In light of emerging evidence of an Israeli plot to ethnically cleanse as many as 2.4 million Palestinians from the Gaza Strip, the U.S. continues to deploy unprecedented reinforcements to the Mediterranean while steadfastly rejecting the consideration of a humanitarian pause or ceasefire.
Moreover, the origins of the Hamas offensive on October 7 can be traced back decades, entwined with contemporary regional dynamics that extend far beyond the boundaries of occupied Palestine.
On October 7, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu formally declared war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip. This declaration was accompanied by a statement from Israel’s defense minister, Yoav Gallant, in which he mentioned that “there will be no electricity, no food, no fuel” for the people of Gaza, and he added, “We are fighting human animals, and we are acting accordingly.”
Since that day, the Israeli leader has consistently emphasized that this war is expected to be “long and challenging” and may extend for “months.” When reading between the lines, the cutoff of medical aid, water, and food supplies to Gaza’s civilian population, a situation noted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), not only falls within the court’s jurisdiction as a potential crime but could also be interpreted as an attempt to commit genocide.
In their stated goal of eradicating Hamas, the Israeli government has yet to provide a clear vision of what a victory would entail. Therefore, we must examine the available evidence of Israel’s actions and ongoing discussions about how this conflict might ultimately come to a close.
According to some figures, over 9,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, while the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MOH) reports that around 70% of the casualties have been women, children and the elderly. Medicine, food and clean drinking water have been prevented from entering Gaza, as the Israeli army has not yet made a significant dent in the military capabilities of Hamas.
The United States government has supported Israel’s actions by using its veto power at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to block two ceasefire resolutions and by providing munitions and diplomatic and logistical assistance to the Israeli military. Additionally, Israel has initiated a ground incursion, which, as of now, has been limited to open areas and has largely avoided densely populated regions.
A “Unique And Rare Opportunity”
On October 17, an Israeli think tank known as the Misgav Institute for National Security and Zionist Strategy released a position paper in which they presented a proposal for the forced displacement of up to 2.4 million Palestinians from Gaza.
The think tank asserted that “a unique and rare opportunity currently exists to evacuate the entire Gaza Strip in cooperation with the Egyptian government.” However, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has been a significant obstacle to this plan. He vehemently rejected the proposal, which would entail relocating Palestinians to tent cities in Egypt’s Sinai region
On October 24, a startling revelation emerged when the Israeli Hebrew news outlet Calcalist disclosed the existence of an official Israeli government document outlining a similar plan. This document prominently displayed the official emblem of the Israeli Intelligence Ministry, presided over by Gila Gamliel, and was subsequently made fully available by the Hebrew-language news site Mekomit.
While this Ministry does play a role in shaping Israeli policy, it’s worth noting that its authority is constrained. Thus, the document may not have received formal endorsement from the Israeli leadership. Nonetheless, Israeli diplomat Danny Ayalon has publicly advocated for the implementation of this ethnic cleansing plan, presenting it as a ‘humane option,’ as argued in the Intelligence Ministry document.
The Israeli Premier has also issued a call for Gazans to “leave now,” preceding the military’s request for Palestinians to evacuate the northern part of the besieged coastal enclave. This strategy has been observed as a means to achieve the ultimate objective of widespread civilian expulsion.
An additional impediment to executing such a strategy is the looming specter of regional conflict, with a significant potential for Lebanese Hezbollah’s involvement. This group stands out as the most likely actor to intervene in Israel’s actions in Gaza and represents perhaps the most immediate threat to Israel’s military capabilities.
Spanning the Middle East, including areas such as the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, the American military has been fortifying its presence, ostensibly to deter perceived threats from multiple sources, including Hezbollah, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ansarallah in Yemen, Syria and the various Iranian-aligned Iraqi paramilitary organizations that together constitute the Axis of Resistance. Washington maintains that this deployment aims to prevent an escalation into a broader regional conflict.
The Pentagon has recently made a significant announcement regarding its deployment of two aircraft carrier strike groups to the Mediterranean. On October 8, Washington unveiled plans to dispatch the USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier strike group, a formidable assembly comprising five smaller warships and a complement of fighter aircraft. Subsequently, the USS Eisenhower strike group, bolstered by a cruiser and two destroyers, alongside numerous fighter aircraft, was dispatched.
According to a report by Al-Monitor, the initial aircraft carrier strike group was sent to assist Israel in its efforts to recover prisoners of war captured by Hamas on October 7. On October 16, CNN reported that approximately 2,000 U.S. service members had been stationed at an undisclosed location off the coast of occupied Palestine. Furthermore, on October 23, it came to light that an American 3-star general had been dispatched to guide Israeli forces in their ground invasion of Gaza.
If there were any lingering doubts about the presence of U.S. troops in Israel’s campaign in Gaza, the White House was compelled to make amends after an Instagram photo was unveiled, inadvertently revealing the identities of American special forces standing alongside Israeli military personnel. In the image, President Joe Biden was shown shaking hands with members of the discreet American elite counter-terrorism unit, Delta Force. This unintended photo disclosure not only exposed the visages of these covert operatives but also triggered a wave of questions regarding the depth of U.S. involvement in the Israeli conflict in Gaza.
Two months before the unexpected Hamas offensive from Gaza, the U.S. quietly approved a multi-million dollar project aimed at expanding a covert military base in the Naqab (Negev) region known as Site 512. Despite White House assurances that the U.S. would not deploy ground troops to assist in Israel’s conflict with Hamas, it’s essential to note that Washington also claims not to maintain any U.S. military bases within Israeli-held territory.
In 2017, following a celebration by an Israeli Air Force general and the U.S. state-funded Voice of America regarding the opening of a significant American base, the Pentagon swiftly backtracked, asserting that the facility was situated within an Israeli base. When it comes to American military bases, there is often a degree of obfuscation concerning the actual number of sites. This is exemplified in Australia, where they officially claim two military bases while they are, in fact, operating in as many as 34 locations throughout the country.
Despite compelling evidence indicating substantial U.S. involvement in the ongoing Israeli ground operation within the blockaded Gaza Strip, Western corporate media appears to be swamped with conflicting statements from U.S. officials regarding the extent of influence exerted by the Pentagon on Israeli ground actions.
A Direct Threat To Us Strategic Interests
The Hamas offensive of October 7, as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres put it, “did not happen in a vacuum.” Instead, it was a direct response to a series of Israeli actions that posed threats to the Palestinian people, their sacred sites, and their national cause. What is often overlooked, though, is how this surprise attack, codenamed ‘Al-Aqsa Flood,’ effectively disrupted U.S. policies that endangered the entire region.
Presently, there is a considerable amount of aggressive posturing directed at Iran, particularly emanating from within the Republican Party, within the halls of Washington, D.C. This situation persists, even as U.S. President Joe Biden has publicly delivered a caution to Iran and its regional associates, designed to dissuade potential attacks on U.S.-Israeli interests throughout the region. Yet, the true intentions of the Biden administration regarding a more extensive confrontation remain uncertain.
What we do know is that the Biden White House placed its highest Middle East policy priority in the pursuit of brokering a normalization agreement between Saudi Arabia and Israel. In the immediate sense, the accomplishment of such an objective would have handed Joe Biden’s Democratic Party a substantial victory that could have been leveraged in the 2024 elections. In the grander scheme, the lasting ramifications of normalized relations between Riyadh and Tel Aviv would have laid the groundwork for a fresh manifestation of American influence, one that would have squarely positioned an Arab-Israeli coalition against Tehran and its allies.
As the prospect of normalization drew near, international press reports began to disclose Saudi Arabia’s stipulations for formalizing relations with Israel. Among these conditions was the Saudi pursuit of a defense treaty with the U.S., modeled after NATO’s Article 5: an attack on one would be treated as an attack on all. Had the U.S. government endorsed such a treaty, it would have almost inevitably entangled it in a direct confrontation with Ansarallah in Yemen, a situation with a high potential for escalating into a broader regional conflict.
Shaping A “New Middle East”
Earlier this year, the Chinese-brokered reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and Iran sent shockwaves through the international community, effectively quelling hostilities that had persisted for decades. Beijing’s pivotal role in facilitating this agreement marked a significant milestone in the country’s global diplomacy. Consequently, the success of peace between these two nations holds profound significance.
Should Saudi Arabia decide to establish normalized relations with Israel, it would almost certainly provoke a diplomatic response from Iran, potentially jeopardizing the Chinese-brokered deal. With both Tehran and Riyadh poised to join the BRICS economic alliance at the outset of 2024, any escalation in tensions between them would present a considerable challenge for Beijing, as it values both as regional partners.
Iran has been reaping the rewards of this evolving multipolar landscape. It has joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), established agreements with Russian companies, and initiated a project to construct a railway as part of the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC). In March 2021, Tehran further solidified its position by entering into a 25-year strategic partnership with Beijing, which is expected to result in substantial investments totaling around 400 billion from China into Iran.
Meanwhile, the United States has been investing in and actively pursuing its own diplomatic strategies to fortify its ‘Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment’ (PGII) initiative, aimed at competing with China’s ‘Belt and Road’ program. To challenge China’s influence, the U.S. has been endeavoring to attract investors for new ventures, including trade routes aligned with the World Economic Forum’s ‘Stakeholder Capitalism’ framework.
A prominent undertaking in this endeavor is the India-Middle East-Europe Corridor (IMEC). A critical step in realizing this project, which envisions the establishment of a land route spanning from the UAE, through Saudi Arabia and Jordan, and up to the Israeli port of Haifa, where goods would continue their journey to Europe, hinges on a Saudi-Israeli normalization agreement. The recent Al-Aqsa Flood attack originating from Gaza has temporarily or perhaps permanently disrupted these U.S. plans, raising uncertainties about the feasibility of such initiatives in a profoundly unstable region.
Hence, the ongoing battle waged by Palestinian resistance factions in Gaza serves not only the interests of Iran and its regional allies but also contributes to strengthening China’s position. This doesn’t necessarily suggest complicity on the part of those involved in the conflict but rather elucidates why certain parties stand to benefit strategically from opposing Israel’s actions in Gaza. By thwarting U.S. plans for a fractured West Asia, one subject to Washington’s influence, or as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put it in his September address to the United Nations, a “New Middle East.”
While Western corporate media often portrays the conflict as an Israel-Hamas issue, it transcends the boundaries of occupied Palestine. It stands as a pivotal arena in a global struggle between the powers of the so-called East and the collective West. This dynamic fuels unwavering support from Western capital on an unprecedented scale, marking a unique chapter in the history of the Palestinian quest for liberation.