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Daylight pauses part of veil of deceit: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-06-18 19:01

An Israeli tank manoeuvres inside the Gaza Strip, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, as seen from Israel, June 17, 2024. [Photo/Agencies]

The Israeli military said on Monday that it had paused operations during daylight hours in parts of southern Gaza to allow more aid to reach the residents of the beleaguered territory.

But the policy applies only to an 11-kilometer stretch of road in southern Gaza, and not to areas in central Gaza where hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians have fled since Israel's offensive against Rafah began.

That explains why aid agencies said there remain several obstacles to delivering humanitarian assistance to areas in central and southern Gaza from Kerem Shalom, an important border crossing between Israel and Gaza.

Although aid groups had stockpiled food and other supplies before the Israeli push into Rafah, six weeks of fighting there have raised concerns about the Benjamin Netanyahu government using hunger as a tactic in its war against Hamas, which it says will not end until all of its goals are realized.

By weaponizing its control of all aid routes into Gaza, Tel Aviv sought to incite anti-Hamas sentiment among the Palestinians. But that scheme has backfired, as the Palestinians attribute their sufferings to Israel, not the militant group.

Israel claims that there are no limits on the amount of aid it allows to enter Gaza and blames the disorganization of aid groups — as well as theft by Hamas — for the failure to deliver food to the besieged Palestinians in Gaza.

Yet while domestic and international pressure is mounting on Tel Aviv, urging it to implement the US-proposed UN Security Council cease-fire resolution passed last week, the daytime pauses in the offensive in some parts of Gaza are only a fake show of cooperativeness by Tel Aviv that it is using as a stalling tactic.

With anti-war protests sweeping across major cities in Israel calling for an immediate election, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dissolved his War Cabinet on Monday, shortly after two moderate members of the five-people Cabinet, Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot, resigned last week.

But as some observers say this might largely be a symbolic move as Netanyahu does not lack warmongering aides. If he sets up a new War Cabinet, the body might be more belligerent than before.

Even if no new War Cabinet is set up, that only serves to help "centralize Netanyahu's power and solidifies it and makes it much more difficult for any mutiny", as one analyst said.

With Netanyahu removing any naysayers from his decision-making circle, there are signs that he is preparing to further escalate tensions by intensifying attacks against Hezbollah. That represents a new noteworthy change of focus, which prompted White House advisor Amos Hochstein, who has overseen previous talks between Israel and Lebanon, to meet with Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Monday.

Washington is wary that Netanyahu's refusal to accept that enough is enough will lead to a wider confrontation with the Lebanese militant group. Hochstein warned Netanyahu that the confrontation with the Iran-backed Hezbollah could grow into an all-out regional war.

The US side claimed in the UN Security Council that Israel supports its cease-fire proposal that has now become a binding UN Security Council resolution, an important reason why the deal could pass the vote.

Now, not only is Israel obliged to implement the resolution, but the US also has the unshakable duty to ensure that Israel does.

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