Losing the plot: Why did Israel attack Gaza – again?

Israel is interested in anything but peace, interested in nothing but “maiming and murdering more Palestinians”.

Gaza attacks
"The settler hooligans have a field day during the Israeli military operations - for they keep grabbing more of Palestine undetected and unstoppable," says author [Reuters]

Speaking in a press conference following the announcement of a ceasefire on Wednesday, November 21, the Israeli defence minister, Ehud Barak, said, “All our objectives were reached, taking out the Fajr rockets, rocket launching pads and Hamas offices”. But almost immediately contradicting himself, Barak added, “Even in this late hour, rockets continue to fall on Israeli territory. Southern communities in Israel will continue to be under attack in the coming days”. But in conclusion, Barak “thanked the IDF and its commanders, as well as the Obama administration for its aid in funding the Iron Dome”.  

That at least 161 Palestinians, including 71 civilians, were killed in this operation was not a factor in Barak’s declaration of victory.  

For the moment ignoring the fact that the Israeli defence minister cannot make two consecutive sentences without contradicting himself, what exactly is it that Israelis have achieved in this latest round of murderous bombing of Gaza – and why did they launch this attack in the first place? 

Their defence minister says they have achieved “all our objectives… taking out the Fajr rockets”, just before admitting “those rockets continue to fall on Israel”. Who manufactures these silly stories, who buys them – why bother? In trying to read the Israeli bombing of Gaza the most useless statements are in fact those that Israeli warlords make. 

Killing the peacemaker 

“I believe that Israel made a grave and irresponsible strategic error by deciding to kill Mr Jabari.” This is no Palestinian, or Arab, or Muslim commentator writing for any leftist, Islamist, or anti-Israeli venue. This is Gershon Baskin, the Israeli official in charge of negotiating with Hamas, writing for the New York Times. He continues:

Passing messages between the two sides, I was able to learn firsthand that Mr Jabari wasn’t just interested in a long-term ceasefire; he was also the person responsible for enforcing previous cease-fire understandings brokered by the Egyptian intelligence agency. Mr Jabari enforced those ceasefires only after confirming that Israel was prepared to stop its attacks on Gaza. On the morning that he was killed, Mr Jabari received a draft proposal for an extended ceasefire with Israel, including mechanisms that would verify intentions and ensure compliance. This draft was agreed upon by me and Hamas’ deputy foreign minister, Mr Hamad, when we met last week in Egypt.

So if Israel is indeed interested in peace and in protecting the lives of its own citizens, as Barack Obama and other American Zionists keep insisting, then why point blank assassinate the sole person who was able to deliver this peace and then launch a massive assault on civilian targets that guarantees to produce even more vengeful response? That does not make any sense. Does it? 

This fact, now corroborated by an Israeli official, exposes the even larger context in which Israel is interested in anything but peace as evident in its relentless stealing of more of Palestine on a daily and routine basis, and no American administration or the so-called “International community” has ever been able to force them to stop those ghastly settlements built by murderous settler thugs on stolen Palestinian lands. So securing a lasting peace is farthest from anything that Israelis do – including this latest round of atrocities in Gaza.

Every time there is a military strike like this gone entirely under the radar is the fact that even more Palestinian lands are being stolen elsewhere in Palestine as Israelis bomb Gaza. The settler hooligans have a field day during the Israeli military operations – for they keep grabbing more of Palestine undetected and unstoppable. That consistent thievery – in broad daylight of history – is inimical to any notion of peace.

Obama is fond of saying Israelis are entitled to defend themselves. But are they entitled to steal even more of Palestine, terrorise its inhabitants and continue to consolidate a racist apartheid state, where its propaganda officer in charge of the social networking even mocks Obama himself Joke? Was South Africa also entitled to be a racist apartheid state, was American south entitled to slavery, India to Hindu fundamentalism? 

A major segment of people living in Gaza are in fact from the areas that Zionists now call “Israel” – they have stolen their land, forced them into a large concentration camp and now keep bombing them. The Israelis control every side of this concentration camp and even decide the degree of calories that their men, women and children can eat.

Radical militarisation 

According to reports, “About 10 per cent of Palestinian children in Gaza under five have had their growth stunted by malnutrition. A recent report by Save the Children and Medical Aid for Palestinians found that, in addition, anaemia is widespread, affecting over two-thirds of infants, 58.6 per cent of schoolchildren and over a third of pregnant mothers.” Is this the manner in which Israelis mean to have peace? 

So from its very inception to this day, Israel is interested in anything but peace, interested in nothing but maiming and murdering more Palestinians and stealing their lands – and Mr “audacity of hope” is here today to secure that project progresses apace as along as he is in office even if Israeli army officers mock him and millions of other African Americans with ghastliest forms of racism possible.    

So why did Israel attack Gaza – again? There is obvious electioneering at work here, as Marwan Bishara noted in his piece for Al Jazeera soon after Israel began bombing Gaza:  

“Netanyahu, like his predecessors, is using the assassination of Hamas’s leader Ahmad Jabari and subsequent escalation to undermine the Palestinian leadership’s (Hamas and Fatah’s) political standing and improve his own political chances, by underlining Israel’s national security over economic security as the core issue preoccupying the nation, ahead of the elections.”  

“To make his point,” Bishara in fact re/published a piece he had “written six years earlier” with minor changes of dates, names etc. As they continue to repeat themselves tirelessly and recycle the same claims”. 

The advantage of seeing Bishara’s piece again is to see the vicious cycle of lies and excuses that Israel keeps feeding the world as to why is it that it avoids any meaningful intention of peace and simply murders more and more Palestinians to grab and confiscate more of their lands.  

Another obvious consequence is the radical militarisation of Palestinian resistance when they see their children slaughtered by their vicious enemy – which in turn justifies the masses of billions of dollars in military aid, that Obama offers Israel, which in turn means the Islamic republic will continue to have a foothold in Gaza. 

So this becomes a vicious cycle and/or a self-fulfilling prophecy. Pro-Israeli propaganda intensifies in Washington, DC, and anti-Zionist fury roams in Tehran – which is exactly what both Israel and the Islamic Republic need to keep themselves relevant and in business in the region.  

Others have suggested that this might be a way to test the new “Iron Dome” – a mobile all-weather air defence system – that Obama has presented to Israel in anticipation of a more effective use of it in a possible forthcoming attack on Iran.  

This may indeed also be the case. Surrounded by thick apartheid walls already, Obama has now also capped the colonial settlement with multi-billion dollar Iron Dome – and how symbolic is that! 

Now Israel is completely and not just metaphorically turned into a self-contained killing machine, capsuled with thick walls and an iron dome, like a military spaceship hovering in a foreign and distant planet, to kill other people and their children at will with total impunity. For if any country in the region was capable of dropping a single bomb over Israel, perhaps the Israeli warlords would think twice before they dropped hundreds of bombs over Gaza.  

This is thus perhaps a major function of the Gaza operation to show and sustain this military superiority, to grab hold of 1.7 million human beings they have incarcerated in the largest concentration camp on earth and drop bombs on them with total impunity while Barak Obama has given his green light and gone fishing in Myanmar.  

The real existential threat 

These and perhaps more factors are all within the realms of possibility – but none of them can singularly or even collectively account for why Israel would just randomly start killing more Palestinians – so the question persists – why?  

Netanyahu would not have dared to attack Gaza when the Arab Spring was in full bloom – instead he concentrated on invading Iran. That would have made his premiership two times over – but he did not succeed, and Adelson and Murdoch failed to buy him a Republican president who would have more readily than this one given him an Iran war. So now that Obama is in office, he attacked Gaza – just to show who is the boss, what military superiority he enjoys – and why he has to keep it that way. 

“Netanyahu would not have dared to attack Gaza when the Arab Spring was in full bloom – instead he concentrated on invading Iran.”

But underlying all these factors is Netanyahu’s instinctive fear of the Arab Spring, of the succession of Arab revolutions – the democratic uprising from one end of the Arab world to another – that poses THE existential threat to Israel. To imagine Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or even the Islamic Republic, as an existential threat to Israel is a silly joke that the Israeli propaganda machinery has turned into a deadly serious phantasm. 

But the Arab revolutions, even in this nascent and turbulent stage (or particularly in this stage) are the existential threat to the Jewish apartheid settler colony – and neither the Likudnik nor the liberal Zionists seem to have a clue how to reconfigure the fate of six million plus human beings trapped inside a bankrupt ideology, within thick apartheid walls and now even capped by an Iron Dome. 

Raining bombs on innocent Palestinians in Gaza was yet another desperate attempt to pull the clock back to December 2008-January 2009, just a year before the Arab revolutions began – it was a murderous nostalgic act of a desperate Zionist whom history has left behind.  

So, yes, perhaps, Netanyahu was also testing Morsi? But if so, he was not the only one – Egyptians and Arabs at large are also testing Morsi. As soon as the Israeli, American, Saudi bait went down, Morsi swam for it, jumped for a supercilious power grab and within minutes that he brokered a truce and started cozying up to Obama, suddenly a bizarre looking tyrant emerged from him. But not so fast brother! – for the Egyptians were out in their streets calling him “Mohamed Morsi Mubarak” and pharaoh, and torching the office of the Muslim Brotherhood faster than he could call uncle and run to his brothers. 

Morsi was delusional trying to grab more power. But the fear of Netanyahu and the cause of his having lost the plot is not Morsi – it is in the volcanic eruption that brought Morsi to power in the first place. Israel that he leads, plus Saudi Arabia and other retrograde Persian Gulf potentates and the US, on one side, and opposing them the ruling clergy in Iran and the mass murderers holding to power in Syria, are all afraid of one concrete and abiding fact: the Arab revolutions – that will – sooner than later – dismantle all these regimes. In the excellent words of Haidar Eid, a professor at Al-Aqsa University in Gaza:

Now is the moment of truth, the moment of sending a clear message to the new Arab world: The Mubarak and Abu el-Gheit era is gone. That the power of deterrence, in light of the massive imbalance of power between Israel and the Palestinians, lies with the ordinary citizen in the streets of Tunis, Cairo, Rabat, Doha, Amman and Muscat. The demonstrations, which have erupted in London, New York, Glasgow and other cities must be translated into a new, concrete reality steered by Palestinians and Arabs. Egyptians, in particular, should be partners, not mediators. 

Hamid Dabashi is Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. His Arab Spring: The End of Postcolonialism was released earlier this year by Zed.