Alwaght- While Palestinian groups and the world community warn about warmongering by hardline Israeli government led by Benjamin Netanyahu, it seems that the deeper the Israeli prime minister goes in the swamp of home challenges, the more uncalculated and hasty decisions he makes. This has taken the tensions between Tel Aviv and the resistance group to a state of explosion, to an extent that in the upcoming days the occupied territories may once again be targeted by rockets and witness a new war. With wars having the record of taking down Netanyahu from his post, the recent attacks on Gaza can be regarded as a suicide by the hardline PM.
In the latest crime, the Israeli fighter jets in the early hours of Tuesday launched a surprise attack under Operation Shield and Spear, targeting various parts of Gaza. The strikes killed 13 Palestinians, including three Islamic Jihad commanders, and injured over 20. Israeli media say the attacks will continue for several days. Israeli informed sources claimed that the strikes hit two apartments in Gaza and Rafah cities and may signal a targeted assassination of senior Islamic Jihad members.
According to a statement issued by the Islamic Jihad, Jihad al-Ghanam, the secretary of the military council of Saraya al-Quds, Khalil al-Bahtini, the commander of the northern region , and Tareq Mohammad Ezzeddin, one of the commanders of military operations in the West Bank, were killed in the attack.
Arab media said that the Islamic Jihad commanders were “saying goodbye” to their families just before traveling to Cairo when they were assassinated by the Israelis. They were reportedly invited to Cairo by the Egyptian government to talk with Egyptian officials. Therefore, the Egyptian authorities, who play the main role in mediating between the Palestinian resistance and the Israeli regime, are reportedly infuriated by this crime. According to Egyptian sources, some Egyptian officials are willing to suspend mediation so that the occupying regime realizes what a big mistake it made, because the Palestinian resistance groups are strongly motivated to respond, and on the other hand, there is also the possibility of the Lebanese front under Hezbollah entering potential battle.
Egypt has always mediated between the Israeli regime and Gaza resistance groups to defuse their confrontation, but Tel Aviv crimes in recent months in Al-Aqsa Mosque and Gaza have sent Egyptians incensed.
The Israeli army spokesman said that the operation was launched in association with the Israeli internal intelligence service Shabak and claimed that 40 fighter jets were involved in the strikes.
Israeli authorities are exaggerating about recent operation in Gaza while senior officials of Tel Aviv earlier admitted that in 2022, more than 500 operations were carried out by Palestinian groups against the Israeli settlers, and this trend even grew in the first quarter of this year.
The attack came as a senior Israeli official had said on Wednesday that there was no way but taking military action on Gaza and this was just a matter of time. In reaction to these attacks, Palestinian journalists said that these surprise strikes evoke memories of the 2008 attacks on Hamas leaders that triggered the 22-day war.
US green light to killing of Palestinians
The American officials in public addresses and platforms take humanitarian gesture to claim they support Palestinians and their rights but behind the scenes, they give the Israelis a leeway to commit crimes against the Palestinians. What the Israeli media admit is that the attack came with an American green light, and before the operation, Israeli foreign minister had talked to American Secretary of State. The shift in the American position comes while in recent weeks the Americans have been at odds with Netanyahu and called for de-escalation of tensions in the occupied territories.
Reactions by resistance groups
Saraya Al-Quds, the military wing of Islamic Jihad, in a statement said: “The blood of our martyrs will solidify our resolution, we will not abandon our posts and resistance and will continue struggle if Allah wills it.”
“The assassination of the leaders of the resistance does not change the equations imposed on Tel Aviv by the Saraya Al-Quds and the occupiers will pay for it and the resistance will give a coordinated and integrated response to the enemy to thwart all the plans of the occupiers,” Islamic Jihad spokesman Tariq Salami said.
Hamas Spokesman Hazem Ghassem, in his turn, warned the Israeli occupation that they will bear the consequences of their violations. Hamas Political Bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh asserted that the Israeli operation will not buy security to the regime but motivate further Palestinian resistance.
“The enemy has miscalculated and will pay a price for its crimes,” he warned.
He further said that the resistance groups will determine how they respond and they are united at the time of conflict.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine also issued a statement and made it clear that “the enemy will pay for the assassinations” in Gaza.
“The loss of resistance leaders due to this cowardly assassination will not break the resolve of our people and their resistance. The enemy chose this time to ignite this confrontation, but our people and the resistance will decide the time to end it,” the group stated.
The crime in Gaza was committed exactly one week after the death of Khader Adnan, a Palestinian prisoner who died of hunger strike after 87 days in Israeli prison. The resistance groups had warned Tel Aviv to stop its escalations. But with the assassination of the resistance commanders, the responsibility was removed from the shoulders of the Palestinians, and the Israeli regime bears the responsibility for consequences of this warmongering as Tel Aviv does not want peace to rule in the occupied territories.
The resistance groups have always shown that they are at the highest level of readiness and the recent rocket attacks from Lebanon, Syria and Gaza at the occupied territories bore witness to this fact. This time, it will not be just Gaza resistance, but the gates of hell will be opened to the Israelis from all sides, as resistance commanders have warned.
Disappointed with beating the resistance groups, the Israelis every now and then adopt assassination policy against senior resistance commanders to undermine them and distance the shadow of threat from the settlers. But this approach has so far made no difference and only fueled tensions with resistance.
The assassination of the resistance commanders comes as recently a number of former Israeli commanders urged Netanyahu to assassinate Hamas commanders. Palestinian groups warned about re-adoption of this policy. It is certain that these groups are not individual-dependent to fall apart with elimination of a top commander and indeed they have replacements who can lead them even more powerfully. An example is Arin Al-Osud group in the West Bank that stepped up its armed operations after assassination of its commander.
Netanyahu’s suicidal move to preserve Ben-Gvir as an ally
The Israeli radical moves in Gaza are not irrelevant to what is going on inside the Israeli regime. Since four months ago, street protests against the policies of Netanyahu’s government have started, and day by day they are taking on wider dimensions, and this problem has put the prime minister in a tight spot, and for this reason, he is trying to create a crisis abroad and force the opposition back.
The crime in Gaza followed a warning by National Security Minister Itmar Ben-Gvir who threatened Netanyahu that he will boycott cabinet sessions if the PM takes no action against the Palestinians. With Ben-Gvir party holding 15 seats in the Knesset, his departure from the government will lead to collapse of the government and early elections, and this is not what Netanyahu wants. Therefore, the PM launched this operation as an appeasement to Ben-Gvir.
Ben-Gvir and Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich have voiced their satisfaction and happiness with the operation.
“I congratulate Netanyahu for taking preemptive action in Gaza. This is a good start and it is time to change the policy towards Gaza,” Ben-Gvir said.
Smotrich said: “The attack was done at the right time and place. I thank the army and security forces for carrying out the attack and the prime minister for issuing the attack order.”
It is clear that Ben-Gvir’s pressure on Netanyahu has not been ineffective in carrying out Gaza operation. The racist and radical plans of Ben-Gvir and Smotrich are so provocative and dangerous that even the Westerners reacted strongly and demanded their dismissal from the government. The European Union canceled participation in the opening ceremony of Europe Day held in Tel Aviv on Tuesday due to Ben-Gvir’s participation. Having in mind that the criticism against the minister of internal security has increased internationally, Netanyahu, by sending Ben-Gvir to this ceremony which is held in the presence of foreign ambassadors, is trying to tell the world that this extremist minister is an influential figure in the policies of the Israeli regime. But these efforts are useless, and the international community and even the Israelis themselves have come to the conclusion that the presence of people like Ben-Gvir at the head of the cabinet not only do not make the occupied territories safe, but also will bring insecurity to the occupied territories.
Occupied territories on high security alert
Following Palestinian resistance warnings, fear has encompassed the occupied territories. Reports emanating from Israeli regime held that defense ministry has recalled tens of air force reservists and recommended the army to prepare for several-day fighting. Also state of emergency and high alert was announced across the occupied territories.
The Southern Front command in the Israeli military issued a warning message to all settlers in cities near the Gaza Strip telling them to immediately go to the shelters and stay there until further notice for the fear of possible rocket barrages. Channel 13 of the Israeli regime reported that Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has agreed to evacuate the settlements around the Gaza Strip and transfer the residents to other cities in the occupied territories. It is also said that the flights of Ben-Gurion airport have been suspended until further notice. Israeli media said Jihad is expected to strike Tel Aviv.
Despite the fact that Hamas leaders condemned the recent Israeli crimes and warned the enemy of a resolute response, some Israeli media try to show a reversed picture of Gaza developments and suggest that Hamas has chosen silence. Such Israeli media reports are aimed at implying that there is a serious division between the group and Islamic Jihad. This is while Hamas as a leading resistance group has always supported the Palestinians. In addition to supporting Gaza-based resistance, Hamas as a leading actor also backs resistance factions in the West Bank. It has several times warned the Israelis that if they make a mistake in the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque, it will “unleash hell” to the occupied territories and assured the West Bank-based commanders that it stands by them should conflict break out with Tel Aviv. For instance, in reaction to Israeli raid on the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Hamas launched Operation Sword of Al-Quds in 2021. This bears witness to the fact that resistance groups are on a united front and their unity is unbreakable and in the next war they stand shoulder to shoulder fighting the occupation forces and will enjoy vast support from resistance groups in the region.