FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Israel’s Pretexts for War in Gaza

by

A story I missed back in April just came to my attention today. It seems Fatah (the secular nationalist guerrilla organization that formed the single largest component of the PLO) and Hamas announced their reconciliation and plans to form a unity government – “a development that could see the Palestinian territories under a unified leadership for the first time in years” (“Hamas, Fatah announce talks to form Palestinian unity government,” CNN, April 23).

I couldn’t help thinking of another historic reconciliation – this one fifty years earlier. Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh of North Vietnam engaged in talks to form a single interim national unity government for the whole country, followed by nationwide elections as originally provided under the terms of the Geneva Accord in 1954. Given the peasantry’s antipathy toward the ruling class of rack-renting Catholic landlords and the popularity of the NLF in much of the South, it’s likely the outcome of any such election would have displeased the US government.

This historic reconciliation was followed by the military overthrow of Diem in 1963, instigated by the CIA, and his replacement by a general more compliant with US direction. Much like the later Soviet-backed coup which installed Karmal in Afghanistan, the installation of a cooperative head of state opened the way for the large-scale introduction of US military forces into South Vietnam.

Like the United States fifty years ago, Israel has every reason to fear peace breaking out between two former adversaries. And from that standpoint, Israel’s all-out assault on Gaza in recent days couldn’t have come at a better time.

Are the two connected? I can’t say. But waves of Hamas rocket attacks in the past have generally been in response to a unilateral Israeli provocation, like violating a pre-existing truce or assassinating a Hamas leader, followed by the IDF’s use of the attacks as a pretext for all-out military assault. It’s almost as if the IDF compiles a sweet target list and every few years looks for some manufactured excuse to put it into effect.

In this case, Israel accused Hamas of kidnapping and murdering three Israeli teenagers, with no evidence to back it up. Hamas, which generally takes credit for such atrocities, denied it this time. Nevertheless Israel, in Operation Brother’s Keeper, arrested hundreds of Palestinians without criminal charge and raided or demolished hundreds of homes — collective reprisal against a civilian population, in other words. Hamas responded to this provocation with rocket attacks. And Israel took this as a pretext for another one of its monstrous and inhuman wars against the open-air prison camp in Gaza.

And guess what — now the Israeli leadership admits it wasn’t Hamas after all that killed those boys.

I’ve seen a lot of Zionists and Israel apologists on social media wringing their hands about Israel’s desire for peace, and the warlike nature of Islam. All I can say is, if they don’t think Israel has been itching a long time for a war and an excuse to put its latest target list into play, they’re prime suckers. I can’t prove Israel deliberately instigated this war precisely because it feared a unified Palestinian party across the bargaining table. But it sure looks to me like the dots line up that way.

Creating pretexts for war, ostensibly to counter some imminent “foreign threat,” is what states do. Many Germans in 1939 sincerely believed that Hitler went to war against Poland in self-defense, in response to terroristic provocations against ethnic Germans in Danzig. And if a German CNN had been around back then, its talking heads and Very Serious People would doubtless have solemnly mulled over the proper response to the “Polish threat.”

In the great majority of cases, the real purposes of a war and the ostensible reasons a state gives as its pretext are entirely different things. Utah Phillips (“I learned in Korea that I would never again, in my life, abdicate to somebody else my right and my ability to decide who the enemy is)” had the right idea.

Kevin Carson is a senior fellow of the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org) and holds the Center’s Karl Hess Chair in Social Theory.

Kevin Carson is a senior fellow of the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org) and holds the Center’s Karl Hess Chair in Social Theory. He is a mutualist and individualist anarchist whose written work includes Studies in Mutualist Political Economy, Organization Theory: A Libertarian Perspective, and The Homebrew Industrial Revolution: A Low-Overhead Manifesto, all of which are freely available online. 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
February 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Exxon’s End Game Theory
Pierre M. Sprey - Franklin “Chuck” Spinney
Sleepwalking Into a Nuclear Arms Race with Russia
Paul Street
Liberal Hypocrisy, “Late-Shaming,” and Russia-Blaming in the Age of Trump
Ajamu Baraka
Malcolm X and Human Rights in the Time of Trumpism: Transcending the Master’s Tools
John Laforge
Did Obama Pave the Way for More Torture?
Mike Whitney
McMaster Takes Charge: Trump Relinquishes Control of Foreign Policy 
Patrick Cockburn
The Coming Decline of US and UK Power
Louisa Willcox
The Endangered Species Act: a Critical Safety Net Now Threatened by Congress and Trump
Vijay Prashad
A Foreign Policy of Cruel Populism
John Chuckman
Israel’s Terrible Problem: Two States or One?
Matthew Stevenson
The Parallax View of Donald Trump
Norman Pollack
Drumbeat of Fascism: Find, Arrest, Deport
Stan Cox
Can the Climate Survive Electoral Democracy? Maybe. Can It Survive Capitalism? No.
Ramzy Baroud
The Trump-Netanyahu Circus: Now, No One Can Save Israel from Itself
Edward Hunt
The United States of Permanent War
David Morgan
Trump and the Left: a Case of Mass Hysteria?
Pete Dolack
The Bait and Switch of Public-Private Partnerships
Mike Miller
What Kind of Movement Moment Are We In? 
Elliot Sperber
Why Resistance is Insufficient
Brian Cloughley
What are You Going to Do About Afghanistan, President Trump?
Binoy Kampmark
Warring in the Oncology Ward
Yves Engler
Remembering the Coup in Ghana
Jeremy Brecher
“Climate Kids” v. Trump: Trial of the Century Pits Trump Climate Denialism Against Right to a Climate System Capable of Sustaining Human Life”
Jonathan Taylor
Hate Trump? You Should Have Voted for Ron Paul
Franklin Lamb
Another Small Step for Syrian Refugee Children in Beirut’s “Aleppo Park”
Ron Jacobs
The Realist: Irreverence Was Their Only Sacred Cow
Andre Vltchek
Lock up England in Jail or an Insane Asylum!
Rev. William Alberts
Grandiose Marketing of Spirituality
Paul DeRienzo
Three Years Since the Kitty Litter Disaster at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
Eric Sommer
Organize Workers Immigrant Defense Committees!
Steve Cooper
A Progressive Agenda
David Swanson
100 Years of Using War to Try to End All War
Andrew Stewart
The 4CHAN Presidency: A Media Critique of the Alt-Right
Edward Leer
Tripping USA: The Chair
Randy Shields
Tom Regan: The Life of the Animal Rights Party
Nyla Ali Khan
One Certain Effect of Instability in Kashmir is the Erosion of Freedom of Expression and Regional Integration
Rob Hager
The Only Fake News That Probably Threw the Election to Trump was not Russian 
Mike Garrity
Why Should We Pay Billionaires to Destroy Our Public Lands? 
Mark Dickman
The Prophet: Deutscher’s Trotsky
Christopher Brauchli
The Politics of the Toilet Police
Ezra Kronfeld
Joe Manchin: a Senate Republicrat to Dispute and Challenge
Clancy Sigal
The Nazis Called It a “Rafle”
Louis Proyect
Socialism Betrayed? Inside the Ukrainian Holodomor
Charles R. Larson
Review: Timothy B. Tyson’s “The Blood of Emmett Till”
David Yearsley
Founding Father of American Song
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail