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An Update on The Middle East

By Micah Friedman, Staff Writer

Throughout the Middle East, various news events are occurring right now. The war in Gaza has continued since the October 7th attacks where Hamas terrorists brutally attacked and murdered many Israeli civilians, but Israel has now encircled Rafah, the city in Gaza that they hope to be the final hiding place of the terrorists who are holding innocent hostages. Furthermore, there is much discussion of what will happen between Israel and Iran following Iran's attack on Israel and Israel’s response. Additionally, the US and Saudi Arabia are nearing a defense pact meant to reshape the Middle East. Overall, there is much activity in the area currently with much speculation over what is going to happen. 

To begin, what is the deal with the operations that are being conducted by Israel in Rafah? Due to satellite imaging, we know that Israel has begun further ground operations on the city of Rafah. Rafah is now the central focus of the war as Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is facing constant pressure to try and retrieve the hostages by a ground invasion or by a ceasefire deal. The IDF said in a statement that they are conducting counterterrorism operations in some of Eastern Rafah close to the border. Many videos exist of the IDF attempting to enter buildings from which their soldiers are being shot at. Since entering Rafah, Israel has successfully eliminated about fifty terrorists as well as having found many of Hamas’s tunnels and buildings. President Joe Biden has told Israel that the United States will stop supplying Israel with resources if they launch a full-scale invasion of the city, although he also said he would continue to make sure Israel is secure. This statement is the first time that the President has said that the US may stop sending shipments to Israel. The talks for a ceasefire are ongoing but neither side has yet agreed to another ceasefire deal since the one in November but the US believes that a new deal is close. While much is still unknown, we hope that the hostages will be able to be with their families soon. 

A further challenge for Israel was Iran's attack which has left many questioning if a battle between the two may develop. In mid-April, Iran launched hundreds of missiles and drones at Israel, but they were heavily assisted in stopping the attack by Jordan, the United States, the United Kingdom, and France, and therefore 99% of the air strikes were stopped. Israel then launched a small retaliation strike towards an Iranian military facility, though the extent of the damage remains unknown. To sum up, there will unlikely be a direct war between Iran and Israel currently but Hamas and Hezbollah, who are constantly attacking Israel, are largely controlled by Iran. 

Meanwhile, the United States, Saudi Arabia and Israel are nearing a deal that would provide Saudi Arabia with advanced weapons. The deal would also offer incentives for Israel to end their war with Hamas. US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, visited Riyadh at the end of April, which gave reason to believe that the deal would be completed soon. Even so, the deal puts Israel in a bad position that makes it unlikely for them to agree; therefore the US and Saudi Arabia may make a deal between just the two of them to improve relations between the countries. Although it is possible for a deal between the two countries without Israel many notable sources say it is unlikely to happen. 

Ultimately, the Middle East is and will constantly be in the news now and in the near future. The war between Israel and Hamas will likely continue until all of the living hostages are returned. Although there will most likely not be any more direct attacks on Israel from Iran the tension between the two countries will be high. Lastly, there will probably not be a deal between the United States and Saudi Arabia although the relations between the two are constantly improving.

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