Israel’s hostage rescue operation ‘hardly a sign of success’
Published: Jun 09, 2024 10:40 PM
This photo taken on June 8, 2024, shows houses, roads, and cars damaged by Israeli attacks in the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. (Photo by Marwan Daoud/Xinhua)

This photo taken on June 8, 2024, shows houses, roads, and cars damaged by Israeli attacks in the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. (Photo by Marwan Daoud/Xinhua)

The death toll from an Israeli raid on the Nuseirat refugee camp has risen to 274 Palestinians and injured more than 400, Gaza's health officials said Sunday. On Saturday, the Israeli military launched a raid on the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza, rescuing four hostages from two apartment buildings in the camp. Israel's actions have drawn condemnation from multiple parties, with even some US media outlets pointing up the death toll Gaza has suffered as a result of Israel's military operations.

Hamas issued a statement on Saturday accusing Israel of committing a "horrific massacre." Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has reportedly instructed Palestine's envoy to the UN to request an emergency session of the UN Security Council to discuss the repercussions of the Israeli attacks, Palestinian official news agency WAFA reported. Abbas emphasized the urgent need for international intervention to halt the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Gaza and the West Bank. 

Liu Zhongmin, a professor from the Middle East Studies Institute of Shanghai International Studies University, told the Global Times that Israel's rescue operation this time had three main objectives. The first is to rescue hostages, eliminate Hamas, and ensure that the Gaza Strip no longer poses a threat to Israel; the second is to address domestic political pressure, as the Israeli government needs to show its people that it still has the ability to rescue hostages; and the third is to prove to the international community that Israel has the capability to rescue hostages through military action.

However, this operation is not a sign of success but has instead drawn strong criticism. Reuters described this raid as "one of the single bloodiest Israeli assaults of the eight-month-old war." EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell wrote on social media, "Reports from Gaza of another massacre of civilians are appalling. We condemn this in the strongest terms." 

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement that "The US is supporting all efforts to secure the release of hostages still held by Hamas, including American citizens." He noted this work includes ongoing negotiations and "other means." Chinese experts said that it can be seen that the US government's position on the Israeli Gaza operation is consistent, and the US government is likely to view Israel's hostage rescue operation as a blow to Hamas.

According to Al Jazeera, since October 7, 2023, more than 37,000 people have died during the Palestine-Israel conflict, with the Palestinian people paying an exceptionally cruel price. At the same time, Israel is facing internal and external pressure. On May 20, the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor, Karim Khan, announced that he is seeking arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity. The arrest warrants from the ICC reflect Israel's increasing international isolation. Previously, on May 10, the Emergency Special Session of the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution that upgraded Palestine's rights at the UN as an observer state, urging the Security Council to favorably consider its full membership. The results showed that 143 countries voted in favor, while nine countries, including the US and Israel, voted against, and 25 abstained. The draft resolution was passed overwhelmingly.

At the beginning of the current round of conflict, Israel set three goals for its military operation in the Gaza Strip: eliminating Hamas, releasing all hostages, and ensuring Gaza "no longer poses a threat." However, more than eight months have passed, and none of these goals have been fully achieved. As the Israeli military operation continues to struggle to achieve its objectives, internal divisions within the Israeli government are growing and becoming increasingly public. Israel has not only caused heavy losses to the Palestinians but has also trapped itself in a serious dilemma, Liu said.