FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Palestinian Hunting Season

May 2017 will mark fifty years of Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank characterized by institutionalized inequality and injustice toward Palestinians. At the bidding of the government, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) routinely and violently confronts Palestinians, but also Israeli and international dissidents who dare challenge the continued expansion and entrenchment of the illegal settlements in the West Bank and the blockade of the Gaza strip. Protesters run the risk of getting cursed, spat on, detained, beaten up, stoned, stabbed, shot, kidnapped, imprisoned, tortured or any combination thereof. Moreover, in an unfortunate yet predictable move, the Israeli government has recently declared war on the nonviolent boycott divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

Like clockwork, every few years a cycle of violence disproportionately bathes Palestinian society in blood and tears and serves to further fortify the occupation (see Israeli Occupation for Dummies). According to renowned scholar Ilan Pappe, Israeli society needs a regular dose of war not only as a means to justify its excessive military budget and lucrative arms industry, but as a tool to reaffirm itself as a cohesive settler-colonialist entity faced with an existential threat.

The following months afford a unique and dangerous opportunity for Israel’s right-wing government to coax the Palestinians into yet another cycle of violence, which will lead to an escalation in hostilities and tragedy. The ingredients for such a recipe include a healthy portion of desperate political opportunism mixed with a dash of male macho yet insecure exhibitionism stirred up into an explosive cocktail at just the right timing- now!

Benjamin Netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu is not doing very well of late. The Israeli Prime Minister (PM) is routinely shunned by foreign politicians and has regular power spats with ministers in his own government, recently with Minister of Transportation Yisrael Katz. In addition, the heat is on in the courtroom: Netanyahu faces a multitude of lawsuits and corruption scandals, including one in which he sued a reporter for claiming in a Facebook post that Sara Netanyahu threw the PM out of the car during an argument, delaying the heavily guarded motorcade. Finally, a recent poll shows that Yesh Atid (“There is a future”), the centrist party headed by Yair Lapid, surpasses Netanyahu’s Likud party if elections were to be held today. As a well-known political opportunist and sucker for polls, Netanyahu may resort to the solution that has proved successful time and time again in diverting attention from his own inadequacies and has coalesced the Israeli populace behind him- war.

Avigdor Lieberman

Israel has a new and inexperienced Minister of Defense- Avigdor Lieberman. The once night club bouncer and convicted child beater has much to prove in the office which he seems grossly unqualified for. Even members of the Likud party, which used to be his political home, are not fans of Lieberman’s credentials, claiming recently that: “The closest thing to a bullet that ever came whizzing past [Lieberman’s] ear was a tennis ball”.

There is nothing like war to prove one’s worth in this new and prestigious position as was made clear by the tenure of Amir Peretz as Minister of Defense in 2006 under then Prime Minister, now convicted prisoner, Ehud Olmert. Peretz presided over the second Lebanon War, an operation that resulted in a staggering death toll of 1200 Lebanese and 160 Israelis and was deemed a severe failure by the The Winograd committee. Further, Lieberman is known for his unabashed racism and has already initiated plans to “color-code good and bad Palestinians”. In concert with his need to prove his worth and his thuggish disposition, Lieberman spells a recipe for disaster.

Timing- it’ all about the American elections

As an imperialist surrogate of the United States, Israel is well-versed in Washington’s lingo of dos and don’ts, and knows well that election season is a time when candidates are particularly vulnerable to extortion, as they are desperate for cash. The pro-Israel right-wing lobbying group the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has a special monetary role to play here, and Israel has taken advantage of its hefty influence in the corridors of empire during the months that lead up to the inauguration of a new American President. Here are some examples of hostilities waged during the months leading up to a changing of the guards in the White House:

1/ In September 2000, Ariel Sharon decided that visiting the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem was a great idea. This inflamed tensions in East Jerusalem, sparking nonviolent and violent protests by Palestinians, who eventually hurt an Israeli security official. Israeli forces severely retaliated and the Second Intifada broke out. Deaths as a result of the Second Intifada included 6371 Palestinians and 1083 Israelis, according to B’Tselem. Sharon became Prime Minister shortly thereafter.

2/ In December 2008 the Israelis discovered tunnels that they claimed were dug by Hamas as a means to capture Israeli soldiers and smuggle them into the Gaza strip. Hamas claimed the tunnels served defensive purposes. The Israelis bombed these tunnels, after which Hamas launched a barrage of its missiles into Israel. Israel then mounted a full-scale and highly destructive attack on Gaza. The Israeli offensive was called “Operation Cast Lead” and deaths (in Gaza) included 1391 Palestinians and 13 Israelis, according to B’Tselem.

3/ In November 2012 Israel assassinated a top Hamas leader. Hamas retaliated by launching its rockets into Israeli towns bordering Gaza. This led to a full-scale Israeli offensive called “Operation Pillar of Defense” in which 167 Palestinians were killed as were 6 Israelis according to B’Tselem.

In addition to Israel’s propensity to wage war during the final months of American election campaigns, the current electoral circus includes two especially weak candidates that have bent over backwards to please Israel and its American allies, with Donald Trump as the unpredictable clown who has recently set up shop in an illegal settlement in the West Bank and Hillary Clinton spending much of her time at the champagne bar with the ultra rich (e.g. Haim Saban). As the time approaches for Hillary Clinton to face off Donald Trump in a series of televised debates that will likely determine the outcome of the elections on November 8th, both candidates are particularly vulnerable to extortion and eager to please Israel.

In summary, the present moment leading up to the inauguration of the next President of the United States may serve as an opportune time for a weak Benjamin Netanyahu and an insecure, thuggish Avigdor Lieberman to join forces and wage a new war against the quintessential Israeli scapegoats and victims, the Palestinians. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will be only too happy at the distraction from their corrupt and sluggish campaign performances. Ironically, Barack Obama, who has been missing in action with respect to American arbitration of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, may serve as the Palestinians only defense. The history of his deep-seeded dislike of the Israeli PM may finally serve to quell violence by preventing an open season on Palestinians. Then again, Obama never fails to disappoint, and will likely pass on the baton to the next American administration.

More articles by:

Yoav Litvin is a Doctor of Psychology/ Behavioral Neuroscience.  

July 18, 2018
Bruce E. Levine
Politics and Psychiatry: the Cost of the Trauma Cover-Up
Frank Stricker
The Crummy Good Economy and the New Serfdom
Linda Ford
Red Fawn Fallis and the Felony of Being Attacked by Cops
David Mattson
Entrusting Grizzlies to a Basket of Deplorables?
Stephen F. Eisenman
Want Gun Control? Arm the Left (It Worked Before)
CJ Hopkins
Trump’s Treasonous Traitor Summit or: How Liberals Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the New McCarthyism
Patrick Bond
State of the BRICS Class Struggle: Repression, Austerity and Worker Militancy
Dan Corjescu
The USA and Russia: Two Sides of the Same Criminal Corporate Coin
The Hudson Report
How Argentina Got the Biggest Loan in the History of the IMF
Kenn Orphan
You Call This Treason?
Max Parry
Ukraine’s Anti-Roma Pogroms Ignored as Russia is Blamed for Global Far Right Resurgence
Ed Meek
Acts of Resistance
July 17, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Trump & The Big Bad Bugs
Robert Hunziker
Trump Kills Science, Nature Strikes Back
John Grant
The Politics of Cruelty
Kenneth Surin
Calculated Buffoonery: Trump in the UK
Binoy Kampmark
Helsinki Theatrics: Trump Meets Putin
Patrick Bond
BRICS From Above, Seen Critically From Below
Jim Kavanagh
Fighting Fake Stories: The New Yorker, Israel and Obama
Daniel Falcone
Chomsky on the Trump NATO Ruse
W. T. Whitney
Oil Underground in Neuquén, Argentina – and a New US Military Base There
Doug Rawlings
Ken Burns’ “The Vietnam War” was Nominated for an Emmy, Does It Deserve It?
Rajan Menon
The United States of Inequality
Thomas Knapp
Have Mueller and Rosenstein Finally Gone Too Far?
Cesar Chelala
An Insatiable Salesman
Dean Baker
Truth, Trump and the Washington Post
Mel Gurtov
Human Rights Trumped
Binoy Kampmark
Putin’s Football Gambit: How the World Cup Paid Off
July 16, 2018
Sheldon Richman
Trump Turns to Gaza as Middle East Deal of the Century Collapses
Charles Pierson
Kirstjen Nielsen Just Wants to Protect You
Brett Wilkins
The Lydda Death March and the Israeli State of Denial
Patrick Cockburn
Trump Knows That the US Can Exercise More Power in a UK Weakened by Brexit
Robert Fisk
The Fisherman of Sarajevo Told Tales Past Wars and Wars to Come
Gary Leupp
When Did Russia Become an Adversary?
Uri Avnery
“Not Enough!”
Dave Lindorff
Undermining Trump-Putin Summit Means Promoting War
Manuel E. Yepe
World Trade War Has Begun
Binoy Kampmark
Trump Stomps Britain
Wim Laven
The Best Deals are the Deals that Develop Peace
Kary Love
Can We Learn from Heinrich Himmler’s Daughter? Should We?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Franklin Lamb, Requiescat in Pace
Weekend Edition
July 13, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Brian Cloughley
Lessons That Should Have Been Learned From NATO’s Destruction of Libya
Paul Street
Time to Stop Playing “Simon Says” with James Madison and Alexander Hamilton
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of Formula and Honey
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s Intellectuals Bow to the Queen of Chaos 
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail