Archive for November 16th, 2012

Pillars Of Lies

by lizard

As Israel mobilizes up to 75,000 reservists for Pillars of Defense, we are sure to hear all about rockets hitting Tel Aviv and nearly hitting Jerusalem for the first time in decades.

What many in the US won’t hear is who actually started this latest round of violence.

As in every vicious military offensive Israel carries out in Gaza, the dominant narrative is that it is a response to rocket fire from Gaza into southern Israel. This is how it’s being reported in the US, and this is how virtually every American understands it.

And it’s a lie.

It’s true that on Saturday, prior to the expanded Israeli bombardment, the military wing of the Popular Front For the Liberation of Palestine shot an anti-tank missile at an Israeli Defense Forces vehicle near the Gaza border, wounding four Israeli soldiers. But what prompted the firing of the anti-tank missile?

First, on Monday, November 5th, Israeli forces shot and killed 23 year old Ahmad Nabhani when he “approached the border fence with Israel.” According to at least one account, Nabhani was mentally challenged.

Then, on Thursday, November 8th, the Israeli Occupation Forces – eight tanks and four bulldozers, to be exact – invaded southern Gaza, shooting and killing a 13-year old boy.

This is the pattern, and western media, especially in America, are complicit in building the false narrative of unprovoked attacks against Israel from militants.

But it gets worse.

One of Israel’s air strikes successfully assassinated Ahmed Jaabari, a commander of a military arm of Hamas. While this man may be framed as a terrorist now, there are calmer voices providing the context that Jaabari was an effective enforcer of a ceasefire that had been largely successful. And the day he was killed, a deal to extend that ceasefire was circulating. Gershon Baskin from the Daily Beast:

Yesterday morning, hours before Israel assassinated Ahmed Jaabari, my counterpart in Hamas presented the draft to Jaabari and to other Hamas leaders. Senior Hamas leaders on the outside had already seen it and had instructed him to check the reactions to it in Gaza. I was supposed to receive the draft yesterday evening to present to Israeli officials who were waiting for me to send it to them.

That option is now off the table. Jaabari is dead and so is the chance for a mutually beneficial long term ceasefire understanding. Why did Benjamin Netanyahu do it? The cynical answer already offered by Aluf Benn in Haaretz is elections consideration. Cast Lead was also conducted before elections. Hitting Jaabari, according to Netanyahu’s thinking, would help him in the upcoming Israeli elections. Perhaps this is true, perhaps not.

It seems to me that some of the commanders of the Israeli army have been very frustrated that the previous agreements to return to calm left Israel in a weaker position, with Hamas calling the shots. They have been calling to rebuild Israel’s deterrence. Let them in Gaza feel the pain of a serious Israeli attack and then they will think seven times before shooting more rockets, is what they proposed. In the last days there has been a lot of talk from politicians, military experts and officers to return to the policy of “targeted killings.” This, they claim, would make the Hamas leaders hide for their lives and stop shooting at us. These military geniuses failed to realize that what never worked in the past will not work now either.

Now millions of Israelis and Palestinians are living under the terror of attack. Many more Gazans will be killed than Israelis, but is this a worthy achievement that we can be proud of and that will guarantee our long term security? I don’t think so.

This escalating attack on Gaza also derails any chance for diplomatic talks between the US and Iran, especially considering the deep rocket strikes are being made possible by the use of Iranian hardware.

What’s not to like for Netanyahu? With help from America, this attack may even help to stall the Palestinian bid for non-member statehood at the UN, though this Washington Post article from 3 days ago reports that bid is still moving forward to the November 29th vote.

Though there are some similarities between Pillars of Defense and Cast Lead, this brutal attack on Gaza is happening in a region still going through significant changes. How is Morsi going to navigate this crisis, for example?

The whole region has suffered beyond imagination. When will it ever stop?

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