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A Geopolitical Analysis of the Situation and the Israeli Government’s Actions (November 2, 2023)

The aim of the war in the Gaza Strip, which was imposed on us on October 7, 2023, under horrific circumstances, is to topple the Hamas regime and ensure that Hamas, or another jihadist organization, will not take control of Gaza again. This is what the Israeli government declared.


However, the government’s conduct since the outbreak of war seriously impairs the chances of achieving this goal; it may even leave Israel alone in a multi-front campaign against Iran and its affiliates.


A Geopolitical Analysis of the Situation

Israel's war with Hamas is a war against a much broader axis of anti-Israel forces. These include Iran and its jihadist militias—Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen, pro-Iranian militias in Syria, and more. Israel cannot single-handedly eradicate the Iranian-Jihadist axis, but it does not need to do so. This axis threatens most Middle Eastern countries (including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the Persian Gulf states), and it also endangers many Western countries. Western and Arab countries are already cooperating in the war on the Iranian-Jihadist axis, and attained a major success in defeating ISIS (https://theglobalcoalition.org/en/).


The atrocities of October 7 aroused sympathy and support for Israel from potential allies in the West and the Middle East. From the first moment of the war, the State of Israel should have taken advantage of this support to establish a regional and international coalition to defeat Hamas, a coalition that would strengthen the alliance of moderates and destroy the alliance of jihadists. Only by conducting the war within such a coalition can Israel achieve its goals—not only for the IDF to eliminate Hamas’s military capabilities, but also for the military achievement to translate into long-term security through prevention of another takeover of Gaza by jihadist organizations.


For this, military success is not enough—ongoing action by an international coalition is required, as we learned from the ISIS precedent. Furthermore, the success of the coalition in its war on Hamas would be a deterrent message to Hezbollah.Such a coalition is needed now, not after the end of the military operation. As it did in the case of ISIS, a multi-national coalition could provide financial and civil support to the residents of the Gaza Strip throughout the fighting and after it. During the fighting, the coalition could facilitate evacuation of civilians and minimize the humanitarian toll—which in turn would greatly increase the chances of the IDF campaign successfully eliminating Hamas's military capabilities. Today, the presence of civilians, and Hamas's use of them as human shields, make it very difficult for the IDF to fight, and the humanitarian damage is already drawing international pressure on Israel to stop fighting before it can achieve its military goals.


After the fighting ends, a coalition of moderate states would be able to support the economic and civil rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip under a non-jihadist government. Conducting the war within such a coalition would reduce the manifestations of hostility and hatred towards Israel, since the war would not be understood as a war between Israel and the Palestinians, but between a moderate coalition and the jihadist axis. It is not too late to form the coalition and conduct the war within it.


The Israeli Government’s Actions

The Israeli government, in its actions and omissions, is not only failing to take advantage of the unique situation to ensure Israel’s long-term security, it is also directly endangering that security.

First, the government is not promoting the establishment of the coalition, but rather thwarts it by undermining the support of potential allies among both Western and Arab states. Among other things:

  • The Minister of Finance has called for Israel to violate its obligations under international agreements (the transfer of tax money to the Palestinian Authority).

  • In a document dated October 13, 2023, the Policy Division of the so-called Ministry of Intelligence proposes to evacuate the population of the Gaza Strip to Sinai and prevent their return—a proposal that violates international law, directly threatens Egypt, and makes it difficult for moderate Arab countries and Western countries to support Israel. It may also arouse fear among Gazans to evacuate temporarily, and thus potentially damages the IDF’s ability to meet its military aims.

  • The government is not stopping the increasing violence by settlers in the West Bank—violence that the head of the Shin Bet and the Chief of Staff have already warned is inciting unrest in the area, diverting forces from the southern and northern borders, and harming Israel's relations with its potential partners in the West and in the Middle East.

Second, as discussed above, through its failure to coordinate with Israel's current and potential allies, the government is already drawing international pressure on Israel to stop fighting before it has achieved its military goals.


Third, the irresponsible conduct of the Israeli government greatly increases the chance that the war will expand: It is already causing President Biden to lose support in the US, which endangers his continued resolute backing of Israel. Without it, the war in the Gaza Strip is much likelier to expand to other fronts.- Irresponsible statements by government officials regarding the goals of fighting in the Gaza Strip directly increase the danger that Hezbollah and other jihadist militias will enter the fray or increase their attacks on Israel.


Conclusion

The government’s actions outside a regional and international coalition seriously harm the chance that any international entity will take responsibility for the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip at the end of the military operation, and may leave Israel isolated in the campaign against Iran and its affiliates.

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