Weekly Update: Confusion in Gaza

30 May 2024


The war in Gaza endures, and is likely to last several more months. Israel faces increasingly many questions – where is the conflict heading? How can an enduring peace be achieved? What are the options?

The US is pushing Israel to make a plan regarding the governance of Gaza going forward. Prime Minister Netanyahu so far refuses to commit to a specific plan, arguing that to do so will distract from the core objectives of defeating Hamas and ensuring the release of the hostages. Netanyahu is also facing increasing calls  within Israel for a post-war plan for Gaza. Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in mid-May to publicly rule out Israeli governance over Gaza and to lay out his post-war plans, warning that he opposes Israeli rule in the Palestinian enclave. “The ‘day after Hamas,’ will only be achieved with Palestinian entities taking control of Gaza, accompanied by international actors, establishing a governing alternative to Hamas’ rule,” Gallant said.

Secretary of State Blinken said Wednesday that Israel should develop “a plan that accounts for security in Gaza, that accounts for governance in Gaza, that accounts for rebuilding the lives of the Gazan people… and one that can actually help ensure the enduring defeat of Hamas — which is a shared objective.” Failure to develop such a plan will either lead to Israel permanently occupying Gaza and facing an “enduring insurgency”; Hamas remaining in control, which is unacceptable; or a power vacuum that will be filled initially by chaos and lawlessness followed by Hamas or other Jihadist groups regaining power.

According to Blinken, absent a plan for the day after, incremental gains against Hamas — such as the strike in Rafah over the weekend that Israel said was intended to only target a pair of senior commanders — have to be questioned.

“There were real Palestinian Arab victims in that terrible inferno on Monday night. But they were victims of Hamas, not of Israel.”

Tragedy in Rafah 
Dozens of civilians were killed earlier this week after a fire broke out in a tent compound of displaced Palestinians. The incident has led to an international outcry. Algeria tabled a UN Security Council resolution to bring a stop to Israel’s military operation in Rafah city.

However Israel was probably not responsible for this tragedy. It appears that the fire was caused by Hamas. As Melanie Philips has reported: “The IDF says it now suspects that ammunition, weapons, or some other inflammatory material was stored in the area of the strike, causing a secondary blast and the fire that spread to the civilian tents. There were real Palestinian Arab victims in that terrible inferno on Monday night. But they were victims of Hamas, not of Israel. And the western media is busily helping feed Jewish victims to Hamas too.”

In the meantime, Israel continues with its operation in Rafah. Israeli troops have taken “operational control” of the Philadelphi Corridor, the 8.7-mile-long border area between Gaza and Egypt, IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said on Wednesday evening. Israeli forces have so far uncovered 20 tunnels underneath it, he added. “We are investigating these tunnels and neutralizing them,” said Hagari.

ICJ ruling – what did the Court actually say?
Last week, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued its latest ruling on provisional measures in the South Africa vs Israel genocide case. The Court issued the following order:

“The State of Israel shall, in conformity with its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, and in view of the worsening conditions of life faced by civilians in the Rafah Governorate:

(a) Immediately halt its military offensive, and any other action in the Rafah Governorate, which may inflict on the Palestinian group in Gaza conditions of life that could bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(b) Maintain open the Rafah crossing for unhindered provision at scale of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance;
(c) Take effective measures to ensure the unimpeded access to the Gaza Strip of any commission of inquiry, fact-finding mission or other investigative body mandated by competent organs of the United Nations to investigate allegations of genocide.”

“It seems that the Court allows Israel to continue the operation in Rafah as long as it does not bring about the ‘destruction’ of the Palestinian people in Gaza.”

As thinc. has reported –

“This is another example of the Court’s highly problematic tradition of creative ambiguity in drafting. Did the Court decide that Israel must immediately cease the Rafah operation in toto? Not quite.

The order states that Israel must halt its military offensive in Rafah only to the extent that it “may inflict on the Palestinian group in Gaza conditions of life that may bring about its physical destruction, in whole or in part.” In other words, it seems that the Court allows Israel to continue the operation in Rafah as long as it does not bring about the ‘destruction’ of the Palestinian people in Gaza. But inevitably, this nuance will be ignored and the ruling is already being be interpreted in the media and by South Africa and its supporters as a victory, and an absolute prohibition on the Rafah campaign.”

The Editorial team
Israel & Christians Today

Blinken: In the absence of Israeli plan for day after, there won’t be a day after
US secretary says Rafah strike highlights how even targeted raids can have horrific results and that incremental gains from such ops are being lost without a post-war strategy.
>> Read more..

What did the ICJ rule regarding Rafah?
BBC: Natasha Hausdorff Corrects Reporting of The ICJ’s Order of 24 May & Latest Situation In Rafah / YouTube (May 28th).
>> Read more..

The Rafah blood libel
Another murderous lie travels round the world before the truth gets its boots on.
>> Read more..

IDF in control of Philadelphi Corridor, 20 tunnels found
Soldiers have so far located around 20 tunnels along the 8.7-mile-long border area between Gaza and Egypt.
>> Read more..

Did the International Court of Justice order Israel to halt military campaign in Rafah?
The Court’s rulings are also restricting Israel’s capacity to prevent Hamas from carrying our further acts to pursue its stated intent to commit genocide of the Jewish people. This is an inversion of justice. Again to quote Judge Barak: “The key to ending this war does not lie in asking the Court to intervene in this conflict by making unsubstantiated allegations of genocide against Israel. The key to ending this war lies in the hands of Hamas. Hamas has started the war and can finish it by releasing the hostages and by fully respecting the security of the State of Israel and its citizens.”
>> Read more..

SCRIPTURE FOR THE WEEK: Jeremiah 16: 14-21
14 “However, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when it will no longer be said, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,’ 15 but it will be said, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.’ For I will restore them to the land I gave their ancestors.
16 “But now I will send for many fishermen,” declares the Lord, “and they will catch them. After that I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt them down on every mountain and hill and from the crevices of the rocks. 17 My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from me, nor is their sin concealed from my eyes. 18 I will repay them double for their wickedness and their sin, because they have defiled my land with the lifeless forms of their vile images and have filled my inheritance with their detestable idols.”
19 Lord, my strength and my fortress, my refuge in time of distress,
to you the nations will come from the ends of the earth and say,
“Our ancestors possessed nothing but false gods, worthless idols that did them no good.
20 Do people make their own gods? Yes, but they are not gods!”
21 “Therefore I will teach them— this time I will teach them my power and might.
Then they will know that my name is the Lord.