FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

War Clouds Over Gaza

by RANNIE AMIRI

“ … no one had been killed by the rocket barrages after the official end of the cease-fire [with Hamas]. This doesn’t mean the situation is possible to live with, but it appears the hysterical reaction by the public as a whole and politicians in particular stems mainly from the fact that the country is in an election period. And when elections are in the offing people speak from the gut rather than the brain and demagoguery is rampant.”

– Yoel Marcus, writing in Haaretz, 23 Dec. 2008.

As hopes for a renewed ceasefire between Hamas and Israel fade—assuming the latter’s blockade of food, medicine, fuel and other humanitarian assistance to Gaza did not itself constitute a violation many months ago—reports indicate the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is increasingly preparing for an invasion of the Strip. According to the AP citing anonymous defense officials, were it not for inclement weather, airstrikes would have already taken place followed by a land offensive.

In light of the looming assault, Marcus titled his editorial: “Have politicians pushing for Gaza war forgotten Lebanon debacle?”

Indeed, there is little doubt the central role both election-year politics and the July 2006 Lebanon war will play in any military decisions.

The main contenders for Israel’s February 2009 election to succeed the resigning Olmert are Likud’s Benjamin Netanyahu and the country’s current foreign minister, Tzipi Livni of Kadima. As in years past, the yardstick by which all candidates in Israeli elections are measured is their security (re: war) credentials. Extreme right figures such as Netanyahu need not burnish theirs though, for they have spent a lifetime, and made a career out of, warmongering.

Of equal danger are those whose résumé is a bit thinner, such as Livni’s, for they must prove they too can flaunt international law, expropriate land, dismiss as self-inflicted the suffering and hardships of an occupied people, and more importantly, shed Palestinian blood. What better testing ground than Gaza?

The question posed in Marcus’ title is a reasonable one to ask for Israel’s attempt to destroy Hezbollah in the summer of 2006 was a colossal blunder and complete failure. Not only was Hezbollah able to withstand the Israeli onslaught and emerge more popular in the Arab world than ever before, just as damaging was the mythical image of the invincible Israeli military left in tatters.

Olmert, for one, has decidedly not forgotten the Lebanon fiasco. In fact, he remembers it all too well. And this is the second reason for a possible Gaza attack: a tarnished reputation that must be salvaged.

He will seize on an opportunity to correct the missteps of 2006 and restore the standing of Israel’s armed forces—and himself—inside and outside the country.

Olmert believes the circumstances this time are different. First, Hamas is far less organized, disciplined, and militarily capable than Hezbollah. Second, Gaza has been sufficiently ‘softened up’ after months under siege and its population deprived of food, medicine and fuel. As an added bonus, he is ensured of the full support of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Livni was recently in Cairo for talks with Mubarak under the pretense of discussing renewal of the ceasefire agreement. After Mubarak’s half-hearted call for one was rebuffed, he politely asked Israel to show “restraint” in dealing with Gaza. Normally an Arab leader would be loathe to meet with such a high-level representative of the Israeli government due to the criminal embargo imposed on the tiny territory, let alone be so deferential in language. But Egypt has not only been complicit in the siege by keeping its Rafah border crossing with Gaza closed, they apparently also have given Israel the green light to invade.

As reported on Dec. 24 in the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi, Egyptian Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman met last week with the head of the Israeli Defense Ministry’s Bureau of Diplomatic- Security, Amos Gilad. Suleiman told Gilad that Egypt would not be opposed to a limited Israeli incursion into Gaza with the aim of toppling Hamas.

So the stage is set.

Leadership credentials will be built on spilling Palestinian blood. The image of the mighty Israel Defense Forces will be rehabilitated, albeit against a besieged and starving population. Egypt, along with the Arab monarchies, will watch approvingly from the sidelines. And the remarkable ability of the human spirit to resist foreign invasion and occupation will again, in the end, triumph.

RANNIE AMIRI is an independent commentator on the Arab and Islamic worlds. He may be reached at: rbamiri at yahoo dot com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rannie Amiri is an independent commentator on Middle East affairs.

Weekend Edition
February 12-14, 2016
Andrew Levine
What Next in the War on Clintonism?
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Comedy of Terrors: When in Doubt, Bomb Syria
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh – Anthony A. Gabb
Financial Oligarchy vs. Feudal Aristocracy
Paul Street
When Plan A Meets Plan B: Talking Politics and Revolution with the Green Party’s Jill Stein
Rob Urie
The (Political) Season of Our Discontent
Pepe Escobar
It Takes a Greek to Save Europa
Gerald Sussman
Why Hillary Clinton Spells Democratic Party Defeat
Carol Norris
What Do Hillary’s Women Want? A Psychologist on the Clinton Campaign’s Women’s Club Strategy
Robert Fantina
The U.S. Election: Any Good News for Palestine?
Linda Pentz Gunter
Radioactive Handouts: the Nuclear Subsidies Buried Inside Obama’s “Clean” Energy Budget
Michael Welton
Lenin, Putin and Me
Manuel García, Jr.
Fire in the Hole: Bernie and the Cracks in the Neo-Liberal Lid
Thomas Stephens
The Flint River Lead Poisoning Catastrophe in Historical Perspective
David Rosen
When Trump Confronted a Transgender Beauty
Will Parrish
Cap and Clear-Cut
Victor Grossman
Coming Cutthroats and Parting Pirates
Ben Terrall
Raw Deals: Challenging the Sharing Economy
David Yearsley
Beyoncé’s Super Bowl Formation: Form-Fitting Uniforms of Revolution and Commerce
David Mattson
Divvying Up the Dead: Grizzly Bears in a Post-ESA World
Matthew Stevenson
Confessions of a Primary Insider
Jeff Mackler
Friedrichs v. U.S. Public Employee Unions
Franklin Lamb
Notes From Tehran: Trump, the Iranian Elections and the End of Sanctions
Pete Dolack
More Unemployment and Less Security
Christopher Brauchli
The Cruzifiction of Michael Wayne Haley
Bill Quigley
Law on the Margins: a Profile of Social Justice Lawyer Chaumtoli Huq
Uri Avnery
A Lady With a Smile
Katja Kipping
The Opposite of Transparency: What I Didn’t Read in the TIPP Reading Room
B. R. Gowani
Hellish Woman: ISIS’s Granny Endorses Hillary
Kent Paterson
The Futures of Whales and Humans in Mexico
James Heddle
Why the Current Nuclear Showdown in California Should Matter to You
Michael Howard
Hollywood’s Grotesque Animal Abuse
Steven Gorelick
Branding Tradition: a Bittersweet Tale of Capitalism at Work
Nozomi Hayase
Assange’s UN Victory and Redemption of the West
Patrick Bond
World Bank Punches South Africa’s Poor, by Ignoring the Rich
Mel Gurtov
Is US-Russia Engagement Still Possible?
Dan Bacher
Governor Jerry Brown Receives Cold, Dead Fish Award Four Years In A Row
Wolfgang Lieberknecht
Fighting and Protecting Refugees
Jennifer Matsui
Doglegs, An Unforgettable Film
Soud Sharabani
Israeli Myths: An Interview with Ramzy Baroud
Terry Simons
Bernie? Why Not?
Missy Comley Beattie
When Thoughtful People Think Illogically
Christy Rodgers
Everywhere is War: Luke Mogelson’s These Heroic, Happy Dead: Stories
Ron Jacobs
Springsteen: Rockin’ the House in Albany, NY
Barbara Nimri Aziz
“The Martian”: This Heroism is for Chinese Viewers Too
Charles R. Larson
No Brainers: When Hitler Took Cocaine and Lenin Lost His Brain
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail