DC Edit | Netanyahu keeps Israel on warpath

Stating that the terms of the ceasefire deal that Hamas was willing to accept were too far from its obligatory demands, Israel’s war cabinet voted to go ahead with the invasion of Rafah, thus dealing a death blow to extended peace negotiations.

Brushing aside US objections regarding the likelihood of civilian casualties in Rafah, where more than a million people from other parts of the Gaza Strip have taken refuge, an Israeli tank brigade took control of the Gazan side of the Rafah crossing thus further isolating the enclave and seriously jeopardising a key aid route by land from Egypt.

The hand of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his war cabinet is clearly seen in this as they have sworn to destroy the Hamas leadership rather than accept peace. It is no secret that Mr Netanyahu’s political future lies only in extending the war.

The implications of Israel’s latest offensive on the one city they had left nearly untouched in the seven-month war in retaliation for the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel are vast and may spill well beyond the conflicted West Asian region.

As one of his own backers in senior politician Bernie Sanders speculates, the Gaza war could well turn out to be US President Joe Biden’s ‘Vietnam’ moment in an election year. The unrest on US campuses, which has been spreading across continents to as far as Australia, could be crucial in rising support for the cause of the stricken Palestinians of Gaza even as a close-run poll with Donald Trump looms.

The fear is the limited operations to seize the Rafah crossing for which about one lakh people were asked to vacate may be a precursor to an all-out assault on the city that could raise the Gaza toll that is already near 35,000, mostly women and children.

In tatters lies the ceasefire proposal that could have led to a limited hostage release to begin with and partial Israeli troop pullbacks within Gaza. Of course, Israel is unlikely to agree to vacating Gaza until they believe their operations against Hamas are over.

Mr. Netanyahu, under pressure from the extreme wings of his extended coalition cabinet, may be betting on the US polls acting as a restraint on Mr Biden in terms of moral and material support to Israel and so is unlikely to accept ceasefire terms. It appears he will keep Israel on the warpath.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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