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 the co-author (with Nicola Perugini) of the newly released The Human Right to Dominate.

More articles by:
May 31, 2016
Miguel A. Cruz-Díaz
Imperial Blues: On Whitewashing Dictatorship in the 21st Century
Vijay Prashad
Stoking the Fires: Trump and His Legions
Patrick Howlett-Martin
Libya: How to Bring Down a Nation
Uri Avnery
What Happened to Netanyahu?
Corey Payne
Reentry Through Resistance: Détente with Cuba was Accomplished Through Resistance and Solidarity, Not Imperial Benevolence
Bill Quigley
From Tehran to Atlanta: Social Justice Lawyer Azadeh Shahshahani’s Fight for Human Rights
Manuel E. Yepe
Trump, Sanders and the Exhaustion of a Political Model
Bruce Lerro
“Network” 40 Years Later: Capitalism in Retrospect and Prospect and Elite Politics Today
Robert Hunziker
Chile’s Robocops
Aidan O'Brien
What’ll It be Folks: Xenophobia or Genocide?
Binoy Kampmark
Emailgate: the Clinton Spin Doctors In Action
Colin Todhunter
The Unique Risks of GM Crops: Science Trumps PR, Fraud and Smear Campaigns
Dave Welsh
Jessica Williams, 29: Another Black Woman Gunned Down By Police
Gary Leupp
Rules for TV News Anchors, on Memorial Day and Every Day
May 30, 2016
Ron Jacobs
The State of the Left: Many Movements, Too Many Goals?
James Abourezk
The Intricacies of Language
Porfirio Quintano
Hillary, Honduras, and the Murder of My Friend Berta
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes on ISIS are Reducing Their Cities to Ruins
Uri Avnery
The Center Doesn’t Hold
Raouf Halaby
The Sailors of the USS Liberty: They, Too, Deserve to Be Honored
Rodrigue Tremblay
Barack Obama’s Legacy: What Happened?
Matt Peppe
Just the Facts: The Speech Obama Should Have Given at Hiroshima
Deborah James
Trade Pacts and Deregulation: Latest Leaks Reveal Core Problem with TISA
Michael Donnelly
Still Wavy After All These Years: Flower Geezer Turns 80
Ralph Nader
The Funny Business of Farm Credit
Paul Craig Roberts
Memorial Day and the Glorification of Past Wars
Colin Todhunter
From Albrecht to Monsanto: A System Not Run for the Public Good Can Never Serve the Public Good
Rivera Sun
White Rose Begins Leaflet Campaigns June 1942
Tom H. Hastings
Field Report from the Dick Cheney Hunting Instruction Manual
Weekend Edition
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Silencing America as It Prepares for War
Rob Urie
By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
S. Brian Willson
Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Gunnar Westberg
Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail