FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Israel’s Pretexts for War in Gaza

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.

More articles by:

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. 

November 15, 2018
Kenneth Surin
Ukania: the Land Where the Queen’s Son Has His Shoelaces Ironed by His Valet
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Spraying Poisons, Chasing Ghosts
Anthony DiMaggio
In the Wake of the Blue Wave: the Midterms, Recounts, and the Future of Progressive Politics
Christopher Ketcham
Build in a Fire Plain, Get What You Deserve
Meena Miriam Yust
Today It’s Treasure Island, Tomorrow Your Neighborhood Store: Could Local Currencies Help?
Karl Grossman
Climate of Rage
Walter Clemens
How Two Demagogues Inspired Their Followers
Brandon Lee
Radical Idealism: Jesus and the Radical Tradition
Kim C. Domenico
An Anarchist Uprising Against the Liberal Ego
Elliot Sperber
Pythagoras in Queens
November 14, 2018
Charles Pierson
Unstoppable: The Keystone XL Oil Pipeline and NAFTA
Sam Bahour
Israel’s Mockery of Security: 101 Actions Israel Could Take
Cesar Chelala
How a Bad Environment Impacts Children’s Health
George Ochenski
What Tester’s Win Means
Louisa Willcox
Saving Romania’s Brown Bears, Sharing Lessons About Coxistence, Conservation
George Wuerthner
Alternatives to Wilderness?
Robert Fisk
Izzeldin Abuelaish’s Three Daughters were Killed in Gaza, But He Still Clings to Hope for the Middle East
Dennis Morgan
For What?
Dana E. Abizaid
The Government is Our Teacher
Bill Martin
The Trump Experiment: Liberals and Leftists Unhinged and Around the Bend
Rivera Sun
After the Vote: An Essay of the Man from the North
Jamie McConnell
Allowing Asbestos to Continue Killing
Thomas Knapp
Talkin’ Jim Acosta Hard Pass Blues: Is White House Press Access a Constitutional Right?
Bill Glahn
Snow Day
November 13, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
The Midterm Results are Challenging Racism in America in Unexpected Ways
Victor Grossman
Germany on a Political Seesaw
Cillian Doyle
Fictitious Assets, Hidden Losses and the Collapse of MDM Bank
Lauren Smith
Amnesia and Impunity Reign: Wall Street Celebrates Halliburton’s 100th Anniversary
Joe Emersberger
Moreno’s Neoliberal Restoration Proceeds in Ecuador
Carol Dansereau
Climate and the Infernal Blue Wave: Straight Talk About Saving Humanity
Dave Lindorff
Hey Right Wingers! Signatures Change over Time
Dan Corjescu
Poetry and Barbarism: Adorno’s Challenge
Patrick Bond
Mining Conflicts Multiply, as Critics of ‘Extractivism’ Gather in Johannesburg
Ed Meek
The Kavanaugh Hearings: Text and Subtext
Binoy Kampmark
Concepts of Nonsense: Australian Soft Power
November 12, 2018
Kerron Ó Luain
Poppy Fascism and the English Education System
Conn Hallinan
Nuclear Treaties: Unwrapping Armageddon
Robert Hunziker
Tropical Trump Declares War on Amazonia
John W. Whitehead
Badge of Shame: the Government’s War on Military Veterans
Will Griffin
Military “Service” Serves the Ruling Class
John Eskow
Harold Pinter’s America: Hard Truths and Easy Targets
Rob Okun
Activists Looking Beyond Midterm Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Mid-Term Divisions: The Trump Take
Dean Baker
Short-Term Health Insurance Plans Destroy Insurance Pools
George Wuerthner
Saving the Buffalohorn/Porcupine: the Lamar Valley of the Gallatin Range
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail