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Instead of virtue signaling, Washington should stop enabling Tel Aviv's Gaza action: China Daily editorial | Updated: 2024-06-10 18:42
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An injured person is evacuated from an Israeli air force helicopter landing in the grounds of Sheba Tel-HaShomer Medical Centre in Ramat Gan on June 8, 2024, following an operation to rescue four Israeli hostages held captive in the Gaza Strip since the October 7 attacks amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and the militant group Hamas. The Israeli military said its troops had rescued four Israeli hostages alive from Gaza after a "complex daytime operation" on June 8. All four were kidnapped by Hamas militants from the Nova music festival on October 7, the military said in a statement, adding the four had been taken to hospital and were in "good medical condition". [Photo/Agencies]

While Tel Aviv tried to compare its "successful" rescue of four hostages from Hamas in Gaza's Nuseirat camp on Saturday morning to the "Entebbe raid" of 1976, when Israeli commandos rescued more than 100 hostages in Uganda, many Israeli people are more realistic about the exploit that according to Hamas claimed at least 274 Palestinian lives including 64 children.

The haste with which the Israeli military disclosed the details of the "heroic" rescue, following the four hostages arriving home safe and sound on Saturday afternoon, shows how eager the Netanyahu government is to convince the Israeli people that it can deliver on its promise to free the hostages held by Hamas.

Yet despite some fleeting euphoria over the rescue, nationwide anti-war protests continued. Such protests have become a regular occurrence in Israel over the past months. The protesters are demanding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu step down accusing him of continuing the war in Gaza to hold on to power.

While the Netanyahu government's intention was to use the hostage rescue to boost support and ease the public's growing war weariness, the continuing protests are a telling sign that his government has not only lost the initial sympathy of the international community but also the support of more and more Israeli people, as the bloody military operations are increasingly seen as a means for the Israeli leader to remain in office.

Israeli war cabinet minister Benny Gantz quit the emergency government on Sunday over his dispute with Netanyahu's post-conflict plans for Gaza. "Unfortunately, Mr Netanyahu is preventing us from approaching true victory, which is the justification for the painful ongoing crisis," said Gantz, whose influence is widely seen as a counterbalance to that of the far-right members of Netanyahu's coalition.

That far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir demanded a place alongside Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in the war cabinet immediately after Gantz's announcement is a worrying sign that the war cabinet will become even more bloodthirsty as Ben-Gvir is part of the right-wing Otzma Yehudit party that has threatened to quit and bring down the coalition government if Israel accepts a cease-fire proposal put forward by US President Joe Biden.

By launching the rescue less than two days before US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's eighth visit to the region, which sees him travel to Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Qatar from Monday to Wednesday to push for a cease-fire agreement that secures the release of all the Israeli hostages, the Netanyahu government is evincing Washington that it can rescue the hostages without a cease-fire.

That the US' intelligence assistance and military support are believed to have been indispensable for the bloody rescue mission on Saturday makes a mockery of Blinken's professed pro-peace visit.

That being said, instead of showboating, the top US diplomat should play his part in stopping the US from supplying weapons and other military assistance to Israel.

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