Israel: Did Hamas Brutality Revive Bibi’s Politics?

Hamas’ tactics and strategies are showcasing a shifting landscape in this conflict, one that not only challenges Israeli technology but also demonstrates the ability to adapt to technological advancements, underscoring the fact that war can never be the ultimate path to peace.

7 mins read
Vladimir Putin met in Sochi with Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu, who is in Russia on a short working visit on August 2017 [ File Photo: Kremlin]

Absolutely nothing can justify any form of violence, whether it’s physical or psychological. Paradoxically, violence has been a tool used not just by humans, but by all living beings throughout history to assert dominance over the vulnerable. The chronic crisis initiated by British colonialists in Palestine, who arbitrarily granted statehood to create Israel based on biblical mythologies and political schism, without regard for ground realities and people’s sentiments, exemplifies the brutality that has scarred human civilization.

Israel was born in war, has perpetually lived in war, and appears destined to end in war. The word ‘peace’ may exist in their language, but it remains a distant mirage.What we witness in Israel is not new, but the recent attack launched by Hamas, a designated terrorist entity, yet one that managed to secure the people’s mandate through free and fair elections, was different in nature and approach.

However, while Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, as Hamas dubbed it for purposes of their extensive public relations campaign, may have achieved some success, it’s clear that war will never bring an end to this multifaceted and exceedingly complicated conflict in the modern history of human civilization.What truly matters is the timing of this attack. Historically, it occurred just a day after the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War. More importantly, it unfolded against the backdrop of a deepening political quagmire within the Israeli government.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, commonly known as Bibi, who made a surprising comeback after a humiliating defeat, was steadily losing his political grip to other parties, presiding over an ultra-nationalistic and unstable political landscape. Recent judicial reforms, including the abolishing of the “reasonableness doctrine” to grant the head of state the power to appoint individuals with previous convictions of bribery, fraud, breach of trust, money laundering, and various tax offenses, only added fuel to the fire.

This prompted thousands of people to take to the streets in protest against the government. Even some senior officials within Israel’s top-secret agency, Mossad, voiced their discontent. Netanyahu’s confidante and former Mossad chief, Yossi Cohen, publicly called for the government to cease the judicial overhaul and return to negotiations, citing an immediate threat to national security. Simultaneously, leaders of the Brothers in Arms protest group announced at a press conference that approximately 10,000 reservists had pledged not to volunteer for duty if the overhaul legislation passed.

The unfolding internal crisis within Netanyahu’s government is nothing short of ominous and unmanageable. Given this political context, it would be no surprise if numerous conspiracy theories emerge in the days ahead, suggesting that Bibi, with prior knowledge of the impending attacks, allowed them to occur with the aim of restoring his political power. Indeed, this attack catapulted Bibi to the status of a savior in the country’s emerging new normal overnight.

However, what is truly astonishing is that Hamas’s surprise assault not only revitalized the Israeli government’s grip on power but also galvanized society at large, rallying behind Netanyahu’s resolve to decimate Gaza in the name of eliminating Hamas. The Defense Minister’s orders to impose a total blockade on Gaza Strip have set in motion the all-too-familiar pattern of hunting ‘enemies’ at the cost of countless civilian lives.

Basic necessities such as electricity, water, and food have been mercilessly cut off.This marks just the beginning of what may well evolve into a conflict reminiscent of the Six-Day War. In the end, not only will the humanitarian crisis escalate, but a significant portion, if not the entirety, of Gaza may fall into Israeli hands to fuel the expansion of settlements.

Yet, history teaches us that sowing the seeds of terrorism by creating conditions ripe for extremism will never lead to the defeat of terrorism. If ongoing operations continue to jeopardize the gradual and steady normalization of relations between Israel and Arab countries, the Israeli administration may further risk losing its grip and revisiting a dark chapter in history.This crisis transcends mere victory in battle; it strikes at the very core of our humanity. If Israel persists in its inability to acknowledge the historical forces that have consistently eroded the basic rights of Palestinians, no generation will ever know a peaceful night.

As one of Tel Aviv’s most senior journalists, Yossi Melman, proposed during an interview with this writer, the idea of opening a ‘humanitarian corridor’ for the exchange of women and children could serve as a vital first step in this humanitarian quagmire.In this turbulent time, let us not forget that Netanyahu has faced some of history’s most arduous battles. His brother, Yonatan Netanyahu, met a tragic end at the hands of Ugandan security forces during Operation Entebbe.

In reflecting on the Yom Kippur War, Prime Minister Netanyahu reminds us that history has a way of repeating itself, and the same impulses that drove past crises may resurface in the face of this seemingly insurmountable assault on Israel’s moral authority. ‘I didn’t hear the news until late in the day on October 6, 1973. Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Israel on the holiest day of the Jewish year, the Day of Atonement,’ Netanyahu wrote. When assessing the political leadership at the time, he noted, ‘Golda Meir should have known better… on the critical decision of preemption, Golda missed the mark.’While Hamas may be the immediate target of Israel’s response, its longstanding adversaries, situated miles away from the borders—namely, Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah in Lebanon—loom large in the equation. This could explain why, just hours after Hamas’s surprise attack on Israel, Western media attempted to draw links to Iran, despite vehement denials from both Iranian authorities and the Israel Defense Forces.

In the wake of Hamas’ audacious operation, a resounding defeat suffered by Western alliances and their sophisticated technologies in Ukraine is now shifting attention towards the Israel-Palestine conflict. They find themselves in a position where they can wash their hands of an already faltering battle against Russia, potentially relegating Ukraine to a lesser priority. As a consequence, the impending autumn and approaching winter, as forecast by this writer several months ago, spell doom for the Ukrainian people.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, if he can cast aside his preconceived notions and misplaced overconfidence in Western support, must consider initiating fresh peace talks mediated by third parties. If direct dialogue with Russia proves challenging, options such as involving China—the only country to submit a written proposal for lasting peace in the region—or the commendable efforts of a group of African nations led by Cyril Ramaphosa, the President of South Africa, could provide Ukraine with a chance to restore peace despite the worsening situation.

Numerous investigative reports have painstakingly exposed the rampant corruption plaguing Ukraine. Furthermore, a significant portion of the highly advanced weaponry supplied to Ukraine by Western nations has mysteriously ended up near the Polish border and in other vulnerable regions, where arms smugglers hold sway, redirecting them to other global conflict zones. It remains too early to confirm whether Hamas tapped into this supply chain discreetly while devising its remarkable war plan against its ‘enemy.’

However, Hamas’ tactics and strategies are showcasing a shifting landscape in this conflict, one that not only challenges Israeli technology but also demonstrates the ability to adapt to technological advancements, underscoring the fact that war can never be the ultimate path to peace.

The peril of the astonishing success of Hamas’ operations lies in the potential resurgence of Islamic fanaticism, propagated by groups like Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. This could herald new strategic dimensions as they seek to infiltrate targets and recruit new members across the globe, potentially causing even more catastrophic mayhem.

As Chris Hedges astutely argues, what transpired in Israel is that Palestinians have learned the language of violence that Israel has taught them over generations. It once again proves that ‘the terror Israel inflicts is the terror it will receive.’ This bitter truth highlights the plight of unarmed civilians in both Israel and Palestine who pay the price for the actions of those who manipulate political and military power. Therefore, what truly matters is not the global alliance for the manufacture of war material, but the commitment to uphold equal and dignified lives for all.

***

Dr. Zuhair M.H. Zaid, the Ambassador for Palestine in Sri Lanka, shared his perspective on the ongoing conflict

***

“In the tumultuous Palestinian quest for basic rights, the international community and Western nations have perpetuated a disturbing dual standard,” Dr. Zaid stressed. “As the world looks on, we find ourselves backed into a corner, our very existence hanging in the balance. Our access to essential daily necessities has been violently severed, pushing our nation to the precipice of despair. Israel has maintained this oppressive status quo for far too long, all the while striving to normalize relations with neighboring nations.”Dr. Zaid underscored the agonizing reality that the Palestinian population confronts daily. “We have been pushed to a point where resistance appears to be the sole recourse. Innocent civilians are caught in a dire ‘do or die’ situation. Whether through its dealings with Hamas or any other group, Israel has fostered an environment where violence becomes nearly inevitable. It is high time for Israel to heed the tenets of international law and embrace the norms of the rule of law.”He then went on to remind the world of recent atrocities. “Just a few months ago, on July 3rd and 4th, Israeli forces initiated a large-scale operation in the Jenin refugee camp, resulting in the tragic loss of 12 Palestinians, including four children, and the injury of 143 others. This marked the highest number of Palestinian casualties in a single operation in the West Bank since 2005. Israel’s actions resound louder than its rhetoric; they expose a profound lack of genuine commitment to peace and a disconcerting propensity to manipulate the international community.”Dr. Zaid emphasized the hypocrisy in international affairs. “The irony lies in Israel’s persistent use of brutal tactics to undermine Palestine. A cursory examination of the map reveals the extent of Israel’s occupation, defying the spirit of numerous agreements between both parties. For years, they have thwarted democratic elections, fully aware that the majority of the populace holds views contrary to theirs.”Ambassador Zaid concluded with a question that resonates universally. “We must ask ourselves, if the international community can rally support for Ukraine in its struggle against what they consider as Russian occupation, why does a deafening silence persist when it comes to Palestine? They are supporting the Israeli occupation. Why this glaring double standard, it is a question that demands an answer, a plea for justice that reverberates across borders and transcends politics.

Source: Sunday Island

Nilantha Ilangamuwa

Nilantha Ilangamuwa is a founding editor of the Sri Lanka Guardian and has been the editor until 2018.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Latest from Blog