On November 14rth an airstrike was carried out by Israeli forces on over twenty areas in Gaza. The Israeli military has stated that these attacks were in response to recent rocket strikes from Hamas militants in Gaza. The Israeli attack ended up killing a military commander of Hamas, Ahmed al-Jabari, making him the highest ranking official to be killed since Israel’s invasion of Gaza four years ago. Although violence between these two areas is not a new occurrence it is something that we need to focus on. What will the outcome of these attacks be in an international sense? Will there be one? Or will it simply perpetuate and exacerbate the constant friction between Israel’s allies, namely the U.S., and allies of the Palestinians?
In response to the Israeli attacks Hamas officials in Gaza have stated that, “the airstrikes amounted to war and [they i.e. Hamas] promised a harsh response,” then being followed by more attacks. Conversely, the Israel Defense Forces stated, “We recommend that no Hamas operatives, whether low level or senior leaders, show their faces above ground in the days ahead.” As I said before this friction is nothing new but at some point I feel it will result in an all out war between Israel and the surrounding areas. If this were to happen, it would also mean U.S. involvement in most likely Israel which would clearly destroy the meager friendships we had with other Middle Eastern countries. At this point it is difficult to say which side is right here. Understanding the historical and cultural reasons for this conflict are one thing but the constant cycle of violence in response to violence has obviously done nothing for anyone involved in the situation because they are in response to decades of hatred. Each side continues to bemoan the other for being innately evil and heartless as pictures of the wounded and dead are plastered all over the internet in hopes of proving this point. I continue to see pictures of destruction from both sides so who’s right here? Are either right? This being said, I understand that I am not directly tied to this conflict or the land it involves but I am simply giving an outside perspective to the issue.
These attacks are also coming at a time when tensions among Israel and its surrounding neighbors were already on the rise. In the past few weeks Israel has fired missiles on Syria in response to munitions that fell in the Israeli controlled Golan Heights and there have also been cross border attacks along the border with Sinai. Egypt and Israel have had a rocky friendship but after this weeks attacks and those mentioned previously has caused Egypt to recall their ambassador in the area and has led them to call for a meeting of the Security Council as well as the Arab League. President Obama’s response to these attacks has been an interesting and highly diplomatic one. Since the attacks President Obama has separately met with both the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu and also the President of Egypt, Mohammad Morsi. To Netanyahu, Obama reiterated that he still believes that Israel has a right to protect itself from any attacks in order to prevent civilian casualties. Somewhat hypocritically, Obama and Morsi both urged the fact that there is a need to deescalate current tensions. Ultimately any decision the U.S. makes in response to the attacks this week is going to cause problems with someone but I don’t think the U.S. would ever risk losing the strategic location and power that Israel provides, whether or not we actually support their actions is another matter entirely. I cannot say what will happen next but I sincerely hope that this never ending tug of war does not result in another war and more blood needlessly spilled.
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