Burning Inferno of Gaza
By Asif Haroon Raja
Israel’s Gaza genocidal war crime is the worst genocidal crime in modern history. It is worse than all British genocidal war crimes, worse than all French genocidal war crimes, worse than all German genocidal war crimes, and worse than all American genocidal war crimes committed against many native nations around the whole globe. Gaza has become a graveyard of children. Out of 13300 fatalities, 5600 are children and 3550 women.
Fightback by Hamas
As speculated, the Hamas fighters are giving a tough time to the invaders and are knocking out Israeli reputed Mekerva-4 tanks and AFVs, and gunning down attack helicopters. Close quarter battles are taking place between militant brigades of Hamas and IDF soldiers inside northern Gaza.
Missiles fired by Hamas and Hezbollah are hitting targets in all parts of Israel including Tel Aviv, Haifa and Domino. Al-Quds and Al-Qassam Brigades and Islamic Jehad are rocketing major cities of Tel Aviv, Asqalan, Ashdood to Herzliya, and engaged in fierce battles in Jabalia camp, Jenin, Zaitoon, Sheikh Rizwan, Al-Tawam, Al-Nasr, Rantsi, Al-Shifa and other hospitals. They are still holding on to their defensive positions along the Jews belt contiguous to the Gaza strip and are constantly firing their weapons including missiles and drawing blood of the Israeli soldiers. Hundreds of IDF soldiers have died. All the intruded soldiers and their tanks/AFVs/vehicles are vulnerable and are being targeted.
The offensive spirit to fight back has not wilted; they are firing salvos of rockets, which have hit targets in southern, central and northern Israeli cities. Tanks inside Gaza are targeted with RPG-7 daily. Maximum casualties were inflicted upon the IDF and the US Marines by Al-Qassam Brigades in the battle of Beit Hanoun.
However, Israeli forces have penetrated inside Northern Gaza and after bombing refugee camps and schools, all major hospitals were first surrounded by tanks, then stormed and the sick and wounded, pregnant women and babies in incubators were forced to vacate. The injured from Al-Shifa have been airlifted to Dubai, and 500 injured were shifted from Indonesian hospital to Khan Yunas in South Gaza. Residential area in Khan Yunas was also bombed. The deeply dug network of 500 km long and 100 feet deep tunnels which provided security and strength to Hamas have been discovered and are probably under the control of the IDF.
Qatar and Egypt are engaged in getting the 240 hostages including 10 Americans in the captivity of Hamas since 07 Oct released in return for a temporary ceasefire. Release of captive American women and children is the top priority of Washington. It is speculated that 50 hostages, mostly women and children might be released for a 5-day ceasefire. Reportedly, Tel Aviv is showing willingness to accept demands of Hamas to get all their hostages freed.
Effects of 7 Oct 2023 Offensive
· The three-pronged attacks by Hamas and their continued fighting shook the foundations of the State of Israel. For the first time, the myths of invincibility and impregnability of Israel were busted. Myths woven by the West to glorify Israel and its IDF, Shin Bet and Mossad, were smashed.
· For the first time, the invincible State of Israel was breached at several points, sizable areas seized in southern Israel, their defense equipment was destroyed/damaged, 1200 civil and military personnel were killed. 240 Israeli soldiers, officers, civilians and some Americans were captured by Hamas. Fear of Israel was to a great degree removed.
· Life in the whole of Israel was in near-paralysis. All airports of Israel were closed in the initial days. After the missile attacks on Ben-Gurion airport by Al-Qasam Brigade, the airport was out of use for air flights.
· All factories, business centres and educational institutes and plants of oil and gas remained shut.
· One lac Jews were forced to take refuge in an underground bunker. 8 lacs Jews were displaced from their homes. Israelis living in southern Israel have become insecure, and Israel’s nuclear facilities and Iron Dome are now vulnerable to attacks and sabotage.
· Large number of Jews and settlers have flown out from Israel and no settler is likely to return. The new forward settlement of Jews on the Palestinians lands has frozen.
· The Jews are abusing and cursing despotic Netanyahu and his criminal regime. The captives who are well-treated by the Hamas are heaping expletives on Netanyahu.
· Families of the Israeli captives organized a 5-day protest march from Tel Aviv to the house of Netanyahu in Jerusalem to pressure him to secure release of hostages.
· Massive protests are staged in the USA and western capitals; Christians and Jews are in the forefront condemning Israel and sympathizing with the Palestinians.
· For the first time, the left-leaning Jews and conservative Jews are censuring Netanyahu and his far-right policies. They are questioning that the holocaust of Jews was perpetrated by the German Nazis, so why the Holocaust of the Palestinians from whom their lands were usurped?
· The Netanyahu regime has become the most hated regime and so has the double-dealing USA in the Muslim world in particular and the Global South in general.
· For the first time since its creation in 1948, Israel is in deep crisis. Its sovereignty and integrity, and safety of its people were never threatened by any Arab States individually or collectively.
· 76% of tourism has declined.
· Israeli assets have reduced by $ 7.3 billion.
· Israel has sold $ 8.2 billion foreign exchange reserves from its central bank.
· Israel is suffering an annual loss of $ 2 billion.
· Israel has incurred an expenditure of $ 160 billion in dropping 30,000 tons of explosive molten lava upon Gaza.
· Several countries have declined to send their trade planes to Israel.
· Several countries have broken diplomatic ties or recalled their ambassadors from Tel Aviv.
· Ugly face of Israel has been exposed before the western world, and Tel Aviv is finding it difficult to play its victim narrative.
· For the first time, the international opinion has changed. In this regard, social media has played a key role.
· The US, UK and France which are the strongest backers of Israeli anti-human policies are being jeered at and questioned by their nationals inside and outside their respective parliaments.
· Prof Francis Bugle described Israel’s war in Gaza ‘a crime against humanity’. The US State Department official Josh Paul resigned on account of the US supplying arms to Israel to carry out war crimes. Apart from the courageous role of American writers and poets showing mirror to the ruling regime, more than 500 political appointees and staff members from govt agencies wrote a letter to Biden protesting his support of Israel. Three internal memos to Blinken signed by dozens of State Department employees and an open letter signed by more than 1000 employees of the US Agency for International Development indicate a big change. This phenomenon is new and unprecedented.
· Hezbollah fighters based in Lebanon are firing missiles in northern Israel despite a warning by Tel Aviv to stay out of the conflict, or else Syria and Lebanon would be destroyed.
· Southern and Northern Israel including the cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa are being targeted by missiles from Gaza and Lebanon under a joint Hamas-Hezbollah operation.
· Palestinians in Lebanon and Jordan, and Jihadi groups in Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Tunis have got activated in support of the Gazans. Possibility of dozens of other radical Islamic groups like Al Qaeda badly mauled by the western forces might volunteer to come in aid of Hamas.
· Houthis declared themselves as part of the ‘Axis of resistance’ and launched a series of missiles and drone attacks against Israel last month. They threatened to target Israeli ships in the Red Sea and stated that the Strait of Babal Mandab would be closely monitored. An Israeli cargo vessel galaxy was hijacked in the Red Sea on Nov 19 and a video was released.
· The people of Gaza and Lebanon are not ready to abandon Hamas and Hezbollah.
· The Palestinian cause, which had become redundant has once again been internationalized and moved to the centre of the global stage.
· The hibernating OIC, Arab League and the Muslim world as a whole have been woken up from slumber by their people, and a beginning has been made by the Arab-Muslim States Summit held in Riyadh on 13 Nov, which peeved Netanyahu. His advice to the Aab leaders to remain silent if they wanted to preserve their interests is meaningful.
· Saudi Arabia has shelved its plans to recognize Israel till the settlement of Palestinian issue, thereby deflating the hubbub of recognition of Israel.
· Zelensky in Kiev is getting worried that the US-EU military support to Israel might not curtail their support to Ukraine.
· The US and Europe are faced with a twin menace from Ukraine and Gaza.
· If the Gaza conflict spreads outwards and prolongs, it will become a nightmare for the US and Europe to support the two theatres of war at a time particularly when Europe is going through severe economic and energy crises.
· Iran-Saudis rapprochement and Turkey mending fences with Iran and Egypt, are unpalatable to the US and Israeli designs in the Middle East (ME).
·Iran aligned with Russia and China and now friendly to KSA, and in possession of effective guided missiles and drones, and with a strong perimeter of security in the ME, has attained 83% uranium enrichment capacity. It is close to achieving weaponized nuclear capability. It has added to the dilemma of the US and Israel which are already concerned about nuclear Pakistan.
To be concluded
The writer is a retd Brig Gen, war veteran, War Course & MSc War Studies qualified, defence, security and political analyst, international columnist, author of five books, served as Directing Staff in Staff College Quetta, defence attaché Egypt and Sudan and Dean of the Corps of military attaches, held high staff and command appointments, after retirement he was appointed Colonel of the Battalion he commanded, he chaired Thinkers Forum Pakistan for 4 years, takes part in TV talk shows