War of Terror in Gaza
Remember Sabra and Shatilla? These were the two Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon where an estimated 1,700 to 3,500 civilian residents -- men, women and children -- were massacred in 1982 by pro-Israel Lebanese phalangist militia units with the protective shield and go-ahead of Israeli Defense Forces. IDF commander Gen Ariel Sharon was found “indirectly responsible” for the massacres and was forced to resign. But he eventually went on to be Israel Prime Minister after several years.
This long record of impunity for the Israeli government in barefaced aggression and military overkill, perpetrating gross human rights violations, war crimes and even genocide must be seen in the context of unshakeable US backing – military, economic, political and diplomatic. With the acquiescence of the other big powers, this unstinting and continuing US support explains in large part the destructiveness, brutality and callousness exhibited by the IDF in the recent attacks on Gaza.
Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Mahathir said that no matter how clever or powerful Israel was it would not be able to carry out the offensive without the US acting as a “big brother” providing the money and the weaponry for Israel’s renewed war of aggression. Thus, the US is "much more guilty than even the Israelis" for the civilian carnage and the ratcheting up of the Israel-Palestine conflict in the Middle East.
Israel remains the single biggest recipient of US aid getting a hefty US $3 billion annually. A country of approximately 6 million people, it is currently receiving more US aid than all of Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean taking out Egypt and Colombia. It has a nuclear arsenal that would be the envy of any of the countries named by US President Bush as constituting an “axis of evil”.
Despite international outcry against mounting civilian casualties and the massive humanitarian crisis the Israeli assault has given rise to, the US government is unrelenting in its support. The US sabotaged a draft UN resolution that called for a ceasefire, addressing the humanitarian crisis, as well as the resumption of peace talks. It rejected calls for Israel to lift its blockade of Gaza and attacked the proposed resolution for not condemning Hamas’ firing rockets into Southern Israel as “terrorist” acts.
In fact, it was Israel that had made a months-old truce untenable by keeping Gaza under siege. Since Hamas won a majority in the Palestinian Legislative Council in January 2006, Israel, Washington and the West have withheld recognition and all outside aid; an economic embargo and sanctions were imposed; and the legitimate government subjected to vilification and political isolation.
The Israeli government claims that Hamas initiated the hostilities by raining rockets on Israeli villages are belied by reports that IDF forces had earlier intruded into Palestinian territory purportedly to close off tunnels allegedly used by Hamas to smuggle arms and had killed six Hamas officers in the process. Since the six-month ceasefire ended, Israeli troops have crossed the border several times, while Hamas resumed shelling nearby Israeli towns.
US President Bush immediately justified Israel’s attack by demonizing the Hamas regime as a “terrorist group supported by Iran and Syria.” US Secretary of State Rice strongly rejected outright any ceasefire that didn’t meet Israel’s conditions. President-elect Barack Obama, heretofore silent on the raging global issue, finally expressed “deep concern” for the loss of civilian life after Israeli tank shells killed at least 40 Palestinians at a UN school where civilians had taken shelter on the third day of the invasion.
The Israel-Palestine conflict is certainly not about Israel and Palestine alone. It is about oil. It is about who controls the Middle East. And it is about the US drive for world domination currently in the guise of a US-instigated “global war on terror”.
Mainstream media have always portrayed and explained the conflict in terms of the Palestinians' struggle to return to their homeland, on one hand, and the Israeli state's right to exist on the other. But in fact, from the very start, world powers have manipulated and even instigated the conflict according to their interests and designs, the ordinary Palestinians and Israelis be damned.
To begin with, the British government played a central role in arranging for the migration of tens of thousands of Jews to Palestine and in violently displacing the Palestinians from their lands. Then, the US engineered the lopsided 1948 UN resolution to partition Palestine into a Jewish state and a Palestinian state. The Palestinians rejected the resolution, rightfully protesting that they were not consulted, and the partition favored the Jews heavily. The resulting armed conflict ended in the Palestinians’ defeat, mass expulsion from Palestine and their seeking refuge in neighboring Arab states. To this date, their just struggle to return to their homeland continues.
With the intensification of the Cold War after the Korean War and the rise in Arab nationalism and unity in the late 50s, the Middle East became a flashpoint with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in focus. The so-called Arab-Israel wars, ostensibly over the Palestinian issue, were in fact proxy wars by the world superpowers for control of the Middle East, with Israel serving as the US' surrogate force against the Soviet-backed Arab states. Since then, and especially with the emergence of the US as sole superpower, Israel has grown into a bully whose arrogance, brutality and ruthlessness is matched only by its mentor and backer, the US.
The International League for People’s Struggle in a statement condemning the invasion and the escalating massacre of the Palestinian people said, “The US has used Israel as the bridgehead of US imperialist hegemony in the Middle East and as the platform for threatening and blackmailing countries in the region, making them military and political clients and controlling the oil resources.”
One does not have to be partisan for Hamas or against the Israeli government to acknowledge the truth articulated by UN President Miguel d’Escoto Brockman on the day of the Gaza airstrikes, "The behavior by Israel in bombarding Gaza is simply the commission of wanton aggression by a very powerful state against a territory that it illegally occupies.”#