FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Gaza Massacre

by

Massacre has become a habit. Every two or three years, Israel launches a massive military assault upon largely unarmed Palestinians in Gaza. It did this in December 2008 to January 2009. It did it again in November 2012. On each occasion hundreds of Palestinians are murdered and thousands more maimed.

Every time, Israel claims the moral high ground for its brutal, barbaric action. It blames Hamas, an important component of the Palestinian liberation movement, for the present cycle of violence. It alleges, without an iota of proof, that Hamas was responsible for the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teens on 12 June 2014. Hamas has denied any involvement. The death of the teens — a despicable act — provided the justification for a large-scale operation against Hamas and other so-called militants. Israeli authorities arrested a number of activists including those who were released earlier.

While the global media has highlighted the killing of the Israeli teens, it has ignored a critical bit of background information that may have a connection with the tragic episode. On 15th May 2014, the Israeli army killed two unarmed Palestinian teens and wounded a third. The media has also failed to provide a context to this unconscionable murder of children in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Between 29 September 2000 and 23 June 2014, 1,523 Palestinian children were killed by Israelis as against 129 Israeli children killed by Palestinians. It is also worth noting that between the two dates, 6,876 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli occupiers compared to 1,110 Israelis by Palestinians.

If the media has concealed these statistics from the public, it has also presented a rather distorted picture of how the present violence had unfolded. It is mainly because of the huge emotional torrent unleashed by the anti-Arab venom spewed by some politicians and religious personalities in the wake of the killing of the Israeli teens that some Israeli settlers may have killed a Palestinian teen and burnt his body on the 2nd of July. This incident — not unexpectedly — provoked thousands of Palestinians to launch angry protests in not only Gaza but also the West Bank. The Benjamin Netanyahu regime retaliated with harsh punitive measures including missile strikes and the collective punishment of entire communities.

It is against this backdrop that one should look at the primitive rockets launched by Hamas against targets in Israel. It is true that these rockets have generated some fear among segments of the Israeli population but they have not resulted in any deaths. On the contrary, they serve as “evidence” for Netanyahu to convince the world that Israel is under threat and is forced to defend itself and to protect its people. This is why one wonders whether as a strategic option the rockets serve a purpose.

If anything, the rockets have helped to divert attention from the underlying motives for Israel’s current aggressive offensive. What are these motives?

One, the offensive, ostensibly directed at Hamas, actually demonstrates Israel’s overwhelming military power in the region. Its neighbours are reminded at regular intervals that no one should try to trifle with West Asia’s most formidable armed forces. The projection of power in this manner is consistent with Israel’s singular obsession with its security. For the nation’s security, in the Israeli psyche, is equated with its ability to dominate the region, militarily. Hence its opposition to any other state in West Asia possessing even the remotest capacity to produce nuclear weapons. Besides, Israel is determined to show friend and foe that it is above the law, that the norms that apply to other states bear no relevance to it. It is “exceptional” because the Jews are a “chosen people.”

Two, the need to project its power is all the greater at this moment in view of the reconciliation agreement reached between Hamas and its rival Fatah on the 23rd of April 2014. Israel perceives a united Palestinian liberation struggle as a major threat to its agenda of domination and control through the strategy of divide and rule. If, as a result of a Hamas-Fatah unity government, Gaza and the West Bank are brought together, the Israeli plan of keeping them apart — and weak — will be thwarted.

Three, the Netanyahu regime is also worried that more and more people especially in Europe are beginning to appreciate the justice of the Palestinian cause as reflected in the growing support of big corporations and universities for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel’s post -1967 occupation of Palestinian land. In order to check this trend, Netanyahu is once again playing the victim card especially with Europe in mind: Israel is still under a grave threat, its survival is at stake. Do not abandon Israel.

Four, playing victim has acquired a new urgency in light of a recent development. There is a strong possibility that Iran will come to some understanding soon with the US and other big powers on its nuclear programme. As we have hinted, for Israel, an oil-rich Iran with a strong scientific base and a clear Islamic ideological orientation, is a challenge to its security, read dominance. It explains why it has gone all out to foil Iran’s rapprochement with the US in particular. The present offensive which attempts to link Hamas’s rockets with Iran is both an endeavour to make Iran look like the culprit and to underscore Israel’s vulnerability.

Since the motives reveal an extremely myopic perspective on Israel’s interests, all the more reason why an immediate ceasefire in Gaza is critical. Though there have been calls for a ceasefire from the United Nations Security Council to NGOs, the parties involved especially Israel is not prepared to heed. Perhaps NGOs and other civil society groups all over the world should be more vocal and more persistent in demanding an immediate cessation of conflict.

Needless to say, a ceasefire in itself is not a solution. There will continue to be massacres of this sort in the future unless the fundamental cause of the Israeli-Palestinian/ Arab conflict is addressed. It is widely accepted that the root of the conflict is Israeli occupation of Palestinian/Arab land. It is because of their situation— their dispossession —that Palestinians and other Arabs are sometimes even prepared to resort to violence in order to restore their dignity.

This is something that the Israeli elite and its backers in the West should understand. As it has been said on numerous occasions, there will be no security for Israelis unless there is justice for the Palestinians and other Arabs.

Dr. Chandra Muzaffar is President of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST).

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
March 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump is Obama’s Legacy: Will this Break up the Democratic Party?
Eric Draitser
Donald Trump and the Triumph of White Identity Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nothing Was Delivered
Andrew Levine
Ryan’s Choice
Joshua Frank
Global Coal in Freefall, Tar Sands Development Drying Up (Bad News for Keystone XL)
Anthony DiMaggio
Ditching the “Deep State”: The Rise of a New Conspiracy Theory in American Politics
Rob Urie
Boris and Natasha Visit Fantasy Island
John Wight
London and the Dreary Ritual of Terrorist Attacks
Paul Buhle
The CIA and the Intellectuals…Again
David Rosen
Why Did Trump Target Transgender Youth?
Vijay Prashad
Inventing Enemies
Ben Debney
Outrage From the Imperial Playbook
M. Shadee Malaklou
An Open Letter to Duke University’s Class of 2007, About Your Open Letter to Stephen Miller
Michael J. Sainato
Bernie Sanders’ Economic Advisor Shreds Trumponomics
Bill Willers
Volunteerism; Charisma; the Ivy League Stranglehold: a Very Brief Trilogy
Lawrence Davidson
Moral Failure at the UN
Pete Dolack
World Bank Declares Itself Above the Law
Nicola Perugini - Neve Gordon
Israel’s Human Rights Spies
Patrick Cockburn
From Paris to London: Another City, Another Attack
Ralph Nader
Reason and Justice Address Realities
Ramzy Baroud
‘Decolonizing the Mind’: Using Hollywood Celebrities to Validate Islam
Colin Todhunter
Monsanto in India: The Sacred and the Profane
Louisa Willcox
Grizzlies Under the Endangered Species Act: How Have They Fared?
Norman Pollack
Militarization of American Fascism: Trump the Usurper
Pepe Escobar
North Korea: The Real Serious Options on the Table
Brian Cloughley
“These Things Are Done”: Eavesdropping on Trump
Sheldon Richman
You Can’t Blame Trump’s Military Budget on NATO
Carol Wolman
Trump vs the People: a Psychiatrist’s Analysis
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Marines to Kill Desert Tortoises
Stanley L. Cohen
The White House . . . Denial and Cover-ups
Farhang Jahanpour
America’s Woes, Europe’s Responsibilities
Joseph Natoli
March Madness Outside the Basketball Court
Bruce Mastron
Slaughtered Arabs Don’t Count
Ayesha Khan
The Headscarf is Not an Islamic Compulsion
Pauline Murphy
Unburied Truth: Exposing the Church’s Iron Chains on Ireland
Ron Jacobs
Music is Love, Music is Politics
Christopher Brauchli
Prisoners as Captive Customers
Robert Koehler
The Mosque That Disappeared
Franklin Lamb
Update from Madaya
Dan Bacher
Federal Scientists Find Delta Tunnels Plan Will Devastate Salmon
Barbara Nimri Aziz
The Gig Economy: Which Side Are You On?
Louis Proyect
What Caused the Holodomor?
Max Mastellone
Seeking Left Unity Through a Definition of Progressivism
Charles R. Larson
Review: David Bellos’s “Novel of the Century: the Extraordinary Adventure of Les Misérables”
David Yearsley
Ear of Darkness: the Soundtracks of Steve Bannon’s Films
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail