[3 April 2024] The Hindu Op-ed: The Gaza war needs a smart exit strategy

PYQ Relevance:
Q) Too little cash, too much politics, leaves UNESCO fighting for life.’ Discuss the statement in the light of US withdrawal and its accusation of the cultural body as being ‘anti-Israel bias’. (UPSC CSE 2019) 
Q) How will the I2U2 (India, Israel, UAE, and USA) grouping transform India’s position in global politics? (UPSC CSE 2022)


Prelims: UNSC;

Mains: UNSC; Recent Global challenges;

Mentor comments: “History always repeats itself”. We all know that it is always easy to start a war but very difficult to decide when and how to call it off. If we see our Global past, the U.S. war in Afghanistan is a classical example. It was launched in October 2001 with the aim of ‘finishing off Al-Qaeda’, later it became a war that dragged on till the U.S. finally made a messy exit in August 2021. Secondly, think about the U.S. war in Iraq in 2003 is another example of a military offensive without a clearly defined exit strategy. The same history applies to the present context of the Middle East (Gaza Issue). Although the UNSC passed the Resolution, still the stand of major powers like the US remains questionable and it eventually leads the situation ‘back to square one’ in the context of Israel.

Let’s learn. 

Why in the News?

The Gaza Issue has become a more unwinnable conflict even after the UNSC resolution in March 2024.

The Story behind the war concerning Israel and Hamas:

  • Israel had two major aims:
    • To Flatten Gaza: By eliminating Hamas, and getting back all its hostages. With the war well into its sixth month, it is important to review each of these aims. In short, Israel has flattened Gaza, in such a way that Gaza will be virtually uninhabitable (created a Buffer Zone) for years.
    • Destruction of Hamas: Israel has succeeded in eliminating only 30% of an estimated 30,000 Hamas fighters. Except for the exchange of a few hostages during a brief ‘humanitarian pause’ last November, Israel has not been able to rescue its hostages.
  • Hamas had two objectives:
    • Reminding Palestinian cause: To remind the world that while talks of normalization and reconciliation between Israel and the Arab world could go on; the cause for a Palestinian state could not be lost sight of.
    • Creating Support base: To expose to the world, and especially its support base, the false sense of the invincibility of the Israeli military and its intelligence services. For Hamas, it was not about winning the war militarily but making its voice heard.

Major Challenges that are arising throughout the immediate region:

  • Neighboring countries in the region, Egypt and Qatar have been separately negotiating for an early ceasefire. Still, Israel had launched an attack on Gaza for the second time, again resulting in heavy civilian casualties.
  • Meanwhile, Hezbollah has also intensified its missile strikes, inflicting damage to key military assets and loss of lives.
  • Houthi rebels in the southern part continue to disrupt and block Israeli, U.S., and British ships in the Red Sea, causing heavy economic losses for Israel and its allies. 
The passing of UNSC Resolution:

On March 25, 2024, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) adopted a resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.

Previously, all four resolutions in the UNSC had failed due to veto, thrice exercised by the US. Although the US has historically protected Israel from censure, this time it abstained from voting. The resolution this time drew mixed reactions.

Israel was the first to react, as it canceled the visit of its ministerial delegation to the US. Under Israeli pressure, the U.S. came out with a statement that the UN Resolution is ‘non-binding’ and that Israel can continue what it is doing in Gaza, making a mockery of the whole process in the UNSC.

Hamas, on the other hand, initially welcomed the ceasefire resolution, but later, reiterated its position on a permanent ceasefire accompanied by a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza. This turned the whole situation into a ‘back to square one’.

Is the UNSC resolution binding?
UNGA resolutions are like recommendations, while UNSC resolutions are normally seen as somewhat more prescriptive. However, there is a difference between UNSC votes under Chapter 6 and Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, with the latter considered as binding.

How can it be enforced?
If the UNSC wants to enforce its decision, it can decide to authorize travel bans, sanctions, or the sending of troops.

What are the Impacts on Israel?

  • Military Impact: The Israeli Army has suffered losses and injuries to its personnel. Militarily, Gaza has been defeated, but Hamas, as an organization, is unlikely to be eliminated.
  • Economic Impact: Its economy is shrinking rapidly, with some estimates showing a decline of almost 20%.
  • Political Impact: Currently, it is becoming difficult for Mr. Netanyahu to hold on to his position, domestically and internationally. The U.S., Israel’s staunchest ally, has, in the past few weeks, made it clear that Israel has to restrain itself and cannot bank upon blanket support for any Israeli action in Gaza.

What is the most viable option then for Israel?

  • Adapting to Ceasefire: To prevent a recurrence of ‘another 07th October’, there is an urgent need for an early ceasefire and withdrawal of forces from the Gaza Strip.
  • Two-state solution: Stakeholder countries will have to go back to the drawing board and search for a time-bound and acceptable solution. 

Conclusion: Israel and Palestine are bound by geography and destiny and the solution for a peaceful future will have to include major compromises and climb-downs from previously stated positions. 


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Join us across Social Media platforms.

💥Mentorship New Batch Launch
💥Mentorship New Batch Launch