The Israeli regime of Prime Minister Naftali Bennet continues to prevent aid money from reaching the besieged Gaza Strip, leaving the people unable to recover from the destruction caused earlier this year. With Gaza having fired the first rocket since May at Israel, it seems that another escalation is just a matter of time.
Israel has so far launched airstrikes against the Gaza Strip five times since the May conflict, which left roughly 270 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead. These strikes were clear violations of a ceasefire agreement reached on May 21, ending the 11 days of fighting earlier this year. None of Gaza’s major armed groups responded by launching rockets at Israel, following the Israeli airstrikes, which had targeted government buildings, military training sites, and agricultural lands in the besieged coastal enclave.
Israel has also been running incursions into the Gaza Strip allegedly with its D-9 militarized bulldozers and has opened fire on Palestinian farmers East of Khan Yunis (Southern Gaza). Incendiary balloons have been sent into Israel after it commits crimes against Palestinians in Jerusalem (specifically its settler extremist raids on the al-Aqsa mosque site), attempts to ethnically cleanse neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, and the shooting of Palestinians in the West Bank. These regular balloons with burning objects attached, sent by young men who are sometimes members of the armed groups, are sent off to float over the separation fence between Gaza and Israel with the aim of setting fires.
Israel’s Prime Minister has vowed to treat these balloons with the same force regularly used to deal with rockets – meaning missile attacks on Gaza. This move has not received the expected response from Gaza’s armed groups, which have remained calm without responding to the Israeli provocation. This has largely been done to control the pace of the long panned out battle with Israel. The tactics used in determining when the time is right to respond and take action from Gaza is a similar method used by Lebanese Hezbollah. The goal is to make your opponent fight your fight and to not be controlled by emotion.
There is however, only so much Gaza’s armed groups can tolerate before a retaliation comes, and Israel’s refusal of hundreds of millions in Qatari aid money from entering the Strip is becoming a huge burden on the Palestinian population. Even the prestigious middle class neighborhoods in the Gaza Strip, such as al-Wehda Street in Gaza City, are still left in ruins. These were once some of the brightest places in Gaza, now left decimated.
Then we have the tens of thousands who were displaced during the fighting in May, many of these families are still without sufficient housing and those living in abject poverty are on the rise. Israel even prevented chocolate from entering the Gaza Strip this week, because it was deemed a way of “funding terrorism”, an excuse that would be laughable if it wasn’t so sadistic.
With the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate chair Abbas Kamel visiting Israel this week, in order to negotiate a long-term truce, having not yet worked to affect change, it seems as if its just a matter of time before the situation again escalates.
On Monday the 16th, for the first time since the 21st of May, two rockets were fired into Israel, hitting open areas near Sderot and were confronted by Israel’s Iron Dome air-defence system. Israel, in a very surprising twist, did not respond to the rocket fire and has garnered some criticism for holding back. This could be for one of two reasons; either the Israeli government is planning a large-scale attack in response or it could be to do with the ongoing truce negotiations.
According to Israeli media reports, a breakthrough in Hamas-Israel ceasefire negotiations has come. There could soon be a long-term truce which would ensure the entry of aid to Gaza in return for Israeli prisoners being released. It is not likely that Hamas would simply hand over the soldiers it captured, or their bodies, for aid money which used to be common place. So if there is a truce deal close to being sealed, we can expect Hamas would have also negotiated a prisoner exchange.
Judging by the noise now being made by regional players about a regional war against Israel – such as Hezbollah, the PMU, and Ansarallah – it does seems as if an Israeli miscalculation at this time could have wider implications. If Israel is planning to go on the offensive against the Gaza Strip, it will probably seek to assassinate someone in the leadership of either Hamas or Islamic Jihad, but this will mean a crushing response from Gaza that they are well prepared for. Unlike last time, the pressure will not just be from Palestinians, and one wrong move may erupt into a conflict Israel will not be able to handle. More concerning, however, is the prospect of what this may drive Israel to do to the people of Gaza.
The lack of basic human decency demonstrated by the Israeli regime is truly sickening. Gaza has been declared as unlivable by experts at the United Nations, as of 2020. Israel, after targeting Gaza’s civilian infrastructure and massacring entire Palestinian families whilst they slept in their beds at night, now won’t even let in aid for those most effected to re-build their cities.