In Gaza, six months of suffering for the population

In Gaza, six months of suffering for the population

Mission accomplished ? Less than six months after launching its brigades to attack Gaza on October 27, 2023, the Israeli army immediately withdrew its troops from the south of the Strip on April 6. Will this turning point in the conflict lead to a ceasefire, if not the end of the fighting? Too early to say. But this inflection point allows us to establish a first assessment of the fourth Gaza war in twenty years, after operations Summer Rains (June-November 2006), Cast Lead (December 2008-January 2009) and Protective Edge ( July and August 2014) since the evacuation of the territory by the Jewish state in 2005.

In the aftermath of the massacres of October 7, 2023 perpetrated by Hamas terrorists (1,160 dead), Operation Iron Sword aimed to “annihilate” the Palestinian Islamist organization which governs Gaza. Never before have so many reservists (360,000 in total) been recalled since the Yom Kippur War in October 1973. The IDF intends to punish those responsible for the massacre and destroy the stocks of rockets of Iranian origin or homemade which fall on Israel. What about it? “From a military point of view, Hamas is defeated,” judged Minister Benny Gantz on April 10. Its fighters have been eliminated or are in hiding. His abilities are reduced. “. The IDF estimates the number of enemies killed at 12,000 (compared to 260 in its ranks). Most of Hamas's command posts, weapons caches and tunnels have been put out of use. Yet most of Gaza's military leaders targeted by Israeli intelligence are still at large. And 129 hostages remain captive.

Serious after-effects not without consequences

The toll of destruction in Gaza is colossal. A progress report from the World Bank estimates the volume of rubble from razed buildings at 26 million tonnes: it will take years just to remove it. Already at the end of January, it was estimated that 62% of homes had been destroyed, totally or in part. And today ? And then, of course, there are civilian deaths. More than 33,000, says Hamas. Mostly civilians but in what proportion? And among them, how many thousands of women and children? Not to mention the orphans. Unicef ​​estimates the number of minors left to their own devices at 17,000.

This appalling human toll, despite the undeniable precautions often deployed by the IDF, has damaged the image of the Jewish State in public opinion abroad. “He is making a mistake, I do not agree with his approach,” commented American President Joe Biden last week, speaking of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In the region, Saudi Arabia, ready to enter into a strategic partnership with Israel, can no longer sign a peace agreement in the medium term: the Arab street would not tolerate it.

Through the violence of its response, Israel, and this was undoubtedly its primary war aim, wanted to re-establish its deterrence, undermined during the astonishing failure of the security services on October 7. It remains to be seen whether the drama in Gaza will have preserved Israel from a new attack or fueled the resentment of sacrificed generations thirsty for revenge.

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