Kamis, 22 November 2012

Gaza, Israel and World War III

“We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans did not stop with Hiroshima. … They hit Nagasaki too. There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing.” —Gild Sharon, son of former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon

“We must blow Gaza back to the Middle Ages, destroying all the infrastructure including roads and water” —Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai

Israel’s ongoing attack against Gaza is entering its second week. Hundreds of Palestinian civilians—men, women and children—have been killed or injured, while thousands have been rendered homeless. These people are, for the most part, defenseless against Israel’s unrelenting bombardment from all directions and from all possible platforms, whether from the air, land or sea.

Before this latest onslaught began, of course, Gaza’s “infrastructure” was already crumbling as a result of Israeli-imposed blockades and economic sanctions. Now Palestinian territory is being systematically reduced to rubble. This bombing is thus indiscriminate in that all Palestinian public spaces and, yes, private homes, are targeted—schools, government offices, a building housing international press offices in Gaza City and a Gazan grocer’s home. The grocer’s whole family, including four children younger than 7 years old, and four women, one of whom was 83, were murdered by Israeli missiles on Sunday.

At this writing, the American media are reporting that high-level talks of a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, under the aegis of various Middle Eastern countries and the US, are underway. Yet at the same time the Israeli government has begun the mobilization of 75,000 reservists and the massing of tanks on the Gaza border. In 2008-09, a similar mobilization preceded Israel’s ground invasion that killed 1,400 Gazans, the vast majority of whom were civilians.

The Obama administration and the corporate media have all turned a blind eye to Israel’s continued aggression. They blithely parrot Israel’s specious claim of the “right of self-defense” against Hamas’ rockets “raining” down on Israel and its citizenry.

President Obama said last Sunday in Bangkok:
“Let’s understand what the precipitating event here was that’s causing the current crisis, and that was an ever-escalating number of missiles; they were landing not just in Israeli territory, but in areas that are populated. And there’s no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders. So we are fully supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself from missiles landing on people’s homes and workplaces and potentially killing civilians. And we will continue to support Israel’s right to defend itself.”

Let’s look a little closer at Israel’s claim that its current assault on Gaza is merely a response to an “ever-escalating number of missiles” fired at it by Hamas.

1. In the year—the whole year—preceding this current bloodbath in Gaza, not a single Israeli was killed by a rocket or missile from Gaza. Yet the Israeli press reported that, after a brief spike, which was brought on by repeated Israeli incursions into Gaza and the killing of several civilians, including children, rocket attacks had, in fact, subsided.

2. The Israelis and the Hamas leadership were actively engaged in Egyptian-brokered discussions to hammer out a long-term ceasefire. The Palestinian negotiator in these talks was Ahmed Jaabari, leader of the Hamas military wing. On Nov. 14, Jaabari received a copy of a draft ceasefire agreement. Before he had time to even read or sign off on that agreement, he was targeted and killed by an Israeli Hellfire missile. Israel justified the killing as a necessary act in furtherance of their policy of “targeted killings.”

3. The killing of Jaabari must be seen as a deliberate provocation. It signaled, indeed, the unveiling of Israel’s so-called Operation Defense Pillar. This operation is not structured to defend anyone or anything, but is a blatant program of offensive tactics by Israel against a comparatively defenseless and one of the most oppressed peoples on the planet.

4. President Obama’s and the American corporate media’s support for Israel do not seem to countenance the inhumane, indeed inhuman, conditions constantly enforced against and endured by Gazans: 1.7 million people, mostly refugees, violently uprooted and expelled from their homes and lands. They have essentially been incarcerated in the earth’s largest open-air prison, blockaded from all potential foreign assistance. The result has been unimaginable suffering, sickness, hunger, and death. These conditions are all the while enforced by the Israeli Defense Forces, which surround Gaza at every conceivable point.

Finally, all of this is happening not quite 100 miles from the US-backed civil war in Syria. Yet we hear no sympathetic entreaties whatever for Gazan civilian casualties, while those in Syria are decried on a continuing news loop and cycle. Who in the West is demanding the ouster of Benjamin Netanyahu for killing civilians or his institution of no-fly zones? Instead, Israel is given a wink and a nod, if not outright encouragement, to kill Gazans at will.

The attack on Gaza is merely a warm-up for the real war which will follow in 2013, probably not long after the Israeli elections in January. That would be the war featuring the US, Israel and the European Union on one side, and Iran, along with most other Middle Eastern nation-states, Russia, and even China, on the other side. This Gazan incursion is a thinly veiled effort by Israel to short-circuit any potential or possibility for a peaceful settlement of the issues regarding Iran’s nuclear program. Simultaneously, if all goes according to plan, Gaza, already weak and ineffective, will have been completely neutralized in the upcoming war against Iran.

I am afraid that what we are witnessing here just might be the beginning skirmishes of a third world war.

Herbert Dyer, Jr. is based in Chicago, Illinois, United States of America, and is an Anchor for Allvoices.


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