Written by – Elijah J. Magnier:
US President Joe Biden recently visited Israel in a move that has sent ripples through the international community. While on the surface, this may appear to be a routine diplomatic engagement with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the underlying implications are far more profound.
The backdrop to this visit is the escalating tensions in Gaza, punctuated by the heartbreaking bombing of Al-Ahly-Arabi Hospital, colloquially known as the Baptist Hospital. This tragic event resulted in the loss of hundreds of Palestinian lives and cast a pall over the region. But Biden’s trip wasn’t just a condolence call or a simple show of solidarity after this tragedy.
Instead, his presence in Israel symbolises the US’s unwavering support for its longstanding ally, even as war drums beat louder. As Israel ramps up its military preparations, there are clear signs of an imminent invasion of Gaza. In this context, Biden’s visit can be seen as an endorsement of Israel’s impending military action, signalling a shared strategic vision between Washington and Tel Aviv.
But the implications of Biden’s visit go beyond Israel’s borders. His trip also draws attention to the broader regional dynamics at play. American military assets, particularly naval forces, have been sighted off the coast of Lebanon and near Cyprus. These deployments suggest that the US is preparing to support Israel in a potential conflict in Gaza and for possible repercussions on Israel’s northern front. This northern region has been a hotspot of activity, with the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah exchanging daily bombardments and rocket fire with the Israeli Galilee Division. While these skirmishes have been deadly, both parties have shown restraint and avoided civilian casualties. However, with Biden’s visit and subsequent military posturing, the situation seems precariously balanced, and the region could be on the brink of a broader conflict.
Israel seeks external support, particularly from great powers such as the United States, to meet its challenges. This reliance on external support indicates Israel’s diminished self-reliance in the face of the military challenges posed by Hezbollah.
Several proposals have been put forward to help Israel find a peaceful solution to the ongoing conflict rather than resorting to a full-scale invasion of Gaza. One such American proposal involves the disarmament of militant groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad, with the Palestinian Authority taking control of Gaza. This would be accompanied by deploying international peacekeeping forces within Gaza’s borders, similar to those in southern Lebanon and the occupied Syrian Golan, to ensure compliance with peace agreements and prevent future hostilities.
A possible prisoner exchange is also being discussed. This would involve the release of Israeli military prisoners and abducting civilians held by Palestinian factions in exchange for releasing a significant number of Palestinians currently held in Israeli prisons.
The proposal for a peaceful solution, which includes the disarmament of militant groups and the deployment of peacekeepers in Gaza, is seen by many as a potential path to de-escalation. However, several significant challenges and concerns make its implementation unrealistic and inapplicable:
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