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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 10 November 2023. Translated from Turkish by Tim Drayton

Original article:

Israel’s Gaza scenarios
Hediye Levent

Israel’s violent offensive against Gaza rages on. There are efforts, but no prospect of even a ceasefire beckons, let alone peace. Regional countries are still trying to get humanitarian aid sent into Gaza. In Gaza, hospitals are about to run out of fuel and medicine, and people of flour to make bread. With the number of air-raid fatalities passing the ten thousand mark, Israel has begun to control the main road linking north and south Gaza. Israel, trying to send the inhabitants of north Gaza southward, tells them to go to the safe south but is also bombing there. Thousands of people have hit the road with handfuls of belongings. People are walking south but there are still hundreds of thousands of people in north Gaza and they say both shores of the Gaza Strip are dangerous so they will not leave their homes.

On the other hand, the goal and scale of Israel’s ground operation against Gaza remains uncertain. For sure, the Israeli side says the offensive will continue until Hamas is totally destroyed, but it is doubtful how realistic this goal is. The one point on which all experts on the region are united is that a long and devastating war awaits Gaza.

So, what is Israel’s Gaza plan?

Many scenarios are being debated, several of which verge on speculation. According to some of the most touted scenarios:

-Israel will not restrict its assaults on Gaza to the north and they will spread throughout the entire Gaza Strip. In this case, a significant portion of the 2.3 million inhabitants of Gaza will have to find a place to go. Israel and the USA are still trying to persuade Egypt into having the Gazans settled in the Sinai desert. There is talk in the Arabic press of various offers including money being made to Egypt to this end. However, Egypt is staunchly opposed to this plan because it would mean the depopulation of Gaza and it would mean Israel taking full control of Gaza. This outcome would also massively alter the demographics to the Palestinians’ detriment. One of Egypt’s other fears is the entry into Egyptian territory of many Gazan members or sympathizers of the Muslim Brotherhood, which it currently deems a terrorist organization, with Hamas in any case being an organization that was set up as the Muslim Brotherhood’s offshoot in Gaza. Certainly, the need to meet hundreds of thousands of Gazans’ needs such as infrastructure-superstructure, health, education, safety and food is a factor that worries Egypt. Consequently, it may be said that the biggest obstacle to scenarios involving Israel’s occupation of the whole of Gaza is the Gazans themselves who do not want to leave their homes. Indeed, the Gazans know that if they abandon their homes and land they will never again be able return.

-Israel will continue its offensive against Gaza until Hamas is destroyed and will withdraw after having transferred Gaza to the Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas. However, this scenario invites many doubts. First, with the Abbas Authority coming under harsh criticism and occasional protests even in the West Bank which it controls, can it control Gaza? Will the Gazans accept the Abbas Authority? It is also a fact that pro-Hamas slogans and the organization’s flags have become more conspicuous in the West Bank as Israel violently attacks Gaza.

-It is self-evident that a serious power vacuum would emerge if Israel withdraws from Gaza after having demolished Hamas. Such a vacuum would probably create a chaotic environment and lead to the appearance of new Hamas’s.

Nevertheless, Israel insists it is not interested in governing Gaza. So, what will happen to Gaza assuming that Hamas has been destroyed?

According to the scenarios invited by this question:

-There is talk of Gaza being governed by a structure to be created with the participation of the international community and regional countries.

-The second possibility is that government of Gaza will transferred to the UN.

-The third possibility is that both Gaza’s security and government will be placed in the hands of a structure to be created by regional countries.

-As to the final possibility, this is that Hamas remains in place having surrendered its weapons to a country on which the parties have agreed, a possibility that would suit neither Hamas nor Israel, because, for Hamas, downing arms is equivalent to surrender. While for Netanyahu and his far-right government, this would mean breaking promises that had been made, because Netanyahu and his war cabinet are promising their people the total destruction of Hamas. However, for Hamas to remain in Gaza even if disarmed would amount to the operation being left half finished and Israel’s hawkish wing is not very likely to accept this.

Furthermore, there are those who argue that Hamas cannot be totally demolished even if Gazza is flattened by Israel and the underground tunnels are fully destroyed.

In short, a long and devastating war clouded in uncertainty awaits the Gazans.

Archive of Turkish press translations by Tim Drayton