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Israel's Gaza massacre boosts boycott calls in South Africa

Israel's Gaza massacre boosts boycott calls in South Africa



This evening I gave an interview to Al Jazeera English (video above). I would like to develop some of the points I made.


If military victory and strength are measured in the number of civilians, especially children, that an army can deliberately target
and slaughter with sophisticated machines, then there is no doubt that
Israel is winning in Gaza, and has always been the winner in Palestine.


But even though it is still mercilessly killing civilians in Gaza as I
write these words, Israel has, in political and strategic terms,
already lost the “war” it launched on Gaza on the false pretext of
stopping rockets.


As I’ve argued repeatedly, and as the facts show, the easy and time-tested way for Israel not to receive rockets from Gaza is not to attack Palestinians in Gaza.


Israel’s defeat in Gaza will be as significant as its defeat in
Lebanon in 2006 (where it also “won” in terms of murdering civilians:
1,200 in total, a third of them children).


Lebanon off limits

For decades, when Israeli leaders needed to court popularity or
create a distraction, they attacked or invaded Lebanon, slaughtering
Palestinian and Lebanese civilians with total impunity.


Due to fierce resistance that Israel did not expect, the Israeli army
lost 121 soldiers during its 34-day invasion of Lebanon in the summer
of 2006.


Since that painful lesson, even an Israeli prime minister as foolish as Benjamin Netanyahu would not be eager to repeat the experience of his predecessor Ehud Olmert.


With Lebanon off limits, Gaza became Israel’s convenient outlet for
its bloodlust, with repeated massacres in 2006 (during the Lebanon
war!), in December 2008-January 2009, in November 2012 and now.


All these massacres have been committed against a population held in
an open-air prison, virtually cut off from the outside world.


Israel found it could bomb Gaza from the air and, yes, even though
the resistance could fire rockets back, these amounted to pinpricks.


Only when large barrages are being fired in the context of Israel’s
present massive assault do rockets from Gaza cause more damage, but very
little is physical: it is economic and psychological.


With the present massacre, too, Israel insisted on needless bloodshed when it could have had “security” by sticking to the November 2012 ceasefire agreement it signed, which includes the requirement to lift the siege.


Gaza fights back

Israel’s great “deterrent” threat was always the ground invasion of
Gaza. A deterrent is often more effective as a threat than as a reality.
If it is used and proves to be a bluff, it no longer works.


Now Israel has gone into Gaza, and Israelis are shocked at the extent of the losses they are suffering.


Israel has so far admitted to 25 dead soldiers in just four days of
ground operations. That’s a higher daily casualty rate than it suffered
in Lebanon.


Had Netanyahu known that would be the price, he would not likely have launched this foolish and criminal slaughter in Gaza.


Al-Qassam, the military wing of Hamas, has proven to be capable,
tenacious and ingenious, engaging Israelis in fierce combat inside Gaza
and taking the fight to Israeli territory.


But don’t take my word for it. Israeli officers are saying it themselves as Anshel Pfeffer reported for Haaretz:


One officer, a veteran of Gaza operations, who left the fighting area
for a few hours, told Haaretz: “I’ve been to Shujaiyeh before, but I’ve
never seen it – or Hamas – like this before. Their equipment and
tactics are just like Hezbollah. Missile traps and IEDs everywhere – and
they stay and fight instead of melting away like in the past.”


They stay and fight because, unlike Israel, Palestinians in Gaza have
no choice, no alternative, no option to go back to a slow death under a
crippling siege.

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