The drama of talks for truce in Gaza is being enacted once more – this time in Cairo. But truce in Gaza remains a chimera because neither the United States-led West nor the present government of Israel ‘actually’ wants it.

Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu has said many times over that there will be no truce in Gaza without the return of hostages. He is reiterating this again concurrent to the truce talks in Cairo.

Notably, the demand is about release of hostages, not “hostage exchange” despite thousands of Palestinians in Israeli prisons. The present number is not known but in April 2022, reportedly there were 4,450 Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli prisons.

This includes 160 children, 32 women and over 1,000 administrative detainees indefinitely incarcerated without charge. The number may have now gone up to around 6,000-7,000.

Aid to the besieged in Gaza is mired with disinformation and deceit. Aid convoys are being attacked by Israeli forces, the hungry coming to collect the food-aid fired upon and killed, and crossings for humanitarian aid blocked at will. Killing of aid workers is deliberate to ensure aid for the besieged is stopped altogether. According to the United Nations 196 aid workers have already been killed.

The UN anyway is getting as emasculated as its predecessor – the League of Nations. The little hue and cry over the recent killings of aid workers is only because it included foreigners – British and Australian aid workers.

Earlier, Israel had justified killing of aid workers by saying they were Hamas supporters but this time can’t say so because foreign aid workers have been killed.

Israel has said ‘sorry’ for killing aid workers and reportedly sacked two officers. The US has said that killings of aid workers is “unacceptable” and the POTUS Joe Biden has shed some crocodile tears - end of story.

The end result is that aid agencies are withdrawing from providing the humanitarian relief which is desperately required. Meanwhile, thousands of people in several Arab countries and in Muslim countries like Pakistan continue to show solidarity with Palestinians and protesting against Israel for the genocide in Gaza.

Anti-Netanyahu protesters taking out rallies in Tel Aviv have been attacked by security forces. There are calls for Netanyahu to step down.

However, replacing Netanyahu would lead to reopening of corruption charges against him, which were already being investigated before he became Israel’s Prime Minister once again. Interestingly, the erstwhile Netanyahu governments had been financing Hamas – same way the US was funding, arming and training the Islamic State.

The latest is that Israel has withdrawn some forces from Khan Younis in southern Gaza, encirclement of Gaza continues and NrteaNetanyahunyahu has said Israel is one step away from victory. At the same time, Netanyahu has indicated that his intent to invade and attack Rafah remains intact.

The only question is if this will be delayed or executed immediately after the truce talks in Cairo, which may be inconclusive like similar earlier attempts although there is speculation about some sort of temporary truce – to be broken shortly thereafter?

Around 1.3 million Palestinians out of the 1.7 million displaced are in Rafah. An Israeli attack on Rafah will be phase two of the genocide, perhaps much larger and gory than what has happened till now.

More than three dozen congressional Democrats, including Nancy Pelosi, have urged Joe Biden to halt weapon transfers to Israel that Biden had recently approved; citing Israel killing aid workers and starving Palestinian children dead and dying of starvation because of Israeli blockade.

The letter signed by the senators also states: “In light of the recent strike against aid workers and the ever-worsening humanitarian crisis, we believe it is unjustifiable to approve these weapons transfers. It also calls on the US to withhold future arms transfers pending a US investigation into the airstrike on the World Central Kitchen WCK) humanitarian workers or if Israel; if Israel fails to sufficiently mitigate harm to innocent civilians in Gaza.

Concurrently, Democrat Senator Chris Coons has said that weapons transfer to Israel should not be delayed or halted because of the possibility of Iran attacking Israel in retaliation to the Israeli strike on the Iranian Embassy in Syria.

It would be no surprise if the Israeli strike on the Iranian Embassy in Damascus was on advice of the US-CIA in order to widen the conflict in the Middle East, draw Iran into the war, and negate calls for the US to stop supply of weapons and armament to Israel.

Israel’s Haaretz newspaper noted: “We must admit defeat. It shouldn’t be said, but there is no choice, we have completely failed. The objectives of the war will not be achieved, prisoners will not return under military pressure, security will not return, and international hostility and isolation will not disappear. We failed and that’s reality”.

Another big charade being played by the US is that Netanyahu is not listening to the Joe Biden Administration. Israel was designated as a major non-NATO ally way back in 1987 by the then US President Ronald Reagan and has since then cooperated with the US-led NATO in multiple domains.

Operations by Israeli forces would have full US support notwithstanding the selective disinformation by the US and the West to the contrary. Same goes for the speculation that support for Israel by its allies is dwindling, which is based on odd statements. Call this the “clash of civilizations”, the US policy of warmongering for financial and strategic gains, or whatever. This is a harsh reality which is unlikely to change.

Lt General Prakash Katoch is an Indian Army veteran. Views expressed here are the writer’s own.

Cover Photograph: Survivors in Gaza observe Eid in destroyed mosques and homes. Photograph by AFP/ Getty Images.