Israel-Gaza :No Peace In Sight
Despite powerful calls for negotiations
The Arab street is resounding with cheers for Hamas and the Palestinian resistance. Thousands of people have come out of their homes all across the Arab world in particular in solidarity for the Palestinians who after being sitting fodder for Israel’s security forces for decades, have hit back. The response, as expected, has been severe, with continuous bombardment of Gaza by Israel from the land, sea and air. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose policies have come under question in his own land, has declared war and warned to reduce Gaza to a pulp. He has asked the Palestinians to leave, but as many have since pointed out to global media networks, leaving is not an option as Gaza is an open-air prison with the Israeli controlling all exit and entry points.
However, while the response is as devastating as expected the Palestinian resistance has struck a chord. It has been able to prove its ability to penetrate the Israeli borders; to hit back with chilling precision; and as strategic experts in the region have noted, has coordinated the military action with media publicity. The occasional rockets fired by misguided elements who did little more than provoke Israeli wrath on hapless Palestinian citizens seems to have been replaced with coordinated action, training, and of course the usual courage associated with these beleaguered people. Death and violence is always regrettable and cannot be condoned, and nor is it being condoned even by the Palestinians, but the strike back is being seen as a message warning that the ‘eye for an eye and more’ policy of Israel is fraught with dangers that can extract a sad price as well.
The well read Israeli newspaper Haaretz has carried an article pointing out that the Hamas victory underlines Israeli defeat. Israeli intelligence and military focus has for long been on the Palestinians, and Gaza in particular, where even a fly suspected to be rebellious is swatted with chilling precision. The barriers have seemed impregnable, but the apparent ease with which a group of trained Palestinian fighters armed have moved through Israeli lines has created shock — not just outside but more within Israel where the peace lobby advocating co-existence has been reinforced to some extent. Although their voices are subdued there are many in Israel advocating peace, and opposed to the constant provocation and attack on Palestinians that Tel Aviv has been pursuing for decades. Al Aqsa mosque and the events around it are a case in point.
Even though Netanyahu is caught up with revenge, and has the full support of the West in particular, the global ramifications of the current ‘war’ might have a tremendous impact on shaping future alignments and consequences. Just two weeks ago Netanyahu had spoken at the United Nations General Assembly of a big diplomatic deal with Saudi Arabia in the offing but now this too seems to have gone up in smoke. Saudi Arabia, while asking both sides to bring down the offensive, has put its weight behind the Palestinians. As has Iran, Signs of rapprochement between the two bitter rivals in West Asia have further strengthened, with the two regional countries coming together in their support for the Palestinians. Earlier the support came from Iran and Syria and Iraq, with all becoming direct targets for the pro-Israel American administration. Now US friend and ally, Saudi Arabia seems to have joined the anti-Israel bandwagon, along with Qatar.
Russia has called on both Israel and the Palestinians to end the violence, exercise restraint and start a “negotiated process aimed at establishing a comprehensive, lasting and long awaited peace.” Significantly Moscow reiterated its long standing position “for the creation of an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, living in peace and security with Israel.” Significant as over the decades Israel has moved polity far away from this basic solution.
China has also expressed deep concern and has called on “all parties concerned to remain calm and exercise restraint, cease fire immediately, protect civilians and prevent further deterioration of the situation.” China has taken a strong position in support of the Palestinians in the UN Security Council, and earlier this year moved a resolution to condemn Israel attacks on Gaza at that time. The US blocked this.
China and Russia are both important as they have established good relations with the countries in West Asia. Saudi Arabia has moved far closer to Beijing in the recent past, denting its US alliance to some extent.
Analysts appearing on global media outlets from different parts of West Asia as well as the US seem to be fairly agreed that the Palestinian resistance is trying to send out a direct message to open talks, to negotiate a settlement and to allow all to live in peace and freedom. No more, is the message that needs to be read properly, particularly as resistance was spawned directly under Israel's intelligence and military machinery. How could this have happened, is being tempered by rational voices even within Israel suggesting that the only plug against such incidents in the future is peaceful co-existence. Unfortunately the Israeli government holds a complete opposite view.