The shaky truce between Israel and Hamas not expected to last much is now at an end and Gaza is dragged into chaos. As in previous ones, this conflict has its reasons and consequences, however the most tangible outcome of this crisis would be Hamas’ increased influence on the region.
As this article is being written, the death toll has reached to 310 and number of injured are estimated about 1500. This is the biggest loss recorded in a day since the 1967 Arab – Israeli war. No government or military could condone such picture. Due to Israeli air strikes, Gaza is in ruins and any peace prospect is shelved whether with Syria or Hamas. There has never been much hope over these peace talks anyway as Israel has not been willing to ease the blockade on Gaza Strip, stop building new settlements in Jerusalem and withdraw from Golan Heights –a disputed region between Israel and Syria since 1967-.
But "Why Israel did perpetrate such an overwhelming attack and why now" are another issue. There are few reasons. First of all, since the scandalous step down of president Ehud Olmert, the government is under accusations of being unable to cope with Hamas namely failing to maintain security particularly in southern regions of the country. The opposition has exploited security concerns of people for domestic politics. Hence the ruling Kadima party is forced to show how hawkish it could be.
Secondly, Israel wants Barack Obama to understand what can and can not be done in the Middle-East. Obama has been giving signals to Iran, whose president mentions the total annihilation of Israel for some time, that his administration could engage in negotiations with the Islamic Republic without any preconditions which Israel quite resented. Instead of waiting for the new President, Israel has launched this operation to prove that it could run things on its own.
The disappointment in the Lebanese war last year is another reason. Myriad of operations whether air or land have been staged but no results were achieved by Israeli army during the conflict with Hezboullah. In fact, it has lost significant face among not only international community but also its own people. On the contrary of Israel’s anticipations, Nasrallah, the leader of Hezboullah, gained reputation. This has also shadowed the image of Israel’s “invincible” army.
Last but not least, Hamas’ volatile stance on peace talks triggered Israeli military action. It did not even limit -let alone stop- the missiles fired towards southern Israel, stirring up Israel public opinion and paved the way for an intervention to Gaza. Furthermore, close ties between Hamas and Iran still bothers Israel's decision-makers. Hamas may be easy to be dealt with however Iran with a nuclear missile would not be so easy to be bottled up.
The reasons may require some time to think about, but what is clear is that Israel's military intervention is a disproportionate use of force. Although, an Israeli ambassador claims that “numbers do not prove anything and infact playing with numbers is dishonorable”, numbers are too dramatic to be ignored. In 7 years time fatal attacks from Gazan soil to Israel is 20 at most, whereas Israel killed 310 people in a day. This merely points out the misuse of the concept "self-defence". And the most concrete outcome of this disproportion would be more violence. People who lost their loved ones are, unfortunately, suitable candidates for new global jihadists, starting the same vicious circle once again. This is good news for Al-Qaeda.
Israel seems to repeate its mistakes not only in politics but also in military. A land operation on Gaza will have more severe consequences, since Hamas’ main strategy is a guerrilla warfare. Israel should avoid that if it would not like a new Nasrallah in the Middle East. Even if Israel does not lose the conflict, it would probably face more pressure from the international community. Israeli politicians should consider how long this pressure can be endured in a globalised world since there would be a point that Israeli public could feel a total isolation.
Whatever the international politics or this blog suggests, it is evident that Gaza faced a humanitarian crisis. It has already been for some time as the Israeli blockade downsized basic food and medical supplies. And sidelining any peace offer that has the chance to stabilize the region, alas, did not do any good.
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