Mercifully, a ceasefire has finally been declared in Palestine. The efforts of the OIC, the Muslim world, and the worldwide civil agitation particularly in Europe and America have forced Israel to end the Palestinian massacre in Gaza. Has it really though?
Powerful bullies can only be deterred if the consequences of their actions result in unbearable costs. The unabated and unchallenged aerial bombardment of Gaza by the Israeli Air Force has killed over two hundred and forty Palestinian civilians and injured hundreds that include at least 65 children.
Properties worth millions of dollars were raised to the ground. By contrast, Hamas in retaliation has reportedly launched more than 3400 rockets that have killed about twelve Israelis.
From the Israeli viewpoint, over two hundred and forty Palestinians that include prominent Hamas fighters have been killed, and it has set the Hamas offensive capability back by about five years.
This has been achieved for the loss of a dozen Israeli lives, which makes it a winning strategy. The ceasefire pause will give Israel more time to plan and execute further military actions to displace the remnant Palestinian population from East Jerusalem and eventually occupy it.
So, do we foresee doom and gloom for the Muslim Ummah in the near future? Perhaps some silver linings may have emerged in the dark clouds that currently shroud the Palestine cause. That a number of the Hamas launched rocket projectiles penetrated the supposedly impenetrable Israeli deployed Iron Dome gives some hope to the underdogs.
A grave situation
The Al Aqsa mosque and the golden dome are located in Haram al-Sharif in East Jerusalem. The Golden Dome is also known as the Dome of the Rock (Qubbat as Sakhra in Arabic), which is the Islamic Qibla e Awwal, and their occupation by Israel could trigger a major reaction in the Muslim world, a reaction that many of the current rulers of Muslim countries may be unable to control.
Golda Meir in her diary had expressed her nightmares where millions of Arab hordes are invading Israel and reducing it to rubbles because the Israeli far-rights had attacked and damaged the Golden Dome. The very thought gave her sleepless nights and fortunately for her, it did not materialize.
Read more: Israel shuts Al Aqsa mosque after unrest
The USA, the principal supporter, and power behind Israel is also aware of the sanctity of the Golden Dome in the Muslim world and would not encourage any Israeli attempt to change the status of Haram al-Sharif as it could result in the entire region going up in flame.
The fact that Israel is a de facto nuclear power and if driven to desperation could initiate a nuclear holocaust makes such a situation even graver.
Targetting Israel’s weakness
Street agitation, raising the issue of the genocide in Gaza and West Bank through media coverage, exposing the Israeli atrocities internationally are not in vain, but by themselves are insufficient to force Israel to alter its hegemonic policies against Palestine. It will be effective only if it can target Israel’s Achilles Heel – ‘deep pockets’ mostly residing in the USA.
Unless these actions can be translated into measures that would inflict damage to the economies of Israel and its benefactor, the USA, Israeli intransigence and atrocities will continue.
The likelihood of rich Arab states using their vast financial clout to hurt the US economy in an effort to force the USA to alter its blind support for the Zionist regime is not very bright. Physical resistance then remains the principal option.
To deter Israel from further aggression and moves to take over East Jerusalem, it must be made to pay an unaffordable price in life, limb, and financial cost. A casualty ratio of 12:250 in Israeli favour will not do. It has to be jacked up substantially.
Challenging Israel militarily
The Muslim Ummah’s moral and material support to the Palestine freedom movement is essential but Hamas, Al Fatah (PLO), and Hezbollah are in the frontline, and they must get their act together if they want to pose a serious military challenge to the Israeli military.
Salahuddin Ayubi had freed Palestine and Jerusalem from the clutches of the Christian Crusaders after a hard-fought, the long-drawn military campaign in 1187.
The Muslim sultanates were scattered over Syria, Northern Mesopotamia, Palestine, and Egypt and Salahuddin had to embark on a journey to unite them under him as a single entity using persuasion, coercion, and force where necessary. Only then he launched a successful military campaign to regain Jerusalem from the crusaders.
The ability of a number of Hamas launched rockets to penetrate the Iron Dome would suggest their rocket technology has gained from the enhanced capability that has made them more lethal.
When the unarmed become armed
Armed Drones of the Predator or Reaper class has to date been the exclusive domain of the superpowers, but smaller and equally effective armed drones are now being produced in the developing countries. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is software that has revolutionized unmanned air-launched strike platforms. Miniature Lethal Autonomous Weapons (LAWs) is the next logical step and these too will no more remain the monopoly of the advanced nations.
It would be just a matter of time when the developing world can develop their own swarm drones and LAWs, perhaps less sophisticated but equally lethal than their western counterparts, at an affordable cost.
‘Drone-Swarm-attacks’ is the latest ‘buzzword’ among Western military analysts. According to Sameer Joshi, ‘the question is not if, but when and where drone swarms, which is the next evolution of robotic warfare will be utilized in real-time operations.
Swarm attacks by hundreds of such AI-equipped drones will pose a serious threat even to the US aircraft carriers and their nuclear submarines in the not too distant future, warn the American defense experts. And the chances of the Palestinian forces acquiring such capability on their own or through their international supporters is very possible.
Read more: AI and national security; a new arms race?
The military playing field between Israel and Palestine which to date was heavily in favor of the former will become less lopsided.
Equipped with miniature AI capable armed drones, Palestine may still not be able to defeat Israel in an armed conflict but can inflict unacceptable damage should Israel dare to brazenly attack again.
Only then Israel the bully will be forced to negotiate and resolve the crisis in an amicable manner, following the UN Resolution 242 and the two-state solution that was agreed by the three major parties PLO, Israel, and the USA, at the Annapolis Conference in November 2007, but never implemented.
Air Cdre (Retd) Jamal Hussain has served in Pakistan Air Force from 1966 to 1997. He was awarded Sitara-e-Basalat for his services in the year 1982. He regularly contributes articles on defense issues in the Defence Journal from Pakistan, Probe Magazine (Dhaka – Bangladesh) and national newspapers including Dawn, The News, and The Nation. He is the author of two books on ‘Air Power in South Asia’ and ‘Dynamics of Nuclear Weapons in South Asia’. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.