It has been almost four months since Israel’s war on Gaza following Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, 2023. According to reports from Gaza’s health officials, over 25,000 people, including children and women, have lost their precious lives. Additionally, nearly 7,000 bodies remain buried under the rubble, and more than 65,000 individuals have sustained serious injuries.
Despite the IDF’s devastating onslaught which has flattened more than 85% of Gaza, the objective of destroying Hamas, removing it from political power in Gaza and releasing Israeli hostages captured by Hamas during the October 7 attack have not been successfully achieved. Observers note that it appears Israel’s primary objective is to eliminate innocent Palestinian people in Gaza.
In spite of the worldwide protests against the war, a UN resolution calling for a ceasefire, and Israel facing genocide charges in the International Court of Justice, as well as attacks (in protest against Israel’s war on Gaza) by the Houthi rebels on ships in the Red Sea heading to Israel, ranging from Hezbollah’s attacks to Iran’s threats, nothing has served as a deterrent for Israel to declare a ceasefire. Within Israel, there is a rift among members of the Israeli government, and relatives of the hostage are demanding a ceasefire for the release of their loved ones.
However, Prime Minster Netanyahu is adamant about continuing this war until Israel achieves its goals. There are reports suggesting a feeling within the US administration that Prime Minister Netanyahu is prolonging this war for his own interests.
Considering the economic and defensive conditions in the Arab world, Mr. Netanyahu appears very confident that the Arab nations would not dare go to war against Israel, even if Israel were to eliminate all the people of Gaza from the world map. The assassination of Hamas’ deputy commander Saleh Al-Arouri, Hezbollah senior leader waseem al-Tawil within the depths of Lebanon territories, and the successive killings of many senior Iranian leaders in Syria through Israeli airstrikes serve as evidence that fiery speeches and empty rhetoric alone cannot win a war. The world is observing that there is still no alternative to Israel’s air power with respect to Iran or Hezbollah. To the extent that Hezbollah Chief Mr. Hasan Nasrallah reportedly avoids appearing publicly and resides in a bunker due the fear of Israeli airstrikes.
Going through the history of the Israel-Palestine-Arab wars and conflicts, one thing can be pointed out: only the U.S. President is in a position to compel Israel to declare a ceasefire. As Nathan Tharall mentions in his book ‘The Only Language They Understand,’ force, including but not limited to violence, is the weapon that can yield the results. In 1956, U.S. President Eisenhower called Israeli Prime Minister Ben-Gurion and conveyed that if Israel did not unconditionally withdraw from Sinai (Egyptian Territory), it would lose all aid from the U.S. and U.S. would not oppose Israel’s expulsion from U.N. This method proved effective, Israel rapidly announced its withdrawal from Egyptian territory.
(Writer is a prominent Islamic scholar, he has PhD on Palestinian issue)