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Gaza Conflict Has Shown That Trump-Netanyahu Policy Has Utterly Failed
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Israel and Hamas have ended their 11-day “war”, but even before the shooting stopped it had transformed the political landscape. The Israel/Palestinian confrontation has shifted away from focusing solely on Gaza to multiple fronts – Jerusalem, the West Bank, Israel itself– and an upsurge in any one of them could start a new round of violence.

Events in Jerusalem ignited the present crisis and there is every chance that they will do so again. Far-right Israeli groups are intent on tightening their grip on the city and eliminating the Palestinian presence wherever they can. “The political temperature will stay high, simmering just below boiling point” says Daniel Levy, a former Israeli diplomat and president of the US/Middle East Project. “Another flare-up in Jerusalem would make it boil over.”

Israeli leaders had hoped that the cantonisation of the Palestinians – three million on the West Bank, two million each in Israel and Gaza, 300,000 in Jerusalem – would fragment them politically as well as geographically. For a time, this strategy appeared to work, but over the last two weeks the crisis in one Palestinian canton has swiftly spread to the three others.

Israeli police efforts to evict Palestinians from the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of Jerusalem and their use of stun grenades and teargas in al-Aqsa mosque led to Hamas firing rocket barrages from Gaza. This in turn provoked protests by Palestinians in Israel on a larger scale than anything seen since the second intifada 20 years ago. On the West Bank, protesters poured into the streets in every town and the internationally recognised Palestinian Authority was mocked and marginalised.

For all the empty talk about one- and two-state solutions to the Israel/Palestine problem, the outcome of the fourth war centred on Gaza proves that the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean is a single political unit. What affects one part of it affects all the rest.

The latest Gaza war showed that Israel does not have a viable military or political strategy for fighting or engaging with the Palestinians. Israeli generals and officials claim to have degraded the military infrastructure of Hamas, killed some of its commanders and destroyed part of its tunnel system. Israel was certainly surprised by Hamas firing 3,700 rockets into Israel, despite being isolated in Gaza for 15 years.

Even if Hamas proved to have a little more military muscle than expected, though, there is no doubting Israel’s superiority over the ill-equipped paramilitary force it faces in Gaza. But this superiority stubbornly refuses to produce victory or rather that Israel knows what such a victory would look like. It cannot realistically expect to eliminate Hamas and carry out regime change in Gaza without reoccupation, which would provoke even stronger Palestinian resistance. Keeping the Palestinians there under a state of permanent siege, the status quo for the last 15 years, has just been shown not to work.

Claims of Israeli military success as justification for agreeing to a ceasefire are a smokescreen concealing Israeli failure to gain any real advantage from a bombardment that killed 232 Palestinians, including 65 children, but did little else. Israeli commentators are franker and better informed about this lack of success than their western counterparts. The editor-in-chief of the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, Aluf Benn, calls the conflict just ended “Israel’s most failed and pointless Gaza operation ever”.

He says that all the PR of the Israeli army cannot “cover up the truth: the military has no idea how to paralyse Hamas’s forces and throw it off balance. Destroying its tunnels with powerful bombs revealed Israel’s strategic capabilities without causing any substantive damage to the enemy’s fighting abilities.”

Many states have faced similar frustration when fighting a so-called asymmetric war against a militarily inferior but undefeatable opponent. This happened to Britain in Northern Ireland between 1968 and 1998. The sensible response of a government that fails to get its way by physical force is to seek political engagement with the other side to work out a compromise.

But this is precisely what the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his political partners cannot do. For almost a quarter of a century, his strategy since he was first elected Israeli leader in 1997 has been to argue that Israel can have a permanent peace without compromising with the Palestinians. This view, dominant from the centre left to the hard right, held that the Palestinians had been decisively defeated and there was no need to concede anything to them. With President Donald Trump giving total support to this maximalist position during his four years in the White House, many Israelis were persuaded that Netanyahu had been right.

Gaza looked as if it had been successfully sealed off, the West Bank broken up into Palestinian Bantustans and expanding Israeli settlements, Jerusalem was encircled from without and increasingly de-Palestinianised from within, while the Palestinians in Israel remained an embittered but impotent minority. Arab states were normalising relations with Israel and the Palestinian Question no longer figured on the international agenda.

It was all a mirage. The latest war in Gaza may look like the three previous ones in 2008-09, 2012 and 2014, but it is far more important because the Netanyahu/Trump policy has collapsed and there is nothing much to put in its place. The old Israel/Palestinian crisis is back and is more envenomed and widespread than before. An ominous new feature of it is Palestinians in Israel taking to the streets to demand equality and an end to discrimination. Israeli settlers from the West Bank have been coming back to Israel to lead anti-Palestinian demonstrations within mixed Jewish/Palestinian towns and cities.

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Such developments do not mean that the balance of power between Israel and the Palestinians has abruptly skewed in favour of the latter. On the contrary, one of the problems in convincing Israelis at every level that they should engage with the Palestinians is that they do not believe they need to. Hamas may have been energised and the Palestinian Authority further discredited by the latest conflict war, but there is an overall vacuum of Palestinian leadership and organisation. This is not quite such a crippling disadvantage as it might appear since Palestinian political movements have a long tradition of prioritising their grip on power over everything else.

The ceasefire that came into force between Israel and Hamas early on Friday morning ushers in a period of enhanced instability. Daniel Levy sees Israel as being in a state of permanent crisis because it has no military solution to Gaza/Hamas while its right-wing leaders are blocked off by ideological fixations from seeking to open up diplomatic and political options.

The idea of weakening the Palestinians by fragmenting them has turned out to be counterproductive. Israeli leaders will now have to cope with four different variants of the Israel/Palestinian crisis, each of which may, like the coronavirus, become the dominant strain and detonate a new explosion.

(Republished from The Independent by permission of author or representative)
 
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  1. @anonymouseperson

    Nothing. Diversity never works.

    • Replies: @Corvinus
  2. …Trump-Netanyahu Policy Has Utterly Failed…

    They gave the Axis of Resistance the opportunity to:

    1 – Test their weapons
    2 – Test the weaknesses of their opponent’s defense systems
    3 – Get ready for the final battle that will see the full liberation of Palestine from the last European colonists in the Middle East.

    “Hamas leader says resistance capable of firing hundreds of 200-km-range missiles in one minute”:

    https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2021/05/26/657550/Hamas-leader-Yahya-Sinwar-Gza-war-Israel-

    and the new “Gaza” drone (Carry 13 Bombs Over 1,200 Miles) will be used next time.
    https://www.newsweek.com/irans-revolutionary-guard-names-drone-gaza-says-it-can-carry-13-bombs-over-1200-miles-1593652

    The two-state solution is an illusion because all Palestinians are now looking for a full liberation and the Palestinian Authority backed by Saudi Arabia, UAE, Israel, Egypt and Jordan has no more moral authority among Palestinians. The OSLO accords are dead and buried.

  3. Corvinus says:
    @The Anti-Gnostic

    Keep telling yourself that, Dorothy.

  4. Biden’s been in office 4 months and Cockburn’s still blaming Trump. Where is the Biden plan for the Middle East ? There doesn’t seem to be one, which is part of the problem. No doubt 2 or 3 years hence, if he is spared by the grim reaper, Cockburn will still be harping on about the failure of the Trump-Netanyahu policy.

    • Replies: @Rev. Spooner
  5. Chris Moore says: • Website

    Gaza Conflict Has Shown That Judeofascism and international Zionism, including Patrick Cockburn’s Cultural Marxist variant, has utterly failed.

    Why does legacy Marxist Patrick Cockburn pretend that he, Trump and Netanyahu aren’t on the same team? I guess he’s still holding out for an international Marxist moral authority even though it’s been demonstrated time and again that international Marxism always was a Trojan horse for international Zionism.

    Poor little Paddy doesn’t like to think of himself and his daddy as useful idiots for Zionism. Poor little Paddy’s narcissistic “Irish persecuted” ego, just like Joe “I am a Zionist” Biden’s (Oy, the English sent me here on coffin ships!) is just too big. So poor little Paddy pretends he’s an eternal victim, just like the Jews. This necessitates the self-deceiving fiction that he couldn’t possibly be part of Netanyahu Judeofascism, which went over to the dark side.

    How’s the money for the Marxist wing of Judeofascism, Paddy? Not quite as good as the Capitalist wing? I guess that means you’re going to have to scrap extra hard to get you’re six houses, just like Bernie Sanders did. Poor Paddy!

    • Replies: @James Forrestal
  6. @Chris Moore

    You were doing OK until you got to this:

    Poor little Paddy doesn’t like to think of himself and his daddy as useful idiots for Zionism. Poor little Paddy’s narcissistic “Irish persecuted” ego, just like Joe “I am a Zionist” Biden’s (Oy, the English sent me here on coffin ships!) is just too big.

    Cockburn is a Prod. An English settler. Upper class public school [in the English sense] boy. Likes to boast about being a descendant of this guy:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_George_Cockburn,_10th_Baronet

    …under the guise of complaining about “racism.” Sounds like he never got over the loss of the Empire — especially the American colonies — which is a weird mix with the “anti-racist” schtick, but whatever. I’d say his attitude is more noblesse oblige toward non-Whites, and deep disdain bordering on hatred toward lower class Whites/ “colonials.”

    And this is a good point:

    Why does legacy Marxist Patrick Cockburn pretend that he, Trump and Netanyahu aren’t on the same team?

    Links related:

    https://mondoweiss.net/2020/09/biden-fundraiser-haim-saban-repeatedly-praises-jared/

    https://jewishdems.org/2020-israel/

    1. Joe Biden’s consistent support for Israel spans his entire five-decade career in public life, since he was first elected to the Senate in 1972. No candidate for president in either party has ever run with as long and as strong of a pro-Israel record as Joe Biden.

    The main difference between Biden and Trump is that Biden has a little better optics on the Israel Firstism. He’s less openly transactional; less likely to stand up in public and declaim “The only reason we’re in the Middle East is Israel.” The problem with Trump blurting out stuff like that wasn’t that it’s false, it’s that you’re not supposed to say it out loud. Anyone who makes it to the top in politics si supposed to understand that you take the Zionist money… then talk about muh human rights democracy, muh weapons of mass destruction, some minority group that’s allegedly being “oppressed” by the targeted government, gas attacks… or if all else fails, even US national interests. You’re supposed to go to war for Israel, but never say that you’re going to war for Israel.

    Cockburn knows this, of course. He’s actually done some halfway-decent modified limited hangouts on Iraq and Syria. But he also knows what you can say, and what you can’t say, if you want to survive as a narrative promoter under the current regime. Alexander was a more interesting writer.

    • Replies: @Chris Moore
  7. For almost a quarter of a century, his strategy since he was first elected Israeli leader in 1997 has been to argue that Israel can have a permanent peace without compromising with the Palestinians. This view, dominant from the centre left to the hard right, held that the Palestinians had been decisively defeated and there was no need to concede anything to them. With President Donald Trump giving total support to this maximalist position during his four years in the White House, many Israelis were persuaded that Netanyahu had been right.

    This is only part of a broader policy to achieve/ maintain Israeli regional hegemony, of course. See “A Clean Break”/ PNAC etc. And that policy is heavily dependent on direct military involvement of the American golem throughout the region, which goes back 30 years. If the American political system were able to exert real pressure on the Israeli government — to cut off aid, implement sanctions, pull troops out of the region, etc. — then we would be in a better position to influence Israeli policy. But the reality of political/ financial/ narrative power in the US precludes that option.

  8. Chris Moore says: • Website
    @James Forrestal

    The main difference between Biden and Trump is that Biden has a little better optics on the Israel Firstism. He’s less openly transactional; less likely to stand up in public and declaim “The only reason we’re in the Middle East is Israel.” The problem with Trump blurting out stuff like that wasn’t that it’s false, it’s that you’re not supposed to say it out loud. Anyone who makes it to the top in politics si supposed to understand that you take the Zionist money… then talk about muh human rights democracy, muh weapons of mass destruction, some minority group that’s allegedly being “oppressed” by the targeted government, gas attacks… or if all else fails, even US national interests. You’re supposed to go to war for Israel, but never say that you’re going to war for Israel.

    You’ve nailed it. That’s why the neocon-neolib establishment went to war against Trump — because he was an uncouth rogue who compromised Israel First geopolitics and the domestic Zionist rackets, even though he was deeply entwined with them.

  9. @Verymuchalive

    This isn’t about Trump or Biden but about Jewish takeover of USA.

  10. Mr. Grey says:
    @Nostradamus

    Horror video? Are you joking? Sure these good muslims were causing problems for police but they are just a mob who would be slaughtered by a military unit with air support and combat weapons.

    • Replies: @Per/Norway
  11. @Mr. Grey

    open the vt link and there is a video where a few of the occupying pharisee police?/army? chokes a little boy to death. the vid you are commenting on is Palestinian heroes and their media that made and only show us what the nato sphere news censored/never showed on tv or printed media.

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