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Other translations from the Turkish opposition press on Israel’s offensive against Gaza

Other sample press translations from Turkish to English

The following article appeared in Evrensel on 31 October 2023. Translated from Turkish by Tim Drayton

Original article:
My translation at Evrensel’s website:

A Gaza ground operation may boomerang
By Yusuf Karadaž

With no let-up in its attacks on Gaza, Israel has so far killed over 8,000 civilians, more than 5,000 of them women and children. Living conditions for the two million inhabitants here deteriorate constantly with extremely limited amounts of aid getting through Israel’s embargo. With it documented in visual analysis conducted by the New York Times that the massacre in which some 500 civilians perished at Al-Ahli Hospital on 17 October was caused, contrary to Netanyahu and US President Biden’s claims, by an Israeli-fired rocket, Israel, calling for the evacuation of hospitals where thousands of civilians have taken refuge, has one more openly proclaimed that there will be no limit to its aggression.

Israel’s ground movements in recent days on top of its air raids invite the question that has been on everyone’s lips since 7 October of whether a ground operation will be launched. However, not only has absolutely no official announcement about the launching of a ground operation been forthcoming from the Israel Defence Forces, but it is apparent that these ground movements are currently limited in scope to the Gaza border area.

It is beyond doubt that the major reason Israel has as yet been unable to conduct its announced ground operation is that such an operation would be cloaked in uncertainty and risk.

Above all, with it highly probable that such a ground operation would result in the deaths of the bulk of the 222 hostages held by Hamas, Netanyahu is concerned that this would further stoke up the anger of Israeli society towards his government. With 65% of the Israeli population supporting a ground operation in the initial polls that were conducted, the recent fall of this percentage to below thirty shows that such concerns are not unfounded. One consequence of the events of recent weeks has also been the dawning realization among wider sections of Israeli society that if the Palestinians are not safe they will not be safe, either.

However, the basic concern of Israel’s biggest supporter, the USA, stems from the risks such an operation would pose to its regional interests rather than how Israeli society will react.

US imperialism, which is sending fresh warships to the Eastern Mediterranean in a military build-up, wants to enhance the deterrence against the anti-Israel regional actors, not least Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, in the aftermath of Israel’s ground operation and prevent the Gaza war from triggering a regional war.

The following points must be considered with regard to why the US wants Israel to restrict this war to Hamas and not to take steps that will provoke other regional actors.

First, the chain of events that unfurled on 7 October has had a devastating effect on the US’s moves toward “normalization” between Israel and the collaborative regimes in the region that it has been promoting.

The basic goal of the “Agreement of the Century” Trump proclaimed in 2020 was to stop the Palestinian question acting as an impediment between Israel and the collaborative Arab regimes in the Gulf. Even though this plan was based on a symbolic Palestinian statelet lacking even an army, rather than a two-state solution, the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco signed “normalization agreements” (the Abraham Accords) with Israel, and Saudi Arabia embarked on diplomatic negotiations to this end. To this must be added another important regional actor, the Erdošan regime in Turkey. Wishing to turn its attention towards the Asia-Pacific so as to halt China’s rise, the US had made significant strides in the direction of uniting the collaborative regimes in the region and Israel around its own political-military axis. Hence, the US does not now want the war in Gaza to escalate to the extent of reversing this process.

Second, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in particular having strengthened NATO with new members and military bases and the Putin administration having suffered serious damage, the potential for the war in Gaza and the massacre of Palestinians to dispel this atmosphere also makes US imperialism ponder, because developments are gradually overturning the reaction initially created by Hamas’s attack. On the one hand, there is increasing outrage throughout the world at Israel’s massacres, and, on the other, the world’s attention is shifting from Ukraine to the region.

For sure, the forces within the “axis of resistance”, chiefly Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, are reluctant to enter such a regional conflict that will also take a serious toll on them. However, nobody doubts, either, that the waging by Israel of a potentially hugely destructive operation against Gaza will increase the risk of embroiling these forces in the war.

At this point, it needs to be said with reference to the shift in the Erdošan administration’s political stance from calls for “moderation” to setting itself up as “mediator” and “guarantor”, and later coming out as Hamas’s greatest supporter, that we can treat this shift in the Erdošan administration’s stance as a raising of the stakes following the abject failure of attempts to grab a regional role/position. For, Erdošan, who has not cut off relations and treaties with Israel despite the repulsion of the people of Turkey and the region towards Israel, wishes to this bring this repulsion under his tow and turn it into a bargaining chip.

On the other hand, Erdošan, mindful of the US bases in Syria even while opposing Israel’s attacks on Gaza, also considers it possible to make a new operation against Rojava part of this bargaining.

In conclusion, Israeli occupation and aggression, which even UN General Secretary Guterres has had to identify as the basic source of the problem, is increasing the risks for Israel’s greatest supporter, US imperialism, and regional reactionaries who, even if they appear to support the Palestinian cause, continue to collaborate with Israel and the US. Just now, the uncertainties and risks that this operation may boomerang on both Israel and also the US and the collaborative regimes in the region constitute the biggest obstacle to a ground operation involving the occupation of Gaza that Israel initially announced.

Archive of Turkish press translations by Tim Drayton