What was the point of this Gaza war?

Palestinian children inspect the damaged to a house following Israel’s assault on Gaza, Rafah, Gaza Strip, August 8, 2022. (Abed Rahim Khatib /Flash90)

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Three days after Israel launched its latest military operation in Gaza, it still remains unclear what the hell the point of all this was.

With the announcement of an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire on Sunday night, Israeli analysts have been quick to deem caretaker Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s “harmonious” campaign a success. After violently arresting Bassam al-Saadi, a senior leader of the Islamic Jihad movement’s branch in the occupied West Bank, the Israeli army put border communities around Gaza on lockdown for nearly half a week in preparation of an alleged retaliatory attack. It eventually began launching airstrikes in the strip, which were met with volleys of rocket fire from militants. The escalations have ended with 44 Palestinians killed, including 15 children, and over 350 more wounded.

Lapid and Gantz, who reportedly launched the operation without the necessary consent of the security cabinet, have both won praise for the relatively low price Israelis paid in this latest round of violence, as well as for the swift and “precise” strikes on top Islamic Jihad commanders inside the strip. Aside from a number of protests by Palestinians and Israeli leftists across the country, the Israeli public, which greatly benefits from the status quo of endless siege and colonial rule, saluted an onslaught that seems to have changed very little on the ground.

Yet despite the accolades for Israel’s leaders, the stories coming out of Gaza — where two million Palestinians, many of them refugees from the Nakba, live in untenable conditions — were nearly too much to bear. Images spread of charred children’s bodies, demolished buildings, and hundreds of people fleeing their homes carrying their most valuable possessions on their backs. Gazan residents, many of whom are still rebuilding after Israel’s last war on the strip in May 2021, will be left to bury the dead and treat the wounded, with more violence in the future all but guaranteed.

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