Notes From the Margins…

Netanyahu’s War

  • November 17, 2012
  • by

There is a horrible sense of Groundhog Day aboutIsrael”s latest cynical act of  punitive violence inGaza.     Like Operation Cast Lead, this is a war that Israel clearly wanted and deliberately provoked in this case by assassinating Hamas” military leader when he was in the midst of brokering a ceasefire.

Like its predecessor, these provocations have been buried under the usual layers of lies and propaganda , which present Israel as an exasperated and innocent victim of  “terrorism” forced to take action out concern for the security of its citizens.   Both wars were instigated on the eve of elections,  by politicians without a shred of moral integrity, who seem to believe that war with someone anyone will make them popular and somehow cow Israel”s enemies into submission.

Because Netanyahu and his cronies have clearly been itching for a war ever since he got into office, and now he has got one, and once again Israel is engaging in its timeworn tactic of using overwhelming force as a tool of psychological intimidation, not just of ‘terrorists’ and ‘militants’ but of the civilian population.

As was the case in Operation Cast Lead, there is the usual talk of targeted strikes on  “terrorist infrastructure”, of  fighters who hide behind civilians, of surgical strikes and precision weapons and how Israel is doing everything it can to minimize civilian casualties, etc, etc.

All the other elements of this dismal recurring nightmare are present.   There are the rockets fired by Palestinian groups at civilian targets, which act as grist to the Israeli mill and provide further justification for massive retaliation.

Then there is the British and American media, dutifully replaying the official Israeli narrative while ignoring evidence that contradicts it, flagging up the deaths of Israeli civilians in banner headlines while treating Palestinian casualties as  routine or minor events.

The other day I watched a BBC reporter in Gaza explaining to his viewers how difficult it was for Israel to avoid hitting civilian targets, given the location of buildings associated with Hamas in built-up areas.  As always viewers are invited to understand the difficulties of the occupying power which Israel still is, despite its “disengagement” from Gaza rather than from through the eyes of the population living under bombs.

As always the American and British governments have backed Israel to the hilt and placed responsibility for the violence on Hamas, ignoring the actual sequence of events and the  vindictive blockade to which Gaza has been subjected for the last six years, with the support and collusion of the “international community.

Once again there are the usual hypocritical calls for “de-escalation” in a pathetic and fraudulent attempt to display even-handedness, and the usual faux-concern for ‘civilians’ on both sides that ignores the familiar disparity in the numbers killed and wounded between Israelis and Palestinians.

But hey, don”t you go thinking that our leaders lack backbone.  The other day William Hague was calling on Israel to “do its utmost to reduce tension.”     And today Hague was even more outspoken, declaring

“ Israel does have to bear in mind that it is when ground invasions have taken place in previous conflicts that they have lost international support and a great deal of sympathy around the world.”

Tough talk Mr Foreign Secretary, which will surely make  Netanyahu and Co. think again.      And last but not least, there is Blair the “peace envoy”, taking a little time out from his financial endeavours to blame Hamas while shaking his humanitarian head at the impact of the latest “skirmish” on civilians.   The man really does care so much, you see.

So all in all Operation Cast Lead redux is a pretty revolting business.    And even if the latest crisis is eventually “de-escalated”, episodes like this will continue to recur again and again, as long as the “international community” continues to give Israel a carte blanche to do whatever it likes, and  as long as it continues to collude in the dark and brutal game that is being played out in Gaza, which has reduced its inhabitants to a besieged and captive population, and which inverts reality so that the aggressor becomes the victim, and the victims aggressors.

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3 Comments

  1. Susan Dirgham

    17th Nov 2012 - 9:55 pm

    Matt,
    I agree with the points you make here. But I wonder what is the sinister game being played. I understand Hamas has accepted money from Qatar, and Qatar and Israel are on friendly terms. So what is all this about? Destroy the infrastructure of Gaza, so Qatari money can come in and restore it and so give increased power to those Qatar supports? In Syria, the people Qatar supports are real extremists, followers of Sheik Qaradawi, friend of the Qatari royal family and Al-Jazeera. Qaradawi said that “if it is necessary to kill 1/3 of Syrians in order to topple the ‘heretical’ regime, that is ok”. Who will be killed in Gaza for Qatar to get its friends in power, I wonder? And who are its friends?

    There is an interesting analysis of the situation at
    http://nsnbc.wordpress.com/2012/11/15/israel%C2%B4s-attack-on-gaza-all-options-are-on-the-table-but-what-options/

    Kind regards,

    Susan

    • Matt

      18th Nov 2012 - 12:51 pm

      By ‘dark game’ I meant the collusion of the EU, America and Arab states such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt in Israel’s strangulation of Gaza. I don’t quite get your Qatar thesis in this case. Isn’t Hamas already in power? So what could Qatar gain from an assault like this? Also Qaradawi has condemned Israel’s actions, which he compares to Assad’s.

  2. Nik H.

    18th Nov 2012 - 12:06 pm

    What I really love about Bibi’s rhetoric (which is so dutifully echoed by our western media) is the constant theme of how which country or people could accept constant rocketfire, the horror and the terror and how every country has the duty to protect it’s people from infernal death by rocket. Spot on I would say, or is there anything one could seriously add to this flawless logic?

    Let’s face it, how would Sweden react to rocketfire coming from Norway? Or who would seriously expect Austria to accept constant rocketfire from Slovenia? No one of course. However, there is one thing missing in this otherwise perfeclty reasonable equation: It’s the occupation (stupid), that is missing. And it is missing all across the western media’s coverage. Furthermore it’s the blockade (stupid), and the counting of callories, not to surpass the minimum whereever possible but to make sure to keep Gazans on a “Diet”.

    So how about a few more equations, since it seems the time of clever equations has finally come?

    Who doesn’t accept occupation without trying to resist with all means available? Only the wicked Palestinians of course; why can’t they just follow the peaceful example of the Résistance, the Partisans and other honorable historic formations who wouldn’t have dreamt of fighting back, hiding among civilians, killing civilians or seeking help from potential international supporters?

    Why can’t the Palestinians simply follow the peaceful example of George Washington, who as we know settled matters with King George III. on the negotiation table. Why not follow in the peaceful footsteps of the various IRA factions or the basque ETA? Why can’t they live up the the standards established by people like Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir and other brave Zionists who, inspite of their dislike for british occupation, never saw violence as an option in order to render a continiued british military presence in Palestine unsustainable?

    And now finally, after a little bit of irony, I would ask: Who would expect the Palestinians to endure occupation, landtheft and humiliation for decades without resistance? The answer is simple: The hypocrites which dominate our western media and politics.

    Yes, no one would accept rocketfire, and no one should condone it. But even more important is the fact that those rockets do not come out of a clear blue sky. And as Noam Chomsky would probably put it: It takes a good amount of western education in order to not spot the obvious connection between the upcoming israeli elections and Bibi’s failure to entice the US for a strike against Iran. And it takes even more “education” to ommit the rootcause of the problem: Israeli occpation.

    Gaza and Hamas, as has happend before, once again have to suffer as a substitute electoral punchingball for israeli internal politics.

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About Me

I’m a writer, campaigner and journalist.  My latest book is The Savage Frontier: The Pyrenees in History and the Imagination (New Press/Hurst, 2018).  The Infernal Machine is where I write on politics, history, cinema and other things that interest me.

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