7 July 2006
What a glorious feeling, at least for Israel. Things are “normal” once again, in authentic Israeli fashion: military incursions, destruction, collective punishment, shelling, political assassinations, abductions, and killings. The familiar pattern of Tel Aviv’s policy is back on track, so everybody (Palestinians excluded of course) can go about their daily lives. The unwanted pressure of diplomacy and strategic political solutions has been eliminated for Israel by Israel with the thunder of Apache helicopters, F16 fighter jets, and Merkava tanks. Let the stormy clouds chase!
Israel’s grotesquely dubbed military assault against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, Summer Rain, has apparently salvaged the Israeli government and spared it the obligation of having to deal with a wilfully unnoticed paradigm shift in Palestinian politics; namely widespread endorsement by Palestinian political factions (including Hamas) of the National Conciliation Document of the Prisoners (the prisoners’ document), which implicitly recognizes Israel’s “right to exist” and clearly adopts the June 1967 boundaries (22% of historical Palestine) as the territorial borders of the future Palestinian state, hence a national Palestinian consensus which clearly meets Israel’s alleged demands.
What a political/diplomatic disaster it could have been for Israel: all Palestinian factions agreeing to fundamental principles which would have at least given some hope to reviving a stalled peace process, and re-injecting momentum into the resumption of negotiations. Instead, Israel has chosen to fight to the bitter end in order to ensure that “THERE IS NO PARTNER ON THE PALESTINIAN SIDE,” thereby sustaining its unilateralist/expansionist policy without challenge, particularly from the international community, and guaranteeing that its delusional narrative continues to be the governing dynamic of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
The kidnapping of Cpl. Gilad Shalit by the Palestinian resistance on 25 June could not have been more conveniently timed. Under the pretext of saving Shalit, the Israeli military establishment is embarking on an unprecedented offensive, in which key pillars of the Palestinian resistance movement will be crushed and significant parts of the Gaza Strip reoccupied. The target is Hamas; the victims, once again, the Palestinian people.
Well before the endorsement of the prisoners’ document, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was adamant in signalling that, with or without a Palestinian national referendum, Israel will carry out its policies, be that military assaults, territorial expansion, and/or diplomatic and economic isolation of the Palestinian Authority. Apparently, the life of one Israeli soldier is a reasonable price for the spark which would unleash hell on the Palestinians, as much as the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand ignited the outbreak of the Great War (i.e. there are underlying causes of war, which, in Israel’s case, are 1) a complete rejection to a negotiated settlement of the conflict, 2) a strategic vision of territorial expansion, and 3) the sustainability of the “fear/security factor” as a pretext to Israel’s blunt violation of international and humanitarian law).
Meanwhile, Summer Rain is gradually picking up. Only within the past 24 hours, Israeli military forces have killed a total of 23 Palestinians in the northern Gaza Strip, the vast majority of whom are civilians. Israel is happy again.
MIFTAH’s Editorial is a regular column drafted by MIFTAH’s Editor-in-Chief. It covers a wide range of topics relevant to current developments in the occupied Palestinian territories, and is intended to highlight the organisation’s perspective on key issues.