Ever since Israel’s Operation Protective Edge military offensive in 2014, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s strategy has been to seek the normalisation of bombing the Gaza Strip. This has involved evading the kind of lengthy, wide-ranging aggression which attracts unwanted media attention, and has regaled Israel with a shift in international condemnation of its war crimes and human rights violations. On several occasions, the UN and the EU have blamed the Palestinians in the haste to excuse Israel’s frequent bombing of the enclave.
With the Israeli General Election looming, and having gained the absolute backing of the US, Defence Minister Naftali Bennett announced that the government is planning yet another violent offensive against Gaza’s largely civilian population. Netanyahu is said to be in agreement with Bennett that the government and the military are on board with the plans for another “inevitable” massacre of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
“I have come to the conclusion that there is a 95 per cent chance that it is inevitable that we will have to launch a large campaign to restart Gaza,” Bennett declared. He defined the future military campaign as a “war”. This definition not only distorts the image of Israel’s military capabilities and Gaza’s lack of them, but also refuses to set out the parameters of the colonising power in wreaking yet more irreparable damage upon a colonised and besieged population, lacking in even the most basic of fundamental freedoms, including freedom of movement.
Another military campaign by Israel will thus mean a significant death toll in Gaza because the Palestinians have nowhere to flee from the barbaric violence of the occupation state. Bennett’s announcement may also tie in with the US backing any future Israeli violence against Palestinians in Gaza if there is a breach of the terms outlined in the so-called deal of the century. All Palestinian factions have rejected the deal, yet it is Gaza that remains the bulwark of Palestinian resistance and hence is dehumanised for the sake of Israel maintaining its live-testing weapons laboratory.
The overt US support for Israel’s military offensives and incursions, as well as the international favouring of Israel’s security and “self-defence” narrative, are proof that Netanyahu’s earlier strategy has reaped the desired results. Since the international community declared its pro-Israel stance after the bombing of Gaza in May 2019, there is less concern over a possible large-scale offensive. On the one hand, the US has set its conditions for backing Israel’s destruction of Gaza. On the other, the international community is the reference for consensus about Israel’s actions. Bennett’s announcement indicates that Israel’s ability to act with impunity is unprecedented.
The “need to fundamentally change the situation,” as Bennett described the planned aggression, is the latest link in a political process that has largely been ignored or fragmented. How the international community reacts to this will speak volumes about its agenda to deprive Palestinians of their political and human rights. Trump’s deal has not encountered any vociferous opposition internationally, although it has not been recognised diplomatically. However, it is likely that any Israeli bombardment of Gaza, backed by the US, will be met with silence or worse: international consensus about Israel’s security hyperbole, which would dispel any notion of disagreement between the US and the international community. In short, the US and UN will be complicit in yet another Israeli killing spree against the people of occupied Palestine.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.