By Dr. Daud Abdullah*
Bad faith and defeat have underlined their record in Palestine. Israel’s vainglorious Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu describes them as his friends. In the Gaza Strip, Palestinians denounce them as yesterday’s men who wish to be relevant today. With every victory scored by the resistance it has become ever clearer that there is no future for the Arab Zionists who have thrived on Palestinian misery for generations.
On 15 July Israel’s Channel Two carried a report of a secret meeting in Paris in late June between Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates, Abdullah ibn Zayd, to discuss how to eradicate Hamas from the Gaza Strip.
According to the report, the Saudi and Jordanian foreign ministers were also in Paris at the time, where they met with US Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss developments in the Middle East. In the end, it was agreed that Israel would execute the military operation against Hamas while the UAE provided the funds.
The only notable absentees from the Paris meeting were the Egyptians. It appears that their participation was so assured that they required no meeting to persuade them. Moreover, since they are in no position to act independently of their US and Gulf paymasters their presence in the French capital was deemed unnecessary. All that was required from Cairo was that it kept the Rafah crossing closed and coordinated with Israel when the assault began.
Two days after Israel launched its offensive on 7 July, Egypt announced the destruction of 19 tunnels on the border with Gaza. Once the civilian death toll in Gaza began to rise Cairo proposed a “ceasefire initiative” knowing full well that it would be unacceptable to the resistance groups in Gaza, not least because they were neither party to the discussions nor offered guarantees that the blockade of the territory would be lifted.
In effect, the Egyptian proposal gave Israel more time to finish the job. The involvement in its preparation of Tony Blair reinforces this view, given that in 2006 as British prime minister he had refused to call for a halt to a similar Israeli attack on Lebanon in the hope that his friends in Tel Aviv would be given enough time to crush Hezbollah.
Gaza has had more than its fair share of Israeli aggression in recent years. However, what distinguishes this latest attack has been the level of regional complicity. The role ascribed to regional governments has varied from active collaboration at one extreme to tacit approval on the other. Egypt’s double-dealing was always crucial. While it drummed up support for its plan, it turned the screws ever tighter on the Rafah crossing, denying entry to European and regional medical teams sent to help the victims of Israeli brutality.
After two weeks of relentless bombing from land, air and sea, it is clear that Netanyahu has bitten off more than he can chew in Gaza. Despite claims that the Israeli ground offensive has started the facts disprove them; Israel’s soldiers still remain holed-up in and behind their tanks and artillery on the borders of Gaza, unable to push more than 300 metres into the enclave. Egypt’s former military chief and now president, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, had apparently given Netanyahu his unreserved support and assurance that the operation would be short and that the Israeli forces would be able to pull out with ease. That has turned out to be a deadly miscalculation.
Faced with a rising number of soldiers killed in action, calls are now being heard in Israel for an inquiry into this latest fiasco. With the capture of a soldier by the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades the pressure on the Israeli prime minister will intensify in coming days.
Despite its superior US-supplied hardware, the Israeli army seems reluctant to take on the highly motivated, well-trained and disciplined resistance forces. After staging a series of daring commando raids behind enemy lines they have left the Israelis demoralised and confused. Hence, the feted Israel “Defence” Forces (Motto: “Purity of Arms”) have resorted to indiscriminate attacks on civilians across Gaza.
Even though Israeli spokesmen claim that Hamas is using civilians as pawns, the massacre in Shujaeya demonstrated that the opposite is true. In an attempt to pressure the resistance the Israeli army refused, for several hours, to grant access to the Red Cross to evacuate the dead and injured.
Many have drawn parallels between the 1982 massacre at Sabra and Shatila in Lebanon with the massacre at Shujaeya. The bloody, mangled bodies are, undoubtedly, similar. Perhaps the only major difference on this occasion is that whereas in 1982 it was the Maronite Christian forces who collaborated with the Israelis, today it is the “Muslim” Arab Zionists. Having planned and collaborated with the enemy to attack the Palestinians when they broke their Ramadan fast, they can only be described as “Muslims”; their real status is becoming clearer.
The systematic massacre of civilians in Gaza over the past two weeks was by no means the work of a strong or “moral” army. It could never have happened without the betrayal of the Palestinians by the Arab Zionists. Even so, this latest aggression is heading toward one result; a humiliating defeat for Israel and its allies. Their fatal error is that they misjudged the nature and capability of the resistance, which has seen the prize of freedom closer than at any other time in this long-running conflict. (T/P02/E01)
*Director, Middle East Monitor, MEMO, London; Contibutor of Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA).
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)