Hazem Saghieh

Israel, Iran and Hamas Are Wiping out Gaza

Nothing can excuse what the Israelis have done and are doing in Gaza. Nothing absolves Israel of responsibility for its vicious and constant collective punishment. After having denied Gazans of all ages access to food, water, electricity, and medicine with its siege, it is now crowning this punishment with ethnic cleansing of epic proportions. Nothing lessens the repugnance of Israel’s hate-mongering, which is leading the region to unprecedented polarization and a point of no return...

If the right to resist such actions is beyond doubt, then the actions of the "Al-Aqsa Flood" are the only form of resistance that should neither be employed nor lauded.

Hamas instigated a war with its killing and kidnapping of civilians. It has plunged Gaza's civilians into war without providing them with any of war’s requisites, the exceptional cruelty of which’s absence only an imbecile could fail to recognize. Hamas did not build shelters and fortifications, and this is despite governing the Strip alone since 2007, the many wars it has fought with Israel over this period, and constantly announcing that it would liberate the Aqsa Mosque.

In addition, it made none of the economic preparations demanded by a confrontation so radical as to create a rupture with donor countries. We are very well aware that the European Union is Gaza’s primary donor, and that three in four Gazan families receive food and monetary assistance from international organizations.

But what about the balance of power and the alliances that could reinforce Hamas’ position amid this war and provide it with cover?

Among the influential international actors, the West - the United States and Europe - and India have adopted stances of near total alignment with Israel. While the demonstrations of this support, from ministerial and political visits to those of aircraft carriers, are too many to count, the bewilderment that has followed them is surprising, as the political discourse of the bewildered has always linked the West to its "protege" Israel.

On the opposite side, the support expected from China and Russia, who frequently rant and rave about breaking the United States’ unipolarity, was nowhere to be seen.

China committed to working with Egypt to push the warring sides to negotiate, and it referenced the "historical injustice" that the Palestinians have faced. As for Russia, its President Vladimir Putin emphasized the failure of US policies across the globe and stressed the need to seek "compromise." In general, the furthest Moscow and Beijing went in their support of Hamas’s war was refusing to condemn it.

What about the Islamic world? Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seemed to grow wiser overnight, blending his condemnation with an emphasis on "neutrality," "restraint," and "mediation." He also asserted that not allowing essential goods into Gaza was a "stain on those behind the decision." As for Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Indonesia, they didn’t make a peep.

The Arab world, as we all know, is divided between countries drowning in economic crises and domestic conflicts, and others that the "Axis of Resistance" brands as "engaging in normalization conspiracies." In turn, the Arab League, in phrasing that it saw as fair and conciliatory, condemned the blockade and the killing of civilians "on both sides".

Palestine itself is politically divided, and even if the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah wanted to support Hamas in Gaza, its hands would be tied by a thousand and one factors.

Moreover, the Aqsa Flood comes as Israel is more divided than it has been since it was founded in 1948. Thus, this military operation prevented a shift that could have created unforeseeable potentialities which.

However, the Aqsa Flood was not without any supporters. Besides Bashar al-Assad, whose airports in Damascus and Aleppo were bombed as he was showing his solidarity, as well as the Iraqi and Yemeni "factions" who expressed their willingness to join the fighting, even while bogged down in their own civil conflicts, Iran, and by extension Hezbollah, were the only ones to provide serious support.

It seems that Iran’s contribution was limited to the first blow, that is, to the Aqsa Flood itself, which was a truly remarkable technical and military success. However, when Hamas’s need for the "united fronts" strategy subsequently hardened, the leaders of each front began awaiting "the appropriate time and place" and analyzing "the conditions on the ground" until they "mature" in one way or another.

And so, even if we were to overlook all other considerations and limit our attention to pure self-interest, a pressing question remains: Who plans such a strike without accounting for the factors above? Who orchestrated this without giving civilian lives, those of Palestinians before Israelis', any weight?

In all likelihood, two minds came together to lead us to this outcome: the mind of the Iranian regime that trades in the lives of the people in Gaza, and that of Hamas, in which the nonchalance of fundamentalist consciousness and the viciousness of totalitarian consciousness coalesce. These two elements see nothing in humanity, but Earth’s cheapest commodity.

As we vociferously celebrated an operation that our reason, conscience, and sense of responsibility, or even for our self-interest, should have compelled us to condemn, we were hit with the onslaught of Israel's "civilized" brutality. Thus, the outcome of this tripartite convergence was a catastrophe graver than the 1948 Nakba and the 1967 Naksa combined.