The Israeli destruction of Gaza beginning on July 7, 2014 demonstrates the barbarism of the ongoing Zionist project in Palestine and beyond. The deliberate annihilation of entire Palestinian families is not only unconscionable, but constitutes war crimes under international law, as does collective punishment for which Israel is infamous. But Israel’s ongoing crimes against humanity in Gaza and the West Bank since their occupation in 1967, culminating in yet another attack on Palestinians, is but one dimension of the Zionist project.
Furthermore, the settler-colonial dimension of Zionism is integral to the larger imperial project being led and executed by the US for world domination. Those two dimensions constitute the fundamental nature of Zionism.
The recent Israeli attacks on Gaza can be best understood in the larger context of the US imperial project. The liquidation of Palestinian national rights is a sine qua non for the US-Zionist control of the Middle East. The failure of earlier attempts (the war in Syria and most recently in Iraq) to destroy all resistance to its project in the region led the US to give the green light to Israel to attack Gaza. It is quite evident, however, that despite the devastation Israel and, by implication, the US have again miscalculated and thus far failed to achieve their strategic goal. Be that as it may, the current Gaza attacks differ from the previous ones in multiple ways: First, the Palestinian resistance movement in all of its components was ready for battle, knowing full well that Israel’s goal was the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people and not merely eradicating Hamas or any other Palestinian resistance organization. Second, for the first time in the history of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict the battle is taking place inside of Palestine and the resistance is able to target all Palestinian territory on which the Israeli state was established in 1948.
Third, the Palestinian people inside all of occupied Palestine, beginning in 1948, are overwhelmingly behind the resistance movement and would not bless the decision for a truce should segments of the resistance movement accede to it. The logic of the people is that since 2007 Israel has subjected Gaza to a complete siege, inflicting slow death on the population for lack of medical supplies, potable water, food and electricity. Children are malnourished because of the lack of micronutrients in their diet, resulting in their stunted development mentally and physically. In the two previous Israeli invasions of 2008 and 2012 respectively, Israel did not comply with any of its commitments after each truce. The people do not want to have another truce only to repeat the current destruction of Gaza a few years thereafter. Instead, they demand that before any truce is agreed upon, Israel must commit to: (1) a complete lifting of the siege; (2) providing a permanent land access to the West Bank; (3) allowing Gaza fishermen unhindered access to the sea; (4) allowing the uninterrupted flow of medical supplies, food stuffs, and building materials into Gaza; and (5) ceasing Israeli targeted assassinations.
Fourth, unlike earlier invasions of Gaza, protests against Israeli occupation are escalating across Palestine.
Fifth, the Palestinian people are now clear more so than at any other time that the Arab states, except for a few, are directly collaborating with the Israeli enemy. They also have much more clarity about the intentions of Islamist state and non-state actors active in the region. For example, ISIS, which pretends to act in the name of Islam, is now exposed to the Palestinian people as a creation of Western, Israeli, and Arab intelligence services.
Sixth, unlike earlier invasions, where political leaders had the final say in negotiating a truce, it is now the Palestinian fighters on the battlefield that have thus far determined what the political leaders are allowed to agree to. In fact, in a voice recording broadcast on July 28 on Almayadeen Hamas’ top military commander, Mohammad Daif, stated that there would be no ceasefire or a truce until Israel meets all of the people’s demands. In this statement, Daif put all political leaders of all resistance groups and the regional states collaborating with the Israeli and Western enemies on notice that should they even contemplate deviating from the people’s demands, the armed groups would not go along. This situation is critical to the progress of the struggle to cleanse the resistance movement of collaborators and traitors.
The current attacks constitute a proof positive that the «peace” negotiations governed by the 1993 Oslo Declaration of Principles have come to naught. In fact, Israel has gobbled up more Palestinian territory to construct colonies and yet the Palestinian National Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas persists in chasing a mirage, while depending on the US to «convince” Israel to agree to a two-state solution. At the beginning of the current Israeli bombardment of Gaza, Abbas declared in an interview on Almayadeen TV channel, that the most important thing for him was to arrive at a ceasefire then discuss the demands of the resistance movement. Previous episodes should have reminded Abbas that the Palestinians in Gaza have always negotiated truces under duress: while besieged. By any standard the Palestinians have not negotiated on an equal footing with those who besieged them. But for someone who is used to receiving nothing of substance from the Israelis and their ally, the US, the negotiations path, even if thus far it has brought more suffering and misery to the people, constitutes realpolitik. Abbas was quick to support the Egyptian ceasefire proposal, which also called for the same thing: ceasefire, then negotiate. However, all of the Palestinian resistance organizations unanimously rejected the Egyptian plan, which the US first supported, then withdrew its support. Instead, US Secretary of State, John Kerry, gave preference to working with Qatar and Turkey who have begun to work with Hamas leader Khaled Mish’al to arrive at a truce. But the US is playing on both parallel ropes and would go with whatever it ultimately can sway most to serve its interests regardless of any humanitarian or justice considerations. President Obama declared that the intent of the US diplomatic maneuvers was to rid Gaza of the resistance’s rockets, i.e., to leave Gaza defenseless to eventually impose a «solution” on the Palestinians that would guarantee the Jewish nature of the Israeli state and more than likely lead to the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian citizens of Israel.
But what could not be taken by force cannot be taken by subterfuge. So long as the fighters on the battlefield, supported by the population, decide what is on the negotiating table, Abbas and company and Mish’al and company would have their hands tied. Feeling the heat of popular protest in support of Gaza on the West Bank, Abbas quickly backtracked from his previous position of having an unconditional ceasefire. A Palestinian delegation comprising all of the Palestinian groups is being formed. It would then leave for Cairo. The intent would be to convince the Egyptians to include in a second version of their ceasefire plan demands of the battlefield. As of this writing, some groups that are supposed to be in the delegation have been trying hard to dilute the demands of the battlefield before leaving for Cairo. Those groups are closely linked with Abbas and the US.
It has been twenty-four days now since the Gaza carnage began. Israel has not succeeded thus far in achieving its strategic goal: liquidating the Palestinian resistance. Consequently, it quickly declared a lesser goal that it sought: the destruction of the rockets. But failing to achieve that, it lowered its goal yet again and declared that it was after the Gaza tunnels.
The resistance movement overwhelmingly backed by the people has thus far thwarted the attacks and all US-Israeli political and diplomatic traps to liquidate Palestinian national rights. Sooner or later the current Israeli attacks on Gaza will end. Palestinian liberation would remain the focal point and compass for anti-imperialist struggles in the Middle East region. The Palestinian struggle has exposed not only the Arab collaborators and traitors wherever they may be, but also regional state and non-state actors who work against the interests of the peoples of the region in the name of religion.
New popular political formations and alliances to fight global capitalism and imperialism are likely outcomes of the post-Gaza era. They constitute the dialectics of the battle for Palestine.