[News] A second Gaza war around the corner?
news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Jan 13 20:20:23 EST 2010
A second Gaza war around the corner?
Hasan Abu Nimah, The Electronic Intifada, 13 January 2010
Israel is once again complaining that its "security" is being
threatened by new eruptions of violence along the border with Gaza.
About two dozen Qassam rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza in
recent days. Although they fell in (and may have been deliberately
targeted at) open areas, causing no damage or injuries, Israel took
revenge with destructive air raids that did cause damage and killed
several people, including a 15-year-old boy.
Before asking who should stop first, one should recall who started
the latest ugly round of violence.
On 26 December, Israel carried out double attacks in the West Bank
city of Nablus and in Gaza, murdering three people in each place. In
Nablus, Israeli death squads carried out cold-blooded extrajudicial
executions in revenge for the killing of a West Bank settler several
days before. According to the wife of one of the Nablus victims, her
husband was at home in his living room, completely unarmed when the
death squad burst in and shot him in the face. Neither he nor the
other victims of these state-sponsored terrorists had been accused,
tried or convicted of any crime in a court of law.
In Gaza, the three victims were reportedly workers scavenging near
the border fence to salvage building supplies from the rubble of
Since late December, Israeli attacks have killed more than a dozen
Palestinians, routine violence which is ignored by the "international
community" and for which Israel is never held accountable. On the
contrary, Israel's Western friends continue to justify this terrorism
Israel's recent aggressions look ominously like the 4 November 2008
attack on Gaza, which killed six persons and shattered the
four-month-long truce meticulously respected by Hamas. Predictably,
Hamas and other factions retaliated for that Israeli provocation and
then Israel used their response to justify its massacre of 1,400
people in Gaza this time last year.
It seems that whenever there is relative calm on the Gaza front,
Israel is keen to destroy it. Prior to the November 2008 attack, the
Gaza situation, despite the siege and the intense international
pressure on Hamas, was stable -- that was the last thing Israel
wanted. And despite the truth that Israel sabotaged the truce and
then refused to renew it even though Hamas wanted to, the
Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority, some Arab states and the
so-called international community led by the United States blamed
Israel's attack on Gaza on Hamas rockets, and claimed that Hamas --
not Israel -- had rejected renewing the truce.
When Israel ended "Operation Cast Lead" last year, it refused to
enter into a new formal truce with Hamas. Nevertheless, Hamas has
observed a unilateral ceasefire, only using force occasionally in
retaliation for Israeli attacks, say, on tunnels that bring vital
supplies into Gaza from Egypt, circumventing the siege. Moreover,
Hamas -- in the face of much local criticism -- has enforced the
truce on other Palestinian factions.
Could Israel be following the same pattern again now with its
escalating violence against Gaza? Neither last year's war nor the
tightening blockade that has prevented any meaningful reconstruction
have succeeded in their clear but unstated goal of toppling Hamas.
Is Israel then preparing to do again what it does best: use wanton
murder and destruction to try to achieve its political goals?
It is hard to say, but this is an alarming possibility, especially as
senior Israeli officials have been dropping hints about preparations
for a "second Gaza war."
Israel, which does not act according to any normal or civilized
standards, could have several motives for this; not least, another
"small war" could give Israel a welcome distraction from the
continuing diplomatic impasse or any threat of a renewed American-led
peace initiative, no matter how timid.
Up to this point, it looks like Israel has been in the diplomatic
driver's seat. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu easily
dismissed US President Barack Obama's initial demand for a freeze on
construction of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. The
Obama Administration not only backed down, it also fully adopted
Israeli positions and has been continuously putting pressure on the
moribund Palestinian Authority to return to negotiations without
"preconditions." (Of course "without preconditions" means only that
Israel is not obligated to meet any conditions; Palestinians are
always presented with lengthy lists of Israeli preconditions.)
But if this seems like a diplomatic victory for Israel, it may only
be temporary. If, as expected, the Palestinian Authority eventually
succumbs to pressure and returns to "negotiations," it will become
instantly apparent that, given Israeli intransigence and
expansionism, there is absolutely nothing to discuss and not even an
infinitesimal prospect of any sort of peace deal.
It is doubtful that the bankruptcy of the Israeli and American
positions can simply be covered up with more empty process, and
expect the situation on the ground to remain quiet and stable.
Bringing the crisis closer, on its own terms, and once again blaming
Hamas, may be the "ideal" way out for Israel.
Hasan Abu Nimah is the former permanent representative of Jordan at
the United Nations. This essay first appeared in The Jordan Times and
is republished with the author's permission.
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