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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 7/17/14

The Whys Behind Israel's Gaza Slaughter

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So the kinds of weapons utilized are not commensurate with any known war in. Is the war in to intimidate and subordinate and keep prone the Palestinian population? Then one can understand using this kind of wide spectrum of weaponry, to terrify and to humiliate the Palestinian people. The only war in that these weapons indicate could be the actual war in, is the war in to terrorize and humiliate Palestinians. Otherwise much more specific weaponry would have been utilized.

So you are right, is this a case of simply testing the latest weaponry? It could be. But I would be even more cynical than that. It appears that the war in, which is to humiliate and terrify the Palestinians. It requires them to utilize THE most terrifying weaponry and that's precisely what that use of white phosphorous was about from Cast Lead to Pillar of Defense and this so-called knock-on bomb. Which now makes you responsible for the killing of your whole family. Because now, you didn't flee fast enough in the middle of the night, in that five-minute window, and therefore your children died.

DB: Amazing. I've just got one more area of inquiry for you. You just returned from teaching in Beirut, Lebanon, had a very clear, close review of the situation going on next door in Syria. Obviously, there's a flood of Palestinians coming over the border into Lebanon, into camps that are already crowded, two and three times over. We've seen this extraordinary expansion of what has been going on in Iraq for some time. We see the Kurds asserting themselves as an independent country, five million there. Twenty million in Turkey, so who knows what's going on there? But what about putting this, what's happening, this latest encounter and deadly encounter being brought upon the Palestinians. Put this in context of like what's going on there. How do you see it, in the whole?

VP: It's hard to do because this is a big, big shake-up in the region. Some people are talking about the interesting development that has been taking place inside Palestinian politics. Which is that, for the first time, there seems to be a serious attempt to unite the various factions into a new kind of Palestinian liberation organization. And I don't mean they are actually going to create some kind of foundation like that.

But a unity between Fatah and Hamas, in action, was a huge step forward for Palestine. Because for the last 20 years or so, at least since Oslo, the gap between the Fatah movement and the Hamas movement has been very great. In fact, they have been even attacking each other. So this development, some people suggest, is a consequence of the shake-up in the region. In other words, Hamas has come to realize that its patrons, for instance, Qatar, to some extent Syria and Turkey, etc., have very shifting allegiances. And it's perhaps a good idea not to rely on too many geopolitical and international actors. It's a good idea to build on Palestinian unity. This has been one of the salutary outcomes of the Arab Spring, or Arab uprisings development, that this unity phase has come into being.

And, therefore, there is, I think, a reasonable question to be asked. Why did the Netanyahu cabinet utilize the killing of these three teenagers as a mechanism to utilize the two different strategies? To basically subordinate the Palestinians again. One is the aerial bombardment, and bombardment in general of Gaza, and the second is the massive raids that swept through the West Bank, Operations Brothers Keeper, which proceeded Operation Protective Edge. In the West Bank, you don't have the history over the last 20 years of aerial bombardment in the way you have in Gaza. In the West Bank you have Israeli troops entering through raids, raiding houses, house by house.

So, within a month, you had both the West Bank and Gaza directly attacked by the Israeli cabinet, by the Netanyahu cabinet, for what reason? Because, it is suggested that there's some sense of apprehension, that if this political unity came to be, if Hamas and Fatah were able to unite, it would directly threaten Israel's political standing in the region. And secondly, Israel does feel threatened by the emergence of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement. That has put a lot of pressure particularly on European governments.

This has been, I think, a useful way to win back the support of some of those governments in a bizarre way. You can imagine that this kind of mass level of slaughter would turn those governments away. But the Israeli government is very clever, in utilizing these kinds of moments, to, in a sense, win back support, to claim loyalty.

After all Mr. Obama has to go to the White House ... and there he has to pledge American loyalty to Israel. So a very curious place he chose to make his most forthright statement about U.S. solidarity with Israel. So what I am suggesting is the politics of the region and of Palestine, perhaps explain a little bit of the churning and of this push-back by this Israeli cabinet.

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Dennis J Bernstein is the host and executive producer of Flashpoints, a daily news magazine broadcast on Pacifica Radio. He is an award-winning investigative reporter, essayist and poet. His articles and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Nation, and (more...)

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