Israel’s attacks on Gaza have continued since HAMAS attacked Israeli settlements on October 7. The airstrikes have been reduced for some time, but they are still ongoing, and on the ground there have been fierce clashes between the Israeli army and the Kassam Brigades, the armed wing of HAMAS, and its allied organizations, such as Islamic Jihad.
“So what is the situation in Gaza? What will happen next? Where will Israel stand?” and many other questions are on the agenda.
Let’s start with the first question; what is the situation in Gaza?
-The death toll from airstrikes alone has reached nearly 28,000. About half of them are children.
-Thousands of people are missing and there are estimated to be thousands of bodies trapped under the rubble.
-According to UNICEF, at least 17,000 children have been orphaned.
-Hundreds of thousands of people from northern Gaza have been forced to flee to southern Gaza, which has absolutely no infrastructure, no shelter, no food, no hygiene to cope with a human burden of nearly 2 million people.
-Those who had already fled to southern Gaza did not escape the air and ground attacks. Israel has now turned its attention to Khan Younis in southern Gaza and Rafah on the border with Egypt. These are the two most densely populated areas where Israel has been carrying out heavy air and ground attacks, but there is no one to stop Israel, no one to threaten Israel not to do so…
– In Gaza, where famine is rampant, hospitals have collapsed, universities and schools have been razed to the ground, the only thing people can hope for is UNRWA, the UN relief agency for Palestinians established in 1949. However, Israel claimed that six UNRWA employees had participated in the October 7 attack, causing several countries that fund the agency to suspend their donations. UNRWA has announced that if these funds are not activated, it will begin to collapse and cease its relief activities as of this month. Moreover, the organization provides education, health and vocational training to 6 million Palestinians not only in Gaza but also in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. In Lebanon, for example, Palestinians still living in camps that have turned into slum ghetto neighborhoods have no choice but UNRWA schools.
In fact, Israel’s animosity with UNRWA is not new, in fact, it has used the Gaza war as an excuse to settle scores with the agency. Israel says that only those who were displaced from their lands since 1948 should be given the right to return to their lands. UNRWA, on the other hand, registers the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the first generation of refugees living in other countries as Palestinians. This creates a Palestinian community with the right of return that Israel absolutely does not like, and if these people return to their lands, the Israeli-Palestinian demographic balance will definitely change against Israel. In short, Israel’s plans based on the question “What happens next?” should include the removal of UNRWA from the field. Not only will the disappearance of UNRWA directly affect millions of Palestinians, but also, given the economic conditions in the countries where Palestinians live, it is likely to cause massive shocks.
This is a topic for another article, so let’s return to the other question, “What is Israel planning and what will happen next?”
-Palestinians and developments on the ground suggest that Israel will certainly not limit its attacks to the north of Gaza.
-Israel is also trying to gradually dehumanize southern Gaza, with each operation aimed at squeezing 2.3 million Gazans into the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza.
-According to internal Israeli discussions, Israel has no plans to collapse HAMAS in Gaza and withdraw. On the contrary, it is not about who will govern Gaza in the post-HAMAS era, but rather how it will be governed. In the days following October 7, they said, “We will destroy HAMAS and get out of Gaza. We can hand Gaza over to the Palestinian Authority without HAMAS, to Egypt, to the UN or to a board to be formed with the participation of countries in the region,” Israel said. Nowadays, however, we hear very little of this rhetoric. Israel is now talking about the de-population of Gaza, the creation of a safe zone of at least 1 km inside Gaza, which is already a small area, and even the possibility that advertisements for seafront villas in Gaza have begun to circulate.
-A ceasefire plan drawn up at a Paris meeting led by the United States, Qatar and Egypt is on the verge of collapse, precisely because Israel is eyeing the whole of Gaza. “We cannot accept a plan that does not guarantee a complete Israeli withdrawal from Gaza,” says HAMAS and the Palestinian side. Netanyahu’s response is sharp: We will not accept any plan until HAMAS is gone and Gaza is no longer a threat.
At a time when plans for a ceasefire are being discussed, Israel has launched a new operation against northern Gaza, after announcing that it had ‘completed the operation’. It is reported that HAMAS has begun to regain control in northern Gaza, assigning people to carry out administrative work, paying some of the salaries, and giving orders to punish black market traders and those caught stealing.
Given these developments, we are back to one of the fundamental questions we asked immediately after October 7: Can HAMAS be crushed by military means? In fact, we can adapt this question to recent developments; is Israel fighting to destroy HAMAS?
Given the current situation, Israel
-He wants to dehumanize Gaza. Even if it can’t do that, it is trying to depopulate it.
-They have closed their ears to initiatives and proposals such as a two-state solution. On the contrary, it seems to be open to all kinds of initiatives to make a two-state solution impossible, including the dehumanization of Gaza.
-As the Palestinians have been saying from day one, even if Israel takes full control of Gaza, it is likely to turn its attention to the already occupied West Bank.
In short, through the war with HAMAS, Israel seems to have accelerated the construction of a state where there are no Palestinians, or where they submit to Israeli rule, where Palestinianism is a thing of the past.
The source of the article is the evrensel.net website