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By Bernie Lopez of BUSINESSWORLD
UPSHOT COLUMN, WED jan 14, 2009
Gaza is a geopolitical threat to Israel for two reasons. First, its proximity to Egypt invites the transport of arms to the Palestinians. Second, its proximity to Israel invites Hamas rockets.
Yet Gaza was a creation of Israel in 1948. That was where they dumped the Palestinians from Ashkelon, now part of Israel. The ghost of its past misdeeds haunts them today. Two years ago, Israel decided to remove its own settlements in Gaza by force under international pressure to return occupied territories. Israel also wanted no part of the Gaza 'cesspool', as journalists labeled this strange land. The Israeli settlers gave strong resistance but lost in the end.
It was, however, a long term peace strategy with short term war consequences. The moment they ceded Gaza, they regretted it and considered it a great geopolitical blunder. First, they laid open Israeli towns to rocket attacks. Second, they virtually gave the Palestinians the highway to Egypt where these rockets were transported through tunnels. These tunnels are now being dismantled by the Israelis. But it is a useless exercise. New ones will be made later for sure, unless they indefinitely reoccupy Gaza, which they will not do, now that there are 1.5 million Palestinians there that they cannot possibly rule or get rid of, only kill.
When Hamas ousted the Palestinian Authority from Gaza, the mistake was further confirmed. Israel resorted to food blockades and containment of the Gaza community loyal to Hamas. The Palestinian Authority sympathizers left in frustration which made Gaza a monolithic bastion of Hamas resolve, virtually an autonomous Hamas sub-nation within the Palestinian nation. Israel is willing to talk to the moderate Authority but not to the radical Hamas.
Israel drew first blood by instituting food blockades, hoping to break the Palestinian spirit. It only became stronger. The food blockades drew the ire of Hamas who retaliated with rocket attacks. Gaza's proximity to Israeli towns and cities offered easy retaliation. This was the start of the new round of hostilities leading to the current Israeli invasion of Gaza. The first attacks of 6,000 rockets killed four Israelis. Israel has a neurotic fear of such rocket attacks, even if they have only very few casualties, leading to extreme measures. Israel's initial retaliatory bombardment of Gaza killed 400 Palestinians, many of them civilians. One hundred eyes for an eye is the Israeli tenet. With casualties reaching 1,000 by Jan. 16, it is now a thousand eyes for an eye.
What is happening right now is a repeat of the latest invasion of Lebanon, wherein the capture of two Israeli soldiers became the pretext for an overkill invasion, hundreds of Lebanese dead, millions of dollars worth of buildings, homes and infrastructure destroyed, entire towns obliterated. The logic of the Israeli in Lebanon then and in Gaza now is the same – to break the will of the Palestinians to stop them from these rocket attacks. Ironically, their extreme moves have resulted in the exact opposite, namely the strengthening of Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon. The death of innocent civilians have augmented the ranks of Hamas. The Israelis, in their neurotic fear, have not learned a lesson. They go on a knee-jerk overkill invasion in blind anger, which would not only strengthen their enemy, but also foment more anger for future retaliations and speed up the cycle of violence. The current invasion of Gaza is a terrible political loss for Israel who is incurring the ire of the world. Turkey, which has good relations with Israel, issued statements of condemnation. Violent protests spread across the world.
Israel knows all their invasions are temporary measures. They are in a hurry because they know the UN will soon stop their blitzkrieg. Also, they do not like protracted occupation. In Tel Aviv, soldier casualties are breeding an anti-war mood. In the first invasion of Lebanon, Israel realized they could not neutralize Arafat's PLO urban guerrillas in one lightning move. That invasion was a total failure, in spite of the attempt of Sharon's forces to commit genocide. They withdrew in utter frustration. In the second invasion of Lebanon, they knew all they could do was make lightning strikes and avoid protracted occupation. But such lightning strikes simply made the enemy stronger, the same situation as the present invasion of Gaza. Middle East observers predict that the current Israeli invasion will reunify the Palestinian Authority with Hamas. Military victory becomes a political defeat.
There are today 1.5 million Hamas-loyal Palestinians in Gaza. The only way Israel can remove them is to commit genocide, but can they do that as the entire world looks on? The Palestinians in Gaza is irreversible, bombs or no bombs. They have nowhere else to go. A Hamas leader killed will be replaced by a dozen more radical ones.
It is important for the anti-war people in Israel civil government and civil society to step in and neutralize the generals, just as much as among the Palestinians. It is the enemy within for both Israelis and Palestinians, hawks versus doves, who will forge the destiny of the Middle East. The peacemakers must overwhelm the warmongers. What is happening in the Middle East is perhaps not an accident but an apocalyptic orchestration of a God of wrath for the blunders of Man.
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ISRAELI – US PARTNERSHIP
UPSHOT COLUMN, THURS jan 15, 2009
The obvious partnership of the superpower and a tiny Middle East nation is mind boggling. Both Republicans and Democrats support Israel in their Gaza invasion because the rich and powerful American Jewish community, who control media, Hollywood, hedge funds, investment banks, among other things, give funds to their campaigns and their cause. It is a 'power quid-pro-quo'.
Their political power is totally dependent on this small rich community. That is why they are but glorified puppets of the power behind their power. They, in their myopia to see the global perspective, they who turn inward to see only their faces in the mirror on the wall, are under the mercy of this elite group who hold the destiny of the planet in their hands. This Jewish elite not only virtually controls America but also the world.
That the Obama regime is utterly pro-Israel is obvious. That was why he was silent for a long time. He knew a pro-Israel statement would draw flack. But Obama was shrewd. He knew he could not stay silent forever, so he let the legislators say it for him, so he would not get the flack directly. A late short statement was drowned by legislators proclaiming their support for Israel. Pro-Israel senators and congressmen from both Democrat and Republican camps issued shocking statements that would scandalize non-Americans, who have been condemning Israel for its bloodbath invasion. Even a few Americans who can see through the media mist is privy to the Obama ploy and to this sinister partnership.
Some of the statements of the legislators included – blaming Hamas for the carnage of the Israelis, telling Hamas to stop first it rocket attacks if they want Israel to also stop the carnage, placing emphasis on the rocket attack casualties of four and not on the 800-odd casualties of Palestinians (as of this writing), a quarter of whom are women and children, being silent on growing international non-combatant casualties from Israeli bombings, namely journalists, U.N. personnel, and paramedics, executing genocide through a food and water blockade, and finally, vetoing the UN Security Council resolution demanding Israel to stop its invasion.
Already, there are threats of charges of war crimes to be put forward in De Hague. But the Israelis are arrogant, defying UN resolutions, saying the world has no right to decide on its own security measures in its own lands (the Gaza strip is not theirs), continuing with the bloodbath in spite of a worldwide call for them to stop their invasion. They are undaunted because they know America is behind them.
They showered Gaza with thousands of leaflets telling the Palestinians to condemn Hamas. In truth, the goal of the overkill invasion is to force the Palestinians to condemn Hamas and stop its rocket attacks. This logic is pitiable because it is the exact opposite. The carnage is rallying people to Hamas. The Isaraelis are strengthening their enemy and catalyzing rapid of growth of future retaliations. How can you support an enemy who is killing people all around you? It is unfortunate that such powerful weapons are in the hands of myopic minds with very little geopolitical wisdom. It is actually a knee-jerk blind-rage overkill invasion, bereft of any deep thinking or well-thought strategy. It is the reflex of a child.
The US-Israeli partnership actually antedates both Obama and the Palestinian conflict. The Jewish tycoons like the Rotschilds became rapidly and intensely wealthy by funding both sides of World War I. They came to America and started taking over the economy. Today, they control media, filmdom, banking, large corporations and have people in Washington, the State Department, the National Security Agency, etc. The geopolitical partnership of the US with Israel is monolithic and invincible because it is the ultimate quid pro quo of power for power. I pedestal you if you fulfill my demands. Nobody can just disrupt this powerful partnership. Getting a non-pro-Israel President on the throne is virtually impossible. The American Jewish community will simply pour massive election funds on his rival. They have the capability to choose the President. Even if a non-pro-Israel President wins, he will be roasted at the stake by the Legislative and Judicial branches of government.
It is a repeat of history. The Christians Crusaders and Muslims Saracens were the giants who hemmed in the tiny Jews. They massacred the Jews throughout history. But the Jews had a secret formula – participation in the ruling class of their enemies. The Jews participated in almost all powerful monarchies of the middle ages, Christian or Muslim. They participated in the Arab renaissance and the Western industrial revolution. It was like Moses being in the inner circle of the Pharaohs. The key to this success was participating without being absorbed. Throughout history, they conquered the Jews but their culture and religion remained intact in spite of conquest. It is something they learned from the days of the Pharaohs. Whereas other conquered races are absorbed by the conquerors, whereas Filipinos became Christians, the Jews always maintained their cultural and religious élan within other powerful cultures.
That the US Israeli partnership will finally cause World War III is not impossible. By arming Israel to the teeth and using it as a wedge to pry oil from the Arabs, the superpower has triggered a runaway arms race that leads to Armageddon, the battlefield where the most powerful kings will meet.