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Israel between Political and Military options in Gaza

Dr. Tarek Fahmy

Israeli policy operates according to specific regulations whose foundations have not been departed from since the establishment of the Hebrew state until now, despite the critical events and developments that were required at specific times, considering important procedures and measures. This applies to the raging Gaza war in light of the open political and military options, which will have serious regional consequences if new regional parties engage in it.

The political level is still keen on a political equation in which the Palestinians and even the state’s Arab citizens of 1948 do not exist, which affirms that the war in the Gaza Strip is not a war of confrontation within the series of confrontations that took place in the previous rounds, but rather a pivotal round in which there is no presence of any other party except Israel, especially after Israel targeted the Palestinian resistance, led by Hamas, aiming to end the rule of Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The ongoing military operation in the Strip from north to south, with the determination to use military action as an option for resolution, may disrupt many truce efforts that Egypt and Qatar led. Israel would also push towards accelerating some security arrangements through a unilateral decision and perhaps after coordination with the American administration, which might lead to more diplomatic clashes with the concerned countries, such as Egypt and Jordan, as well as with European countries that desire a ceasefire first and then consider any security arrangements.

The current political level in Israel will face many challenges, keeping in mind the presence of ministers from the extreme right who demand continued confrontation to achieve Israel’s major goals, goals that necessarily exclude political solutions or any response to ceasefire efforts, especially since Israeli society is moving towards adopting options of violence and escalation at the expense of calm, not only with the Palestinians, but also with other opposition and resistance fronts in the West Bank, as well as militias linked to Iran in Lebanon and Syria, and recently the Houthi front.

We must link any current talk about the future of the war in Gaza to the political or strategic options that Israel will adopt and aim to implement in the medium and long term. These options go beyond the issue of forming a new government, a tactical ceasefire, or the success of temporary truces, but rather are linked to the nature of the new calculations amongst decision-makers in Tel Aviv, which revolve around the importance of recalling the policy of deterrence once again, in order to implement its primary goal of making Israel a strong state capable of imposing its security and preserving its strategic capabilities in a hostile environment.

It can be said that the entire Hebrew state is working in a unified, consensual context, despite the current state of division, which will continue until a new political and security contract is formulated, after Israel has fully acknowledged what happened to the state after the Al-Aqsa flood on October 7 and the changing equation of challenges and risks that are believed to threaten its existence in the forthcoming period. Therefore, it is expected that the Israeli decision-maker will approve further military options, which will lead towards raising the degree of military confrontation with Hamas.

Extending the scope of confrontations to include other fronts will trigger a very complex regional situation in which Iran will benefit by strengthening its influence and penetration into Arab societies by introducing itself as the party resisting Israel and capable of exporting inconvenience to it. This situation will also lead to a threat to the system of Israeli-Arab relations, as it might lead to a political clash amongst both sides; furthermore, excluding others from the equation, especially the Arab citizens of Israel from 1948, will lead to more tension within the Israeli state itself.

All of the above raise serious questions regarding the extent to which this general line of political and military practice will continue in Israel. Will it continue with the formation of a new Israeli government? Will this government be more open to peace and negotiations with the Palestinian side?

The answer to any of the mentioned above questions is very difficult to imagine, because the Israeli side itself – as well as its western allies – does not have the answer to them, at least at this moment.

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