Israeli troops have withdrawn from Gaza following the military campaign designed to degrade Hamas’s ability to continue firing rockets at Israeli civilians. The tenuous ceasefire has a chance to take hold – although it has been challenged several times by Hamas rocket fire – while terms are being finalised.
This latest fighting was part of the region-wide struggle between moderate Arab states on the one side, and Iran and its terrorist proxies on the other. A successful military operation against Hamas, followed by an effective ceasefire, will set back Tehran’s regional ambitions and attempts to destabilise the region, and help prospects for a two-state resolution to the conflict.
The regional context of the fighting was clear. While Tehran warned Hamas not to accept the terms of an Egyptian ceasefire, the moderate Arab governments (Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and even the Palestinian Authority) were largely muted in their response to – and even quietly supported – Israel’s actions. Despite anger over civilian casualties, many in the Arab world, including Palestinians, have correctly blamed Hamas for the violence.
Australian and other Western interests are implicated in the regional struggle, as Hamas and Iranian interests are diametrically opposed to all those who support a two-state resolution to the conflict and the wider fight for human rights. Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Bro…