[News] Are the Palestinians in Gaza and Israel heading for a new confrontation?

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Mon Aug 16 12:03:39 EDT 2021

the Palestinians in Gaza and Israel heading for a new confrontation?
Motasem A Dalloul  - August 16, 2021

August 16, 2021 at 4:04 pm

Officials of Palestinian resistance factions in the Gaza Strip met on
Monday afternoon to discuss how to deal with the Israeli procrastination
over its pledges to fulfil the terms of the ceasefire that ended the
occupation state's 11-day offensive on the besieged enclave between 11 and
21 May. The meeting was due to be held at the office of Yahya Al-Sinwar,
the senior Hamas official in Gaza, but minutes after it was opened, a
security alert caused the building to be evacuated. Apparently, a rocket
was fired from Gaza towards Israel.

The Palestinian factions announced earlier that they might be heading for a
new confrontation with Israel if the occupation state does not commit to
the pledges it made in May.

Regional and international actors, including the UN and the US, brokered
the indirect talks between the Palestinian resistance groups and Israel.
The ceasefire terms stipulated that Israel would reopen the border
crossings, ease the 15-year-old siege imposed on the coastal enclave, allow
the entry of humanitarian funding from Qatar and facilitate the
reconstruction of the territory in the wake of the latest Israeli military

[image: Death toll in Israeli attacks on Gaza Strip keeps rising...-
Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]]

Death toll in Israeli attacks on Gaza Strip keeps rising…- Cartoon

However, Israel has denied this and said that the ceasefire was
unconditional. The resistance groups and Egypt, the main intermediary,
insist that it was conditional. As a result, life for Palestinians in Gaza
has become even more difficult.

The UN and other international bodies, as well as several Israeli and
Palestinian human rights groups, have described life in Gaza since May as
"unbearable". They insist that Israel should allow raw materials to enter
the enclave to boost local industry and help Gaza residents to cope with
the difficult living conditions.

According to some Israeli officials though, including Prime Minister
Naftali Bennett and Defence Minister Benny Gantz, the price of easing the
siege is the release of Israelis held captive in Gaza. They deny making
pledges to Egypt and the other ceasefire brokers. However, it seems that
the issue of the Israeli soldiers in Gaza was only a pretext to keep the
siege in place for the same reason that it was imposed all those years ago:
to make life for the Palestinians in Gaza so bad that they will bring an
end to Hamas rule.

*READ: Israel, Hamas closer to conflict than calm, report warns

During and after the Israeli offensive on Gaza in May, the Palestinians
showed unprecedented support for the resistance groups, especially the
Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas. It has been ruling Gaza since 2006
following its overwhelming victory in the parliamentary election.

Israel has been blocking the Qatari funds, only partially opened the
crossings and enforced a full ban on construction materials. Moreover, even
patients requiring urgent treatment abroad have difficulties leaving and
re-entering Gaza. In related moves, Israel, certain Arab countries and the
US have been working to strengthen the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority
led by Mahmoud Abbas. This demonstrates that Israel's procrastination is
intended to weaken Hamas and create internal pressure against the movement.

In an effort to make some progress, the resistance groups have
intermittently allowed the launch of incendiary balloons towards Israel,
but this has not stirred the Israelis into acknowledging and acting upon
the ceasefire terms. The factions are now ready to discuss new measures to
push Israel to respect its pledges. According to the spokesman of Islamic
Jihad in Palestine, they "will not let Israel use the siege to cover up its
failure on the ground and we will not surrender to it, we will fight it."

[image: - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]]

No human rights in Gaza – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

While has been no clear indication of how the Palestinian resistance might
deal with the Israeli procrastination, Hamas Political Bureau member Izzat
Al-Resheq warned that Israel must end its violations in Jerusalem and
address the damage caused by the bombardment of Gaza. "What comes after the
'Sword of Al-Quds' battle will not be like what went before," he told
Reuters, "because the Palestinian people backed the resistance and know
that the resistance is what will liberate their land and protect their holy

Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasim said yesterday that the silence of his movement
would not last for too long. "If Israel wants the state of calm to
continue, it must fulfil its pledges," he said. He mentioned specifically
easing the siege and allowing the entry of construction materials.

*OPINION: Israel's siege is halving Gaza patients' survival rates, it's
time to act

"The Palestinian factions are certainly going for a new escalation if
Israel does not move to improve the lives of the Gaza residents and lift
restrictions on imports and exports," commented Palestinian journalist and
writer Mustafa Al-Sawwaf.

Israeli journalist Baruch Yedid, though, told me that Israel "is putting
pressure on Gaza for a certain reason, but it does not want to end up with
a military action."

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not
necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.
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