Israel is partially withdrawing its forces from Gaza. Protests against Netanyahu

Kseniya Sabaleuskaya
TEL AVIV, ISRAEL. August 14, 2019. Prime minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu meeting with Israeli journalists at the Beit-Jabotinsky compound. Israel political crisis, coalition talks, form cabinet

Belarus (Brussels Morning Newspaper), It has been more than a week since the United Nations Security Council resolution 2728 passed calling for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and the release of all the hostages taken by Hamas. The resolution was finally implemented after six months of failed Algeria-proposed and US-proposed drafts of the resolution with the US using its veto power four times and finally voting “abstention” during the decision-making process of the implemented version of the resolution.

Even though the resolution was made with clearly more support for the Israeli part, providing an obligation of the hostages’ release taken by Hamas, but not by Israel and during a Ramadan celebration, nonetheless, Israel harshly criticized the decision of the United Nations Security Council. Israeli Minister of National Security publicly stated the resolution to be “anti-Semitic”, Benjamin Netanyahu in return called it “a clear retreat from the consistent US position”. Additionally, the Israeli government stated the resolution to give “Hamas hope that international pressure will force Israel to accept the ceasefire without the release of our hostages, thus harming both the war effort and the effort to release the hostages” which means that Israel is trying to prolong its “mission” in every possible way and justifying civilian killings.

Israel is using Article 51 of the United Nations Charter which states a right to self-defense in case of attack. However, there is a difference between self-defense and committing genocide on the partially occupied territory of Gaza over which Israel has some level of control. Israel is attacking residential buildings, schools, and even hospitals, where Palestinian doctors are trying to save the lives of innocent citizens of Gaza who fell victim to the attacks. In its defense, the Israeli government stated that “in a war, people get hurt” and that it is Hamas to blame for civilian casualties as they are using them “as a human shield.”

After the resolution came last month calling for the implementation of provisional measures, including the “expansion of the flow of humanitarian assistance” and the “reinforcement of the protection of civilians in the entire Gaza Strip” and additionally “lifting of all barriers to the provision of humanitarian assistance at scale, in line with international humanitarian law”, the Israeli response was strange, to say the least:

“Israel does more than even it’s required. It drops flyers over Gaza to tell people to vacate the area. It makes phone calls to local civilians to vacate the area. Once Israel has taken these precautions, it’s allowed to take down the building. If civilians prefer to stay- they take their responsibility.”

Especially notifying the last fragment of the statement said by the Israeli lawyer about “civilians’ responsibility to stay” as to where should Gaza citizens go if Israel provided the full-out blockade of the area. Even refugee camps on the territory of Gaza that at the beginning of the conflict were securing people currently also came under attack.

After dozens of countries raised in pro-Palestinian protests, Israeli people have started to show their resistance against Netanyahu’s government as well. Thousands of protestors gathered together near the building of the Parliament demanding Benjamin Netanyahu’s resignation and early elections. People are protesting against the Prime Minister’s handling of the war and are seeking the release of all the hostages that are kept in Gaza.

Benjamin Netanyahu is losing his power, his allies, and the support of Israel’s main sponsor, the United States. Although his government is on his side right now, there is no guarantee that it will not turn its back in a proper moment. Several Israeli protests and Western pressure are pushing Israel to take some decisive measures. Israel started to withdraw its forces from the southern part of Gaza and announced the possibility for Palestinians to return to one of the southern cities, Khan Yunis. Additionally, Israel announced an opening of two humanitarian corridors: Erez and Kerem Shalom after a private online conversation with Joe Biden this week.

Benjamin Netanyahu also guaranteed to allow more humanitarian supplies from Jordan. At the same time, an unofficial statement about a possible Iranian attack this Friday is changing the trajectory of Israel’s politics after the Israeli attack on the Iranian consulate in Syria was committed several days ago. Iran’s foreign minister voted to respond to the attack as it was not the first case of Israel targeting Iranian military officials. Lacking international support in the mission against Hamas in Gaza and fearing an attack by Iranian forces, the Israeli government has already started to change its attitude to the conflict. While some observers are expecting the termination of the military mission of Israel in Gaza, others are preparing for another conflict, this time between Israel and Iran.

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Kseniya Sabaleuskaya is a multilingual student hailing from Belarus but currently pursuing her academic journey in Poland, where she is fluent in Russian and Belarusian. She is now embarking on an Erasmus adventure in Granada, studying Political Science and Sociology in English while honing her Spanish skills. With a background in tutoring Polish and crafting insightful articles on various political subjects, Kseniya is passionate about researching, analyzing, and drawing her own conclusions.