Hamas has rejected the prospect of more hostages being released until Israel agrees to end the war in Gaza. Israel says no end to hostilities until Hamas is defeated, and has drawn up plans to invade southern Lebanon, to drive Hezbollah forces, which pose a greater risk than Hamas, further from the border risking a further escalation of conflict in the Middle East. Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s leader, said the group would not launch a major offensive unless provoked or unless Hamas was on the verge of an overwhelming defeat.
The Hamas attack in October left 1300 dead with 240 hostages taken and is one of the worst terrorist attacks in history. The subsequent conflict has left at least 20,000 Palestinians dead, 70% of those women and children and 52,000 injured. Israel has dropped more than 29,000 bombs on Gaza since this war began with 40-45% of these unguided. Gaza has a high population density, similar to London. Gaza is now the “most dangerous place in the world to be a child”, according to the United Nation’s child agency, Unicef.
“To find a similar density of high explosives used in a small populated area, we might have to go back to the Vietnam war for a comparable example,” a former Pentagon intelligence analyst said. During the Hanoi bombing an estimated 1,600 Vietnamese civilians were killed. By contrast, the US-led coalition killed fewer than 20 civilians per day, during the four-month offensive to drive IS out of the Syrian city of Raqqa in 2017. And an Associated Press investigation suggested that between 9,000 and 11,000 civilians were killed in the nine-month battle between US-backed Iraqi forces and IS for the Iraqi city of Mosul which ended in 2017 which amounts to an estimated fewer-than-40 civilian deaths per day. During the almost two years of the Ukraine war, the UN estimates at least 10,000 civilians have been killed.
A previous Gaza flare up in 2008 which kicked off on a Mars, Pluto, New Moon in Capricorn lasted for three weeks. The 2014 Gaza hostilities starting on an explosive Sun opposition Capricorn square Uranus opposition Mars lasted for six and a half weeks. This one which started on a Martian yod of Neptune sextile Uranus inconjunct Mars in Libra looks like outlasting both. The only faintly hopeful straw in the wind might be Jupiter going direct on January 1st. But even if by some miracle there was a pause there is no indication that the broader situation will have changed of a complete deadlock with neither side willing to agree to a two-state solution.
The Oslo Accord, 13 September 1993, was the closest a peace process ever came to be agreed and it fell to bits with the Palestinians opposing it and the Israeli PM Rabin being shot by a far-right settler two years later. In 1993 tr Pluto was in Scorpio exactly opposing the Israel 8th house Sun square tr Saturn – it took immense pressure from international leaders and still did not hold.
At the moment and into early 2024 tr Uranus is conjunct the Israel Sun for another jolt and challenge to change. But all that has happened is events have pushed Israel deeper into their obduracy. The tendency of Fixed signs is to dig in through times of upheaval, expecting at some point the world will adapt around them. They have extraordinary endurance but little flexibility. And 8th house merely doubles up on the unbudge-ability. And Hamas with Mars Pluto conjunct in Scorpio are much the same. Immoveable object meets unstoppable force.
The indications are that Hamas will be destroyed but not perhaps for another two years and as Ben Wallace, former UK Defence Chief pointed out: “history shows us that radicalisation follows oppression”. “Northern Ireland internment taught us that a disproportionate response by the state can serve as a terrorist organisation’s best recruiting sergeant.” Treat people badly and another Hamas will pop up.
Gaza’s chart is in a state of upheaval until mid March and in considerable anguish for several years thereafter. And there is nothing settled in the Israel chart for years ahead which I will return to with the year end round up. Hezbollah looks edgy in the extreme after mid 2024 at that period when many world leaders’ charts look on red alert.
‘Man’s inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn.’ Robert Burns.