US President Joe Biden, who has offered ‘unwavering support’ to Israel in its present crisis, has also advised that country to have ‘clarity’ on its goals and how to achieve them. This is obviously a signal that the present path chosen by Israel seems to lack these two qualities. On its part, Israel has unequivocally declared its intention to destroy Hamas even if it results in the kind of destruction being witnessed in Gaza these days. The continued deaths of civilians, particularly children, is causing serious concern in other parts of the world, with Bolivia even breaking off diplomatic relations with Israel in response.
Whatever the result of the present conflict, the long-term damage to Israel will be enormous. Apart from the collapse of its decades long effort to normalise relations with countries in its region, its actions have alienated large sections of people around the world, leading to a sharp rise in anti-Semitism. The aggressive stance adopted by ‘pro-Palestine’ groups has also generated a strong Islamophobic response in western countries. This will leave a deep impact on the psyche of these people.
All those asking for a halt to the IDF’s campaign in Gaza have little to offer as an alternative. The Hamas, despite losing a large number of its cadre and leaders, has refused to negotiate with any sincerity on ending the conflict. This is because it believes it will have the upper hand when the ‘direct’ confrontation takes place in the streets of Gaza. On its part, Israel intends to put the issue beyond any doubt by flattening all Hamas infrastructure, including the tunnel network that serves as refuge for the adversary. This is the goal Biden is asking about.
Israel is a small nation surrounded on all sides by hostile neighbours. Its reputation as an impenetrable bastion has been shattered. It cannot allow anything like the Hamas attack to remain unpunished as that would encourage future such actions. It has to send a message to others such as Hezbollah, Iran, etc., that nothing can halt retribution once unleashed. In the present, it has no other choice. It is a question of survival, as it has no second line of defence. The unwillingness of the Palestinians’ neighbours to provide shelter in their hour of need places the innocents in the line of fire. Its not just Israel alone that’s responsible for the ongoing ‘genocide’. That is the unpalatable truth everybody will have to live with in the coming years.