Hundreds of dead and injured, hundreds of hostages. The Hamas operation took Israel by surprise. The outcome is dramatic and also unprecedented. It had never happened in the past that people were so daring. What will happen? War is already an inevitable fact. But will it remain isolated in the Gaza Strip? Will the conflict also extend to the other Palestinian territories and to the Northern front, on the border with Lebanon? Is it possible that the escalation of the war will reach across the border, into other areas of the Middle East? All scenarios are open, let’s try to go in order. (ISRAEL-HAMAS. THE SPECIAL – LIVE UPDATES)
The Israeli reaction to Gaza. What could happen?
It’s called “Operation Iron Swords”. It began, with an all-out siege. The Israeli army has recalled reservists and is organizing a large-scale operation. For now, air raids on the Strip with targeted bombings on targets indicated by Tel Aviv intelligence. Then, in the next few hours, according to American sources, the ground operation will begin, with the use of tanks and infantry. Columns of armored vehicles have already been spotted, entry into Gaza seems inevitable. But there is a difference compared to all the other times we found ourselves in the same conditions. In this case, hundreds of hostages are in the hands of Palestinian guerrillas in the Gaza Strip and will be an inevitable shield from military actions. From what is known, they have been divided across the territory, from Gaza City to Khan Yunis, and are run by the various warring factions, not just Hamas. We also know that that tiny strip of land, sandwiched between Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean coast, is the most densely populated. An indiscriminate war action will lead to many civilian victims and the risk of losing hostages. However, it is unlikely that Netanyahu’s government will be able to negotiate. Only one other option seems viable: postpone the land invasion, close the Gaza Strip to all external supplies, from electricity to water. And ask for the release of the hostages. But it now seems too late.
The opening of other fronts: Lebanon and the West Bank
Hezbollah is an Islamist paramilitary organization present in Lebanese territory. It is connected to the Shiite galaxy, fought alongside Bashar al-Assad in Syria, is supported by Iran and is anti-Zionist and alongside Hamas. Is it possible that he will participate in the conflict, opening a second front? For the moment, there have been only sporadic actions. The Israeli Regional Council of the Northern Area has called on citizens of the border areas to temporarily evacuate for one to two days. But many did not follow up, according to the mayor of Kiryat Shmona, the inhabitants of the area are used to the emergency. In any case, Israel has deployed several surface-to-air missile batteries on the demarcation line. Even the Unifil Contingent, deployed since 2006 on the border between Lebanon and Israel which also has the presence of a thousand Italian soldiers, has made it known “that it is in contact with the parties to prevent a rapid deterioration of the situation”.
In the West Bank, tension is rising, hour by hour. Clashes occurred in East Jerusalem and in some refugee camps. The President of the Palestinian National Authority Mahmoud Abbas used words of support for Hamas: “Our people have the right to defend themselves against Israeli crimes and violations committed in sacred places, starting with the Al Aqsa Mosque.” Yet, beyond the words, the opening of a third front seems unlikely. From a military point of view, the West Bank does not have easy access to weapons, logistics and training, unlike Hezbollah and what happens in Gaza. There may be demonstrations and clashes, hardly organized military activities.
Can the war involve other countries?
At this moment, Iran is in the crosshairs of the entire international community. He is accused not only of politically supporting Hamas, but also of arming them across the porous Egyptian border and helping them plan the attack. According to the Wall Street Journal, Hamas leaders met Revolutionary Guard officials several times in Lebanon.
Until today, there has been an insurmountable red line: the Tehran government cannot be the instigator of an attack on Israeli territory. A spokesman for the Iranian delegation to the UN said: “We are not involved in the Palestinian response, which was carried out exclusively by Palestine.” So what’s happening? Is there a change of direction, with the new generation challenging the old one at the top for years in Iran and imposing a new strategy? Have the negotiations between Israel and Saudi Arabia forced an acceleration? Now, the most likely reaction is targeted action by Israel. Taking all options into consideration, it is unrealistic to think that the Tel Aviv army has the capacity to carry out other military actions on Iranian territory. Until now, Israel had moved with US support against individual military targets. Actions often not officially claimed.