Israel prepares ground offensive against Gaza
The Swiss newspaper Le Temps said that tens of thousands of Israeli soldiers massed on the outskirts of Gaza appear ready to launch a ground offensive against the territory after Israel ordered residents to evacuate the north, reminiscent of the Nakba in 1948, despite the dangers posed by the number of displaced people, the fate of “hostages” and international support, the newspaper said, discussing the issue by answering four questions:
First.. Ground offensive?
Le Temps wondered about the likelihood of the Israeli army entering Gaza and believed that waging a street-by-street, house-by-house war seems complicated because the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) has undoubtedly prepared for it. However, the war government formed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu needs a “quick victory” because this is the only goal that unites the politically disparate forces in a state more politically divided than ever.
The neءؤwspaper pointed out that any incursion into Gaza aims first and foremost to appease Israeli public opinion, and guessed that the incursion would be done by sending elite units to kill Hamas leaders or free more than 100 prisoners currently in their grip.
It believed that this may be the preferred option for the Israeli army at a time when it seems that Hamas is trying to lure the Israelis into a trap they have undoubtedly set for them. The newspaper adds that this type of operation relies heavily on the information the Israelis may have on the ground, that is, on Palestinian informants.
Second.. A million displaced?
Meanwhile, the Israeli authorities told the United Nations to “displace” half of the territory’s population and “evacuate” the northern half within 24 hours to allow the Israeli army to carry out operations against Hamas, which it promised to “eliminate”, although there is no refuge in the already overcrowded territory.
In this context, UN Deputy Secretary-General Martin Griffiths says, “I am horrified at the humanitarian consequences” of this evacuation, which will reduce Gaza by half and immediately evoke the Nakba among the population, most of whom are refugees.
Third.. Sacrificing the hostages?
The newspaper saw the presence of a number of prisoners in the territory as complicating the situation for Western countries that have shown strong support for Israel and its military offensive, especially the United States, which may not be ready to see its weapons used in an attack that takes the lives of thousands of its citizens, as some 500 to 600 Palestinians trapped in Gaza also hold US citizenship, according to Washington estimates, which has unsuccessfully tried to establish a “corridor” to evacuate foreigners from Gaza.
Fourth.. Western support?
Despite the European Union’s full support for Israel in the face of what it called “the atrocities committed by Hamas”, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock pointed to the need to respect international law, because “the fundamental protection of civilians is what distinguishes us democracies from terrorists”.
However, such a commitment seems difficult with the approaching Israeli attack, especially with the siege of Gaza, which deprives its inhabitants of electricity, drinking water and medical equipment, and with forced displacement and the use of phosphorus bombs in crowded areas, which NGOs have denounced.