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:
June 28, 2016
Jonathan Cook
The Neoliberal Prison: Brexit Hysteria and the Liberal Mind
Paul Street
Bernie, Bakken, and Electoral Delusion: Letting Rich Guys Ruin Iowa and the World
Anthony DiMaggio
Fatally Flawed: the Bi-Partisan Travesty of American Health Care Reform
Mike King
The “Free State of Jones” in Trump’s America: Freedom Beyond White Imagination
Antonis Vradis
Stop Shedding Tears for the EU Monster: Brexit, the View From the Peloponnese
Omar Kassem
The End of the Atlantic Project: Slamming the Brakes on the Neoliberal Order
Binoy Kampmark
Brexit and the Neoliberal Revolt Against Jeremy Corbyn
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Alabama Democratic Primary Proves New York Times’ Nate Cohn Wrong about Exit Polling
Ruth Hopkins
Save Bear Butte: Mecca of the Lakota
Celestino Gusmao
Time to End Impunity for Suharto’’s Crimes in Indonesia and Timor-Leste
Thomas Knapp
SCOTUS: Amply Serving Law Enforcement’s Interests versus Society’s
Manuel E. Yepe
Capitalism is the Opposite of Democracy
Winslow Myers
Up Against the Wall
Chris Ernesto
Bernie’s “Political Revolution” = Vote for Clinton and the Neocons
Stephanie Van Hook
The Time for Silence is Over
Ajamu Nangwaya
Toronto’s Bathhouse Raids: Racialized, Queer Solidarity and Police Violence
June 27, 2016
Robin Hahnel
Brexit: Establishment Freak Out
James Bradley
Omar’s Motive
Gregory Wilpert – Michael Hudson
How Western Military Interventions Shaped the Brexit Vote
Leonard Peltier
41 Years Since Jumping Bull (But 500 Years of Trauma)
Rev. William Alberts
Orlando: the Latest Victim of Radicalizing American Imperialism
Patrick Cockburn
Brexiteers Have Much in Common With Arab Spring Protesters
Franklin Lamb
How 100 Syrians, 200 Russians and 11 Dogs Out-Witted ISIS and Saved Palmyra
John Grant
Omar Mateen: The Answers are All Around Us
Dean Baker
In the Wake of Brexit Will the EU Finally Turn Away From Austerity?
Ralph Nader
The IRS and the Self-Minimization of Congressman Jason Chaffetz
Johan Galtung
Goodbye UK, Goodbye Great Britain: What Next?
Martha Pskowski
Detained in Dilley: Deportation and Asylum in Texas
Binoy Kampmark
Headaches of Empire: Brexit’s Effect on the United States
Dave Lindorff
Honest Election System Needed to Defeat Ruling Elite
Louisa Willcox
Delisting Grizzly Bears to Save the Endangered Species Act?
Jason Holland
The Tragedy of Nothing
Jeffrey St. Clair
Revolution Reconsidered: a Fragment (Guest Starring Bernard Sanders in the Role of Robespierre)
Weekend Edition
June 24, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
A Blow for Peace and Democracy: Why the British Said No to Europe
Pepe Escobar
Goodbye to All That: Why the UK Left the EU
Michael Hudson
Revolts of the Debtors: From Socrates to Ibn Khaldun
Andrew Levine
Summer Spectaculars: Prelude to a Tea Party?
Kshama Sawant
Beyond Bernie: Still Not With Her
Mike Whitney
¡Basta Ya, Brussels! British Voters Reject EU Corporate Slavestate
Tariq Ali
Panic in the House: Brexit as Revolt Against the Political Establishment
Paul Street
Miranda, Obama, and Hamilton: an Orwellian Ménage à Trois for the Neoliberal Age
Ellen Brown
The War on Weed is Winding Down, But Will Monsanto Emerge the Winner?
Gary Leupp
Why God Created the Two-Party System
Conn Hallinan
Brexit Vote: a Very British Affair (But Spain May Rock the Continent)
Ruth Fowler
England, My England
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail