FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A Feast of Bombs

by Neve Gordon

JERUSALEM. A few hours after the F-16 jet dropped a 1-ton bomb on a crowded residential area in Gaza, killing 17 people — 11 of them children — and wounding over 140 more, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon exclaimed that the attack had been one of Israel’s “biggest successes.”

Israeli spin-doctors immediately understood that the massacre would generate bad PR and changed the official line, using apologetic adjectives like miscalculation, mistake, error, and oversight to describe the deadly assault. Noble Peace Prize laureate Shimon Peres took it upon himself to lead the remorseful choir, hoping to suppress world censure.

Despite harsh international criticism, Sharon remained unrepentant. The Israeli press has suggested that his triumphant cry has less to do with the operation’s formal objective — the extra-judicial execution of Hamas leader Salah Shahada — than with the successful annihilation of a unilateral ceasefire agreement formally finalized by the different Palestinian military factions a day before the massacre.

Predictably, Hamas did not wait long to retaliate. As I write these lines, the television is broadcasting gory images of the dead and wounded students of Hebrew University, which my partner and many of our friends attend. Ambulance sirens echo outside, while every few minutes the number of casualties is updated on the screen. Yet another massacre has been perpetrated.

There is nothing fatalistic about Middle East violence, even though the carnage scenes have become routine. Butchery is an act of free will. Sharon deliberately chose to add fuel to the dying fire when he bombed Gaza, because he does not believe in a diplomatic solution to the bloody Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Neither do Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Sharon will now most likely use the Hamas attack in order to justify Israel’s further reoccupation of Palestinian territories. His overall objective, though, is not to wipe out the Palestinian Authority, as some commentators seem to suggest, but rather to forcibly change its role. Regardless of whether or not Yasser Arafat remains in charge, if Sharon gets his way, the “reformed” Palestinian Authority will no longer serve as the political representative of an independent state. Rather, it will operate as a civil administration of sorts, responsible for education, health, sewage and garbage collection.

The strategy is clear: confer on the Palestinians the costly role of managing civil life, but eliminate their political freedoms. South Africans called it Bantustans.

To accomplish this vision Sharon needs to break the spirit of the Palestinian people. This, it seems, is exactly what he has been trying to do. Following the brutal Israeli assault dubbed “Defensive Shield,” he has held almost 2 million Palestinians under tight military curfew. These people have been imprisoned in their homes for over six weeks.

Sharon will continue the strangulation and humiliation of the Palestinians, hoping that at a certain point they will bow down. The reprisal attack by Hamas only gives him more ammunition, which is why he considers the Gaza massacre a feat worth celebrating.

Neve Gordon teaches politics at Ben-Gurion University, Israel, and can be reached at ngordon@bgumail.bgu.ac.il

Neve Gordon is a Leverhulme Visiting Professor in the Department of Politics and International Studies and the co-author of The Human Right to Dominate.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

February 23, 2017
Dave Brotherton
Trump, Moral Panics and Resistance
Jonathan Cook
One State: Trump Has Reminded Palestinians What It Was Always About
Bill Quigley
Ten Examples of Direct Resistance to Stop Government Raids
Linn Washington Jr.
Bigot Boy Business: Trump Exposes His Ignorance and Intolerance, Again
John W. Whitehead
The Illusion of Freedom: the Police State Is Alive and Well
Ralph Nader
Restricting People’s Use of Their Courts
David Macaray
Women As Labor Union Organizers
Kathy Kelly
Friendship in Defiance of War
Doug Weir
Why Did the US Use Depleted Uranium Weapons in Syria?
Steve Horn
Former GOP Congressional Staffer Follows Revolving Door, Now Latest Keystone XL Lobbyist
Binoy Kampmark
From Rights to Repentance: Norma McCorvey and Roe v Wade
Thomas Knapp
The Target of the “Border Adjustment Tax” is You
Chris Zinda
Open Letter to Neoliberal Environmentalists
February 22, 2017
Mike Whitney
Liberals Beware: Lie Down With Dogs, Get Up With Fleas
John Grant
On Killers and Bullshitters*
Peter Linebaugh
Catherine Despard, Abolitionist
Patrick Cockburn
The Bitter Battle for Mosul
Ted Rall
Sue the Bastards? It’s Harder Than You Think
Yoav Litvin
The Emergence of the Just Jew
Kim Scipes
Strategic Thinking and Organizing Resistance
Norman Pollack
Mar-a-Lago, Ideological Refuge: Berchtesgaden, II
Fred Donner
Nixon and the Chennault Affair: From Vietnam to Watergate
Carl Kandutsch
Podesta vs. Trump
Ike Nahem
To the Memory of Malcolm X: Fifty Years After His Assassination
Jesse Jackson
Trump’s Tough Talk Won’t Fix Chicago
Paul Donnelly
Betsy DeVos and the War on Public Education
Ebony Slaughter-Johnson
The End of an Alliance for Police Reform
Richard Lawless
Wall Street Demanded the Nuclear Option and the Congress Delivered
Liaquat Ali Khan
Yes, Real Donald Trump is a Muslim!
Ryan LaMothe
“Fire” and Free Speech
CounterPunch News Service
Bloody Buffalo Billboards
February 21, 2017
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
Finance as Warfare: the IMF Lent to Greece Knowing It Could Never Pay Back Debt
CJ Hopkins
Goose-stepping Our Way Toward Pink Revolution
John Wight
Firestarter: the Unwelcome Return of Tony Blair
Roger Harris
Lenin Wins: Pink Tide Surges in Ecuador…For Now
Shepherd Bliss
Japanese American Internment Remembered, as Trump Rounds Up Immigrants
Boris Kagarlitsky
Trump and the Contradictions of Capitalism
Robert Fisk
The Perils of Trump Addiction
Deepak Tripathi
Theresa May: Walking the Kingdom Down a Dark Alley
Sarah Anderson
To Save Main Street, Tax Wall Street
Howard Lisnoff
Those Who Plan and Enjoy Murder
Franklin Lamb
The Life and Death Struggle of the Children of Syria
Binoy Kampmark
A Tale of Two Realities: Trump and Israel
Kim C. Domenico
Body and Soul: Becoming Men & Women in a Post-Gender Age
Mel Gurtov
Trump, Europe, and Chaos
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail