Cease-fire

(To Gino Lanzara)
31/05/21

Prologue: similar to the classic invitation to abandon any kind of hope, here, with a more humble and realistic perspective but with the same intent, it is suggested to strip off any ideological-religious superstructure, at any oriented level since it would not provide an objective vision for its very abrasive nature, unpopular and not trendy.

From the point of view of war law it is completely senseless to bend jurisprudential principles to contingent political visions, since they would substantiate lines of conduct aimed at passionately justifying the actions of some and the reactions of the others; from a historical perspective, without prejudice to the intransigences of both sides, one cannot in any case forget past events: declaring and losing the war inevitably entails having to give up something; Egypt, which has maintained effective diplomatic relations with Jerusalem, has seen Sinai returned, but has expressly renounced the Gaza Strip, perhaps mindful of what happened at the hands of the Palestinians in Jordan during the famous September Black.

Parodo. If Jerusalem was a detonator, with a trend that recalls what happened during the last world war when the Mufti Muḥammad Amīn al-Ḥusaynī proclaimed al-Aqsa in danger, the missiles directed from Gaza to Israel have certified the explosion of a crisis characterized from a changing intensity.

The subsequent ceasefire imposes the need for an analysis former before and projected towards a very near future, bearing in mind that yet another crisis has developed simultaneously on several fronts, and that the faint stagnation of the fighting cannot elude the underlying problems.

If it is true that Hamas' (real and non-telegenic) firepower has exceeded the known limits thanks to an incremental missile saturation capacity, it is equally true that the Israeli retaliation, after a first moment in which Tsahal seemed to have been taken by surprise, it was lightning fast and devastating.

In Israel and the USA, friction has abruptly awakened those hoping for the containment of a latent conflict or, indeed, to be archived; a distorted and heightened perception both by the Abrahamic Agreements, designed to normalize relations between Israel and various Arab states, which have validated a downward prioritization of interests in the PA, reluctant to take responsibility and control in Gaza as long as Hamas holds a wing military and monopoly of the use of force, both from the positive trend of the internal Israeli economy, and from a weak strategic thinking generated since the withdrawal of soldiers and settlers in 2005; Hamas aimed to assert its leadership by depriving president Abbas and Fatah, who, however, capitalized on the Jerusalem events to cancel the legislative elections; therefore a functional crisis to trigger a new escalation in Gaza, a consequent double scenario useful for Hamas to make the conflict more and more spatially asymmetrical.

The new elements, which have already rooted in the future, were the forms of internal insurgency, to be read also under the risk of an impending Arab population increase in the face of the relatively low Jewish birth standards.

Here, then, is how three contemporary political crises are triggered in Gaza, where the Hamas political and military multiformity which proposes indefinite objectives, the political crisis of the PA and Abbas undermined by Marwan Barghouti1, Israeli political crisis, bound to the fate of the prime minister towards whom an attention has been polarized that has diverted Israelis from other issues, following a dangerous ideological incoherence.

Episodes. In the international arena, the deplorations have had limited success, even if it must be said that the dynamics that have highlighted a widespread diplomatic malaise over the Israeli-Palestinian quarrel, have led other and more or less unprecedented actors to appear on the Middle Eastern stage. For the Americans, phlegmatizing statements and debates on Gaza in the Security Council has given China and Russia an advantage, a bonus that can be used whenever objections relating to Syria or Xinjiang are raised.

It should not be forgotten that in accordance with the principle that in international relations there are no empty spaces but empty spaces to be filled, what American diplomacy has abandoned has first become a coveted Chinese prey, and secondly Russian. After all, American politics has become accustomed to trends there Zelig, so it is not surprising that the Abrahamic Agreements, for the Arab countries, have become an insurance against the collapse of the oil price linked to a possible rapprochement with Iran, nor that the them it is naturally parceled into increasingly varied currents which, if on the one hand ask, barring fluctuating second thoughts, the suspension of arms sales to Israel, on the other hand they support the Blinken line which supports the PA instead of Hamas; a line that would be expected to become a less smoky interpreter in the search for alternative solutions capable of satisfying and concretely reassuring the parties, beginning to make it clear, especially to Hamas, that the ceasefire is not a victory and cannot be capitalized as an element post-war diplomacy, which is a complex of political actions that cannot be limited to transitory and temporary measures; all while enhancing the political weight of Egypt2, bordering Gaza, which can also deny the political victory to Hamas as an expression of a Brotherhood, the Muslim one, perceived as an existential threat that acts as a glue with Qatar and Turkey, an Egypt that enjoys the unprecedented Biden - al Sisi and witnesses Turkish attempts at rapprochement.

It should be remembered that Cairo and Jerusalem have common interests converging on energy and security; as regards the first area, there is the shared intent of hydrocarbon exploitation in the eastern Mediterranean, while the security aspect is substantiated both in the fight against jihadism in the Sinai peninsula and in the containment of Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The gas has also affected Mediterranean geopolitics, so much so that it cannot overlook the attacks threatened by Hamas on the Israeli platforms of the Tamar field, and which advised the Jerusalem Navy to install Iron Dome on its corvettes; events to which the Turkish exclusion from the eastern energy games must be added, with Israel led to support the pro-Hellenic bloc together with the Emirates. From here the news reported by the Turkish pro-government newspaper is more understandable Yeni Şafak, which re-launched the proposal that Ankara made informally to the Palestinian government about an agreement aimed at redefining the maritime delimitation between the Anatolian coast and the Gaza Strip; a de facto agreement with no real counterpart, given the Palestinian institutional inconsistency3.

Realistically, the US should aim for more limited and achievable objectives, also given the decreasing level of their interests in the area, with the exception of Iranian nuclear power, with Tehran cultivating a specularly opposite vision which, starting from the details, covers areal interests. extended, and that he found in Palestine the master key to subtracting importance from Ryadh.

But what could objectively lead to the ceasefire, besides a return to the status quo ante? Which of the political actors involved could reasonably negotiate effectively with two contenders who, inter alia interested in cognitive warfare techniques, could still benefit from a temporary interruption of hostilities? Israel wanted the memory of the price paid to allow Hamas to achieve the goal of simultaneously opening more fronts to stand up as leader, an intent undermined by the Israeli reaction that highlighted both the onerousness the accumulation of war to the detriment of the well-being of citizens, and the objective impossibility of defending oneself; the Israeli leadership, for its part, had to take note of the need to prepare and coordinate the expectations of public opinion, clarifying the logic underlying the adopted strategy, shaping an effective way to illustrate the results obtained on the basis of modern warfare characteristics, thus avoiding to generate the feeling of inanity and of the missed victory, one lesson learned which must be kept in mind at the time of the confrontation with Hezbollah; it is therefore appropriate that Israeli strategic thinking is therefore multi-frontal and multidisciplinary, aimed at the present and the future, and with significant capacity for integration between preventive research and subsequent planning of the next conflict.

The Palestinian surprise effect was therefore offset by the campaign against everything Hamas perceives as an asset, including skyscrapers, luxury homes in the Rimal neighborhood, financial institutions.

While Israel seeks the restoration of deterrence but without further compromising its social fabric, which has been tried by both the Arab resident insurrection and orthodox intransigence, Hamas aims to consolidate internal positions at the expense of Fatah. If the Protective Margin of 2014 highlighted the interest of the Jewish government to carry on the war, in 2019, with Hamas capable of identifying Israeli weaknesses, Netanyahu instead assumed a stabilizing and functional role in an electoral political return; today a conjunction of Arab actors is desirable4 and internationals that lead Israelis and Palestinians to compromise.

Basically, the lack of a clear intention to go beyond mere condemnation declarations is highlighted, given the difficulty of undermining the balance induced by the Abrahamic Agreements, capable of starting a new security system in which Israel and the Gulf countries are related to each other in anti-Iranian and anti-Turkish key, a factor that in some way arises as a compensation between the raids on Gaza and the negotiations underway in Vienna, where the US and Iran are transacting on a renewed JCPOA, but which only contemplates generalist quotes about the Palestinian problem and where, in the negotiations, Palestine was the most important absentee.

It must also be said that the renewed US diplomatic action seems to have rehabilitated Iranian contacts despite the Shiite expansion policy, after having relaunched the hypothesis of unprecedented attempts at dialogue between Saudis and Iranians, the ones interested in improving the security aspect, the others to limit the number of hostile countries by alleviating a dramatic economic crisis that cannot fail to affect the upcoming Persian presidential elections. However in medio stat virtus, and if it is true that thanks to the Agreements, tacitly approved by Saudi Arabia, it has recovered anti-Iranian geopolitical positions, it is equally true that those same positions have been left vacant precisely by the Palestinian leadership which, not knowing how to adapt its claims to reality iridescent, he succumbed to interested flattery first in Farsi and then in Turkish.

In summary, all the elements of one are present perfect storm both for the explosion of a Third Intifada which, given the premises, would affect the entire MO5 reverberating also in the Central Mediterranean, a fact already witnessed by the launch of missiles from Syria and Lebanon (which could become the center of US attention), according to the principle of overlapping with other crises6 which risks exacerbating the existing fault between Turkey, Qatar and the blockade of the Gulf countries7, both to lead to the outbreak of a new war.

Two factors clearly emerge: the political incapacity of the two leaderships in government activities, and the strong feelings of dissatisfaction that fuel extremist radicalisms that shift the focus from median and more rational positions, according to a paradigm that enhances the precariousness of the ceasefire, however, undermined by the shared belief of having won the war, on the Israeli side for having significantly reduced Hamas' military and infrastructural capacity8, from the Palestinian one for having consolidated its internal position by marginalizing Fatah, which controls the PA, which governs in the West Bank, a region which, for Israel, must remain outside any possible conflict.

Hamas, in challenging an impossible antagonist to defeat, will now have to win the most difficult bet, that of the reconstruction of Gaza, conditioned by the embargo imposed by Israel, and by the USA, which intend to bring the necessary funds to the more moderate Abbas PA. On the Israeli side, Netanyahu emerged temporarily strengthened, albeit at a high price, which had risen both as a result of the violence that exploded between Arabs and Israelis, and because of the criticism leveled by the Orthodox right, which would have preferred to continue with military action.

The hypothesis of a change in the Israeli executive obviously opens up new perspectives which, however, given the planned alternation between Lapid and Bennet, do not seem to be supported by a coherent and uninterrupted political and decision-making line. However, the regional political subjects interested in various capacities are still not lacking.

Turkey, disliked by Egypt for its presence in Libya, perseveres with an aggressive policy, contrary to the Abrahamic Agreements and which, moreover, does not reconcile with a suffering economy and not suited to the desire for neo-Ottoman grandeur; it is no coincidence that Ankara was not considered a valid political subject in the peace negotiations. Shiite Iran, which shows at least a more linear strategy, accused of collaboration with Sunni al Qaeda, has not failed to support the logistics and operations of both Hamas9 of both Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad, while it is continuing to undergo, at sea, actions aimed at sabotaging commercial and surveillance activities, and at home, to tamper with the efficiency of the plants responsible for finalizing the nuclear program, according to a conflicting logic of low intensity, with a war of shadows which, in its asymmetry, has seen prominent personalities succumb10.

Guardian of the Walls it was more war than operation; began with the casus belli provided by the Hamas ultimatum which was followed by the rocket launch that made Jerusalem part of the equation with Israel. On the part of Hamas, the events showed qualitatively improved means, a more efficient capacity for command, control, and coordination with Islamic Jihad, but also an underestimation of the extent of the Israeli response, little versed in moderation.

In the next battle, the cd. Metropolitan, the IDF will have to focus on the missile and logistics component; the other step must be to deprive the Arab citizens of the country of weapons, protagonists of violent insurrections which, in the future, could find synergistic ideas with organized crime. Once again the Jewish military political leadership has given priority to deterrence operations based on air power, privileged to land power which, while conferring a clear victory, would have demanded too heavy a duty both in terms of losses and international political return.

The objective difficulty in dealing with the thousands of Hamas missiles has assumed a strategic significance and underlined the different impact determined by the different visibility of the results obtained by the two sides; Guardian of the Walls it was pure asymmetry also both for what concerned the objectives, political and cognitive for Hamas, military for Israel, and for reiterating that there is no solution capable of guaranteeing a positive impact on the situation in the Gaza Strip, which is the predestined victim of goals pursued by Hamas which has not yet guaranteed a real political horizon, and which remains politically bound to the search for a difficult political agreement with Fatah.

Optimistically, the security aspects are based on deterrence and prolonged cease-fire capable of guaranteeing economic and life improvements through impartial supervision of the inflow and use of international aid; in any case, these would be palliatives aimed at delaying a new confrontation, given that Hamas would seem to remain the organization holding the monopoly of power.

Epilogue. Limiting the analysis to the two contenders would not have provided a more or less complete picture (completeness impossible), even taking into account that the complexity of the situation is such as to make a deeper understanding impervious.

The regional context is branched, and determines a fragmentation of the overall panorama, where the fragmentation of interests and particularities forces each time to have to extend a puzzle conditioned by an image in progress; the internal political sphere is, if possible, even more difficult to interpret, between repeated elections, leadership yet to be tested, internal conflicts that cannot be ignored, between Hamas and Fatah, the previous violence.

The international organizations have appealed to a cessation of hostilities which, given the places, have the scent of the Pilate washing of the hands: the Israeli right to defense is not denied, but not even that of Palestinian self-determination.

Diplomacy, with idealism and institutionalism, has essentially failed, given the constellation of different positions that have certified, especially in Europe, impotence and irrevocable irrelevance, characterized by a marked anti-Semitism, testimony to the failure of the alleged multiculturalism.

We hear more and more often the references to the farsightedness of the Oslo Accords, forgetting, however, how the international scene is increasingly lacking in personalities capable of a prudent realpolitik projected towards the future.

1 Detained in Israeli prisons

2 Moreover, Egypt is now engaged in solving the difficult problems that arose with Sudan and Ethiopia following the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

3 In December 2020 Turkey made a similar proposal to Israel which rejected it, because the Cypriot EEZ would have been absorbed in fact by the Turkish and Israeli ones, endorsing the severing of the aquatic continuity between Israel and Greece

4 Mainly Egypt and Jordan

5 The MO suffers from an Arab political vacuum, from dependence on foreigners with an imbalance between the security capacities of the Arab and non-Arab states, namely Turkey, Israel, Iran.

6 Libya

7 The situation would still face confrontation with Israel's international strength and legitimacy, which could rely on the historical paradox of political, but not popular, support from the main Arab leaderships

8 See destruction of the tunnel network (Underground)

9 It is worth remembering that the first foreign dignitary to visit the newly formed Islamic Republic was the Palestinian Arafat.

10 See the elimination of Mohsen Fakrizadeh, head of the nuclear project.

Photo: IDF