It doesn’t look good for the people in the Gaza Strip. It’s unlikely that the present ceasefire will hold long enough for there to be any meaningful outcome for both the Israelis and the Palestinians. The Israelis are demanding the Palestinians disarm and the Palestinians flatly refuse to do so.
It is an all too familiar tactic that the Israelis have always employed when dealing with the Palestinians whereby they make an unrealistic offer which they know the Palestinians cannot possibly accept and then, when the Palestinians reject the offer, the Israelis and their backers blame the Palestinians for the breakdown in negotiations. The Israelis know full well that Hamas and other Palestinian fighters will never give up their arms.
On the other hand, Netanyahu, with the backing of the Israeli people and President Obama, are determined to destroy Hamas and all Palestinian resistance. Netanyahu will likely blame the Palestinians for any continuation of war after having refused to be demilitarised. The Israeli side, in turn, will also refuse Palestinian demands to lift the blockade on the grounds that lifting the blockade will allow Hamas and their allies to be rearmed.
The Palestinians want their own sovereign state free of any dominance by Israel. The Palestinians want to be able to trade freely with whoever they want. They want all of their lands back and the Israeli settlers gone. They want free access between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. They want the Israeli military cleared from the West Bank and Jordan border areas. They want East Jerusalem as their capital. None of these demands, however, will ever be acceptable to the Israeli right-wing.
In the Palestinians favour is support for the Palestinian cause from the people of the world – especially after witnessing first hand the carnage that Israel wreaked on the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip during this latest round of fighting. Israel’s propaganda this time around has failed them. Internet technology has exposed their propaganda to be just that – lies and distortions of the truth. Israel has accused Hamas of using the Gazans as ‘human shields’ because they launched their rockets and mortars from within civilian areas when the reality is that there actually is nowhere else in the Gaza Strip from which launch their armaments short of in the middle of an empty paddock where they will be exposed to the enemy. No one is buying the ‘human shield’ nonsense anymore. No one is buying the Israeli garbage about Hamas bombing their own hospitals and schools. No one really believes that Hamas have forced civilians to stay in their homes after the Israeli have warned that they’ll be bombed. No one believes anymore the transparent Israeli lie that they are only targeting Hamas and other militants. Israel’s lies about how they conduct war have been exposed.
So, what’s next?
Unfortunately, the Israelis haven’t achieved even their stated aims of disarming Hamas and closing down all of the tunnels. And they certainly haven’t got anywhere near their, until recently, unmentioned aim of destroying Hamas completely, transferring the Palestinian people out of the Gaza Strip and reoccupying it for themselves with the eventual aim of annexing it into Israel.
At very best, the likely outcome will be either an extremely edgy and prolonged ceasefire or a renewal of the bombing of the Gaza Strip followed by a full-on invasion and occupation. In the event of a prolonged ceasefire, Israel will likely provoke the Palestinians in much the same way as they did that stared this round of violence; by randomly shooting civilians trying to work in the fields close to the border. Once the Palestinians retaliate to the shootings by launching rockets into Israel, Israel will then use this as an excuse to launch their full-on offensive against the Gaza Strip.
In the end, either this time around or the next, the Israelis will eventually attempt to gain the Gaza Strip for themselves using an irresistible force, and the Palestinians will remain as difficult an object to move as they have before. The only force that has any chance of dissuading the Israelis from eventually taking the ultimate step to their goal is the power of public opinion and a complete change in attitude from the US and their Western allies.