By Mohammad Mazhari

Any move against Gaza will have significant repercussions on Israel: Palestinian expert

July 13, 2020 - 11:53

TEHRAN - Analysts believe that Israel's plan to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank could lead to an outbreak of confrontation in the Gaza Strip, especially as the Palestinians have strongly opposed the plan.

Regarding the nature of the possible confrontation, some expect Gaza to witness a limited military escalation, based on the firing of rockets from the coastal strip and Israeli response.

"Any escalating action against Gaza will trigger reactions that will leave significant negative repercussions on Israel," Amer Khalil, the Palestinian expert on Israeli affairs, tells the Tehran Times.

Following is the text of the interview with Amer Khalil: 

Question:  How do you see the reaction of Arab states to Israel's annexation plan?

Answer: The Arab countries, in general, have rejected Israel's annexation plan for the occupied West Bank. However, the positions differ from one country to another; still the Jordanian position was more decisive, perhaps because of Jordan's neighborhood with the occupied Palestine and its association with the Israel–Jordan peace treaty or what is referred to as Wadi Araba Treaty.

Jordan is afraid of the Jordanian street reaction, especially since Palestinian refugees form sixty percent of the population of Jordan.
But the reaction of other Arab countries was limited to denouncing and rejecting this plan. 
There were indications from some Persian Gulf Arab countries, such as the United Arab Emirates, that this step would affect the normalization process between Israel and the Emirates if the annexation plan went into effect.
Arab countries believe that Israel will take their position into account in the end, and it is concerned about deteriorating relations with the Arab world or any retreat in the normalization process. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that led to the postponement of the annexation plan.

Q: How do you evaluate the Palestinian responses to Israel's decision to annex the West Bank?

A: Estimates of the Israeli Military Intelligence Directorate indicate that the annexation plan for an area that includes thirty percent of the occupied West Bank will trigger different reactions, and in this regard, it has put forward several scenarios for Palestinian reactions, ranging from going out to the streets and demonstrating against the annexation plan to individual or collective operations in the form of stabbing attacks or run over attacks or martyrdom operations which ultimately lead to a new uprising. The Israeli Intelligence Division expected that the Palestinian reaction would end in a third intifada. As for Mossad's estimates, there will be reactions either at the low level.

Hence, there is an Israeli fear that the annexation plan, its announcement and the beginning of its implementation will lead to instability in the occupied West Bank and the occurrence of a third intifada, which is possible, especially since the position of the Palestinian Authority is like a refusal, decisive and supportive of any move against the annexation plan; but I do not think that the Authority permits any armed action against Israel as it tries to maintain its relations with the Zionist entity in relation to maintaining the situation and borders.

Q: Is it possible to normalize relations with a regime that wants to extend and annex more lands? How do you see the future of Israeli expansion plans?

A: Regarding normalization, I believe that the Arab countries, especially the Persian Gulf states, have gone a long way in establishing relations with the Zionist entity.
These relations include cooperation with Israel in visit exchanges, signing of drug purchase agreements and collaboration with Israeli companies on confronting the Coronavirus, as well as public and unannounced meetings between these countries and Israel. Besides, there is a kind of political consensus against Iran, considering it as a threat, and all of this opened the way for normalization.

Q: Do you expect a new military clash between the Zionist entity and the jihadist factions?

A: The confrontation between the Palestinian resistance factions and Israel is possible at any moment based on the developments that can occur because Israel is not predictable anyway.
At any moment, it may launch an attack against the Palestinian resistance or the Palestinian targets, which would lead to the deterioration of the situation, but a balance of deterrence that exists between the resistance and the Zionist entity.

Any escalating action against Gaza will trigger reactions that will leave significant negative repercussions on Israel and can completely change the situation in light of the difficult conditions inside Israeli society.

Israel struggles with the Corona outbreak, the broad closure situation, the economic crisis, the possible economic repercussions of the deployment of soldiers, and the call-up of reserves. Therefore the issue is not easy that Israel launches a new attack.

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