Israel’s Challenging Military Operation and its Pursuit of a Buffer Zone in Gaza’s North

Written by – Elijah J. Magnier:

While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s military strategy for Gaza, specifically targeting the northern areas to create a buffer zone appears more defined, its implementation faces significant hurdles. This strategy, aimed at totally neutralising and defeating Hamas and gaining territorial control, has met with considerable resistance and logistical challenges. Despite deploying a formidable force of thousands of infantry backed by more than 380 tanks and armed vehicles, artillery, naval warships and air support, the Israeli military has failed to achieve its primary objectives. The same seize of Israeli forces injected in Gaza (78 square km) for the last weeks is equivalent to the same Israeli forces deployed in the six-day war in 1967 to occupy the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula (60,000 square km), the Syrian Golan Heights (1,800 square km), the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem (5,800 square km). The Israeli forces had around 264,000 soldiers while today over 390,000 are engaged in the current war, including on the Lebanese northern front.

The Israeli army’s inability to report any Hamas surrenders and raising the white flag, coupled with its failure to stop the rockets attacks on the settlements and the Israeli cities underlines the difficulties the Israeli occupation forces are confronted with. The military action, characterised by violation of international laws and widespread destruction, including attacks on hospitals, demolition of infrastructure and the tragic loss of over 11,000 civilians, mostly women and children, has not resulted in the intended territorial gains in the smaller northern regions of the Strip.

This situation suggests that while Israel’s military might is disproportionate to the size of the resistance it faces, it does not automatically translate into successful occupation or control of the targeted areas. The ongoing conflict and resistance in Gaza suggest that Israel may need to reassess its objectives and strategies in order to register more achievable goals. This reassessment is necessary in light of the current realities on the ground and the international community’s response to the humanitarian and political consequences of this conflict.

The White House position on the situation in Gaza, as articulated by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, represents a clear policy: there will be no immediate exodus from Gaza, either now or after the conflict. This statement asserts that there will be no siege of Gaza by land or sea, no occupation of Gaza, and that the current status quo under Hamas control will not remain unchanged. Blinken stresses the need for a unified administration in both the West Bank and Gaza.

In sharp contrast to this official position, however, is the reality on the ground, which seems to differ significantly from the American diplomatic narrative. The US announced the establishment of a humanitarian corridor, a measure implemented by Israel days before the US announcement, ostensibly to facilitate the evacuation of residents from northern Gaza. However, this action is perceived by many as a forced displacement of the population, a move that resonates with accusations of ethnic cleansing under international law. 

This contention arises because the Israeli military, while conducting operations in the region and citing security concerns, is not legally permitted to order the evacuation of residents from the northern area to the unsafe, bombed and deprived from water, electricity and supply in the south of Gaza. Moreover, this order becomes even more controversial when these northern residents are ordered to seek refuge in southern areas that are simultaneously under bombardment.

Such a scenario paints a complex and contradictory picture, where what seems to be diplomatic assurances and the reality on the ground appear to be in stark contrast. This discrepancy raises significant questions about the real intentions and outcomes of policies and actions being taken in the region.

The current situation in Gaza in the context of Israel’s actions poses a significant humanitarian and legal challenge. Reports indicate that Israel continues to restrict essential supplies such as water, electricity, fuel and medicine throughout the Gaza Strip. These actions are being scrutinised as potential violations of international humanitarian law and constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity. The seriousness of these allegations lies in the direct targeting of civilians, the deprivation of basic necessities, the use of disproportionate violence and the overall impact on the quality of life of the civilian population.

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