By Elijah J. Magnier:
The relentless Israeli bombardment of Gaza City continues unabated, attracting the world’s attention, especially Western nations that have historically supported Israel. This support continues despite human rights abuses against Muslim and Christian Palestinians and perceived violations of UN resolutions and international law. Indeed, Israel’s actions go beyond warfare and suggest motives of ethnic cleansing and collective punishment against the civilian population of Gaza. Israel’s assertiveness in its operations stems from its confidence in the unwavering support of the West, particularly the US. This support allows Israel to target civilian infrastructure, including places of worship, schools, hospitals and commercial centres, without international repercussions. While a ground invasion of the besieged city was initially delayed due to ‘weather conditions’, subsequent reports indicated that the US was urging Israel to hold off, possibly to refine strategies to ‘defeat Hamas’, as some officials have stated. The question is whether the combined efforts of the Israeli-American alliance can genuinely achieve their common goals in the region.
The attitude of the West, and the US-EU in particular, has been and continues to be a significant factor in the ongoing conflict. Historically, the US has provided Israel with military aid, diplomatic cover and political support. This alliance is rooted in shared strategic interests, historical ties and mutual geopolitical objectives. However, this unwavering support has often been criticised by international observers who believe it encourages Israel to act without fear of global repercussions, particularly in the indiscriminate bombardment of Gaza over the past 15 years. The Israeli killing of the Palestinians in the West Bank is far from being underestimated.
Indeed, the current conflict has exacerbated the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. With infrastructure targets such as hospitals, schools and utilities being hit, the civilian population faces a collective massacre and dire humanitarian conditions. International agencies have sounded the alarm about the potential for a large-scale humanitarian disaster if the conflict continues, as Israel has set a challenging goal for its military operation.
The stated aim of Israeli officials to ‘defeat Hamas’ and ‘eliminate all Palestinians’ is complex. Many Palestinians see Hamas as a resistance movement against Israeli occupation. The challenge for the Israeli-American alliance is how to neutralise the threat posed by Hamas without further alienating Palestinian civilians or the wider Arab world, which is rebelling against the West’s double standards and unqualified support for Israel. But the challenges to achieving this goal are considerable:
1. The civilian population: Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas in the world, with 2.3 million people living in less than 360 square kilometres. Any military operation risks high civilian casualties, leading to international condemnation and possible legal repercussions.
2. Geopolitical implications: A full-scale operation in Gaza could have broader regional implications, potentially drawing in other actors and escalating the conflict. Resistance groups in Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen are already involved.
3. Re-occupation concerns: If Hamas is removed from power, there’s the question of who would govern Gaza. A power vacuum could lead to further instability or the rise of more radical groups determined to resist the occupier.
4. Public opinion: Public opinion plays a vital role in Israel and the US. Prolonged military operations with high civilian casualties can lead to domestic and international backlash. The far-right government of Benyamin Netanyahu is already facing severe domestic and international criticism.
Will the US continue its unlimited support for Israel regardless of the crimes committed by the Israeli army?
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