Though near term efforts are focused on securing yet another “temporary ceasefire” like the ones that have been coming and falling every other week lately, Gaza factions are said to be in intense discussions on a more permanent armistice ending the conflict with Israel.
The groups say they would unify in halting all fire on Israel, and would move against those who violate that rule, so long as Israel also ends their attacks and ends the blockade on humanitarian goods to the tiny strip.
Some in Hamas downplayed the chances of this, saying they aren’t really considering another ceasefire right now and are focused primarily on defending against Israeli attacks, as Israeli officials talk up a choice between some escalation or a full scale invasion, with ending their strikes, let alone ending the blockade, not really being taken seriously.
Which isn’t really surprising. Israel’s far-right coalition has always considered Gaza something of a political expediency, a war in the bank that could be cashed in for political gain at any time and based on any provocation, with something coming up leading to members of the cabinet threatening an invasion virtually every month.
So when Israeli media reports a “political split” on the question of a Gaza war now, just months ahead of an election, the split is between opposition figures who say it is “not the right time,” and members of the cabinet who insist the election is no good reason to get in the way of a war.
Looking back at the 2008 invasion, itself coming right after a US election and months before an Israeli election, it was a good time to be in the Israeli far-right. MPs could push virtually anything in the Knesset, dissent among Israeli Arabs was harshly curtailed, and far-right political blocs scored a sweeping victory that shocked even them in the election.
The reality is that Gaza poses no real “threat” to Israel. Even before getting the US to pump money into their Iron Dome system the rockets rarely hit anything, and if they did the glorified fireworks in the Gaza arsenal usually did minor damage to someone’s roof at worst. In addition to being the impetus behind more US aid, Gaza is also a chance for Israeli hawks to grandstand. A prolonged Gaza armistice would imperil that policy, and while some Israeli politicians might be in favor of that, it isn’t the ones in power.