Gaza War at a Crossroads… Escalation or De-escalation after the Hospital Tragedy 

The deliberate hospital tragedy in Gaza has become a crossroads for the war between Israel and Hamas, regardless of its cause.

Observers expect that the tragedy, which resulted in the deaths and injuries of hundreds, may serve as an incentive to reduce the intensity of the war. However, some believe it may escalate and expand the conflict in the region.

Israel and Palestinian factions have exchanged accusations regarding the responsibility for the explosion that occurred in the hospital’s garage, amid international scrutiny.

Tel Aviv stated that a failed rocket launched by the Islamic Jihad movement caused the tragedy, while Palestinians and local and international human rights organizations claim it resulted from an Israeli missile strike.

Biden Adopts Israel’s Narrative 

But U.S. President Joe Biden, who was deeply shocked by the horrifying scenes of the hospital while en route to Israel, adopted Tel Aviv’s narrative, which held the Islamic Jihad responsible for the attack that killed over 500, most of them children and women. He also implicated Hamas.

During his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, Biden said, “I felt deep sadness and great anger due to the shelling at the hospital in Gaza, and based on what I have seen, it appears that it was done by the other party.”

Following the bombing of the Al-Muamadani Hospital, Biden wrote on his “X” (formerly Twitter) account: “I feel deep anger and profound sadness over the explosion at the Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza and the significant loss of life it caused.”

He added, “As soon as I heard this news, I spoke with the Jordanian King Abdullah II and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and issued directives to both my national security teams to continue gathering information about what happened exactly.”

He emphasized that “the United States unequivocally supports the protection of civilians during conflicts, and we mourn the patients, medical staff, and other innocent people who were killed or injured in this tragedy.”

Israel had been exerting pressure since the announcement of the tragedy to get the international community to accept its claims that it was not involved in the attack.

However, international reactions have not been as desired, putting Israel in a predicament.

Israel is concerned that the tragedy will lead to a reduction in Western support for its continuation of the war in Gaza.

In similar tragedies in previous wars, a large number of Palestinian casualties accelerated international efforts to end the conflict.

It remains unclear whether this is the case in the current war or not.

Fewer strikes… Shock from the tragedy or a tactic with Biden’s visit? 

However, a decrease in the number of Israeli airstrikes and Palestinian rocket attacks since the hospital bombing was announced.

But it is not clear whether this is a result of the tragedy or an action taken by both parties due to the visit of U.S. President Joe Biden to the region.

Expectations prevailed that the level of war would decrease during Biden’s visit to Israel, which has been in a state of war since Hamas‘s attack on the Gaza Strip‘s border on October 7th.

The Israel Broadcasting Authority reported that the Israeli political level instructed the army to halt its aerial attacks in the Gaza Strip during the U.S. president’s visit.

Several possible scenarios for developments were identified:

  1. The United States pressures Israel to reduce its aerial attacks on Gaza and to establish humanitarian corridors for delivering supplies to the enclave. The ground operation will be limited and will not result in Israel’s reoccupation of Gaza.
  2. The U.S. administration collaborates with the international community to propose a political initiative, according to which Palestinian Authority regains control of the Gaza Strip, ending Hamas‘s rule in the region – Israel‘s declared goal for this war.
  3. Tel Aviv continues its war for several weeks to reassert Israeli deterrence.
  4. The crisis expands and turns into a regional war.
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