So now both Hamas and Israel have declared a cease-fire of sorts. I hope it lasts, but I am not overly optimistic. There has been tremendous destruction in Gaza, and a very high civilian death toll among the Palestinians, maybe half of the 1200 or so killed.
And what has Israel accomplished, aside from harming its very soul? Well, it has surely damaged its reputation, perhaps irrevocably. I have heard some people say, “Everyone hates Israel anyway, so what does it matter?” It matters. This may be a turning point in many people’s view of the state, and it certainly doesn’t look like Israel is making many efforts in the way of peace.
Speaking of which, I have read people suggesting that this may bring a new stage of peace negotiations. Let’s just say in theory that some negotiations are accomplished soon, what is the impact of the military action in itself? I would expect that the Palestinians view of Israel will become even more hostile, and that possible relations between the two peoples will become more distant on a personal level.
The real question for me now is, what will be the result of all this? Will Hamas’ popularity in Gaza and the West Bank rise after this? Is Israel setting a precedent in terms of its military responses? Will the humanitarian situation in Gaza improve? etc.
I don’t want to make any predictions on these, but I want to note a Pew Research poll that says Hamas’ popularity was declining before the IDF assault. We can only wait to see if this decline will sharpen or reverse.
I want to end by bringing attention to the plight of Palestinian civilians in this video.
This might be all in Hebrew, but it is horrifying to listen to. A doctor from Gaza, who works in an Israeli hospital, is speaking on the phone after 3 of his daughters and his niece are killed by an Israeli shell. It’s hard for me to see how anything can justify this.