Israel Took the World to the Brink, and Backed Off, Only to Prepare a New Attack in Gaza

Image source: NBC

On April 19, Israel launched its attack on Iran. Israel was responding to Iran’s April 14 attack on Israel, which was itself a retaliation for the Israeli assassination of an Iranian general two weeks earlier. Luckily for the world, Israeli officials decided to make a most limited and symbolic strike on Friday. Drones as well as missiles were used on Iranian targets located close to a nuclear site near the Iranian city of Isfahan. Both Israeli and Iranian officials have signaled that they consider the events to have come to a close, and so the world can breathe a sigh of relief, though nothing is certain and things can flare up suddenly, as these events show.

The Biden administration was more than a little concerned with Israel’s escalation of its conflict with Iran. Administration officials spent much of Thursday in virtual conversations with the Israeli government. The Biden administration calculated the devastating cost of a major war between Israel and Iran, one in which it would have to follow through with its commitment to supporting Israel. Iran’s military may not be as powerful as that of the U.S. or Israel, but it is far from defenseless, and also has a network of allies and assets throughout the Middle East who could cause major problems for the U.S. and Israel.

Without U.S. support, under pressure from the Biden administration, it seems Israel’s officials decided to make only a minimal response to Iran’s counterattack. What did Israel ask in return? The Biden administration has been pressuring Israel not to invade the Palestinian city of Rafah in southern Gaza. Some 1.4 million Palestinian refugees are huddled there, and Israel claims it is the last base for Hamas. Now, Biden administration and Israeli officials are meeting to hear Israel’s plan for evacuation of Palestinians from Rafah so the invasion can roll forward. It is likely, as with other Israeli promises in the Gaza war, that any plan to protect civilians will be minimal and mostly propaganda to tell the world. Like the rest of the assault on Gaza, an invasion of Rafah will be a slaughter. For now, the U.S. officially opposes a full-scale military invasion, but this may change.

These events should be an alarm, loud and clear. We live in an emergency situation, where the most horrible war could explode at any minute, and we have no control. Even if it doesn’t, horrific atrocities like Israel’s genocide in Gaza so far have been allowed and encouraged by the U.S., Europe, and other powerful states. We cannot tolerate the future that the rich and powerful and their governments are preparing for us.