Dr. Abdullah Manaz : The MiddleEast Analyst
The most important development in the last Palestine & Israel war was the results of opinion polls regarding the elections to be held in Gaza and the West Bank. It was clearly understood that the Fetih Movement would lose both the Presidency and its majority in the Assembly in these elections. This situation alarmed both Palestinian President Abbas and Netanyahu.
The first step came from Abbas and postponed the elections to an uncertain date. Then Netanyahu stepped up his plan to evict Palestinians around Jerusalem from their homes. He took action to evacuate the homes of about 500 Palestinians in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. Radical Jewish Groups also started demonstrations and riots in this neighborhood. However, they encountered resistance from the Palestinians that they never expected. Netanyahu increased his pressure without understanding the religious importance of the month of Ramadan for Muslims. Netanyahu announced on Sunday (May 9th) that the Israeli army will hold a major military exercise in the Lebanese border, the West Bank and Gaza. This was actually the first announcement of the war. The attack of Israeli security forces on the Aksa Mosque ignited the fuse of the bomb. Hamas responded with the same harshness to Netanyahu’s attempt. It announced that if the Israeli Army does not withdraw from the Holy Land, they will respond strongly. Indeed, Hamas fired more than 1000 rockets at Israeli targets overnight.
The range of Hamas Rockets varied between 70 and 100 km. Such an attack came as a surprise to Israel. The rockets that reached TelAviv have killed 5 Israelis and injured dozens so far. A great panic started within the Israeli Police. On the evening of May 11, Palestinians demonstrated in all Israeli cities. Especially in the city of Lid, the Israeli Police lost control and a state of emergency was declared.
Netanyahu claimed that Hamas would pay a huge price. Warplanes hit hundreds of targets in Gaza on May 11-12. Around 50 Palestinians have died so far. 13 of them are children and 4 of them are women.
Although Netanyahu spoke harshly, he contacted Cairo and the United Arab Emirates and offered to mediate with Hamas. Hamas, on the other hand, refused mediation offers and declared that they “do not trust the Israeli government and are ready for a great war”. The Kassam Brigades, which are the Special Military Units of Hamas, said that: “Some of their commanders were martyred in Israeli attacks and they will hit an important target every day”.
It is the first time that Israel has faced such strong Palestinian resistance. Many Zionist writers within Israel and in the US admit that “Israel fell short for the first time”.
Although Netanyahu succeeds in staying in the Government by going to early elections last years, this time he will not be able to do so. This war seems to be Netanyahu’s Final War. The Israeli people are tired of the war, with the exception of some radical groups. Especially 17-year-old youth recruited into the army complain of long military service periods. The New Generation aspires to live in peace with the Palestinian people with whom they live on the street.