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How does Israel fit into the big picture?
#31
A new US-staffed radar base on Israeli soil may indicate that Israel is shifting from an American ally to an American protectorate.

By Jonathan Cook
Adbusters Magazine
November 2008

Almost unnoticed, Israel and the White House signed a deal over the summer to station an early-warning missile radar system, staffed with US military personnel, in Israel’s Negev desert. The media here described the Joint Tactical Ground Station, which brings Israel under the US protective umbrella against missile attack, as a “parting gift” from President Bush as he prepared to leave office.

The siting of what is likely to become America’s first permanent base on Israeli soil was apparently not easily agreed by local defense officials. Aware of the country’s vulnerability to missile strikes, they have been trying to develop their own defenses – so far without success – against the varying threats posed by Palestinian Qassam rockets, Hizbullah’s Katyushas, and Iran and Syria’s more sophisticated arsenal.

In finally accepting that it must rely on the US shield, Israel may have answered the Middle East’s biggest question of 2008: will it launch a go-it-alone strike against Iran’s presumed nuclear weapons program?

The local media reported that the early-warning station would limit Israel’s freedom to attack Iran since it would be the prime target for a retaliatory strike, endangering the lives of US personnel. Or as the Haaretz newspaper noted, Israeli officials viewed the radar system “as a signal of Washington’s opposition to an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear program”.

Although ostensibly the warm relations between Israel and the US are unchanged, in reality recent events are forcing a reluctant Israel to submit to the increasingly smothering embrace of Washington.

Tel Aviv has long seen itself as a military ally of the US, largely sharing and assisting in the realization of Washington’s strategic objectives. But it has also prized a degree of independence, especially the right to pursue its own agenda in the Middle East.

For some time, the key point of difference between the two has been over the benefits of “stability.” US planners have promoted regional calm as a way of maintaining American control over the flow of oil. In practice, this has meant keeping the Arab peoples, and Arab nationalism, in check by bolstering reliable dictators.

In contrast, Israel has preferred instability, believing that weak and fractious neighbours can be more easily manipulated. A series of invasions of Lebanon to accentuate ethnic divisions there and the fueling of civil war in the occupied Palestinian territories have been the template for Israel’s wider regional vision.

The implicit tension in the Israeli-US alliance surfaced with the ascendance under President George W. Bush of the neocons, who argued that Washington’s agenda should be synonymous with Israel’s. The US occupation and dismemberment of Iraq was the apotheosis of the White House’s application of the Israeli doctrine.

The neocons’ partial fall from grace began with Israel’s failure to crush Hizbullah in Lebanon more than two years ago. All the evidence suggests that both Israel and the neocons regarded Hizbullah’s defeat as the necessary prelude to a US attack on Tehran. Israel’s loss of nerve during the month-long war – attributed by critics like the former defense minister, Moshe Arens, to the general softening and feminisation of Israeli society – proved the country’s once-celebrated martial talents were on the decline.

In the war’s immediate wake, there was much discussion in Israel about how such a high-profile failure might damage the country’s standing in the eyes of its US sponsor. Penance arrived in the form of the exculpations of the Winograd post-mortem – and with it the inevitable undoing of Ehud Olmert as prime minister. Washington’s stables, meanwhile, were cleaned out less ostentatiously.

But where does this leave Israel? Certainly not friendless in Washington, as cheerleaders like AIPAC and the fawning of US presidential candidates amply demonstrate. But the relationship is changing: it looks increasingly as though Israel is turning from US ally to protectorate.

The consequences are already visible in the buckling of Israel’s commitment to launch a unilateral attack on Iran. Months of bellicose talk have been mostly stilled. A few believe this is the quiet before the storm of a joint US and Israeli strike. More likely it is the sign of an Israeli-fueled war agenda running out of steam.

Washington, already overstretched in the Middle East and facing concerted opposition to its policies from China and Russia, seems resigned to living with an Iranian nuclear bomb. In the new climate that means Israel will have to accept that it is no longer the only bully on the Middle East block. Israel is on the verge of its very own regional Cold War.

As in the earlier Cold War, this one will be played out through alliances and proxies. But there the similarity ends. Iran is emerging as a regional superpower, quickly developing the financial and military clout to sponsor other actors in the region, most obviously Hamas and Hizbullah. Israel, on the other hand, is losing ground – quite literally, as the radar base reveals. It can no longer impose its own agenda or build alliances on its own terms. Its strength is becoming increasingly, and transparently, dependent on US approval.

The most immediate and tangible effects will be felt by the Palestinians, though their plight is not likely to let up any time soon. Just as before, Israel needs a long-term solution to the Palestinian problem, but cannot concede on the creation of a viable Palestinian state. Now, however, it no longer has the luxury of biding its time as it dispossesses the Palestinians. It needs to find a solution before an Iranian bomb – and an ever-more confident Hamas and Hizbullah – force a settlement on Palestine not to its liking.

Israel is therefore engaging in a frenzy of West Bank settlement building – up six times on a year ago – not seen since Oslo. It only appears paradoxical that, just as Israel’s leadership is intoning the end of a Greater Israel, the most influential and optimistic supporters of a two-state solution on both sides – including Sari Nusseibeh and Shlomo Ben Ami – have been reading the last rites of Palestinian statehood.

This disillusionment, it might be expected, would provoke a new resolution towards a one-state solution among Israeli and Palestinian peace activists. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even the Palestinian leadership’s growing threats that it might adopt a one-state campaign are little more than that: blackmail designed to galvanize Israeli public opinion behind two states.

Instead of a fledgling state, however, Israel is creating a series of holding pens for the Palestinians – or “warehouses,” as the Israeli peace activist Jeff Halper has referred to them – on the last vestiges of the occupied territories. For Halper, warehousing means containing the Palestinians at minimal economic and political cost to Israel as it steals more territory.

But is the warehousing of the Palestinians intended by Israel to be the equivalent of storing unwanted books? Or, to continue this disturbing metaphor, are the Palestinians being warehoused so that at a later date they can be given away – or, worse still, pulped?

The answer again suggests Israel’s growing dependence on the US. Washington has for some time been strong-arming the Sunni Arab world, especially loyal regimes like Egypt and Jordan, against Shia Iran. With its back to the wall, Israel appears willing to use this leverage to its own advantage.

Its leaders are increasingly thinking of “peace” terms that, passing over the heads of the Palestinians, will be directed at their neighbours in Jordan and Egypt. A regional solution requires a further entrenchment of the physical and political divisions between the two “halves” of the occupied territories, with control over the Palestinian parts of the West Bank handed to Jordan and Gaza to Egypt.

It is a sign of the terminal loss of faith in their leaders and Israeli good faith that the latest poll of Palestinians shows 42 percent want their government-in-waiting, the Palestinian Authority, dismantled. More than a quarter are ready to abandon the dream of independent nationhood, preferring instead the establishment of a joint state with Jordan.

Palestine’s fate, it seems, rests on the resolve of the Arab world. It is not a reassuring prospect.

Jonathan Cook is a journalist living in Nazareth, Israel. His latest book is, Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair (Zed Books).

**********************************************************************************

http://www.eucom.mil/english/FullStory.asp?art=1915

United States European Command
American Forces Press Service
December 30, 2008

U.S. military team in Israel reported safe despite
attacks
Donna Miles

WASHINGTON, D.C. — About 100 U.S. European Command
soldiers, airmen and Marines deployed to Israel to
help set up an early warning radar system reported no
close encounters with air strikes or retaliatory
attacks along the Gaza Strip, a EUCOM spokesman said.
....
Air Force Lt. Col. John Dorrian confirmed Stars and
Stripess report that the EUCOM team is operating on an
Israeli air base nowhere near the targeted areas.

The EUCOM troops deployed to Israel to help set up an
Army/Navy Transportable Radar Surveillance system,
Dorrian confirmed. The Israeli government requested
the system....

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates signed off on the
deployment order in mid-September, Pentagon Press
Secretary Geoff Morrell confirmed during a Sept. 30
news conference.

Once fully operational, the system will be capable of
tracking and identifying small objects at long
distance and at very high altitude, including space,
according to U.S. Missile Defense Agency officials.

It also will integrate Israells missile defenses with
the U.S. global missile detection network.

This will enable the Israelis to track medium- and
long-range ballistic missiles multiple times better
than their current radar allows them to,, Morrell
said. It will more than double the range of Israel's
missile defense radars and increase its available
engagement time..
....
"Israelis...have asked for our assistance. And we have
now provided it in the form of this X-band radar
equipment..

About 120 U.S. servicemembers initially deployed to
Israel to set up the system, a number Dorrian said is
now down to about 100.

Morrell estimated that the system will take about half
that many U.S. personnel to operate once it is up and
running. This is and will remain a U.S. radar system,,
he said. This is not something we are giving or
selling to the Israelis.

The system, he said, is another sign of U.S.
commitment to Israel. We are committed to the
Israelis, to Israells defense, Morrell said.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
expressed concern about escalating violence in Gaza.

"We strongly condemn the repeated rocket and mortar
attacks against Israel and hold Hamas responsible for
breaking the ceasefire and for the renewal of violence
there," Rice said in a statement....
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
Reply
#32
This first article is excellent Maggie. I wonder if it's merely a "radar station" or something with a little more sizzle.

Magda Hassan Wrote:For some time, the key point of difference between the two has been over the benefits of “stability.” US planners have promoted regional calm as a way of maintaining American control over the flow of oil. In practice, this has meant keeping the Arab peoples, and Arab nationalism, in check by bolstering reliable dictators.

In contrast, Israel has preferred instability, believing that weak and fractious neighbours can be more easily manipulated.

Candid and insightful.

Magda Hassan Wrote:Instead of a fledgling state, however, Israel is creating a series of holding pens for the Palestinians – or “warehouses,” as the Israeli peace activist Jeff Halper has referred to them – on the last vestiges of the occupied territories. For Halper, warehousing means containing the Palestinians at minimal economic and political cost to Israel as it steals more territory.

But is the warehousing of the Palestinians intended by Israel to be the equivalent of storing unwanted books? Or, to continue this disturbing metaphor, are the Palestinians being warehoused so that at a later date they can be given away – or, worse still, pulped?

Does this warehousing remind anyone else of the Warsaw Ghetto?
Reply
#33
Quote:Does this warehousing remind anyone else of the Warsaw Ghetto?
It reminds me exactly of the Warsaw Ghetto.

The two state solution is not viable. Palestine will never be permitted to prosper on its own terms even if it could given the dud hand it has been dealt by others. It must be subordinate to Israel especially economically. As we are seeing now the Palestinians have elected the wrong representatives and must be taught a lesson by being bombed into submission or oblivion. Other Arab nations are not all that interested in it either and have their own interests to persue.

The one state solution is no solution for the Israeli elite as they will eventually be out numbered demographically as the Palestinians are more in number and traditionally have larger families than the Israelis and since Israel is a 'democracy' the Palestinians could and probably would vote according to their needs (return of the Palestinian refugees) not Israeli Jewish needs (to maintain an exclusively Jewish homeland). They don't really want to test how 'democratic' they can be because they know the outcome and are not prepared to go there. Israel has had more in common with Iran being in effect more a theocracy than a democracy. Despite some secular institutions like some anarchist and communist kibbutzes (which have nearly all been privatized btw) religion seeps into everyday Israeli life in so many ways. All marriages and divorces must be done through a religion of one kind or another regardless of personal beliefs. They are in the process of trying to export as many Arab Israelis out of Israel as they can as they will eventually be a majority. So many Israelis just wish the Palestinian 'problem' would disappear. And it does for so many Israelis. Separate roads, phone books, housing, schools, language, tv, media. So much of the troubling issue of Palestinian existence has been cleansed from Israeli life and life is so unremittingly miserable for the majority of Palestinians they oblige and are happy to go anywhere else and get on with what remains of their lives much like Jewish tribes or families had to do not so long ago. So Palestinians are warehoused in tiny ghetto islands controlled by others unable to move freely to visit family, conduct business, go to work, farm, go to school, seek medical treatment, or have anything resembling a normal human life. The nazis regarded Jews as a security threat to the Reich too.

Quote:I wonder if it's merely a "radar station" or something with a little more sizzle.

I don't know but it will serve empire well even if it only has a fire cracker there. It will also serve Halliburton and all the rest of Satan's little helpers. It is part of pulling Israel into the NATO (even though it is 1,000's of miles from the North Atlantic) fold and is part of the Star Wars defense corporate welfare black hole.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
Reply
#34
This may go some way to explain the very muted response by 'leaders' of nations with a vested interest in this to the Israeli attacks on the people of Gaza. Ties in nicely with Israels involvement with Turkey and Georgia.



War and Natural Gas: The Israeli Invasion and Gaza's Offshore Gas Fields

By Michel Chossudovsky

URL of this article: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=11680

Global Research, January 8, 2009

The military invasion of the Gaza Strip by Israeli Forces bears a direct relation to the control and ownership of strategic offshore gas reserves.
This is a war of conquest. Discovered in 2000, there are extensive gas reserves off the Gaza coastline.
British Gas (BG Group) and its partner, the Athens based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC) owned by Lebanon's Sabbagh and Koury families, were granted oil and gas exploration rights in a 25 year agreement signed in November 1999 with the Palestinian Authority.
The rights to the offshore gas field are respectively British Gas (60 percent); Consolidated Contractors (CCC) (30 percent); and the Investment Fund of the Palestinian Authority (10 percent). (Haaretz, October 21, 2007).

The PA-BG-CCC agreement includes field development and the construction of a gas pipeline.(Middle East Economic Digest, Jan 5, 2001).

The BG licence covers the entire Gazan offshore marine area, which is contiguous to several Israeli offshore gas facilities. (See Map below). It should be noted that 60 percent of the gas reserves along the Gaza-Israel coastline belong to Palestine.
The BG Group drilled two wells in 2000: Gaza Marine-1 and Gaza Marine-2. Reserves are estimated by British Gas to be of the order of 1.4 trillion cubic feet, valued at approximately 4 billion dollars. These are the figures made public by British Gas. The size of Palestine's gas reserves could be much larger.
[Image: gazagasmap.jpg]
Map 1

[Image: gazagasmap2.gif]
Map 2
Who Owns the Gas Fields
The issue of sovereignty over Gaza's gas fields is crucial. From a legal standpoint, the gas reserves belong to Palestine.
The death of Yasser Arafat, the election of the Hamas government and the ruin of the Palestinian Authority have enabled Israel to establish de facto control over Gaza's offshore gas reserves.
British Gas (BG Group) has been dealing with the Tel Aviv government. In turn, the Hamas government has been bypassed in regards to exploration and development rights over the gas fields.
The election of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2001 was a major turning point. Palestine's sovereignty over the offshore gas fields was challenged in the Israeli Supreme Court. Sharon stated unequivocally that "Israel would never buy gas from Palestine" intimating that Gaza's offshore gas reserves belong to Israel.
In 2003, Ariel Sharon, vetoed an initial deal, which would allow British Gas to supply Israel with natural gas from Gaza's offshore wells. (The Independent, August 19, 2003)
The election victory of Hamas in 2006 was conducive to the demise of the Palestinian Authority, which became confined to the West Bank, under the proxy regime of Mahmoud Abbas.
In 2006, British Gas "was close to signing a deal to pump the gas to Egypt." (Times, May, 23, 2007). According to reports, British Prime Minister Tony Blair intervened on behalf of Israel with a view to shunting the agreement with Egypt.
The following year, in May 2007, the Israeli Cabinet approved a proposal by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert "to buy gas from the Palestinian Authority." The proposed contract was for $4 billion, with profits of the order of $2 billion of which one billion was to go the Palestinians.
Tel Aviv, however, had no intention on sharing the revenues with Palestine. An Israeli team of negotiators was set up by the Israeli Cabinet to thrash out a deal with the BG Group, bypassing both the Hamas government and the Palestinian Authority:
"Israeli defence authorities want the Palestinians to be paid in goods and services and insist that no money go to the Hamas-controlled Government." (Ibid, emphasis added)
The objective was essentially to nullify the contract signed in 1999 between the BG Group and the Palestinian Authority under Yasser Arafat.
Under the proposed 2007 agreement with BG, Palestinian gas from Gaza's offshore wells was to be channeled by an undersea pipeline to the Israeli seaport of Ashkelon, thereby transferring control over the sale of the natural gas to Israel.
The deal fell through. The negotiations were suspended:
"Mossad Chief Meir Dagan opposed the transaction on security grounds, that the proceeds would fund terror". (Member of Knesset Gilad Erdan, Address to the Knesset on "The Intention of Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to Purchase Gas from the Palestinians When Payment Will Serve Hamas," March 1, 2006, quoted in Lt. Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon, Does the Prospective Purchase of British Gas from Gaza's Coastal Waters Threaten Israel's National Security? Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, October 2007)
Israel's intent was to foreclose the possibility that royalties be paid to the Palestinians. In December 2007, The BG Group withdrew from the negotiations with Israel and in January 2008 they closed their office in Israel.(BG website).
Invasion Plan on The Drawing Board
The invasion plan of the Gaza Strip under "Operation Cast Lead" was set in motion in June 2008, according to Israeli military sources:
"Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago [June or before June] , even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas."(Barak Ravid, Operation "Cast Lead": Israeli Air Force strike followed months of planning, Haaretz, December 27, 2008)
That very same month, the Israeli authorities contacted British Gas, with a view to resuming crucial negotiations pertaining to the purchase of Gaza's natural gas:
"Both Ministry of Finance director general Yarom Ariav and Ministry of National Infrastructures director general Hezi Kugler agreed to inform BG of Israel's wish to renew the talks.
The sources added that BG has not yet officially responded to Israel's request, but that company executives would probably come to Israel in a few weeks to hold talks with government officials." (Globes online- Israel's Business Arena, June 23, 2008)
The decision to speed up negotiations with British Gas (BG Group) coincided, chronologically, with the planning of the invasion of Gaza initiated in June. It would appear that Israel was anxious to reach an agreement with the BG Group prior to the invasion, which was already in an advanced planning stage.
Moreover, these negotiations with British Gas were conducted by the Ehud Olmert government with the knowledge that a military invasion was on the drawing board and that a new political-territorial arrangement for Gaza strip was being contemplated by Israel.
In fact, negotiations between British Gas and Israeli officials were ongoing in October 2008, 2-3 months prior to the commencement of the bombings on December 27th.
In November 2008, the Israeli Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of National Infrastructures instructed Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) to enter into negotiations with British Gas, on the purchase of natural gas from the BG's offshore concession in Gaza. (Globes, November 13, 2008)
"Ministry of Finance director general Yarom Ariav and Ministry of National Infrastructures director general Hezi Kugler wrote to IEC CEO Amos Lasker recently, informing him of the government's decision to allow negotiations to go forward, in line with the framework proposal it approved earlier this year.
The IEC board, headed by chairman Moti Friedman, approved the principles of the framework proposal a few weeks ago. The talks with BG Group will begin once the board approves the exemption from a tender." (Globes Nov. 13, 2008)
Gaza and Energy Geopolitics
The military occupation of Gaza is intent upon transferring the sovereignty of the gas fields to Israel in violation of international law.
What can we expect in the wake of the invasion?

What is the intent of Israel with regard to Palestine's Natural Gas reserves?

A new territorial arrangement, with the stationing of Israeli and/or "peacekeeping" troops?
The militarization of the entire Gaza coastline, which is strategic for Israel?
The outright confiscation of Palestinian gas fields and the unilateral declaration of Israeli sovereignty over Gaza's maritime areas?
If this were to occur, the Gaza gas fields would be integrated into Israel's offshore installations, which are contiguous to those of the Gaza Strip. (See Map 1 above).
These various offshore installations are also linked up to Israel's energy transport corridor, extending from the port of Eilat, which is an oil pipeline terminal, on the Red Sea to the seaport - pipeline terminal at Ashkelon, and northwards to Haifa, and eventually linking up through a proposed Israeli-Turkish pipeline with the Turkish port of Ceyhan.
Ceyhan is the terminal of the Baku, Tblisi Ceyhan Trans Caspian pipeline. "What is envisaged is to link the BTC pipeline to the Trans-Israel Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline, also known as Israel's Tipline." (See Michel Chossudovsky, The War on Lebanon and the Battle for Oil, Global Research, July 23, 2006)

[Image: LevantineEnergyCorridor.gif]
Map 3
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
Reply
#35
Well well well.

Very interesting. Thanks for that post, Maggie.
Reply
#36
Mark Stapleton Wrote:Well well well.

Very interesting. Thanks for that post, Maggie.

Yeah, most interesting. Thanks Maggie.
Again, it's just business.

More and more I understand JFK's disdain for businessmen.
Reply
#37
Magda Hassan Wrote:...
Invasion Plan on The Drawing Board
The invasion plan of the Gaza Strip under "Operation Cast Lead" was set in motion in June 2008, according to Israeli military sources:
"Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago [June or before June] , even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas."(Barak Ravid, Operation "Cast Lead": Israeli Air Force strike followed months of planning, Haaretz, December 27, 2008)
...

This makes me wonder if there is any truth at all to Israel's claim that they're retaliating against Hamas missiles from Gaza. It's sounding more and more like a cover story.
Reply
#38
Quote:This makes me wonder if there is any truth at all to Israel's claim that they're retaliating against Hamas missiles from Gaza. It's sounding more and more like a cover story.

http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10123.shtml

Israel's fabricated rocket crisis
Jim Holstun and Joanna Tinker, The Electronic Intifada, 6 January 2009

In The Iron Wall (2001), Israeli historian Avi Shlaim shows that in July 1981, US diplomat Philip Habib brokered a ceasefire between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel. For the next year, the PLO infuriated Israel by refusing to violate the ceasefire and thereby provide an excuse for Israel's long-planned attack on PLO refugee camps and bases in Lebanon. Then, on 3 June 1982, a member of the Abu Nidal organization shot and wounded Shlomo Argov, the Israeli ambassador in London. Abu Nidal, or Sabri Khalil al-Banna, was a Palestinian, but he was anything but a PLO stalwart: "Abu Nidal was supported by Iraq in his struggle against Arafat's 'capitulationist' leadership of the PLO. Abu Nidal customarily referred to Arafat as 'the Jewess's son.' The PLO had passed a death sentence on Abu Nidal for assassinating some of its moderate members who advocated a dialogue with Israel."

The next day, Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin called an emergency cabinet meeting. When his advisor Gideon Machanaimi and Avraham Shalom (the head of the General Security Service) began to discuss the nature of the Abu Nidal organization, Begin cut them off: "'They are all PLO.' [Army Chief of Staff] Rafael Eitan was equally dismissive. Shortly before entering the conference room, an intelligence aide told him that Abu Nidal's men were evidently responsible for the assassination attempt. 'Abu Nidal, Abu Shmidal,' he sneered; 'we have to strike at the PLO!'"

Two days later, Israel invaded Lebanon, which would kill over 18,000 people, including the massacres of Palestinian refugees at Sabra and Shatila, and push Lebanon further into a morass of imperial and sectarian violence. Of course, the lying excuse endlessly proffered for the invasion, enshrined in its nickname "Operation Peace for the Galilee," and obligingly circulated by the American media, was that Israel could no longer be expected to tolerate a constant barrage of PLO rockets across its northern border.

In Israel's recent rush to invade Gaza, we witness the same predisposition to violence, the same aching aggravation with Palestinian peace offensives, and the same willingness to conflate all resistance, all frustrations, into a single enemy: "They are all Hamas!" And we see that Hamas, like the PLO, refused to oblige Israel with a single provocative act. For more than four months after 19 June 2008, Hamas refrained from any military actions that might endanger the negotiated truce or "calm" with Israel.

The evidence for this is ready to hand. For example, the Wikipedia entry on the events of the summer, "List of rocket and mortar attacks in Israel in 2008" (revised 4 January 2008), based almost exclusively on Israeli newspapers and government sources, confirms that there were no rocket or mortar attacks claimed by or plausibly attributed to Hamas during the calm. This can also be verified by surveying archives of news reports from the period.

The few that were launched, none of them causing any casualties, were claimed by the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, by Islamic Jihad, by "the Badr Forces," or by nobody. Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh called repeatedly for a cessation of rocket fire, and denounced those factions who broke the truce. A Hamas spokesman criticized Fatah for allowing the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, which is affiliated with Fatah, to fire rockets. Meanwhile, Israeli occupation forces' murders and settler pogroms continued unabated on the West Bank. They included an attempt by a settler to fire a homemade rocket toward the Palestinian village of Burin, which nearly killed another settler. During the lull, then, Israeli settlers fired more rockets (i.e., one) than did Hamas.

In a document entitled "The Hamas terror war against Israel," The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides striking visual evidence of Hamas's good faith during the lull. It reproduces two graphs drawn up by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center:

[Image: 090106-holstun2.jpg] Monthly distribution of rockets hit

[Image: 090106-holstun3.jpg] Monthly distribution of mortar shells

The graphs show that the total number of rocket and mortar attacks shrank from 245 in June to 26 total for July through October, a reduction of 97 percent. Even this was not enough for Israel, which violated the truce by imposing a terror-famine in Gaza for most of these months. But despite these violations, Hamas refrained from launching rockets until Israel definitively cancelled the truce on the night of 4-5 November by sending an Israeli commando squad into Gaza, where it killed six Hamas members. Hamas responded with 30 rockets.

These charts proved too revealing for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On the night eve of 4 January 2008, as Israeli occupation forces launched a ground assault on Gaza, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs removed them from its website, substituting an almost illegible graph in which the labels obscure the data, while the caption does all it can to hide the de facto end of rocket and mortar fire during the calm, until 4 November.

[Image: 090106-holstun1.jpg]

This document was also titled "The Hamas terror war against Israel." But a Korean webpage has cached the original document, preserving the evidence of Israel's sticky-fingered hasbara, or propaganda.

Clearly, the Israelis violated the truce in order to increase the number of Qassam attacks, not to end them. Qassams provide Israel with its best shot at its favorite media role of plucky little David fighting the Palestinian Goliath. And by nimble revision of its webpage, the Israeli MFA is able to turn cause into effect -- turning the retaliatory Hamas Qassams of 6 November into the cause of Israel canceling the truce on 4 November, and smashing it flat on 19 December.

We have heard, and we will continue to hear, a droning litany of "Qassams! Qassams! Qassams!" The repetition will be difficult to resist, but for all of us who remember the reiterated US lies about Iraq of 2002-2003, whether with pride for our skepticism or shame for our credulity, a good first step might be for us to think "WMDs!" every time they say "Qassams!" Like the US Coalition of the Willing, Israel's Operation Cast Lead has not let the absence of actual provocation get in the way of a good bloodbath. Indeed, chronology itself proves no obstacle, as Israeli commandos, Apaches and F-16s retaliate for rocket attacks that haven't occurred yet. In the immortal, influential and profoundly depraved words of neoliberal crusader Michael Ignatieff, "Against this kind of enemy ... it makes sense to get our retaliation in first."

When the history of the war on Gaza is written, Hamas's remarkable restraint during the lull, as Israel attempted to starve Gaza into submission, will form an important prelude to what Joseph Massad has called the heroic Gaza Ghetto Uprising. But for the moment, it's vital to remember that what we are witnessing in Gaza is not Israeli retaliation, but an act of unprovoked Zionist genocide using American-made weapons, based on a bloody lie about Qassam barrages obligingly circulated by American media. The question for Americans to ask now is this: what must we do, with our American-made mouths, brains, and bodies, to stop it?

Jim Holstun teaches world literature at SUNY Buffalo. He has previously written "Nonie Darwish and the al-Bureij massacre" for The Electronic Intifada. He and Joanna Tinker live in Buffalo, New York.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
Reply
#39
Magda Hassan Wrote:http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10123.shtml

Israel's fabricated rocket crisis
...

Preemptive retaliation. Of course.

Great article Maggie.
Reply


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