Gaza war and future scenarios

The event of October ۷, ۲۰۲۳, in the Gaza Strip and its surrounding occupation zone, is unique and important in the history of the Palestinian conflict from different angles. The Gaza Strip, as the starting point of this multi-layered and complex operation, is a small geographical area with an area of ۳۶۴ km۲, which, according to its population of ۲,۲۳۰,۰۰۰ people (۲۰۲۳ statistics), is the most densely populated point in the world (with more than ۶۰۰۰ people per km۲).
10 October 2023
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Hossein Jaberi Ansari

The event of October 7, 2023, in the Gaza Strip and its surrounding occupation zone, is unique and important in the history of the Palestinian conflict from different angles. The Gaza Strip, as the starting point of this multi-layered and complex operation, is a small geographical area with an area of 364 km2, which, according to its population of 2,230,000 people (2023 statistics), is the most densely populated point in the world (with more than 6000 people per km2). These facts have made the Gaza Strip, compared to other occupied areas of Palestine (especially the West Bank), the main focus of Palestinian popular resistance, and most of the well-known leaders of the Palestinian resistance movements have also emerged from the refugee camps in this region.

Israel's all-round blockade against the Gaza Strip was imposed on Gaza Strip from 2007 so that the balance that had led to the victory of the movement supporting the active resistance against Israel in its domestic process was managed by Israel's doping and foreign intervention, and was used for the compromise-oriented policy of the Fatah leadership. A long-term and suffocating siege, the only one of its numerous and extensive results, has been the increase of the unemployment rate in Gaza to 80% (the highest unemployment rate in the world). Only from 2008 to 2020 (according to the official statistics of the United Nations), 5,590 Palestinians have been martyred, most of them from Gaza. Meanwhile, according to the same statistics, only 251 Israelis have been killed in this period.

The fact is that Israel's victory in the Arab-Israeli wars was the result of the extreme weakness of the armies, the dependence on the Arab governments, and the irreparable mistakes and betrayals of the Arab politicians more than the result of Israel's exceptional power and the experience of the Palestinian intifadas in the severe erosion of the Israeli army and government and the resistance of Lebanon and Gaza experiences in forcing the unilateral and unconditional withdrawal of Israel from the occupied territories of Lebanon (2000) and the Gaza Strip (2005) and the subsequent wars, especially the October 7 war, clearly showed that Israel is not only invincible, rather, if there is will and continuity of organized and purposeful resistance and the resistance enjoys minimal support from several Arab and Islamic countries, there is a possibility of imposing defeat and unconditional retreats on Israel.

The importance of the recent great war in Gaza is that the Hamas movement, along with other Palestinian resistance movements, especially the Islamic Jihad movement, in a small coastal strip (41 km long and 6 to 12 km wide) and under almost complete siege by the enemy (from land, air and sea) and under the constant surveillance and espionage of Israel's military, security and intelligence institutions with the most equipped technological facilities and specialist forces, have been preparing for such a large and complex operation for a long time and have managed to manage the matter in such a way that no information is leaked to the Israeli enemy. In such a way that now the operation on the morning of October 7 has become a sudden and surprising event and one of the biggest intelligence and military failures of Israel in the decades-long history of the Palestinian conflict, according to the admission of Israeli political and military circles.

But the strategic importance of the war of October 7, 2023, is the transition from a defensive situation to an offensive situation for the first time in the history of Palestinian resistance against the Zionist regime. This is the first time in the history of the struggle of the Palestinian nation that the Palestinians took the offensive initiative. In a historic and rare event, they have managed to capture an area almost the size of the Gaza Strip in the occupied area around it, kill hundreds of Israelis, injure hundreds of others, and capture a large number of them and pass into the Gaza Strip. In the light of the unprecedented operation of October 7, 2023, the Israeli government is reaping the harvest that it has sown since the occupation of Palestine with policies based on occupation state terrorism, and anti-Palestinian apartheid and in the last three decades by imposing a complete deadlock on the peace process.

Now, Israel is in the middle of a double war with Gaza, and whoever chooses it will have to pay more. Suppose it wants to enter the Gaza Strip with a large-scale invasion to eradicate the resistance as it claims. In that case, it will be caught in the Gaza swamp and underground tunnels and a large-scale guerrilla war, the results of which can make the recent war of Gaza small against it with all its greatness and importance. In the best-case scenario, even if Israel succeeds in entering Gaza with mass killing, it will not be able to hold it and will be forced to leave again for the same reasons it was forced to leave it before. In addition, in the event of mass killing, the entire Palestinian areas in the West Bank and the occupied territories of 1948 will turn to an all-encompassing intifada, which has been postponed since the beginning of the peace process and the impasse, with the tricks of Israeli and Palestinian politicians. But if, despite the fierce and fiery slogans of eradicating the resistance, like the previous wars in Gaza, it is limited to bombing residential areas in Gaza and killing a significant number of Palestinian citizens, Israel will lose its deterrent power and credibility as the hegemonic power in Palestine and one of the regional powers, and against the progressive and innovative resistance and the new generation of Palestinians who are even beyond the resistance groups in pursuit of their goals for a free and independent life, it will be forced to retreat successively.

To manage and control the new conditions, Israel is trying to turn the current vital war against itself into an international war. Rumors that the current war in Gaza is like the September 11 attack on Israel and the region is a purposeful attempt for the West and America to enter the scene of developments and deal with the front against Israel at their own expense. Considering the priorities of the United States to contain China and Russia and the involvement of the West and NATO in the Ukraine war, the probability of this occurrence is very low. In addition, it seems that the United States and Europe, which have not been able to force the ruling right party of Israel to pay the minimum costs of the peace process, do not see a reason to accompany it operationally and replace their global strategy priorities with the priorities of the Israeli right party.

The recent events in Palestine should at least have this great political and strategic lesson for all the politicians of the region and the world. Until the rights of the Palestinian people are secured, there will be no peace, and what is also called Israel's security is nothing more than an illusion. Israel, and especially the delusional right that governs it, thinks that such an impossible equation is possible. In his last speech at the United Nations General Assembly, by humiliating the Palestinians and declaring that they are only 2% of the Arab people, Netanyahu sought to establish the unrealistic notion of the Israeli leadership that the peace and normalization of relations between Israel and the other 98% of Arabs will also force them to surrender. Still, the war in Gaza, shortly after this speech, clearly showed that there is a big gap between the imaginations of the Israeli ruling movement and the realities of the Palestinian scene. However, awareness of Israel is an obvious necessity. Sterilizing Netanyahu's and Israel's efforts to erase the main problem, which is the occupation of Palestine, by exporting the crisis outside the occupied Palestinian territories requires the highest level of awareness and vigilance.

Hossein Jaberi Ansari, a senior expert at the Institute for Political and International Studies

 (The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the IPIS)

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