After three days of bombing the Gaza Strip and rocketing back from there into Israel’s interior, an Egyptian-brokered truce has been established in this troubled area of the world. Suddenly launched by the Israeli army – the IDF, without any visible external reason, Operation Dawn, formally – against one of the Palestinian organizations – Islamic Jihad (JID) – claimed about 50 lives, including many children, about 500 more people were wounded, and not all of them were somehow connected with the ID. There are either no Israeli losses, or nothing is said about them. Initially, it was announced that the operation would last 7 days and the IDF even began to mobilize 25 thousand people. But then something went wrong, and Israel itself requested Cairo’s help to end hostilities as soon as possible.
Rocket launch from Gaza
Hit in the Israeli city of Sderot
Ya. Lapid and B. Netanyahu
The question arises why the current head of the government of the country, Yair Lapid, started this dubious adventure, fraught with serious reputational losses (which happened), if he abandoned it so quickly. According to most experts, this “small victorious war” was necessary for the reputed liberal Lapid, primarily for domestic political reasons. The next parliamentary elections are coming up in Israel in autumn. According to the polls, Likud is again in the lead, led by its leader and arch-enemy of the incumbent Prime Minister B. Netanyahu.
Decided to show that he was “cooler”, Lapid apparently believed that in the current series of hot conflicts everywhere, his personal “bonfire” in Gaza would go more or less unnoticed. He also probably expected that in order to maintain a gradual economic rapprochement with Israel under the American-led Abraham Accords process, the Arab countries would not be too pro-Palestinian this time around. His cabinet also seriously believed that by hitting the Eid, he would be able to sow the seeds of discord between this second most important force in Gaza and the ruling Hamas. None of the calculations came true. The whole world, including even the EU, with the exception of the Americans, sharply and unanimously condemned the unprovoked actions of the Israelis. All Arab countries have taken a fairly tough position, which will inevitably have a negative impact on the “Abraham Agreements”. Hamas and ID in Gaza rallied rather than quarreled.
Ziyad al-Nahala, leader of the Islamic Jihad movement
Egypt’s mediation in Israel is presented almost as a friendly favor of Cairo, which is interested in the development of bilateral cooperation, and nothing more. For her, Lapid has already thanked Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in a telephone conversation. In fact, the Egyptians conducted a dialogue with the Israelis on ending the bloodshed in Gaza rather harshly and in strict accordance with all international resolutions relating to the rights of the Palestinians, including the creation of an independent state. At an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on the events in Gaza, the Egyptian ambassador to the UN, in particular, called Israel’s actions there unjustified and laid on him full responsibility for the bloody victims among the Palestinians.
Cairo has not announced its withdrawal from the Abraham Accords process, but it is clear that from now on it will demand from Israel greater compliance on various issues within its framework. Debt good turn deserves another. Egypt has also established itself as an important regional player without which no local crises can be resolved.
Egyptian President El Sisi of the UN General Assembly
According to Reuters, Egypt delivered a clear ultimatum to Israel that if it does not stop its strikes on Gaza within 48 hours, Hamas, which rules in the sector, will join the fighting – and this is a completely different “weight category” . ID is estimated to have had about 4,000 rockets and rockets at the start of the conflict, some of them homemade. In the direction of more than 50 Israeli cities, about 1 thousand were shot. Hamas, on the other hand, has more than 40,000 similar munitions, moreover, with more accurate guidance systems. And, if during these days the central regions of Israel – from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, were already in complete panic (although nothing is said about the victims among the Israelis), then under the Hamas “barrage” the country would have been almost completely paralyzed for a while. In the event of an Israeli land invasion of the sector, Hamas is able to mobilize tens of thousands of fully equipped fighters, which would turn Gaza into one big “valley of death” with serious losses for the IDF as well.
There are, for example, serious reasons to believe that some of the Western weapons that did not reach Ukraine and disappeared without a trace found their end user precisely in the person of Hamas. In the conditions of the almost continuous urban development of the Gaza Strip, the Javelins and Stingers that fell into his hands can hit any target almost without a miss. Under these conditions, the entry of the IDF into the sector would be practically impossible and, most importantly, completely pointless, since in the end the Israelis would have to leave anyway.
Javelins and stingers already on the walls of Gaza – drawings from life?
Lapid seemed to have forgotten that the main opponent of the Israeli government in Gaza is still Hamas, and with his own hands contributed to the further significant strengthening of its positions. Now Hamas and the Eid say they have thwarted an alleged Israeli plot to sow discord among the Palestinians.
According to the influential Israeli newspaper Jerusalem Post, Palestinians in Gaza believe that Hamas has become one of the winners in the confrontation between Israel and the Eid. Unlike the ID, it did not suffer any civilian or military casualties as it was not targeted by Israel during the fighting.
Hamas has once again succeeded in reaffirming its role as a major player in all matters related to Gaza. The Egyptians, the Qataris and the UN mediators treated the Hamas leaders as if they were the legitimate and sole rulers of the Gaza Strip.
By staying out of the fighting, Hamas has acted as a “responsible adult” who puts the interests of his people above other considerations.
The ability of the Eid to pose a real threat to Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip has been shattered in light of the elimination of a number of senior Eid commanders and the massive damage done to its weapons arsenal. In addition, now Hamas can take credit for saving the ID from complete annihilation by Israel.
Y. Lapid leads Operation Dawn
In addition, the operation was unsuccessful in terms of changing the mood of Israeli voters. Polls conducted by three leading Israeli TV channels have shown that another round of fighting in Gaza does little to change their preferences. All three polls showed that the pro-Netanyahu bloc – Likud, Religious Zionism, Shas and Torah United Judaism – would win 59 seats, two short of the majority needed to form a government.
At the same time, the anti-Netanyahu bloc – Lapid’s Yesh Atid, the Blue and Whites, Yisrael Beitenu, Labor, Meretz and Raam – will win only 55 seats, six short of the majority.
A coalition that would win over the Joint Arab List could create a stable government in the country, but its representatives, especially after the events in Gaza, are not going to support anyone.
Thus, Israel is doomed to continue the internal crisis. Operation “Dawn” not only did not bring the country one step closer to resolving it, but only confused everything even more, weakening its international positions.
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