FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A Feast of Bombs

JERUSALEM. A few hours after the F-16 jet dropped a 1-ton bomb on a crowded residential area in Gaza, killing 17 people — 11 of them children — and wounding over 140 more, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon exclaimed that the attack had been one of Israel’s “biggest successes.”

Israeli spin-doctors immediately understood that the massacre would generate bad PR and changed the official line, using apologetic adjectives like miscalculation, mistake, error, and oversight to describe the deadly assault. Noble Peace Prize laureate Shimon Peres took it upon himself to lead the remorseful choir, hoping to suppress world censure.

Despite harsh international criticism, Sharon remained unrepentant. The Israeli press has suggested that his triumphant cry has less to do with the operation’s formal objective — the extra-judicial execution of Hamas leader Salah Shahada — than with the successful annihilation of a unilateral ceasefire agreement formally finalized by the different Palestinian military factions a day before the massacre.

Predictably, Hamas did not wait long to retaliate. As I write these lines, the television is broadcasting gory images of the dead and wounded students of Hebrew University, which my partner and many of our friends attend. Ambulance sirens echo outside, while every few minutes the number of casualties is updated on the screen. Yet another massacre has been perpetrated.

There is nothing fatalistic about Middle East violence, even though the carnage scenes have become routine. Butchery is an act of free will. Sharon deliberately chose to add fuel to the dying fire when he bombed Gaza, because he does not believe in a diplomatic solution to the bloody Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Neither do Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Sharon will now most likely use the Hamas attack in order to justify Israel’s further reoccupation of Palestinian territories. His overall objective, though, is not to wipe out the Palestinian Authority, as some commentators seem to suggest, but rather to forcibly change its role. Regardless of whether or not Yasser Arafat remains in charge, if Sharon gets his way, the “reformed” Palestinian Authority will no longer serve as the political representative of an independent state. Rather, it will operate as a civil administration of sorts, responsible for education, health, sewage and garbage collection.

The strategy is clear: confer on the Palestinians the costly role of managing civil life, but eliminate their political freedoms. South Africans called it Bantustans.

To accomplish this vision Sharon needs to break the spirit of the Palestinian people. This, it seems, is exactly what he has been trying to do. Following the brutal Israeli assault dubbed “Defensive Shield,” he has held almost 2 million Palestinians under tight military curfew. These people have been imprisoned in their homes for over six weeks.

Sharon will continue the strangulation and humiliation of the Palestinians, hoping that at a certain point they will bow down. The reprisal attack by Hamas only gives him more ammunition, which is why he considers the Gaza massacre a feat worth celebrating.

Neve Gordon teaches politics at Ben-Gurion University, Israel, and can be reached at ngordon@bgumail.bgu.ac.il

More articles by:

Neve Gordon is a Leverhulme Visiting Professor in the Department of Politics and International Studies and the co-author of The Human Right to Dominate.

June 21, 2018
Ron Jacobs
Divest From the Business of Incarceration
W. T. Whitney
Angola in Louisiana: Proving Ground for Racialized Capitalism
Susan Babbitt
Assange and Truth: the Deeper (Harder) Issue
Kenn Orphan
Humanity vs. the Rule of Law
Mateo Pimentel
Why on Earth a Country of Laws and Borders?
Michael T. Klare
The Pentagon’s Provocative Encirclement of China
Howard Lisnoff
The Outrageous Level of Intolerance is Happening Everywhere!
Vijay Prashad
The People of India Stand With Palestine
RS Ahthion
Internment Camps for Child Migrants
Binoy Kampmark
Rocking the G7: Trump Stomps His Allies
Raouf Halaby
Give It Up, Ya Mahmoud
Lawrence Wittner
Getting Ready for Nuclear War
Patrick Cockburn
Kurdish Women Protest After Being Told by Turkish-Backed Militias to Wear the Hijab
Dean Baker
When Both Men and Women Drop Out of the Labor Force, Why Do Economists Only Ask About Men?
Bruce Lerro
Big Brother Facebook: Drawing Down the Iron Curtain on Yankeedom
June 20, 2018
Henry Giroux
Trump’s War on Children is an act of State Terrorism
Bill Hackwell
Unprecedented Cruelty Against Immigrants and Their Children
Paul Atwood
“What? You Think We’re So Innocent?”
Nicola Perugini
The Palestinian Tipping Point
K.J. Noh
Destiny and Daring: South Korean President Moon Jae-In’s Impossible Journey Towards Peace
Gary Leupp
Jeff Sessions and St. Paul’s Clear and Wise Commands
M. G. Piety
On Speaking Small Truths to Power
Dave Lindorff
Some Straight Talk for Younger People on Social Security (and Medicare too)
George Wuerthner
The Public Value of Forests as Carbon Reserves
CJ Hopkins
Confession of a Putin-Nazi Denialist
David Schultz
Less Than Fundamental:  the Myth of Voting Rights in America
Rohullah Naderi
The West’s Over-Publicized Development Achievements in Afghanistan 
Dan Bacher
California Lacks Real Marine Protection as Offshore Drilling Expands in State Waters
Lori Hanson – Miguel Gomez
The Students of Nicaragua’s April Uprising
Russell Mokhiber
Are Corporations Behind Frivolous Lawsuits Against Corporations?
Michael Welton
Infusing Civil Society With Hope for a Better World
June 19, 2018
Ann Robertson - Bill Leumer
We Can Thank Top Union Officials for Trump
Lawrence Davidson
The Republican Party Falls Apart, the Democrats Get Stuck
Sheldon Richman
Trump, North Korea, and Iran
Richard Rubenstein
Trump the (Shakespearean) Fool: a New Look at the Dynamics of Trumpism
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
Protect Immigrant Rights; End the Crises That Drive Migration
Gary Leupp
Norway: Just Withdraw From NATO
Kristine Mattis
Nerd Culture, Adultolescence, and the Abdication of Social Priorities
Mike Garrity
The Forest Service Should Not be Above the Law
Colin Todhunter
Pro-GMO Activism And Smears Masquerade As Journalism: From Seralini To Jairam Ramesh, Aruna Rodrigues Puts The Record Straight
Doug Rawlings
Does the Burns/Novick Vietnam Documentary Deserve an Emmy?
Kenneth Surin
2018 Electioneering in Appalachian Virginia
Nino Pagliccia
Chrystia Freeland Fails to See the Emerging Multipolar World
John Forte
Stuart Hall and Us
June 18, 2018
Paul Street
Denuclearize the United States? An Unthinkable Thought
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail