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Israeli operation in Gaza Strip to hardly last long - experts

July 29, 2014, 16:47 UTC+3 Alexandrova Lyudmila

MOSCOW, July 29. /ITAR-TASS/. The Israeli army’s ground operation in the Gaza Strip will be short-lived and end when Islamist Hamas military infrastructure is destroyed, say Russian experts. But a repeat is possible sooner or later as Palestinian-Israeli conflict remains unresolved, while the international community is busy dealing with other issues.

Despite the international peacekeeping efforts, the Israeli authorities decided to continue the military operation Solid Rock, otherwise referred to as Mighty Cliff, in the Gaza Strip. After the 12-hour ceasefire, the Israeli army renewed purging the Palestinian enclave on Monday. The long-term truce plan proposed by the US Secretary of State John Kerry outraged Israel. Neither was it accepted in Palestine.

The already three-week operation has killed about 1,100. No signs of possible peace are there apart from several brief ceasefires.

“The current Solid Rock operation only differs from the previous ones in scales, violence of military actions and large death count,” said Vice-President of the Russian Centre for Strategic and International Studies Irina Zvyagelskaya. The previous operation Pillar of Cloud, she added, was limited to fire without pushing troops into the Gaza Strip. Then, the Islamist infrastructure remained intact, which enabled Hamas to later fire at Israel.

“This time Israel will go all the way to destroy tunnels and the entire military infrastructure in Gaza,” the expert said adding the operation should be completed within a couple of weeks. But the Israeli-Palestinian issue is still unsettled, and the end of operation would only delay new attacks for some time, maybe for several years. As long as there is no peace settlement and Gaza remains an enclave in turmoil, the problem will reemerge.

The international efforts were now focused on other issues but the Middle East Quartet was not to be totally discounted, said Zvyagelskaya who is in charge of international issues at the Russian Academy of Sciences Oriental Studies Institute.

“This escalation of the conflict is not the last one,” said senior research fellow at Centre for Arabic Studies at Oriental Studies Institute Boris Dolgov. “Unless the problem stalling since 1948 is radically solved.”

Radicalization of Hamas actively involved in armed conflicts in Egypt, Syria and other countries was a contributing factor in the escalation, the expert told ITAR-TASS. “It is radical elements that bear responsibility for instigation of the latest conflict,” Dolgov said.

The current operation will go on until the Israeli army sees Hamas infrastructure eliminated, but Dolgov believes total destruction is impossible, as Hamas is supported and sponsored from abroad. If there is nothing left in the Gaza Strip, infrastructure will be constructed elsewhere.

“For a while, we’ll see military actions with occasional truce, unless there are any sudden tragic events such as end of flights to Ben Gurion airport that resulted from rocket fire from Gaza,” former Russian ambassador to Israel Pyotr Stegny told “Such incidents can bring the parties involved down to earth and give international efforts a fresh impetus.”

It is serious, consecutive and collective work that could stabilize the situation, the expert said. They did not take it further than trying to cease fire but the situation in the simmering Middle East and all over the world was changing, and not for the better, Stegny added. New trends emerge that hamper Egypt’s mediation in the conflict, namely the largely contrasting efforts of both Qatar and Turkey.


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