Clashes between Israel and Hamas could spark full-blown war, pushing the Middle East into a new spiral of violence.
The long-simmering conflict between Israel and Palestine flared up again, after the Hamas militia in the Gaza Strip fired more than 1,000 rockets into Israeli territory and the Israeli army carried out air strikes in response.
The source of the conflict did not begin in the Gaza Strip, but instead in the Israeli-controlled East Jerusalem, as the country’s Supreme Court plans to issue a decision to expel seven Palestinian families who have lived for decades. Ancient wall.
The plan to expel Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem to make way for Jewish settlements ignited the flames of anger and violence, in response to repressive operations by the Israeli police. About 600 Palestinians have been injured in clashes in Jerusalem since May 7.
The area where the clashes took place, known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as the Temple Mount, are considered sacred places by religions. Small clashes of faith in Jerusalem over the past millennia have always had the potential to spark an all-out war involving politics and religion. “That’s what’s happening here,” editor David Gardner of Financial Times identify.
The Hamas movement opened the conflict by firing rockets toward Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities near the Gaza Strip. In response, the Israeli military (IDF) launched a series of air strikes against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced that the IDF would continue air raids on alleged Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip until “the situation is completely quiet”.
However, the worst violence in seven years overturned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s view that occupying the West Bank and encircling the Gaza Strip would not have serious consequences for Israel’s security. For more than a decade, Netanyahu has worked to convince Israelis that they can be safe and “enjoy healthy international relations” without making concessions to Palestine.
Netanyahu’s position seems to be supported by the mild reaction of the United States and European countries as Israel strengthens its control of the West Bank, while Arab states in the region normalize relations with the Jewish state. to serve its own interests in an effort to compete for influence with Iran.
As US President Donald Trump pushed the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco to sign the Abraham Agreement to normalize relations with Israel, he hailed it as an important step towards ending the conflict. decades of conflict in the Middle East.
But Palestinians feel marginalized, years of hope for a two-state solution dashed. The pent-up anger of Palestinians is reflected in the Arab riots in Israeli cities over the past several weeks.
“The unrest in Jerusalem undermines Israel’s credibility. With its strategy of increasing occupation and building more Jewish settlements, Israel is smothering the opportunity to build a future Palestinian state and forcing the Palestinian people to fighting for equal rights in Greater Israel, leading to undermining the legitimacy of the state of Israel in world opinion,” Gardner said.
Conflict with Hamas also poses risks to Israel’s relations with neighboring Arab countries and the world Muslim community. Demonstrations have broken out from Turkey to Jordan, as well as in cities where Arabs live in Israeli territory, to protest the country’s treatment of Palestinians.
Relations between Israel and Jordan are at their lowest point, despite the Middle Eastern country and Egypt being among the first to normalize relations with Israel through peace treaties of 1994 and 1979.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, the pioneers of the Abrahamic Agreement on the normalization of relations with Israel brokered by the United States, voiced their opposition to clashes in state cities. Jewish. “Israel is risking a second attempt at normalizing relations with Arab countries with the events in Jerusalem,” Gardner wrote.
The risk of an all-out war between Israel and the Palestinians became even more real when the IDF announced that it was considering a plan to send ground troops into the Gaza Strip, to prevent Hamas from conducting more rocket attacks.
However, analysts say that when Israel invaded the Gaza Strip, Israel could achieve rapid military victory thanks to its superiority in firepower and technology, but it was unlikely that they would have a chance to win politically.
“The violence in the region last week shows how difficult it is to achieve peace if the Palestinians remain set aside,” commentators for the Finalcial Times said in a May 12 article. “The Jewish state’s moves could add fuel to the fire and risk igniting full-blown conflict at any moment.”
Israel and Palestine witnessed seven weeks of bloody conflict during the 2014 Gaza war, which killed more than 2,000 Palestinians and 73 Israelis, mostly soldiers.
“The risk of a resurgence of the Gaza war is a real threat,” the commentators wrote. “Both sides need to cool down and avoid a conflict that only serves hotheads, sows more pain for the Palestinian people who have suffered greatly in the Gaza Strip, and exposes Israel’s weakness further.”
Nguyen Tien (According to the Financial Times)