Asad Mirza

Israel Declares War Against Hamas

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Fifty years plus one day later, Israel was jolted once again; showing its unpreparedness for war after the Iran-backed Hamas launched a surprise attack against it. It took only one day for the Israeli prime minister to declare it as a “We are at war” - not an ‘operation,’ not a ‘round,’ but at war” besides questions being raised about his government. What will be the final result wonders Asad Mirza……

Indeed the wheel of time never stops for anyone and metaphorically it also unfolds completely unthinkable or unfathomable events. Similarly, history also has a peculiar way of repeating itself. It was repeated once again after fifty years plus one day when the Iran-supported Hamas launched a well-coordinated and bold land, sea and air invasion into Israeli territory.

Fifty years and one day later, Jerusalem was jolted once again as Iran-backed Hamas launched a surprise attack against Israel. The fighting is still ongoing, and the number of casualties is rising, but political statements calling for a unity government in Israel are already being heard.

In addition, just within a day of the onslaught, the Western media was replete with analyses and comments comparing the 6th October 2023 onslaught with the Yom Kippur War (also known as the Ramadan War, the October War, the 1973 Arab–Israeli War, or the Fourth Arab–Israeli War) and drawing parallels with Palestinians not honouring the Yom Kippur Day of the Holy Month of Ramadan in 1973 and timing of the attack this time with the joyous celebration of the Torah, which marks the concluding holiday of the Feast of Tabernacles.

These articles claim that in both cases, the enemy (Palestinians and Arabs) chose one of God’s appointed holidays for the assault; a time when people are typically enjoying the festivities with their families, so most Israeli and Western newspapers described the attacks as inhuman.

They further tried to justify the supposed Israeli unpreparedness saying that religious and traditional Jews gather in synagogues for prayer, where they are forbidden to bear arms, and their electronic devices, television and radio are turned off. Public transportation is halted, and communication with reservists and their mobilisation becomes problematic.

But additionally, we also have to realise that not every Arab Muslim child is aware or is made aware repeatedly about the Yom Kippur War, unlike Israeli children who from a young age are taught and their brains instilled with hatred towards the Arabs.

Instead the common Arab, or for that matter, every Muslim is more concerned with the Israeli repression in the occupied territories, besides their hostile attitude to the faithful visiting the Al Aqsa mosque for prayers. Everyone knows how the fully armed and heavily reinforced Israeli soldiers treat the common Palestinians and faithful from elsewhere.

In just two days videos of Israelis kidnapped by Hamas gained huge traction on various social media platforms, and their traction completely outruns the traction, which the video of a deaf Palestinian girl being mistreated by Israeli soldiers is getting.

At the political level, the attacks also immediately led to calls from the opposition to exclude cooperation with far-right parties that are part of the Netanyahu government. Suddenly, a country that was badly divided over Netanyahu’s judicial reforms reunited in the wake of the attacks. Yair Lapid has now called for an emergency unity government, one without Ben-Gvir and other extremist ministers, and Netanyahu seems amenable.

At the international level, except for Iran and the PLA President lauding the attack, most of the so-called Islamic nations and organisations have used the diplomatique route and have urged for caution and restraint by both parties.

An adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on 7th October congratulated Palestinian fighters, the semi-official ISNA news site reported. “We will stand by the Palestinian fighters until the liberation of Palestine and Jerusalem,” it quoted Yahya Rahim Safavi as saying.

This cautious attitude is perhaps due to the fact that after the signing of the Abrahams Accord, most of the Arab nations have shown their inclination to normalise their diplomatic relations and of course trade relations with Israel, including Saudi Arabia and UAE.

Meanwhile, the litmus test is for the Biden administration. As now U.S. might be forced to directly engage in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, working to ensure that regional stability can be restored, to keep the normalisation process started between Arabs and Israel at its behest on the tracks.

Additionally, the question uppermost in everyone’s mind is how the current conflict will impact Middle Eastern politics what transformation the relations between the U.S. and various Arab states may take place and how the international community is going to respond to Iran, and its supposed support to Hamas.

But equally, it is uncertain how this will end. How long this current crisis will last, whether and how the current Israeli and Palestinian leaders survive it, and what comes next for the Israeli and Palestinian people, are all mired in future tense. But one thing is certain, the latest conflict will hugely impact the Arab world and certainly, a change is bound to happen.

Asad Mirza is a Delhi-based senior political and international affairs commentator


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