By Elijah J. Magnier:
In the ever-turbulent Middle East, the winds of war are once again blowing with increasing intensity. Israel, backed by its staunch allies, is on the verge of a major military invasion of Gaza. The unequivocal support of the United States, France, Britain and Germany has emboldened Israel’s stance, as evidenced by Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s recent diplomatic engagements in the region.
However, as previously reported, the expected Israeli offensive has met with unexpected resistance, not from traditional adversaries, but from Arab nations. Historically intertwined with the Palestinian cause, these nations have voiced their strong opposition to any move that would result in the displacement of Gaza’s 2.3 million inhabitants. Their message to the US is clear: honour the commitments made in the Oslo Accords and respect the vision of two sovereign states living side by side in peace.
This Arab opposition to Israel’s plans is significant. It underlines a wider regional sentiment that the plight of the Palestinians can no longer be ignored. The collective memory of past expulsions, wars and upheavals remains fresh, and there is a palpable reluctance to witness another chapter of Palestinian suffering.
Yet the situation remains fluid and fraught with uncertainty. Israel’s military preparations continue unabated, with only the readiness of its reserve forces seemingly delaying the invasion. The seriousness of the impending conflict is further underlined by the advisories issued by several Arab and foreign embassies urging their citizens to leave Lebanon, Israel’s most feared northern front. The suspension of flights to the country by several airlines further underlines the perceived risks of a wider regional escalation and that the outcome remains uncertain.
US reaffirms commitment to Israel amid escalating tensions
In a significant move that underscores the depth of the US-Israel strategic partnership, General Michael Erik Kurilla, Commander of the US Central Command (CENTCOM), which recently added Israel to its area of responsibility, made a pivotal visit to Israel. The visit, which coincided with that of Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, culminated in an intensive seven-hour meeting with senior Israeli political and military officials.
Discussions focused on assessing Israel’s military needs, particularly in light of the escalating situation in Gaza and potential threats from the northern front, primarily from Hezbollah. The US, keen to ensure Israel’s security and stability in the region, discussed the nature and extent of the assistance it could provide to support Israel’s ground operations.
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