It is hard to see how Israel’s attacks on Gaza will not escalate.
On the one side, it does not seem that Hamas can back down from its demand that the blockade must end. If it did back down from that, it would likely lose a lot of support. On the other hand, if Netanyahu were to agree to end the blockade, this would appear to be a massive retreat for him, and it would come at a time when we are hearing repeated reports of mounting racism, of a rising far right movement within Israel. This includes calls for “death to Arabs”, celebration of the burning of alive of a Palestinian teenager, and assaults on both Palestinians and leftists in the streets of Israel. And none of this is condemned by the prominent public figures in Israel – prominent politicians, rabbis, etc. This means that the far right pressures on Netanyahu are increasing.
Given this, is a further ground assault on Gaza not possible?
But that would resolve nothing. And already we have heard talk of a return to permanent military occupation of Gaza along certain “corridors”. But even a “limited” reoccupation would have to spread as the Israeli occupying troops would inevitably come under attack.
From the outside, we get the impression that the war on Gaza has strengthened the racist far right in Israel. If that’s true, then would an occupation give them even more strength? Is it possible that some of them would try to rebuild settlements in Gaza, and if so how could these not come under attack? If they did, then it is almost certain that the Israeli military would respond with their typical brutality.
It is hard to see how this would not set off even more turmoil within not only both Israel and the West Bank, but also the region as a whole. In Egypt, for instance, the military regime has more or less allied itself with the Israeli regime. Would such developments possibly lead to renewed support for the Muslim Brotherhood and renewed turmoil in the country? As for Turkey, the Erdogan government has tried to ally itself with Israel, but every time it tries, some new event like the present war gets in the way. It seems that both the Turkish and the Iranian regimes would see an opening to try to increase their regional roles.
In other words, it seems this assault on Gaza could spread and really become a crisis for the entire region.
Of course, it already is a crisis for the people of Gaza themselves, but who cares about them? All the rulers of the region (and beyond, certainly including Obama) have proven they don’t.