The Israel-Gaza war is at a fork in the road

Recent photographs reveal the bridge’s remnants at the Patapsco River’s bottom, as cleanup and debris removal operations continue for the fallen Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore.
The department stated that the photos were acquired using CODA Octopus, a primary sonar tool.
Watch: Following its collapse, sections of the Francis Scott Key Bridge were removed from the Baltimore port. When did the Baltimore bridge collapse occur?
The Francis Scott Key Bridge fell into the Patapsco River on March 26 as a result of a huge cargo ship colliding with it; six workers who were repairing potholes were killed in the collapse.
The Port of Baltimore is a crucial shipping port that was also closed off due to the accident.
The first significant piece of debris was cleared from the debris field that was obstructing access to the Port of Baltimore on Sunday night, marking the start of the restoration process.
Remaining in the river and above the ship, according to Wes Moore, are thousands of tons of debris.
Baltimore was “rebuilt” by Hispanic communities. The victims of the bridge collapse are now in mourning. “It’s not just about Maryland,” the governor said.

NEUTRAL

Half an hour ago.

by Northern Israel’s International Editor, Jeremy Bowen.

Photo by Getty Images.

A boy of Palestinian descent in central Gaza’s Maghazi.

Killing is an enduring, gloomy ritual in all but the shortest wars. Occasionally, though, events place belligerents and their allies at a crossroads with important choices to make, as in the last few days in the Middle East.

In Israel and Tehran, at Hezbollah headquarters in the southern suburbs of Beirut, and elsewhere in the Gulf, Europe, and America, leaders of governments and armed forces are faced with decisions.

The tremendous patience of Israel’s allies, led by the United States, may finally run out if foreign aid workers are killed in Gaza.

Foreign journalists are not permitted to enter Gaza, with the exception of very rare, tightly supervised visits with Israeli military personnel, according to agreements between Israel and Egypt. In an era of asymmetric warfare, where perceptions can determine victory or defeat just as much as the actual circumstances of combat, belligerents must prevail in the media war. When there is a conflict, journalists are also kept out of it because the opposing sides have something to conceal.

However, evidence is mounting even in the absence of foreign reporters from the scene, indicating that Israel is not, as it claims, honoring its duties under the laws of war to protect civilian lives or permitting the free flow of relief during a famine that it is causing. President Biden condemned Israel’s actions in public remarks after the World Kitchen team was killed in Gaza, using the strongest language he had yet used.

The onus now shifts to the president and his advisors to determine if words will suffice. They have rejected requests to cut off the supply line or even impose restrictions on the use of American weapons in Gaza thus far.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, who depends on radical Jewish ultranationalists for his political survival, may believe he can afford to ignore President Biden as long as the weapons continue to come in. The planned Israeli offensive against Hamas in Rafah, which the US believes would worsen the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, will be a significant test. Already, perceptions of American complicity with Israel have harmed international relations and jeopardized Joe Biden’s political candidacy in an election year.

Another development this week is that after taking two days off due to surgery for a hernia, Mr. Netanyahu returned to work amid massive protests calling for his resignation and early elections for a new parliament. Deep rifts in Israeli politics and culture that were suppressed following October 7th are now being discussed openly and in public once more. Politicians are accusing the prime minister of allowing Israel’s defenses to lapse to such an extent that Hamas saw an opportunity to launch an attack.

EPA.

Demonstrators demand that Mr. Netanyahu step down.

Mr. Netanyahu is untrustworthy in the eyes of millions of Israelis who think they are fighting a just war against Hamas. Among the accusations on their file are that he dragged out the war to delay taking responsibility for his errors, failed to secure the safe return of Israel’s hostages, and strained relations with key allies, beginning with President Biden. To that add the fact that Hamas is still fighting six months after a massive offensive and that Yahya Sinwar, its senior leader in Gaza, may still be alive somewhere in the Strip.

The assassination of a senior Iranian general in Damascus has prompted yet another round of calculations about the next phases of the Middle East crisis, with many in Israel believing it was the work of the Iranian air force. For the intelligence agencies that failed to notice or paid little attention to the Hamas attacks six months prior, it was a coup. It was also a consequential escalation in the larger war in the region.

A few of them might take place in the vicinity of my current location, which is overlooking the Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights—a sizable portion of southern Syria that Israel annexed after capturing it during the 1967 Middle East conflict. It’s less than fifty miles to Damascus, as the crow flies. Nearby is the border with Lebanon. Israeli aircraft are frequently heard roaring overhead at night as they patrol or take off to bomb Syria or Lebanon.

Since last October, a covert conflict has been waged here concurrently with the conflict in Gaza. Hezbollah, a potent political movement and militia in Lebanon, was the first to attack Israel in aid of Hamas in Gaza. The attack was not what the Hamas leadership had hoped for; neither Hezbollah nor its Tehrani supporters desired a full-scale conflict with Israel and, by extension, its American supporters. The Americans suppressed Israel’s natural inclination to retaliate violently because they did not want that either.

Still, Hezbollah confined thousands of Israeli soldiers and compelled the exodus of about 80,000 residents from the border regions. In comparison to previous border conflicts, Israel’s response was more restrained, forcing the Lebanese side to evacuate at least as many civilians.

It has changed since the beginning of the year. Israel has been leading the way by bombarding its adversaries further into Syria and Lebanon. The largest step up the escalation ladder was the Monday airstrike murder of the Iranian diplomatic compound in the capital of Syria.

Reports.

Iran claims Israel is to blame for the fatal airstrike on its Damascus consulate.

In conversations conducted here in northern Israel, local authorities and citizens have stated that they strongly favor both the assassination and an invasion of south Lebanon to demolish Hezbollah and drive them back across the border.

Israel’s experience in the last two decades of the 20th century, when it attempted to defend northern Israel by occupying a large portion of South Lebanon, did not deter them. To aid in the fighting, it even established its own Lebanese militia. Under constant military pressure from Hezbollah, Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak decided in 2000 that occupying south Lebanon (which Israel referred to as the “security zone”) was a waste of Israeli troops’ lives and would not make Israelis any safer.

The Avivim winery, situated right on the border fence, has ruins that I strolled through. Last week, a Hezbollah strike destroyed it. Shlomi Biton, the owner, took me through the ruins of his company. He is 47 years old, and he was born in Avivim, which, along with the rest of northern Israel, is now a ghost town due to evacuations. Shlomi served his military duty in Lebanon and now feels that Israel must return to Lebanon for a decisive conflict with Hezbollah in order to restore a respectable and safe life.

He then confided in me, exhausted, saying, “There’s no other choice.”. If not, the kids won’t come back to live here and the community—maybe just a few crazy guys like me—won’t return. “.”.

There are only about 3,000 people remaining in the 25,000-person Israeli border town of Kiryat Shmona, the majority of whom are soldiers and necessary workers. My guide through abandoned neighborhoods and collapsed structures was Mayor Avichai Stern. He thinks that an aggressive and devastating invasion along the lines of the Gaza War would enable Israel to eliminate Hezbollah’s threat to the north.

Mayor Avichai Stern of Kyriat Shmona displays a piece of shrapnel that was shot during a Hezbollah attack on one of the town’s residential buildings.

According to Mayor Stern, 10,000 Hezbollah fighters practiced seizing control of northern Israel last year.

He said to me, “It can happen here, just like Gaza.”. Their training was not for traffic direction in Beirut. The only way to stop it is to invade Lebanon and neutralize this threat as quickly as feasible. “.

Hamas was putting the final touches on the al-Aqsa flood battle plan precisely six months ago, in deadly secrecy. Lazy, optimistic ideas that it was possible to handle the century-long struggle between Arabs and Jews for control of the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea were shattered by the killings on October 7 and everything that happened after.

After taking over 250 Israelis and foreign nationals hostage in Gaza and killing about 1,200 people, primarily civilians, Hamas brought the conflict back to the forefront of international attention. It is believed that many of the 134 Israelis who are still there are deceased. Since winning its independence war in 1948, Israel had never experienced a worse day.

Already, more than 32,000 Palestinians have been killed in the “mighty vengeance” Mr. Netanyahu promised, the majority of them were civilians. The majority of Gaza has been destroyed by Israel’s weaponry, which is supplied by the US. Middle Eastern countries are now affected by the war. It could be moving into a new stage right now.

What is known regarding the Israeli attack on the relief convoy.

Who were the seven humanitarian workers who perished in Gaza?

In the first few weeks of spring, the borderlands between Israel and Lebanon are surprisingly picturesque. Walking along a section of the border with Israeli military officers, I felt the underfoot of pinecones and wild flowers instead of shrapnel. Naturally, on one of the most hazardous borders in the Middle East, any illusion of tranquility persisted. Decisions are being made by Iran and Hezbollah regarding how to react to the killings in Damascus and Israel’s escalation of military pressure in Lebanon. To prevent a more extensive and destructive conflict that neither of them wants, the two allies will need to carefully consider how to respond.

That conflict is also not desired by Israel. However, the bold assassination at the Iranian diplomatic complex in Damascus may indicate that Israel thinks Iran and the group it refers to as its “axis of resistance” may give up before it does. If so, that’s a dangerous course of action. Iran will seek to regain its deterrent power against Israel, as it is obviously ineffective at doing so. It will make an effort to answer in a way that will surprise Israel.

Amos Hochstein, the US envoy, is attempting to rescue the UN Security Council resolution that put an end to the last major conflict between Lebanon and Hezbollah in 2006. It offers a framework for negotiation, but neither party has adhered to it.

Israel, Iran, and Hezbollah do not want an all-out war at this juncture because it would have terrible consequences for each of them. However, nobody appears prepared to halt the decline in its direction.

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