After the attack by Hamas in southern Israel this morning, Israel launched Operation Swords of Iron, which involved launching between 2,000 and 5,000 rockets.
- Historical Context
- Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty
- Israel – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) Peace Initiative
- Gaza’s Importance
- Key Developments
- Challenges and Future Prospects
- Peace with Palestinians
- The Iran Factor
- Recent Occurrences in Gaza
- Israeli Internal Differences on Government Policy
- Security and Defense
- Settlements and the Palestinian Territories
- Economic Policy
- Religion and State
- Minority Rights
- Judiciary and Rule of Law
Under the secret name Operation Iron Sword, the Israeli Defense Forces responded to the nefarious attack by Hamas in Southern Israel this morning by launching between 2,000 and 5,000 rockets in an effort to seize control of the territories throughout the Gaza Strip.
As a similar assault took place in 1973 during the Yom Kippur War, history has repeated itself. The Palestinians’ search for a weak spot in the Israeli response to their surprise attack would have been significantly influenced by the Jews being on Sabbath.
The long-running political and territorial conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is known as the Israel-Palestine conflict. The Gaza Strip continues to be one of the conflict’s most divisive locations, despite the fact that it involves a variety of topics and locales. It is crucial to comprehend the significance of this battle in a historical context.
Ottoman and British Rule: The Ottoman Empire ruled over the area that is now known as Israel and Palestine for many years. Following World War I, a League of Nations mandated the British to take over.
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1947 UN Partition Plan: The division of the British Mandate of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states was suggested by the UN. Arab leaders rejected the plan, but the Jewish leadership did. The result was the Arab-Israeli War of 1948.
1948-1949 War and Armistice: When Israel proclaimed its independence in 1948, numerous Arab nations launched assaults. An armistice line was established once the combat ceased, and Egypt’s forces took control of Gaza. It is important to remember that there was no formal Palestinian state at this time.
Six-Day War (1967): Israel attacked its neighbors in retaliation after anticipating an assault. Israel took control of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, the Sinai Peninsula, and the Gaza Strip in just six days after defeating several Arab countries.
1979 Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty: Israel held the Gaza Strip but gave the Sinai Peninsula back to Egypt.
Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty
The agreement was ratified on October 26, 1994. The pact also resolved territorial and water conflicts, allowed for extensive tourism and commerce cooperation, and committed both nations to prohibit the other’s territory from being used as a staging area for military operations. After Egypt, Jordan was the second Arab nation to sign a peace treaty with Israel.
Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and King Hussein made covert attempts to negotiate a peace treaty in which Israel would give Jordan control of the West Bank in 1987. The Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir objected, preventing the scheme from being carried out. Jordan gave up its claim to the West Bank the following year in favor of an amicable settlement between Israel and the PLO. The signing ceremony was held at Arabah’s southern border crossing. A fair distribution of water from the Yarmouk and Jordan rivers as well as the restitution of Jordan’s 380 square kilometers of captured territory were also guaranteed under the deal.
Israel – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) Peace Initiative
After 20 years of disagreement, Israel and KSA resolved to put aside their disagreements and consider their common interests in order to promote peace and prosperity in the area.
Iranian Threat: Iran is seen as a rival in the region by both nations. They are worried about its sway in the region, particularly its nuclear program and its backing of armed organizations in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and Lebanon. Significantly improving relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia are the result of this common concern.
Economic Opportunities: Israel is renowned for its technological advancements, particularly in the fields of water management, cybersecurity, and agriculture. Such knowledge could be useful to Saudi Arabia as it works to diversify its economy away from the oil industry as part of its Vision 2030 agenda.
Regional Stability: Both nations have a stake in a secure Middle East. By fostering greater cooperation and communication, they hope to create a more stable regional environment.
The Gaza Strip, a little area of territory on the Mediterranean coast between Israel and Egypt, is crucial to the Israel-Palestine conflict from a strategic, symbolic, and humanitarian standpoint:
Strategic Importance: Gaza is a crucial geopolitical player since it is a coastal enclave that borders Egypt. Due to its location, it has historically served as a major source of conflict between many powers.
Refugee Crisis: During the 1948 and 1967 conflicts, a large number of Palestinians fled or were driven from their homes in what is now Israel. They are currently in the Gaza Strip, frequently in refugee camps, together with their descendants. A crucial point in the dispute is the refugees’ ability to return home.
Hamas: Hamas is an Islamist political and armed group that was established in 1987. After an altercation with the Fatah branch of the Palestinian Authority, it has been in de facto control of Gaza since 2007. Hamas is regarded as a terrorist organization by Israel and many other nations.
Hamas is an organization that Israel has designated as a terrorist entity and is behind the new Gaza War in 2023 after the launch of Operation Al-Aqsa Flood.
Blockades and Conflicts: Israel and Egypt have put blockades on Gaza, limiting the flow of people and goods, due to worries about security and Hamas. A humanitarian crisis has resulted as a result. Periodic escalation between Israel and Hamas has led to wars and massive military operations, which have significantly damaged infrastructure and killed a lot of civilians.
Humanitarian Importance: There is a serious humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza as a result of the embargo and the ongoing hostilities. More potable water, electricity, and basic services are required. International groups have expressed alarm over the situation on numerous occasions.
Symbolic Importance: Gaza represents the struggle against Israeli occupation for many Palestinians. Due to rocket assaults and tunnels, it pose a security risk to many Israeli citizens.
Russian military historian and director of the Museum of Air Defense Forces, Yuri Knutov, said that the Hamas attack revealed the Iron Dome’s inefficiency.
In conclusion, the Gaza Strip serves as a microcosm of the larger Israel-Palestine conflict, illuminating its historical grievances, religious importance, geopolitical implications, and humanitarian issues.
Behind-the-Scenes Diplomacy: There have been few visible signs of cooperation, but there have been several rumors of private talks between Saudi and Israeli officials.
Abraham Accords: The UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco’s normalization of ties with Israel in 2020 has changed the dynamics in the region. Saudi Arabia has not ratified the Abraham Accords, but by allowing Israeli planes to fly through its airspace, it has implied support.
Public Remarks: Saudi officials have made comments in various cases that seem to portend the possibility of future normalization. In a 2020 event, Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former head of Saudi intelligence, spoke beside a representative of Israel, which was unimaginable just a few years earlier.
Netanyahu’s Alleged Visit: Unconfirmed rumors claimed that Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister at the time, secretly traveled to Saudi Arabia and had a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in November 2020. Israeli officials did not dispute this, but Saudi officials did.
Challenges and Future Prospects
Despite common interests and covert interactions, both nations still need to overcome a number of obstacles.
Palestinian Issue: The Palestinian cause has long been supported by Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabians continue to sympathize with the Palestinians in public opinion. The Saudi leadership may find formal normalization delicate at home if there is no improvement in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Regional Dynamics: The pace and direction of any normalization attempts may be impacted by the larger geopolitical game, particularly with Iran, Qatar, and Turkey.
Internal Dynamics: Both nations have their own internal political dynamics and factors that can affect how judgments about international relations are made.
U.S. Role: The U.S. Saudi Arabia and Israel have long been close allies of the United States. The likelihood of normalization will depend on the dynamics of each nation’s relationship with the United States, especially in light of the United States’ shifting objectives and interests in the Middle East.
NATO weapons that were given to Ukraine were used to kill Israelis by Hamas in the assaults carried out on military and civilian sites in southern Israel.
Peace with Palestinians
An entirely new Middle East will emerge if Israel and Saudi Arabia can reach peace. According to the Israeli prime minister, the circle of peace can widen and lead to “genuine peace” with the Palestinians on an unbreakable basis. However, there is a condition: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority “must stop supporting and glorifying terrorists” and “must stop spreading the horrible anti-Semitic conspiracies” against the Jewish people.
The Iran Factor
A “fly in the ointment” exists, and the crazies in charge of Iran would do all in their power to scuttle this historic agreement, the Israeli prime minister had warned. He condemned Iran for its involvement in terrorism.
Recent Occurrences in Gaza
The Gaza Strip continues to experience a tight scenario. The relative tranquility has occasionally been interrupted by escalations and ceasefires. Between Israel and Hamas, a huge fight broke out in 2021, leaving Gaza devastated and with many civilian losses.
There have been difficulties with broader peace endeavors between Israelis and Palestinians as well as attempts at reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas. Despite continuous international efforts to deliver aid and promote rehabilitation, the humanitarian situation in Gaza continues to be alarming.
Dr. Isabella Ginor and Gideon Remez, associate associates at the Truman Institute at Hebrew University, argue that the Yom Kippur War was planned by the Russians.
Israeli Internal Differences on Government Policy
Like many other democracies, Israel has a diversified political landscape that is defined by a number of parties, movements, and public figures with opposing viewpoints on a variety of policy matters. Given Israel’s distinct historical, theological, and geopolitical setting, these differences may be particularly obvious.
Security and Defense
Hawkish Position. Traditionally, right-wing groups like Likud, Yamina, and others have taken a harsher posture on security and defense issues, emphasizing a strong military reaction to threats and a skepticism toward peace talks.
Dovish stance: Labor and other left-leaning organizations urge a more accommodative strategy that emphasizes diplomacy, bargaining, and peace compromises.
The Elite Hamas Unit Tricked Israeli intelligence by making them think that the Hamas leadership was more concerned with the restoration of Gaza’s economy than with escalating hostilities.
Settlements and the Palestinian Territories
Pro-Settlement: Numerous right-wing and religious organizations are opposed to the creation of a Palestinian state and favor the growth of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
Pro-Two-State Solution: Most centrist and left-leaning groups want a two-state solution, in which Israel and a recognized Palestinian state coexist. This could entail land concessions or the eviction of some enclaves.
Free Market & Deregulation: Right-leaning parties like Likud have consistently advocated for deregulation, privatization, and free-market reforms.
Social Welfare & Regulation Left-leaning parties typically advocate worker rights, laws to combat economic inequality, and a stronger social welfare state.
Religion and State
Religious Influence: Religious organizations like Shas (Sephardic Haredi) and United Torah Judaism (Ashkenazi Haredi) support laws that adhere to Jewish law (halakha) and frequently oppose attempts to secularize particular facets of public life.
Secularism: Secular parties like Yesh Atid, Israel Beiteinu, and others work to lessen the impact of religious institutions on public affairs. They favor laws like those allowing for civil unions and public transportation on Shabbat.
Jewish Ethno-state: Right-wing parties that place a strong emphasis on Israel’s Jewish identity may be less tolerant of the demands and rights of minority communities, especially Arab Israelis.
Pluralism & Equality: Arab and left-wing parties like the Joint List emphasize the importance of equal rights for all citizens, irrespective of race or religion.
Judiciary and Rule of Law
Judicial Reform. Right-wing individuals and organizations have asked for changes to limit the judiciary’s authority because they feel the Israeli Supreme Court is too interventionist.
Their goal is to maintain judicial independence. Left- and centrist-leaning factions typically oppose attempts to limit the judiciary’s authority because they see it as a bulwark against possible abuse by the executive or legislative branches.
Coalitions frequently span several policy stances as a result of the proportional representation voting system, necessitating compromise and flexibility from the parties. Furthermore, the views of the Israeli public on these problems are varied and complex, frequently influenced by worries about security, the state of the economy, religious convictions, and personal experiences.
The Iranians and their Palestinian agents would have been attentively monitoring these events to undertake such an attack.
The IDF has responded quickly and will continue to do so in Gaza’s Palestinian-occupied areas. The Palestinian leadership will concentrate its efforts on the captured IDF nationals and their rescue.
It is too soon to talk about Israel’s robust intelligence network failing. Despite Israel’s technological advantage, something did go wrong. The destiny of the Arab world will be determined by how they react in the next hours.
The Chinese actions in the area and their impact on the Iranian regime should be constantly monitored since they will be essential to the larger plays on the regional chessboard.
Finally, being a multi-religious, multi-cultural, and multi-ethnic society in India, we must observe these and learn from others’ errors. Israel and India are close friends, and we pray for their citizens’ security.
Peace is in the far distance for the moment.