Impact of the Israel-Gaza Conflict on the Foreign Relations of Israel

The Israel-Gaza conflict that has killed over 100 people is one of the most intense ones, ever since the beginning of the Arab Spring uprisings. This conflict is not only affecting regional dynamics in the Middle East but also the political relationships of Israel with other nations.

Southern Israel has been the target of several rocket attacks by Gaza since 2009 to which Israel chose to show restraint and have also been applauded for this by other countries. However, Israel launched Operation Pillar of Defense with an air strike on November 14, killing Ahmed Jabari, Hamas military chief. Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, famously stated that if Israel had to quit its arms, the nation would cease to exist. Similarly, if the Arabs had to lay down their weapons, war would cease to exist.

Egypt, Turkey and Qatar have come closer to Hamas due to their close alignment with the Muslim brotherhood. This puts a deeper constraint on their relationship with Israel. After Hamas’ departure from their Syria headquarters along with the reduction of funds from Iran, it was expected that the violence would cease. However, the recent violence that deployed Iranian long-range missiles indicates otherwise.

As the conflict persisted, the Israeli Prime Minister reached out to US President Barack Obama to reinstate a relationship between the two countries. Meanwhile, United States has come out in full support of Israel, despite the ongoing tensions between the two countries.

On the other hand, Egypt, the largest country in the region, played an assertive role in calling the recent truce between Israel and Gaza on November 21. It does not want their relations with Israel to be established by Hamas and, hence, did not visit Gaza during the war nor severed their relationship with Israel. However, if Egypt agrees to regulate the Gaza-Sinai border to prevent the shipment of long-range missiles from Iran to Gaza, Israel would have accomplished a part of its mission.

The countries that rank high on Israel’s list, Canada, European Nations and the United States, have shown support and understanding towards Israel’s act of defence. As Israel did not enter ground war, these governments give full credit to the Israeli government for successfully avoiding the situation.

This conflict has also highlighted the fact that Iran is at the centre of the trouble in the entire region and a nuclear deal with them only addresses a part of the entire problem, As Iran continues to send out ammunition and missiles to Syria and Gaza, the danger persists. The foremost point in the Israeli agenda in their meetings with the major countries would be how to stop Iran and subsequently the radical forces from gaining control of the entire region.

Nevertheless, gaining a reputation of restraint and moderation, Israel has emerged as a winner when it comes to foreign relationships during and after this conflict.