Israel-Palestine Escalation
Israel was hit by an unprecedented rocket attack from the Gaza Strip on October 7, with Hamas movement's troops infiltrating border areas. On October 8, the Israeli government announced that it had invoked Article 40 of the Basic Law, which means the country was officially in a state of war.

What is Behind US Defense Secretary's Warning of Israeli 'Strategic Defeat'?

© AFP 2023 Ahikam SeriA soldier stands in what the Israeli army says is a tunnel dug by Hamas militants inside the Al-Shifa hospital complex in Gaza City in the northern Gaza Strip, amid continuing battles between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas, on November 22, 2023
A soldier stands in what the Israeli army says is a tunnel dug by Hamas militants inside the Al-Shifa hospital complex in Gaza City in the northern Gaza Strip, amid continuing battles between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas, on November 22, 2023 - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 05.12.2023
Earlier this month, the Department of State said the United States had sent a "very clear message" to Israel that settler violence in the West Bank was unacceptable and that those responsible would be held accountable.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has warned Tel Aviv of a possible "strategic defeat" if Israel does not protect Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip amid its war against Hamas. The Biden administration appears to have slightly changed its tone with regard to Israel's Gaza war after Tel Aviv resumed its operation in the strip.
"Austin is correct – but when he says strategic defeat, no one in the Congress or Senate seems to understand what he is talking about," retired US Air Force Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski, a former analyst for the US Department of Defense, told Sputnik. "A strategic defeat for Israel in many ways has already occurred, as nearly all of her Western allies have had to tamp down on domestic demonstrations and exercise of free speech. [Its] actions are costing [it] the faith of the populations she formerly could rely on – and damaging the political parties and politicians in their own countries."
Prior to the resumption of the war, some media sources quoted internal sources as saying that President Joe Biden and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin were urging Israeli officials to show restraint in southern Gaza. Furthermore, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the press he wanted the temporary truce to last longer during his visit to Tel Aviv last Thursday. Then Austin warned Tel Aviv of a "strategic defeat" if it doesn't protect Palestinian civilians. Still, previously, Washington derailed any Gaza ceasefire efforts in the UN Security Council. What's behind the change of heart?
The crux of the matter is that a considerable part of Biden's electorate — including young Democrats, non-whites, Arab and Muslim Americans, and progressives — support Palestine and a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. These groups are demonstrating growing discontent with the US president's support for Israel. Some Muslim voters have even gone so far as to vow to snub the vote altogether or vote against Joe Biden in 2024.
President Joe Biden pauses as he speaks to reporters in Nantucket, Mass., Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023, about hostages freed by Hamas in a third set of releases under a four-day cease-fire deal between Israel and Hamas.  - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 27.11.2023
Israel-Palestine Escalation
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Axios suggested that the slide in non-white and Arab/Muslim support in six major battleground states could cost the president his 2024 re-election bid, especially given that his rival Donald Trump has an edge over him in five swing states.
Earlier, in mid-November, The New York Times reported that over 500 US officials representing some 40 government agencies had sent a letter to President Biden protesting his support of Israel in its war in Gaza. Simultaneously, dozens of State Department employees signed internal memos to Blinken protesting the Biden administration's handling of the Palestine-Israel conflict. In addition to the dissent brewing within the government, some Democratic senators have called for conditioning aid to Israel on Tel Aviv's scaling down the fighting in Gaza. Team Biden appears to have come under unprecedented pressure from both its base and party fellows.
"I cannot say if the US government is trying to distance itself from Israel's actions, or to get Israel to accelerate the evacuation and destruction of Gaza so that the next stage may be entered, and the situation becomes a UN problem for displaced Gazans, and gets off the feeds and front pages of the global and social media. Given the constitution of the US government, and its history of unquestioned and unquestionable support for Israel, it is the latter. The US message, from Austin and from the US administration is not 'stop' but rather 'get it done!'" Kwiatkowski suggested.
An alleged conversation between Blinken and the Israeli leadership during a meeting of Israel’s War Cabinet on Thursday, November 30 (which was leaked, but not verified, by Israel's Channel 12) apparently proves Team Biden's desire to wrap the conflict up – one way or another – as soon as possible. Responding to Blinken's question about Tel Aviv plans for uprooting Hamas in southern Gaza, Israeli generals said that they would do it gradually and "proportionally" and as long as necessary. Per them, the conflict could last for months. The US secretary of state allegedly responded: "I don’t think you will have the credit for that," demonstrating that Tel Aviv is running out of time.
Indeed, the longer the Gaza war rages on, the stronger the anti-Biden sentiment within the Democratic base may be. In fact, it's not just Tel Aviv which is running out of time, but Team Biden, whose election odds risk plummeting even further in 2024.
F-16I (Israeli Air Force) with BLU-109 forged steel point tip, and a BLU109 JDAM - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 04.12.2023
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'Israel's Strategic Defeat in Middle East'

Meanwhile, Israel relations with Middle Eastern countries are getting more strained as the Gaza war continues and civilian casualties are continuing to pile up. To date, over 15,800 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, about 70% of whom are said to be women and children, according to Gaza's Health Ministry.
"A strategic defeat is beginning to occur as well in the Middle East, where the many years of Israeli diplomacy and payments and trade with [its] Arab and Turkish neighbors created tentative good relationships – all destroyed by the day as those governments and populations recognize that Israel's past good will is a ploy, and unreliable. A strategic defeat has also occurred in that Israel has not only announced its nuclear capability, it has threatened it - and that is something the region and Israelis allies must be concerned about," Kwiatkowski said.
Discontent with Israel is growing among Muslim and Arab countries. The mid-November extraordinary joint Islamic-Arab Summit in Riyadh called upon the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate "war crimes and crimes against humanity that Israel is committing" in Gaza. Jordan, Turkey, and Bahrain have withdrawn their diplomats from Israel amid the Gaza war.
Some Arab-linked human rights groups have called upon the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan to immediately withdraw from Abraham Accords with Israel, insisting that Jordan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, and Qatar should also prohibit the US from providing military support to Tel Aviv from their territories.
Al Arabiya, quoted Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as calling upon nations to stop arms exports to Israel during an extraordinary BRICS summit on November 21. The crown prince highlighted the importance of a two-state solution on the way to achieving "stability and security in Palestine."
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Israel-Palestine Escalation
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Speaking to Sputnik in early November, Dr. Ahmed Al Ibrahim, a Riyadh-based political analyst, pointed out that suspending Abraham Accords or killing ties with Israel wouldn't help secure peace in the region.

"Freezing the Abraham Accords is not going to be possible because you still want these kinds of documents with Israel […] to contain the problems that are going on right now," the analyst said, nonetheless condemning Israel for brutality and civilian casualties.

Riyadh signaled in November that the normalization deal with Israel is on the table, naming a peaceful solution of the Palestinian issue as a key condition. It's unclear whether Arab and Muslim countries will stick to the present status quo if the war in the Gaza Strip continues to rage on with massive casualties and destruction.