Has anyone stopped to think about what Israel’s ultimate intentions are for the Gaza Strip?
The Israeli settlers left it, or rather were removed reluctantly from it, in September 2005 when Ariel Sharon decided that the cost to Israel of maintaining the settlers in the Gaza Strip was far too high. In January 2006 Hamas won the Palestinian legislative elections but the West decided that democracy had come up with the wrong answer so did not recognise their win and failed to support the new government preferring instead to support the corrupt Fatah faction in the Gaza which tried to wrest full control of the Gaza from the elected Hamas. They failed and, after a short battle for control, the Fatah faction leaders were kicked out. Hamas has remained in control of the Gaza ever since much to the chagrin of the Israelis who have laid siege to the Strip.
In response to the slowly strangulating siege and the ghettoising of Gaza, Hamas have kept up a mainly harmless barrage of rockets and mortar fire against Israel in an effort to get them to release their grip on the siege. In response Israel has let loose with helicopter gunships and attack aircraft against infrastructure targets that effect the entire population of the Strip as well as launching assassination attacks against Hamas leaders and operatives and other Palestinian fighters resisting the siege.
For nearly three years now the Gazan people have had to endure a steadily worsening siege that has deprived them of the very basics of living including health, fuel and food.
Yet, after all this, we have not seen in the West any comment about what the Israeli endgame is.
Let me enlighten you.
Their endgame is not getting Hamas to stop uselessly firing rockets into southern Israel. Nor is it to rid the Gaza of Hamas so that the Fatah faction can take control. To the extreme right-wing Zionists that are likely to become the next government of Israel after the elections next February, Fatah are as big an enemy as Hamas.
No mistakes should be made about what the Israelis want: They ultimately want nothing less than the entire Gaza Strip emptied of all Palestinians who will be transferred to the Sinai in Egypt, or Jordan, or the West Bank, or Lebanon. The Gaza will then be again occupied, this time solely and permanently, by Israeli settlers who will then annex the Gaza into Israel. That is the Israeli endgame. There is no other endgame with regard to the Gaza.
For months now there has been a propaganda build up toward a full-scale invasion of the Gaza by Israel. Over the past two years the Israelis have been manipulating and massaging the rhetoric about the Gaza to suit their own timetable. In the lead-up to the US presidential elections Israel held back on action to see how the political landscape would shape itself after the presidential elections. At the same time internal Israeli politics also kept major decisions on the back burner. However, now that President-elect Obama has revealed himself to be a strong supporter of Israel and the forthcoming elections in February in Israel are expected to produce a right-wing Zionist government that has no interest in a Palestinian sovereign state, the plans to move against the Gaza has been put back on the front burner.
There is now no doubt left about Israel’s intentions to invade the Gaza. Two days ago the Tzipi Livni announced that there will be a major ‘public relations’ effort to get the West on side for an invasion. The propaganda has already started with the Israeli press highlighting results of a poll that indicated that some 40% of Gazan Palestinians wished to leave the Gaza thus paving the way for future propaganda as the world watches the Israelis empty the Gaza of its Palestinians after they’ve occupied it. There will, no doubt, be many more Gazans who will also want to leave after the Israelis have devastated it during their invasion.
Plans to make war against Hamas will be accompanied by the possibility of a simultaneous assault against Hezbollah and possibly even Syria. And, if that is the case, there must also be plans afoot to attack Iran.
A Middle East with President Obama in the US and Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel can look forward to bleak 2009 while the peoples of the rest of the world struggles to fight off the ravages of the next Great Depression.
Happy New Year?