By Moshé Machover, Anti-Capitalist Initiative, 15 Nov 2012
Israel’s current “Pillar of Defence” assault on the Gaza Strip has some uncanny parallels with the “Cast Lead” massacre of December 2008/January 2009. Both attacks were carried out shortly before general elections.
In the February 2009 elections, Kadima, the senior party in the coalition that perpetrated Cast Lead, got the largest number of Knesset seats, but was unable to form a coalition – which led to the the present coalition, headed by Netanyahu and his Likud party. Now Netanyahu seems to be repeating the exercise, hoping that it may improve his electoral position in the forthcoming January 2013 elections.
In both cases the assault was preceded by a series of low-profile Israeli provocations, such as killing a Gaza teenager playing football in sight of Israeli snipers or sinking fishing boats off the Gaza coast. These carefully calibrated incidents are off the radar of the Israeli and Western media, but a sufficient number of them serve eventually to provoke retaliation in the form of unguided rockets fired more or less at random from Gaza into Israel. These are widely reported and enable Israel to claim that its massive assault is a retaliation rather than the other way around. In both cases, Israel violated a cease-fire agreement brokered by Egypt. This time, the cease-fire agreed on Monday, 12 November, was broken by Israel’s assassination of the senior Hamas military chief, Ahmad al-Ja’abari. This was calculated to escalate the spiral of death and was followed by a massive Israeli bombardment, and is ongoing as I write.
But the Arab region has changed radically since 2009, and is now much more volatile and less predictable. This means that flaring up of the local fire may ignite a regional conflagration. This too may serve Netanyahu’s hidden agenda: a protracted regional war may provide a smokescreen for a major ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the territories occupied by Israel since 1967. This is a long-term plan supported by all major Zionist parties. It is designed to resolve the contradiction between the deep-seated Zionist opposition to the creation of a Palestinian sovereign state, however small, in any part of pre-1948 Palestine, and the even greater “demographic peril”, as it is openly described in Israeli public society, of Arab majority in that land. It would lead to a “One-State Solution” Zionist style: the whole of Palestine turned into Greater Israel, with a predominant Jewish majority.
Progressive world public opinion must be urgently mobilised to halt the current bloodshed and prevent an even greater catastrophe.
A list of global emergency protests can be found here.
Moshé Machover is an Israeli socialist anti-Zionist activist and co-founder of the Socialist Organization in Israel (Matzpen). He is currently living in London, England. He is emeritus professor of philosophy, King’s College, London University. His most recent book is Israelis and Palestinians: Conflict and Resolution.
All IOA commentaries by Moshé Machover