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Israeli Kills 25 Palestinians Gazans (and wounds several hundred) but Netanyahu is Forced to Seek a Truce after Three days.

May 7, 2019

Jihad al-Masharawi, a Palestinian employee of BBC Arabic, carries the body of his 11-month-old son Omar, killed by the recent (May 4, 5, 2019) Israeli air strike in Gaza City

For those who mercilessly slam Democracy Now! (it does deserve criticism for its Syria coverage)… and to use a Colorado expression – throw out the cannabis buds with the branches – here is Amy Goodman and Democracy Now! at its best – the coverage of the latest Israeli attack on Gaza which ended after three days with a cease fire. (See the end of this commentary)…

Still, there is one part of this episode that Amy Goodman glossed over (although she mentions it): Responding to the Israeli attack this time – described in vivid detail below) Hamas (and others) in Gaza launched several hundred missiles into Israel. As usual, they did little damage but then this is what is called “asymmetrical warfare” – where one side has an overwhelming military advantage against the other, but the other finds a way to fight back. It was this Palestinian missile response inside Israel – with the threat of an attack on Ben Gurion Airport which forced Netanyahu reign in Israel’s U.S. made jet fighters and seek a truce, not Palestinians “crying uncle.”

Israel might be able to conduct air strikes against Syria and Lebanon – but even there with less impunity than in the past because of advanced Russian missile systems in Syria and Hezbollah technological prowess in Lebanon. While Netanyahu can still engage in punishing attacks in Gaza, even here his options are increasingly limited. Fearing a Palestinian missile attack on Tel Aviv and perhaps Ben Gurion Airport, tt is Netanyahu and not Hamas who sued for a truce through the usual parties (the Egyptians, in particular).
There is a principle that seems to have been lost in much of the discussion of the Palestinians…that I want to remind people of: the right of an oppressed people to take up arms – engage in armed struggle that is – against the oppressor. So it wasn’t so much the damage that the Palestinian missiles inflicted on Israel, but a kind of warning: kill peaceful Palestinian demonstrators and a military response will follow. – a psychological barrier that was breached. It is a simple fact that politically, Israel simply cannot endure a major missile attack – either coming from the north (Hezbollah) or from Gaza.
Its military options continually narrowing, the Netanyahu government still resists the alternative, the only way out of the crisis: engaging in serious negotiations that would end the Occupation and result in the creation of a Palestinian national state although the international pressures on Israel do so continue to grow (outside of Washington, London).
As they have done repeatedly through history, apologists for colonial and Zionist oppression -knowingly or otherwise – try to dictate to the Palestinians which tactics – armed or peaceful political actions – the Palestinians will should adapt. As for the change – repeated ad nauseum – that that aspect of the Palestinian Resistance that is armed struggle “is terrorism” – what national liberation movement engaged in armed struggle was not tarnished with the same brush – be it the ANC, the Vietnamese, the Algerians, etc. It is one thing to “prefer” that anti-colonial resistance be peaceful – who doesn’t hope that it is? – and  horse of an entirely different color to dictate to others what tactics they should employ.
Do American peace activists trying to determine the parameters of Palestinian resistance to occupation need to be reminded that it is racist to do so? Not to glorify either armed struggle nor peaceful mobilizations. In many ways it is the colonial situation itself that determines the terms. Armed struggle, even when it is successful as it was in Algeria, Vietnam, Angola and elsewhere leaves deep human and societal scars that a half century later have not healed. It is exhausting and the sacrifices made by those engaged in it – the price paid in blood – are heavy. No need to romanticize the brutal business. But when the choice has been made to go in that direction, both international law and the entire history of the last century in the struggles against fascism and anti-colonialism insist, that such decision be respected for what it is: the last option for an oppressed people when all else has failed.
My sense is that in the years to come, the Palestinians will employ a combination of peaceful mobilizations along with limited military responses in their on-going efforts gain national self-determination. Neither on its own, has been able to achieve the Palestinian goals of ending the Occupation and resulting in Palestinian self-determination. This recent round of punishing Israeli attacks against Gaza and Palestinian response suggest something else, that at least in the U.S. media, including peace media, is not being discussed: despite all of Israel’s superior and unquestioned military power, that the balance of power between Israel and the Palestinians has shifted ever so slightly in the Palestinian favor, that Israeli military options, rather than broadening, are actually narrowing.
Not only are Israel’s options  narrowing but its repeated addiction to military solutions finding less success. They gained nothing from this recent round of bombing Gaza. International opinion remains generally horrified. The thin logic that Israel is defending itself is hardly credible except in the mind of the U.S. president and his maniacal National Security Adviser and Christian fundamentalist wacko Secretary of State, and of course in an Israel lurching so far to the right that there is nowhere more ultra-nationalist right to lurch towards.
Does it suggest that with its increasing military options increasingly ineffective that Israel will turn to political solutions – as the French finally had to do with the Algerian uprising in 1962? Or that the indescribably inhumane suffering of the Palestinian people of Gaza is soon about to come to an end? Doubtful. Thee is also the possibility of some version of “the wounded beast syndrome” to worry about, that is, as the shifting balance of power eroding Israeli regional hegemony continues to grow, that Netanyahu (with Trump’s support) will engage in yet more punishing forms of ethnic cleansing.
If the situation of the Palestinians – daily – gets worse with reports of kids being arrested and tortured, Nazi-like settlers (for that is what they are) poisoning West Bank water supplies, dismantling Palestinians homes, squeezing Gaza in what is nothing more than an open-air concentration camp – as all this continues, strangely perhaps the walls of opportunity are closing in on Israel as well. Its options in the region continue to narrow. Politically it is Israel that is in trouble, its international image shattered everywhere other than perhaps in the US of A, but even here, public opinion has long ago abandoned the “Exodus Narrative” of Israel’s creation. Zionists no longer control their own narrative and are increasingly on the defensive.
A new, more humane – more accurate narrative – is being born.
Israel might be able to conduct air strikes against Syria and Lebanon – but even there with less impunity than in the past because of advanced Russian missile systems in Syria and Hezbollah technological prowess in Lebanon. While Netanyahu can still engage in punishing attacks in Gaza, even here his options are increasingly limited. Fearing a Palestinian missile attack on Tel Aviv and perhaps Ben Gurion Airport, tt is Netanyahu and not Hamas who sued for a truce through the usual parties (the Egyptians, in particular).
Trump’s support for the Israeli air attack, and predictable slaughter of innocents comes as no surprise, given the fact that his administration has given the Netanyahu government essentially a free hand to continue with Israeli oppression, ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and incremental genocide especially against Palestinian Gazans. But at least, a few voices in Congress are speaking up against Israeli war crimes, among them, Rep Ilam Omar (whom else!!) As Amy Goodman noted:
On Sunday, Congress member Ilhan Omar tweeted, “How many more protesters must be shot, rockets must be fired, and little kids must be killed until the endless cycle of violence ends? The status quo of occupation and humanitarian crisis in Gaza is unsustainable. Only real justice can bring about security and lasting peace.”
Furthermore – while I am sitting in Denver and therefore so far away from the action to know all the details – this time, Palestinian rockets went deeper into Israel than they had previously, suggesting that their technological sophistication has increased. There are some reports that this time, Hamas warned Israel that it didn’t stop the shelling that they, Hamas, would bomb Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, some 70, 80 miles away from Gaza.
And there are some indications that the Palestinians have the technical abilities to do so… nothing suggests this greater than the fact, that once the threat was made, that Netanyahu called off the IDF assault and sought a truce. He wasn’t sure if the Palestinian threat was real or exaggerated, but clearly, he did not want to gamble for even one missile dropped at Ben Gurion Airport would through Israel’s security position into chaos. Netanyahu did not want to risk such an eventuality and didn’t.
Beyond these thoughts, today’s (May 6, 2019) segment of Democracy Now! (linked to here) concerning the latest round of pain inflicted on Gaza is worth listening to (or reading) in its entirety. Especially notable, are the interviews with Palestinians themselves, unfiltered by Israelis, neo-con talking heads or dumb Trump tweets.
La Lutta Continua
One Comment leave one →
  1. William Conklin permalink
    May 7, 2019 10:55 am

    This is an excellent article and really describes the situation well, it is depressing to feel the despair that Palestine must feel but on the other hand, there is sunlight in the assertion that times are changing. It just seems so long in coming. One point that is encouraging is that the balance of power is changing.

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