The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is preparing to resume the war in Gaza as the expanded truce between Tel Aviv and Hamas nears its end. However, the Palestinian population clings to the last hope and trusts that, if a permanent ceasefire is not reached, at least the flow of humanitarian aid can be maintained, without which the inhabitants of Gaza will be doomed to the sidelines. Let the Israeli bombs speak again.
The initial pause of four days has been extended for another two days, which conclude this Thursday, after the Palestinian militias of Hamas, after the intervention of mediators from Qatar and Egypt, offered to release more hostages in their possession to stop the machinery of Israeli war.
This extension of the truce is marked by Netanyahu’s nervousness, cornered between the demands of the most extremist groups in your governmentsupporters of resuming the fighting with more virulence, and international pressure, especially from Washingtonwhich calls on its Israeli allies to respect the civilian population in their offensive, something that does not quite fit into Tel Aviv’s military plans.
Since the beginning of the war, more than 14,800 Palestinians have died in Gaza, including 6,000 children. In Israel, 1,200 people died in the massacre committed by Hamas commandos, the spark that ignited the Israeli offensive.
The first day of the extension of the truce has been characterized by mutual accusations between Israel and Hamas of having violated the ceasefire
The first day of the truce extension has been characterized by mutual accusations between Israel and Hamas of having violated the ceasefire. But despite the tension, the exchange of hostages for prisoners has continued and has raised certain hopes that on Thursday there may be a new agreement that will delay the catastrophe.
Spy chiefs try to extend truce
For this, intermediaries from Qatar and Egypt negotiate officially, but the intelligence services also maneuver in the shadows. Thus, this Tuesday the director of the CIA met in Doha, William Burnsthe head of Mossad, David Barneaand the head of Egyptian Intelligence, Abbas Kamel.
Its objective, as reported by the EFE agency, was to “extend the truce to make it permanent, return to the negotiating table and reactivate the peace process, which has been frozen for several years.”
The UN: the truce, a flash in the middle of the war
The Secretary General of the UN, the Portuguese Antonio Guterreshas described this extension of the truce as “a flash of hope and humanity in the midst of the darkness of war.”
It is a march against time to try to free some more hostages of the almost two hundred that still remain in the hands of Hamas militiamen and this eventual agreement depends on stopping or resuming the systematic destruction of northern Gaza being carried out by the Israeli army and that the devastating campaign will extend to the south, where the displaced find themselves at a dead end.
The UN considers that the situation in the Strip is “catastrophic” and has demanded the opening of more border crossings that allow the entry of more humanitarian aid “in a fluid, predictable and continuous manner”, as the UN special coordinator for the peace process in the Middle East, Tor Wennesland.
Diaa Rashwanspokesperson for the Government of Egypt (from where the humanitarian aid convoys leave through the Rafah crossing with Gaza) estimates the medical aid at 2,812 tons and 11,427 tons of food aid that has been handed over to Gaza since the war began on October 7 and until Monday night, when the truce was extended.
In addition, they have been sent 1,048 tons of fuel, essential to start up electricity generators for hospitals and other basic infrastructure for the more than 2.2 million Palestinians besieged by the fighting. More than two-thirds of Gazans have had to leave their homes, most of them from the north already in the hands of the Israeli army.
Hamas wants to continue haggling; Israel, no
Hamas uses the hostage strategy in dribs and drabs. He now points out that he could hand over men also kidnapped in the attack on October 7. It’s about stealing time from the inevitable, the destruction of Gaza.
This possibility is also influenced by the international mediators from Qatar and Egypt, who are committed to prolonging the exchanges of hostages in the hands of Hamas for Palestinian prisoners, especially women and adolescents held in Israeli prisons without any charge against them.
But Israel sees it differently. The Israeli Defense Minister, Yoav Gallant, has said it clearly: the truce will be brief and only delays the war “in all its intensity” throughout the Gaza Strip for a few days. Gallant has predicted at least another two months of fighting, necessary, according to the Israeli army, to finish off Hamas.
“Now they have a few days ahead of them, but we will return to the fight and use the same potential and even more,” Gallant threatened.
Netanyahu: Gaza will not be what it was
This past weekend it was Netanyahu himself who fueled the warmongering fire. After the truce, the Israeli Prime Minister stated, “we will return with all our strength to achieve our objectives: eliminate Hamasensuring that Gaza does not return to what it was and, of course, the release of all our hostages.
But Israel does not have it all when it comes to deploying all the brutality with which it has acted in Gaza since it launched its offensive on October 7.
Israel does not have it all when it comes to being able to deploy all the brutality with which it has acted in Gaza until now
In the coming days, the visit to Israel of the US Secretary of State is expected, Anthony Blinken. The United States fully supports Israel in its war against the Palestinians of Hamas and has deployed several naval flotillas in the Middle East to dissuade Iran and the pro-Iranian group Hezbollah, which operates in Lebanon, from taking advantage of the current war situation to attack Israel.
However, at the same time that Washington flexes its war muscles to dissuade external enemies from getting involved on the ground in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the White House has many doubts about the direction that the new Israeli offensive could take.
US warns Israel about Palestinian population
Blinken “will emphasize (to Israeli authorities) the need to sustain the growing flow of humanitarian assistance to Gaza, ensure the release of all hostages and improve the protection of civilians in Gaza,” as indicated by the Secretary of State.
Faced with this American position, the words of the Israeli Defense Minister seem ominous: the offensive “will be greater” and “will take place throughout the entire Gaza Strip.” That is to say, the devastation that the Israelis have caused in the north of the Strip since October 7 could now be reflected in a full-scale invasion of southern Gaza where the inhabitants of this region gather together, plus the hundreds of thousands who have fled the northern areas.
The White House is concerned about this Israeli scorched earth strategy in Gaza, which could lead, once Hamas is defeated, to some type of Israeli annexation of that Palestinian territory under the excuse of maintaining its military control.
White House concerned about Israeli scorched earth strategy in Gaza
Beset by the growing movement in the United States against Israeli massacres in the Palestinian territory, President Joe Biden has insisted that Washingtonput by the “two states” formula to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and does not want to hear about a possible expansion of the state of Israel at the expense of the Palestinian. This position is not entirely popular in Tel Aviv, where ultranationalists in the Government prefer to leave all options open.
Israeli intransigence and its lack of clarity demand from its Western friends an unconditional closing of ranks and that they look the other way while their planes and tanks devastate Gaza, at whatever cost to put an end to Hamas and the civilians who fall in the war. The serious diplomatic conflict with Spain is an example of that Israeli closedness of “suck it up” and keep quiet.
The US asks Israel to change its strategy
But the United States is also tired of this radical Israeli position. According to information distributed by the Reuters agency this Tuesday and attributed to senior US officials, Washington has demanded that Tel Aviv, if it extends its war campaign towards southern Gaza, must avoid “further significant displacement of people”.
“We cannot have displacement on the scale that took place in the north replicated in the south. It would be more than disruptive, it would go beyond the capacity of any humanitarian support network. It cannot happen,” according to those White House sources. .
The officials stressed that the Israeli army must respect the basic infrastructure of southern Gaza. The Palestinian population no longer has anywhere to flee and, if on top of that it is deprived of all access to electricity, drinking water, hospitals or UN and Red Cross refugee centers, then two million people will be locked in a death trap.
This notice from Washington raises another issue. The Israeli campaign has not yet ended, but perhaps the time has come to know what kind of political settlement there will be for Gaza, something that Netanyahu and his acolytes refuse to explain.
Blinken’s visit to Israel points in this direction. It is necessary to know what the future of Gaza will be, apart from Hamas, yes, but putting on the table the need to recognize Palestine as a State.