Reverses suffered by the Israeli army in 80 days of the ‘War on Gaza’ reminds of the Vietnam War. The then US President, Lyndon B. Johnson, invaded Vietnam to check the communism juggernaut. Today, POTUS Joe Biden is commanding the Israeli Defence Forces much to the disgust of centrist liberal forces.
Then, it was the start of the Cold War; today, Biden is fighting terrorists. Biden and Netanyahu have vowed to finish Hamas. But the nature and character of the ‘War on Gaza’ make it explicit that the IDF is targeting civilians along with Hamas. Israel claims to have killed nearly 3000 Hamas terrorists. But that is only 10 percent of the 40,000-strong Hamas. The reality is Israelis have killed nearly 18000 Palestinians.
These figures contradict Netanyahu. The attack is not only to finish off Hamas. The attack has an ulterior motive. The goal is to take control of Palestine. The US has been eyeing this oil producing region. So much so, Biden has put his political career at stake. And Americans are hitting the streets against Biden goading Netanyahu.
One thing is clear, the ‘War on Gaza’ would have ended if Biden hadn’t stood firm with Netanyahu. The genocide in Gaza is also of Biden’s doing. Does Israel have the support of “most of the world” – of the US, UK, EU? Truth is, the war against Hamas is only part of the ‘War on Gaza’. After 80 days of fighting, Biden is like Lyndon Johnson – on the verge of losing the war. Biden is bidding on ‘Bibi’ Netanyahu to do his bidding. The fact is Biden cannot ditch Israel for his own second term. Though a moderate Democrat, Biden wants to eliminate democratic and liberal forces. To achieve his mission Biden supports the likes of Benjamin Netanyahu.
The US is talking ceasefire but then why did the US boycott the vote on cease fire and veto the proposal for ceasefire. He talks of asking Netanyahu to stop civilian deaths but there is always something fishy about Biden and his statements. He could have come out with this suggestion long back, but he is waiting for the end of Hamas, which will not happen in a 100 years.
A week ago, the United Nations called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and Biden realised Israel was losing international support because of the “indiscriminate” bombing of civilians in Gaza. The 193-member UN General Assembly passed a resolution calling for ceasefire. 153 countries voted for and 23 abstained. But the US and Israel voted “against”.
A Hamas official in exile, Izzat El-Reshiq, echoed the general reaction: “Israel must stop its aggression, genocide, and ethnic cleansing of our people.” Israel had created an impression that its forces would finish Hamas in ground action. But reports paint a gloomy picture. So far the IDF has lost 152 soldiers. Hamas terrorists are reportedly targeting officers who know the geographical features of Gaza.
The killings of officers have created a precarious situation for Israel. Now bank employees, workers, vendors and shopkeepers are fighting Hamas and becoming easy victims. The total number of Israeli soldiers and officers killed since Oct. 7 is 469. These many deaths have had its effect on Netanyahu.
The war, which was initially perceived to be a cakewalk for Israel, has acquired a much bigger dimension with Hezbollah also taking a hand. The Lebanon-based terrorist group has with its security apparatus, political organization, and social services network, the reputation of “a state within a state” and is fighting for the Palestinian cause.
The US on December 22 released newly declassified intelligence reports that suggested Iran is “deeply involved in planning the operations against commercial vessels in the Red Sea”. Houthi rebels have launched more than 100 attacks against commercial and merchant ships transiting the Red Sea. The US has accused Iran of being “deeply involved” in the attacks. The Houthi are driven by their hate for Israel and their resistance to the West interference in the Middle East.
That said, it is not just military reverses but also the hits taken by the economy that has Netanyahu restive. Israeli businesses have come to standstill and traders, bankers and students are signing up to join the military. The situation has further worsened with thousands of people hitting the streets to protest against the ‘War on Gaza’.
As the war enters 80 days, Israelis appear resigned. Uncertainty has gripped them. The only option left is to agree to a ceasefire. Bibi is also scared of his loss of face. Before the declaration of war he had given the impression that he would win the battle. But in the prevailing situation it does not appear to be feasible. War experts and diplomats are of the opinion that Netanyahu has committed a blunder by underestimating Hamas.
While his popularity has been badly battered by the security failures in the wake of Hamas attack into southern Israel on October 7, the lingering war and Israel’s huge losses have exposed even Mossad. The masterminds of “October 7” Yahya Sinwar and Mohammed Deif continue to be at large and Israeli officers say they may need months more to complete their mission. To add to Netanyahu’s woes, Israeli Defence Forces have poor knowledge of urban warfare in which the Hamas terrorists are experts.
As for India’s role, right from the beginning, India has taken a wrong line. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s declaration that “We stand in solidarity with Israel at this difficult hour” might have had a soothing effect on the RSS, but it did not reflect the leadership’s political maturity. Finally, Biden appears to be getting little credit for his warmongering efforts. Some strategists caution that even if Biden did take a harder line with Israel, it would alienate him from Democrats who want him to strongly support the Jewish state. (IPA Service)