Investigative Journalism that is as
Radical as Reality Itself.

Israeli Tunnel Vision

by

Is Gaza locked in a terminal enclosure or is Israel?

Certainly Gaza, that immiserated sliver of land, is encaged: its borders sealed; its coastline patrolled by Israeli gunships; its skies streaked with drones.

Gaza has a population of nearly 1.8 million and rising, jam-packed into a landscape about the size of Detroit. Roughly, 90 percent of the residents of Gaza are refugees, stranded by nearly unceasing Israeli wars since 1948.

Gaza is poor. That is what we are told. And there are facts to back it up. The territory barely has an economy,  especially since the tunnels, those subterranean streams of commerce, to Egypt were sealed after the coup against the Morsi government. A phony pretext for war, the tunnels delivered goods, from medicines to clothes and spices, interdicted by Israel. The tariffs imposed on this trade also provided funding for essential government services in Gaza, from sanitation to ambulances.

Gaza’s per capita GDP was only $876 in 2012. It is almost certainly lower now, as the Israeli blockade strangles Gazan commerce. Only eight nations in the world rank poorer by that dismal standard. Israel, in contrast, boasts a per capita GDP of $31,000; it’s economy hums, growing even as the missiles fly.

More than 30 percent of Gazans have no jobs and no prospects, living in a kind of permanent limbo. When the power plants haven’t been bombed by the IDF, most Gazans only enjoy electricity for 12 hours a day.  Gaza’s natural water sources are severely limited, much of it appropriated by Israel, and the 80 percent of the Strip’s groundwater is dangerously contaminated. Living conditions from Rafah to Gaza City are dire.

Gaza is weak. Its government is bankrupt, riven by internecine tensions between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, which have been deviously exploited by the US and Israel. It has no army, no air force, no navy. It has no tanks, no anti-aircraft batteries, no armor-piercing weapons. Gaza has a few primitive rockets, mortars, rusty firearms, rocks.begging slogans5

Gaza has no allies. The Arab monarchies fear Hamas more than the Israelis. Mahmoud Abbas, the Marshal Petain of the Palestinian Authority, has helped the Israelis target Hamas leaders. Turkey and Qatar, once reliable sponsors of Hamas, seem to have been bought off.

As the death count mounted, most of the world simply turned its eyes from the carnage, cringing only when UN schools were obliterated by Israeli airstrikes. Out of indifference? Out of shame? Out of guilt?

Everyone seemed to be getting in on the action, even Google, which was selling a “Bomb Gaza” game, an app for Android phones which allowed players to target their missiles strikes in Gaza City. Points deducted for civilian casualties.

But is that kind of blood sport really any worse than the gaseous outbursts of Bill Maher, America’s most bombastic atheist? Maher regularly asserts that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and defended the bloodbath in Gaza by Tweeting: “Dealing w/ Hamas is like dealing w/ a crazy woman who’s trying to kill u – u can only hold her wrists so long before you have to slap her.” He says this without once addressing the fact that Israel is a religious state, where the full-rights of citizenship are accorded only to Jews. Maher is a prime-time bigot whose popularity with progressives is a bracing measure of the moral decline of the American left.

Meanwhile, the US has played its accustomed role of dishonest broker, by secretly sabotaging the unity government between Hamas and the PA and failing to make any effort to restrain Netanyahu’s most savage inclinations. In his Middle East diplomacy, John Kerry doesn’t shuttle so much as flutter, every tedious conversation monitored by Israeli intelligence to assure he doesn’t deviate from the script. There is, naturally, some karmic justice in the wiretapping of a serial wiretapper.

There’s more dissent against the war in the Knesset than in the US congress, which now functions as a fully-programed automaton of the Israel lobby. When it comes to Israel, even Rand Paul snaps to attention, distancing himself from his father’s heresies.

So Gaza stands against the Israeli behemoth: poor, weak, alone.

All of this may be so and yet one can’t help but conclude that Israel’s dominion is fragile. That, in fact, Israel is losing. Israel is losing, but is not yet conscious of the fact. Why? Because it is Israel, which has surrounded itself with walls and covered itself with an Iron Dome, which is truly isolated, which exists in a hothouse of its own design, exposed to the merciless law of entropy.

With Netanyahu strutting like a blow-dry Pompey Maximus, the IDF feels compelled to assert its power every four or five years with fusillades of rockets and bloody ground incursions. The nation has become seduced with it’s own technological omnipotence: it’s sophisticated weaponry, it’s drones, it’s Iron Dome. Israel has now gone beyond blaming the victims. The goal now seems to be one of annihilation. First of Palestinian identity, then the Palestinians themselves.

There is a bloody dialectic at work. The path that Israel has chosen, one of separation and isolation enforced by eruptions of extreme violence, will lead inexorably to its own ruin. As for the people of Gaza, the tenacity of their resistance, their unshakeable will to be free, is an affirmation of their humanity—and that is the most decisive rebuke of Israel’s revolting cruelties.

Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His new book Killing Trayvons: an Anthology of American Violence (with JoAnn Wypijewski and Kevin Alexander Gray) will be published in June by CounterPunch Books. He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net.

 

 

 

 

 

Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His new book is Killing Trayvons: an Anthology of American Violence (with JoAnn Wypijewski and Kevin Alexander Gray). He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net.

July 07, 2015
ANDRE VLTCHEK
In Ecuador, Fight for Mankind; In Greece, Fight for Greece!
Nile Bowie
Obama’s Pacific Trade Deal Trails Behind China’s Development Vision
Binoy Kampmark
Warrior Economist: the Varoufakis Legacy
Shamus Cooke
Unions Must Act Now to Survive Supreme Court Deathblow
Dave Lindorff
The Greek People Have Voted ‘No!’ to Austerity and Economic Blackmail
Bruce K. Gagnon
Sanders Bullshit Meter Goes Off the Charts in Portland, Maine
Mateo Pimentel
The Pope’s Letter: Neoliberalism and Fukushima
Raouf Halaby
Beware Those Who Speak With Forked Tongues
Ron Jacobs
The Grateful Dead: The Ship of the Sun Bids Farewell
Jonathan Cook
Hasbara Industry: Why Israel’s Army of Spin-Doctors is Doomed to Defeat
Rev. William Alberts
Charleston: a Reality Check on Racism in America
Ellen Brown
A Franciscan Alternative: the People’s Pope and a People’s Bank?
Colin Todhunter
The Warped World of the GMO Lobbyist
John Wight
Who Will Join With Greece?
W. T. Whitney
Colombia’s Fensuagro Union is Revolutionary, Persecuted, and Undaunted
Mel Gurtov
Keep It in the Ground, Obama
July 06, 2015
MICHAEL HUDSON
Greece Rejects the Troika
Steve Hendricks
Will FIFA’s World Cup Sexism Ever Die?
Binoy Kampmark
Oxi in Greece
Gareth Porter
How US Spin on Access to Iranian Sites has Distorted the Issue
Peter Bach
ISIL and Ramadan in the Rag
Paul Craig Roberts
A Rebuke to EU-Imposed Austerity
Quincy Saul
The View from Mount Olympus
Robert Hunziker
Looking Inside Fukushima Prefecture
ADRIENNE PINE, RICHARD JOHNSTON, FIONA WILMOT, et al.
Seven Reasons to Scrap the USA’s $1 Billion Aid Package to Central America
Norman Pollack
Capitalism’s Self-Revealing Practices
Robert David Steele
The National Military Strategy: Dishonest Platitudes
Joan Roelofs
Whatever Happened to Eastern European Communism?
David Macaray
Could Justice Scalia Be the One to Rescue Labor?
Linn Washington Jr.
Storm Smashes Chris Christie’s Presidential Candidacy
Benjamin Willis
US and Cuba: What Remains to be Done?
Weekend Edition
July 3-5, 2015
Mike Whitney
The Pentagon’s “2015 Strategy” For Ruling the World
Jason Hirthler
Going Off-Script in St. Petersburg
Rob Urie
Greece and Global Class War
DIMITRIS KONSTANTAKOPOULOS
The Future of Greece Without Illusions
ANDRE VLTCHEK
Ecuador Fights for Survival – Against its Elites
David Rosen
White Skin Crisis
Jerry Lembcke
Nobody Spat on American GIs!
Stavros Mavroudeas
The Greek Referendum and the Tasks of the Left
Andrew Levine
Dumping on Dixie Again
Richard Pithouse
Charleston (It’s Not Over)
Arun Gupta
What Does It Mean to Call Dylann Roof a “Terrorist”?
Michael Welton
The Tragedy of Harper’s Canada
Brendan McQuade
The Right Wing Resurgence and the Problem of Terrorism
Chris Floyd
Heritage and Hokum in Rebel Banner Row