“Thinking about Gaza. “ Sherifa Zuhur November 20, 2012
I have been posting almost exclusively on Syria, although I’ve been posting and following the current Israeli campaign against the people of Gaza, and tracking events all over the Middle East and the Islamic world. I chose to do this on Syria, because much of the news media is excluded, or unable to travel in Syria and some outlets of information are not available in English. People are paying too much attention to the threat of foreign salafist fighters and not enough attention to the daily suffering of Syrians.
However, what has happened in Gaza is important on several levels. On one level – which I have no space or energy to comment on today – Israel has, with this campaign, attempted to reassert its regional position, and ability to wage campaigns against Palestinians without any serious challenge from the international community and without any military or political consequence from local powers – such as Egypt, Turkey, or Iran. Israel is reasserting its free hand and military superiority.
On another level, we have again witnessed the insidious nature of Israel’s military and psychological strategy against the Palestinians, and determination to outweigh, censor, and out-PR protests in the international arena – the only place where a pushback would make any difference.
Don’t be fooled. No matter which party Gazans might have elected in 2006 and no matter what concessions that party made, or didn’t make, Israel’s determination to confine, punish and continuously destroy their capacity for resistance is fierce. Resistance is the key word here. The reason that Hamas was elected, and the reason that Israel has waged assassinations galore, air strikes and the invasion in 2008-9, even the true cause of Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza is that it wishes to obliterate Palestinians’ ability to resist Israeli political, military, security and land- and water-seizing demands.
It is always best to simplify our thinking. What scared Israelis more than any other events in the last seven decades? The two intifadhas. Why? They expressed resistance. An unexpected, lingering resistance that, according to all key strategists (group and individual thinkers) should have been wiped out ages ago, along with Palestinian expectations or fantasies that other Arab nations would help them achieve repossession of their land and properties, or even, simple justice – some repossession, return or remediation and political and human freedoms. Simple freedoms, like the right to move or travel from one place to another. The right to elect their own representatives.
Whatever its faults, overreach, and inability to deal with other Palestinian parties fratricidal tendencies and betrayals, Hamas symbolized a group that continued to call for resistance.
I won’t even address the silly argument that the US President has bought into – that Israelis are being bombarded by rockets day and night and have a right to not be shelled “by another country.” Just state that in reverse, Obama – Palestinians had rights that were violated, and now they have rights to not be shelled, bombarded, and vaporized by ‘another country.’ Qassam rockets are not the reason for the current conflict.
Instead, Israel sought to provoke a new wave of “resistance” and did so by first attacking a teenager, and then assassinating Ahmad Jabari, the Hamas leader who had just prior to his death, received a (presumably false) treaty proposal. Palestinians launched rockets in response. Yes. As for a time, they launched suicide attacks, or knifings in the Second Intifadha and youths learned to throw stones and burn tires in the First Intifadha.
Don’t believe for one minute in the parity of the two forces as is being claimed by the Western and Israeli media and our foolish and negligent governments.
Gaza is nothing but a large Yarmouk camp, with a beautiful beach, a beautiful sky and people with no prospects, no assurances, and most importantly, no sovereignty.
Complying, giving in, negotiating, has not brought about sovereignty. So why are we so surprised that the language of resistance persists?
This little blip of an air campaign has cost 116 Palestinian lives and 900 have been injured – so far 3 Israelis were killed. For the Israelis – for Netanyahu, this campaign is important to bolster his showing at the polls as a person/party who will supply that impossible quality — “security” – to Israelis. But the reason that absolute security is impossible to guarantee is because it is at the expense of another people’s sovereignty and human rights.