Tariq Al-Homayed
Saudi journalist and writer, and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper

Gaza… War on the Brink

Solutions to the Gaza war seem elusive despite the overwhelming suffering and pain. The primary reason thus far is that both Hamas and Israel seem incapable of putting forward genuine solutions to end this conflict.

Hamas launched its operation on October 7 without considering the aftermath. They anticipated another cyclical war, soon to be followed by a truce and a prisoner exchange. However, that is not what happened. Israel's retaliation was to launch a “crazy” war, and those in command solely fixated on the next day. But how?

The current right-wing Israeli government is the most radical in the history of the country. It has polarized Israel domestically. Netanyahu, the man in charge, is evading charges of corruption and facing allegations, both domestically and internationally, of undermining the democratic process.

Now, he must contend with another predicament: the impending internal Israeli investigations after the war. The only question it will revolve around is: How did Hamas succeed in its infiltration operation on October 7? We can expect to see many heads rolling.

Thus, the ongoing conflict in Gaza, setting aside the innocent civilians, is being fought between Hamas and Israel, the most extreme elements on both sides, and both seem caught in a path of no return for fear of the consequences.

Hamas failed to anticipate all the repercussions when it launched this operation. This wasn't their first or second misadventure. It led to immense destruction in Gaza as the Saudis and Americans were working on an initiative aimed at enhancing the lives of the Palestinians and advancing the peace process.

Thus, Hamas recognizes that the residents of Gaza might not forgive this recklessness. They understand that the Resistance Axis has let them down, and they foresee their regional trajectory mirroring that of Hezbollah after its 2006 Lebanon War.

On the global front, given the West's unprecedented support for Israel, Hamas realizes that the world is no longer indifferent to it. The ideology and actions of groups that have branched out of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Brotherhood itself.

In Israel, the hardline Netanyahu government recognizes that the public will not forgive it for the recent events, irrespective of what happens on the battlefield. The Israelis will push back against the far-right. Investigations will be the end of Netanyahu and others like him.

And so, both Hamas and the hardline Israeli government understand the gravity of the situation. The ongoing conflict will be the end for both sides. The victor will be a political and historical loser and will have major repercussions to contend with. Growing international consensus will inevitably soon press for the realization of a two-state solution.

Hezbollah resists and avoids entering this war because it recognizes the substantial costs that would be paid. Similarly, Iran understands the stakes, seeing it as a war of no return, or rather a war on the brink of the abyss. Hamas seems indifferent to the welfare of Gaza's inhabitants, just as Netanyahu appears unconcerned about the well-being of the prisoners and hostages.

It is a war of defense from the front, suggesting that we are confronted with a brutal, and agonizing conflict that will embarrass everyone involved, first and foremost Iran. After this war ends, a new era will undoubtedly begin. There will be inevitable shifts in the Palestinian situation, and no one will avoid their repercussions, especially not the Palestinian Authority.