Photo courtesy of NYT
“Those who want to thwart the possibility of a Palestine State should support the strengthening of Hamas and the transfer of money to Hamas. This is part of our strategy” (Benjamin Netanyahu at a Likud Party meeting in 2019).
Until October 7 there was a symbiotic relationship between Netanyahu and Hamas, a fact hidden from the public. Hamas was created and nurtured by Mossad to checkmate Mahmoud Abbas and preventing Palestinian National Authority (PNA) from creating an independent and sovereign Palestinian state. Hamas was funded by the Netanyahu government in several ways and one of them was to permit Hamas sympathizers and members to work in Israel and they were paid handsomely. But what Hamas did on October 7 turned Hamas into a terrorist outfit just as Ronald Regan’s Taliban freedom fighters became terrorists overnight when they demanded US also to get out of Afghanistan.
To the citizens of Israel October 7 was a shock. Whether those rocket attacks actually killed 1,400 Israelis as Netanyahu and corporate media claim has not been verified independently. But to the people of Israel, how could it possibly have happened when Gaza for 17 years had been under Israeli blockade with unprecedented electronic surveillance, spies and informants and an ever-present air force, navy and military? What did go wrong with that security control? Hence the public demand for full exposure of what led to that security lapse. What those rocket attacks actually demonstrated beside the carnage was the failure of one man, Netanyahu, and his government’s shortsighted strategy of building a counter weight to Abbas and PNA, the successors to Arafat and PLO. What Netanyahu has unleashed in Gaza, which is tantamount to a genocide with total disregard to all international laws and stipulations of the Geneva Convention, is partly an act of damage control to rebuild his waning popularity at home that has reached 26%. The invasion of Gaza and killing of more than 11,000 people including children, women and the sick and the destruction of hospitals, schools and refugee camps all under an alibi that Hamas terrorists are hiding in them or in tunnels dug underneath those structures is “justified revenge” according to Netanyahu and US President Joe Biden agrees.
What Netanyahu and his Likud Party forgot to notice was how their strategy of building Hamas as a rival to Abbas and PNA backfired. While PNA was losing its popularity and becoming stigmatized as a corrupt political entity, Hamas was gradually winning the hearts and minds of Palestinians and built its strength with a burning desire and dedication to liberate Palestine from Israeli occupation. The 2007 elections brought Hamas to power in Gaza and since then it became Israel’s No.1 enemy and was viewed as a terrorist organization. In spite of Israel imprisoning thousands of Palestinians, freezing Palestinian funds, depriving Palestinian livelihood and settler terrorism, Hamas was quietly sharpening its tactics of resistance. Those rocket attacks on October 7 demonstrates what Hamas fighters are capable of. There is no liberation from oppression without violence.
Netanyahu is not prepared to agree to any ceasefire because he considers that it would be surrendering to Hamas. However, as a gesture to a disgusted international community, the White House seems to have persuaded Netanyahu to agree to a daily four hour pause allowing trapped Gazans to escape and humanitarian aid reaching the rest. Although more than one million Gazans have been made homeless and although Netanyahu would be happy to see a second Nakba to get rid of all Gazans so that he could turn that strip into a hundred percent Jewish settlement, Hamas would urge Gazans to stay put where they are. Even if they wish to leave Gaza where would they go? None of the Arab states including neighboring Egypt are prepared to receive them because that would mean importing the Palestinian resistance into a wider Arab world. The often piously repeated doctrine of a universal Islamic Ummah has lost its substance with the rise of secular nationalism. Yet it appears that Israel is in secret negotiations with Egypt, which is financially in debt to Israel, to make Sinai the final destination for evicted Gazans. The narrow Raffa corridor would facilitate this exodus.
It is when all this fails that Netanyahu is contemplating of an “indefinite security control” over Gaza, which in other words means infinite control over that territory or virtual occupation.
The Palestinian problem could have been resolved peacefully and long time ago had the 22 or 23 Arab countries (depending on whether one accepts the count by Arab League or UNESCO) with the support of other non-Arab Muslim majority countries remained united and coordinated their stand against the manipulations of an emerging US-led Middle East Order in which Israel would be US’ regional agent. Instead the Gulf countries in particular, and under the so-called Abrahamic Accords signed on 15 September 2020 between Israel and the seven Emirates of UAE including Bahrain, decided to normalize relations with Israel and thus virtually washed off their hands on the Palestine issue except for rendering verbal support. Recently the Saudi modernizer Prince Mohamed bin Salman too has joined this gang. This is the tragedy of Palestine. These Arab zombies are the worst enemies of Palestine. “Zombies, believe me, are more terrifying than colonists,” said Frantz Fanon.
There is no way that the liberation struggle of Palestinians would disappear. If anything it is bound to become a wider and more deadly struggle that would involve the rest of the Arab world, given the sympathy that cause has among ordinary Arabs. It was in 1968, after Arafat and his PLO lieutenants hijacked and destroyed an El-Al airplane, that Arafat declared that their entry into Israel was not direct but via the Arab countries. With a growing democratic deficit in the Arab world and increasing popular sympathy towards Palestine the current war, unless brought to an end soon with justice to the besieged and suffering, has all the hallmarks to trigger a wider conflict in that region. Would that be Arab Spring II?