Articles > > DOMESTIC POLITICS

Articles - Addostour - Date: 2018-11-15
By: Oraib Al Rantawi

The round of bloody escalation in the Gaza Strip is part of the context of Israel's 'domestic politics' and may be seen in light of the electoral campaigns that have begun early in Israel as the likelihood of Knesset elections in or around next February increases.

[Former Israeli Defense Minister] Avigdor Lieberman is most likely to be personally responsible for the recent escalation. At any rate, according to some reports, he used Netanyahu's presence in Paris to authorize the recent commando operation in Gaza that flung the door wide open to a new bloody round that may be the most violent in years.

Israeli sources speak of divisions within the security mini-cabinet. Lieberman leads a 'hawkish' current that calls for expanding the war on Gaza, leading up to sending ground forces into the Strip. The aim is to inflict a painful blow on Hamas that breaks its back, as Lieberman wishes. By this, he would be delivering messages to the religious and nationalist extreme right public dipped in the blood of innocent Palestinians blood. These messages say that Lieberman and not Netanyahu is the leader who is most worthy of ruling Israel, preserving its security, and safeguarding its deterrent image.

In contrast, Netanyahu prefers the tactic of gradually exhausting Hamas, backed by the tactic of 'softly luring' the movement towards 'security coordination' and towards a 'calm for food and electricity' formula. And there are certain parties that are encouraging him in pursuit of this aim by putting up the necessary money or offering their mediation. But Netanyahu also insists that the occupation army and the security agencies should continue to have a free hand to carry out whatever preemptive and preventive operations they deem necessary against Palestinian targets, and at whatever times and place they deem appropriate.

As for its timing, the Israeli operation and the mutual reactions that followed came at a moment of transition between two chapters on the tahdi'a track that Egypt has been leading backed by [UN envoy] Nikolai Mladenov, and generously financed by Qatar. The first chapter ended with handing over the Qatari 'salaries money' to the Hamas authority in Gaza, and with relative calm on the confrontation fronts between the Palestinian demonstrations and the occupation authorities during the 33rd week of the Marches of Return. 

The second chapter, which indicated that the calm was going to develop into a tahdi'a, was supposed to comprise arrangements that included a new prisoners' exchange deal. But Israel misfired its arrows believing that it would be able to take grab some valuable 'information treasure'; and instead of moving on to the second chapter of the tahdi'a track, the situation returned to square one.

This is precisely where the international and regional mediators' movement quickly picked up speed to complete what had been interrupted and bring the situation back to what had been planned. Consequently, I believe that the current round of escalation will end like the previous rounds with a new ceasefire agreement and the reestablishment of calm, while we all wait for a new round of escalation whose extent, time, and place Israel will determine unilaterally, as has been the pattern in recent years.

So, where do all these developments take us? Quite simply, back to square-one.

If Hamas and the forces that control the Gaza Strip's fate want to end the blockade, normalize the people's lives, and regain their dignity, and if, in fact, they want to end the Israeli aggressions, the shortest path to achieving these aims is that of national reconciliation. That, and that alone, can produce arrangements that serve these aims in a better way.

If, however, Hamas merely wants to extend its rule at the summit of power in the Strip, then the road to that aim will inevitably be thorny and costly, and its consequences are most likely to be uncertain.