Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

The dangers of the situation in Gaza | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Amidst our preoccupation with the situations in Syria, Egypt, Yemen, Libya and Tunisia, the danger of the situation in Gaza seems to have slipped from our memory, even though the current scenario forewarns that a military explosion is likely to start in Gaza and end in southern Lebanon.

Without getting into the traditional maze as to who is responsible for the current escalation – Is it the Israeli occupation army against our unarmed people in Gaza? Or is it the Islamic Jihad troops that launched missiles at the Israeli settlements and cities? – it is certain that we are facing a highly volatile situation.

Because the situation is more dangerous than it appears on the surface, we must consider the following elements:

First, the reliable information that Israel is especially concerned about the Islamic Jihad militants in Gaza being in possession of Iranian-produced “Fajr 5” missiles, with a range of 110 kilometers, capable of reaching Tell Aviv. This can be seen as an extremely important military advancement for the resistance forces.

Second, the Israeli military intelligence service considers these missiles to represent some kind of proxy Iranian war against Israel, through its ally the Islamic Jihad movement. Such a confrontation is taking place at a time when Israel is seriously considering a military strike against selected Iranian targets to destroy its nuclear capabilities.

Third, Washington will not object to an Israeli strike against Hamas or Islamic Jihad targets provided that the range of the strike does not extend beyond what is required; meaning that the strike must not spread outside the desired range and provoke Iranian reactions in Iraq or Lebanon.

Fourth, Israel is deeply concerned about the recent meeting between Mousa Abu-Marzook, Deputy Commander of the Hamas movement, and Hassan Nasrallah, Secretary-General of Hezbollah, and also the visit which Mahmoud al-Zahar, a prominent leader of Hamas, paid to Tehran and the statements he made about the continuation of armed resistance against Israel.

All these factors are occurring at a time when the region is preoccupied with the Arab Spring states, and similarly, the West is preoccupied with its deplorable economies, presidential elections in France and Germany are imminent, and likewise Washington is absorbed in presidential election campaigning.

Experts believe that the current timing is highly favorable for a large-scale military operation.

What is going on in the mind of Netanyahu, his army and intelligence service? This is what the Israeli actions will reveal in the weeks to come.