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Fragile Gaza ceasefire but Israelis are already calling it ‘Operation Broken Record’

TJI Wrap
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Published: 16 May 2023

Last updated: 5 March 2024

After five days of fighting and with 35 people dead, the status quo has returned until the inevitable next round of violence.

Israel’s latest incursion into Gaza ended on Saturday evening after Palestinian militant groups agreed to a ceasefire.

Israel reopened border crossings into the Gaza Strip for the entry of fuel and other goods on Sunday, after as the Strip's sole electricity provider warned of a looming humanitarian disaster from a fuel shortage.

Operation Shield and Arrow’ began with the simultaneous  assassination of three senior Islamic Jihad commanders early last Tuesday but continued until Saturday night with hundreds of rockets fired into Israel and continuing Israeli attacks on Islamic Jihad targets.

In Gaza, 33 people were killed, including six children and three women, and 147 injured, according to figures from the Palestinian Health Ministry.

In Israel, two people in Israel were killed by rockets — an elderly Israeli woman in Rehovot and a Palestinian worker from Gaza at a construction site near the border. Eight Israelis were wounded in the Rehovot strike.

No one believes the ceasefire will hold for long.

“Israel has now launched 15 operations in Gaza since the Disengagement. That’s one every 14 months, on average. That’s 15 officially announced operations, usually lasting at least a few days – not the sporadic exchanges of rocket launches and airstrikes, of which there have been countless dozens,” wrote Anshel Pfeffer in Haaretz.

Commentators agree that neither Israeli governments nor Hamas, which controls Gaza, have an incentive to end the cycle of violence.

“One key reason for the lack of urgency in solving the Gaza problem is that it has become increasingly convenient, in some cases even advantageous, for the main players to go through the routine of having these periodic outbursts of violence and then getting back to business without sacrificing any political capital,” wrote Pfeffer.

On the Israeli side, the Gaza operation gave Benjamin Netanyahu’s government a spike in the polls – although his coalition still wouldn’t reach a majority if an election were held now. It also led to smaller democracy protests this past weekend.

In fact, more than a third of Israelis believe  Netanyahu launched Operation Shield and Arrow due to the Likud Party's recent fall in polls,  slightly fewer believed  it was to restore quiet to the south, and 13% believed it was due to pressure from National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, according to a poll published by Channel 13 on Sunday evening.

On the Palestinian side, David Horowitz wrote in the Times of Israel that the focus on Islamic Jihad has useful implications for Hamas, which rules Gaza and does not want a war that could destabilise its regime, at least not until it chooses.

“By staying out of a succession of recent Islamic Jihad-Israel conflicts — and with Israel choosing not to hold Hamas responsible for its evil sister’s actions and choosing not to target Hamas people or assets — Gaza’s rulers have been left free and undisturbed to quietly build up their military assets for use against Israel come the day.

“When will that day come? One test will be on Thursday, when the Jerusalem Day flag march is again set to parade through the Muslim Quarter of the Old City — an event that Hamas chose to target two years ago by firing rockets at Jerusalem, forcing the abandonment of the march, and even interrupting the activities of the Knesset,” wrote Horowitz.

For people on both sides of the border, the lack of will to find a long-term solution means they can only expect more weeks like last week.

 As Jack Khoury wrote in Haaretz. “Palestinian civilians in Gaza, and residents of Israeli border communities to a large extent, are the hostages of a policy that has no vision for the future. It only seeks to preserve the status quo and sporadically repeat the same cycle of violence."


Gaza border crossings reopened after Israel, Palestinian groups declare ceasefire (Haaretz)

Operation Broken Record: Israel is already counting down to the next Gaza conflict (Emanuel Fabian, Times of Israel)

With Gaza flare-ups, the ugly truth is that everyone wins apart from the People (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz)

Israel’s Gaza operation met its goals in seconds; trouble is, it went on for five days (David Horowitz, Times of Israel)

Five days and 35 dead later, back to the hopeless status quo in Gaza (Jack Khoury, Haaretz)

Gaza Op Boosts Netanyahu, but Opposition Would Become Majority in Knesset, Poll Shows (Haaretz)

Over 33% of Israelis think Netanyahu started Gaza operation due to polls (Jerusalem Post)

Downsized anti-overhaul rallies held amid ongoing Gaza rocket threat (Times of Israel)

Photo: Palestinians celebrate the announcement of a cease-fire after five days of fighting between Israel and the Islamic Jihad militant group, in Gaza City on Saturday. (Adel Hana/AP)

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