Why Israel Attacked Gaza: Bibi Stirring Trouble


The first Israel missile sped down to its target, scorching the Gaza earth and everything in between. Palestinians collected the body parts of two new martyrs, while Israeli media celebrated the demise of two terrorists. 

Zuhair Qasis was the head of the Popular Resistance Committee. He was killed alongside a Palestinian prisoner from Nablus, who had recently been freed and deported to Gaza. 

Then, another set of missiles rained down, this time taking Obeid al-Ghirbali and Muhammad Harara. 

Then, a third, and a forth, and so on. The death count began on March 9 and escalated through the day. The Hamas government urged the international community to take action. Factions vowed to retaliate.

In these situations, Western media is usually clueless or complicit. Sometimes it's both. The Israeli army was cited readily by many media outlets without challenge. 

The first round of attacks was justified based on a claim that Qasis was involved in the planning of an attack that killed seven Israelis last year. The Israel army didn't even bother to upgrade that claim - which already resulted in the killing and wounding of many Palestinians. Even Israeli media had drawn the conclusion that the attack then originated from Egypt, and no Palestinian was involved. 

Al Jazeera reported that some of the victims were decapitated, a familiar scene in most of Israel's unforgiving atrocities. 

Expectedly, Palestinians fired back. "The national resistance brigades, the DFLP's armed wing, the Al-Aqsa brigades, and the armed wing of the PRC, the An-Nasser Salah Ad-Din brigades, have all claimed responsibility for rocket fire," reported Maan news agency. 

The incessant Israeli provocations would not have been enough to end the months-long truce. Palestinians know that Israeli provocations are often, if not always, politically motivated. This time however, the people killed were leaders in al-Muqawama, the local resistance parties. Neither Hamas' might nor diplomacy could persuade Gaza's many factions to hold their fire. Israel knows this fact more than any other party. This is why it sent such unmistakably bloody messages. Israeli needed Palestinians to respond, and urgently so. 

But why did Israel decide to ignite trouble again?

To answer the question, one needs to make a quick stop in Washington. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had recently tried to articulate a case for war against Iran there. Unlike the successful effort to isolate and strike and invade Iraq in 2003, the Iran war campaign is not going according to plan. 

The Israelis are desperate to see Iran's nuclear facilities bombed by American bunker buster bombs - some of which weigh up to 13600 kg. Israel's former head of military intelligence, Amos Yadlin, assured the 'free world' - a term often manipulated by Netanyahu - that a bombing campaign can succeed if it's followed by the right measures. "Iran, like Iraq and Syria before it, will have to recognize that the precedent for military action has been set, and can be repeated," he wrote (as cited in CNN, March 9).

There is growing consensus in Israel that 'something has to be done' - at least to set back Iran's uranium enrichment by few years, per the assurances of deputy director of the Israeli Institute for National Security Studies, Ephraim Kam. Republican candidates in the US, and even President Obama himself, agree. But Obama, despite his groveling at the recent AIPAC conference, dared to question the timing and the way in which Iran must be brought to its knees. The US president is becoming increasingly isolated within Washington because of his stance on Iran. 

It is election year, and Israel knows that a window of opportunity will not be open for long. "Netanyahu won a crucial battle in Washington this past week. No one brought up the Palestinians. Netanyahu has quite masterfully shifted the conversation to the subject of Iran," wrote Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic (March 9). He is right, of course, but only within the context of 'peace process' and conflict resolution. 

The Palestinians were mentioned in a different context, and repeatedly so. Ephraim Kam, for example, expected that thousands of rockets would rain on Israel from Hizbollah, Hamas and Iran itself. The Associated Press quoted Vice Prime Minister Dan Meridor as saying, "The whole of Israel (is vulnerable to) tens of thousands of missiles and rockets from neighboring countries. If there is a war...they are not just going to hit Israeli soldiers. The main aim is at civilian populations" (Feb 20).

Per this logic, the only way to prevent rockets from reaching Israel is by attacking Iran. An independent Israeli commentator, Yossi Melman predicted that a weakened Iran "would undoubtedly have an impact on Hamas and Hezbollah" (CNN, March 9).

Yes, the Palestinians were infused plenty in Israeli war rhetoric. They were liberally presented as the jackals who would pounce on vulnerable Israel. Who would dare challenge this tired victimization narrative? Who would have the audacity to point out the fact that Israel has the region's strongest army, equipped with hundreds of fully-functioning nuclear heads, while Palestinians fighters - who had until recently respected the truce, although Gaza's siege was never lifted - are armed with light weapons? 

No one in the mainstream media, of course. But then, as the supposed threat has reached an all time high, Hamas spokesperson in Gaza, Fawzi Barhoum told AP: "Hamas weapons and the weapons of the Palestinian resistance, in general, are humble weapons that aim to defend and not to attack, and they are to defend the Palestinian people...that does not give us the ability to be part of any regional war." 

Hamas has its own calculations independent of Israel's war momentum. But losing Hamas would jeopardize the very equation Israel has been constructing for years. The 'radical camp' must remain intact, as far as Israel is concerned. No political polarization caused by the so-called Arab Spring will be allowed to endanger the Israeli narrative: the radicals, the evil alliance, the threat facing the 'free world' and all the rest. Great resources were spent on spinning the perfect story to justify a preemptive war. 

Then, on Friday, March 2, less than two days after Barhoum made his comments of 'humble weapons', heads began to roll in Gaza. Literally. And the media machine resumed its work unabashed. "Gaza Rockets fire disrupts life in Israeli south," read a headline in Israel's Haaretz. "IDF strikes Gaza terror targets following rocket barrage," declared another in the Jerusalem Post. It's war all over again. Israeli civilians run to shelters. Sirens blare. US media reports the fate of 'besieged' Israelis and Palestinian 'terrorists'. 

It matters little to them that it was Israel itself that stirred the trouble, broke the truce, and fanned the flames. 

*****

Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is "My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold Story" (Pluto Press, London), now available on Amazon.com.


  Category: Featured, Middle East, World Affairs
  Topics: Conflicts And War, Foreign Policy, Occupation, Palestine  Channel: Opinion
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Older Comments:
TOM FROM U.S said:
To MICKY:

Children of Israel was the best nation when they were true Muslims. Israel is another name of Jacob. Jacob was a Muslim, the Qur'an says:

"...and so did Jacob, 'Oh my sons! Allah hath chosen the Faith for you; then die not except in the Faith of Islam.' Were ye witnesses when death appeared before Jacob? Behold, he said to his sons: 'What will ye worship after me?' They said: 'We shall worship Thy god and the god of thy fathers, of Abraham, Isma'il and Isaac, the one (True) God: To Him we bow (in Islam).'" (Al-Baqarah: 132-33)

2. Allah has never chosen any people because of any racial or ethnical entity but he chose certain people because of Islam.

3. Children of Israel, when they followed Islam, they were the best nation; they were Muslims but others were Mushriks or Kafirs.

4. The Holy Land is blessed because of being the place of Allah's Messengers and His Message. Descendants of Jacob, among whom are Moses, David, Solomon and `Isa (Jesus) who are holy prophets, so they can fit the Holy Land.

5. The Qur'an addressed earlier the followers of Moses to liberate the Holy Land, they were afraid to get into the Holy Land and they made an excuse for not restoring that land because they believed that the Canaanites are too strong to defeat. They mocked Moses and rebelled his request, the story is detailed in surat al-Ma'idah, 21-26.

6. The Holy Land is always the land assigned for the servants of Allah who surrender everything to him.

The promise of Allah stands so long as the people given this promise abide by Allah's teachings (Qur'an). Once they show disobedience, the promise no longer exists.
2012-03-19

MICKY FROM ETHIOPIA said:
i am not aware of some facts.please read this and if you can please replay thruly by the words of God.
"oh my people(Israel),enter the land that Allah has written for you,and do not turn your backs or you will become losers" (Qur'an 5;21)
"and we said after him to the children if Israel dwell in the land,then when the time of the of the second promise comes,we will bring you all together as a mixed crowd".(Qur'an 17;104)
are the Muslim leaders of Iran and some arrogant s are not on to the words of Allah but on the precious gold that they respect more than Allah and anything?.do they kill anything on their path that comes between them and their property?please i am not aware of this facts is their words like this in Qur'an.
2012-03-18