FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Understanding Gaza

by GABRIEL KOLKO

How will history describe the Israeli war against the Palestinians in Gaza? Another Holocaust, this time perpetrated by the descendants of the victims? An election ploy by ambitious Israeli politicians to win votes in the February 10 elections? A test range for new American weapons? Or an effort to lock in the new Obama Administration into an anti-Iranian position? An attempt to establish its military “credibility” after its disastrous defeat in the war with Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006? Perhaps all of these…and more.

But one thing is certain. Israel has killed at least 100 Palestinians for each of its own claimed losses, a vast disproportion that has produced horror in much of the world, creating a new cause which has mobilized countless numbers of people—possibly as strong as the Vietnam war movement. It has made itself a pariah nation—save in the United States and a few other countries. Above all, it has enflamed the entire Muslim world

As Bruce Riedel, a “hawk” who has held senior posts in the CIA for nearly 30 years and is now one of President Obama’s many advisers, has just written: “…the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the central all-consuming issue for al Quaeda,” and “Muslims feel a profound sense of wrong about the creation of Israel that infuses every aspect thinking and activities and has become the rallying cry used the convince the ummah of the righteousness of al Quaeda’s cause.” That was before Gaza. Much of the world now detests Israel but most it will live for many years to come with the consequences of Israel’s atrocities. Muslim extremists will now become much stronger.

Charges of war crimes are now being leveled—and justifiably so—at the Israelis, many of whom themselves come from families that suffered in the hands of the Nazis over 60 years ago and now claim that the Holocaust was the only tragedy—as if the far more numerous deaths of goyim throughout the world after 1945 count for nothing. The United Nations and human rights groups are demanding that Israel be brought to justice for what now amounts to having killed over 1300 Gazans with immense firepower, many of which, like phosphorous bombs, are illegal. Israel has already prepared its senior officers to be ready to defend themselves against war crimes charges and Israeli Attorney General Menahem Mazuz several weeks ago warned the government was expecting a “wave of international lawsuits.”

It will now have to live with the geo-political consequences in the region. Israel has, perhaps irreparably, imperiled its relations with the neighboring Arab states and other Muslim nations—Qatar and Mauritania have already suspended diplomatic relations with it—less because the ruling classes of these nations want to penalize it but because the Arab masses demand it, imperiling their own positions as rulers.

Even more important, although the United States has loyally supported Israel for decades, deluging it with the most modern arms and giving it diplomatic protection, it is now in an economic crisis and needs Arab money, not to mention oil imports, as never before. The stability of this crucial alliance will now be tested.

Since its inception, a cult of machismo—called self-defense—characterized much of Zionism, and although there were idealists like A. D. Gordon, the mainstream was more and more committed to a violent response to the Arabs who surrounded them. The military was increasing glorified, including by nominal Leftists like David Ben Gurion, so that today Israel is a regional Sparta armed with the most modern military and nuclear weapons, giving it a virtual monopoly in a vast region—one that will inevitably be challenged.

Uri Avnery, a leading Israeli anti-war activist, has just written that “… hundreds of millions of Arabs around us… will they see the Hamas fighters as the heroes of the Arab nation, but they will also see their own regimes in their nakedness: cringing, ignominious, corrupt and treacherous….In coming years it will become apparent that this war was sheer madness.”

We are living through yet another great tragedy, and tragedies have been the staple of world history for centuries. Now former victims and their descendants are the executioners.

GABRIEL KOLKO is the leading historian of modern warfare. He is the author of the classic Century of War: Politics, Conflicts and Society Since 1914, Another Century of War? and The Age of War: the US Confronts the World . He has also written the best history of the Vietnam War, Anatomy of a War: Vietnam, the US and the Modern Historical Experience. His latest book is After Socialism.
 

 

 

More articles by:

GABRIEL KOLKO is the leading historian of modern warfare. He is the author of the classic Century of War: Politics, Conflicts and Society Since 1914 and Another Century of War?. He has also written the best history of the Vietnam War, Anatomy of a War: Vietnam, the US and the Modern Historical Experience

February 22, 2018
Jeffrey Sommers
Bond Villain in the World Economy: Latvia’s Offshore Banking Sector
Mark Schuller
Haiti’s Latest Indignity at the Hands of Dogooders, Oxfam’s Sex Scandal
T.J. Coles
How the US Bullies North Korea, 1945-Present
Ipek S. Burnett
Rethinking Freedom in the Era of Mass Shootings
Manuel E. Yepe
Fire and Fury: More Than a Publishing Hit
Patrick Bobilin
Caught in a Trap: Being a Latino Democrat is Being in an Abusive Relationship
Laurel Krause
From Kent State to Parkland High: Will America Ever Learn?
Terry Simons
Congress and the AR-15: One NRA Stooge Too Many
George Wuerthner
Border Wall Delusions
Manuel García, Jr.
The Anthropocene’s Birthday, or the Birth-Year of Human-Accelerated Climate Change
Thomas Knapp
Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Russiagate
February 21, 2018
Cecil Bothwell
Billy Graham and the Gospel of Fear
Ajamu Baraka
Venezuela: Revenge of the Mad-Dog Empire
Edward Hunt
Treating North Korea Rough
Binoy Kampmark
Meddling for Empire: the CIA Comes Clean
Ron Jacobs
Stamping Out Hunger
Ammar Kourany – Martha Myers
So, You Think You Are My Partner? International NGOs and National NGOs, Costs of Asymmetrical Relationships
Michael Welton
1980s: From Star Wars to the End of the Cold War
Judith Deutsch
Finkelstein on Gaza: Who or What Has a Right to Exist? 
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
War Preparations on Venezuela as Election Nears
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Military Realities
Steve Early
Refinery Safety Campaign Frays Blue-Green Alliance
Ali Mohsin
Muslims Face Increasing Discrimination, State Surveillance Under Trump
Julian Vigo
UK Mass Digital Surveillance Regime Ruled Illegal
Peter Crowley
Revisiting ‘Make America Great Again’
Andrew Stewart
Black Panther: Afrofuturism Gets a Superb Film, Marvel Grows Up and I Don’t Know How to Review It
CounterPunch News Service
A Call to Celebrate 2018 as the Year of William Edward Burghardt Du Bois by the Saturday Free School
February 20, 2018
Nick Pemberton
The Gun Violence the Media Shows Us and the State Violence They Don’t
John Eskow
Sympathy for the Drivel: On the Vocabulary of President Nitwit
John Steppling
Trump, Putin, and Nikolas Cruz Walk Into a Bar…
John W. Whitehead
America’s Cult of Violence Turns Deadly
Ishmael Reed
Charles F. Harris: He Popularized Black History
Will Podmore
Paying the Price: the TUC and Brexit
George Burchett
Plumpes Denken: Crude thinking
Binoy Kampmark
The Caring Profession: Peacekeeping, Blue Helmets and Sexual Abuse
Lawrence Wittner
The Trump Administration’s War on Workers
David Swanson
The Question of Sanctions: South Africa and Palestine
Walter Clemens
Murderers in High Places
Dean Baker
How Does the Washington Post Know that Trump’s Plan Really “Aims” to Pump $1.5 Trillion Into Infrastructure Projects?
February 19, 2018
Rob Urie
Mueller, Russia and Oil Politics
Richard Moser
Mueller the Politician
Robert Hunziker
There Is No Time Left
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Decides to Hold Presidential Elections, the Opposition Chooses to Boycott Democracy
Daniel Warner
Parkland Florida: Revisiting Michael Fields
Sheldon Richman
‘Peace Through Strength’ is a Racket
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail