A somnolent world continues its sleepwalk through Gaza’s House of Death. There are so very many horrible things being done and said.
The worst of course in Gaza itself. But there are so many other disgusting things being said by some of the most powerful figures in the world. It not only makes one’s skin crawl. But it makes you want to flay your skin entirely. Except it would leave you with no protective layer between your body and the pain of the world. That thinnest of layers, you do need.
Global leaders and Israel apologists prattle like birds on a telephone wire the same Israeli talking points: “right to defend itself–squawk!” “Hamas terrorists–squawk!” “human shields–squawk!” “hiding terrorists–squawk!” “protect civilians–squawk! “terror tunnels–squawk!” It’s banal. It’s obscene, because it is propaganda rather than truth. It is easily digestible slogans instead of nuanced analysis. It’s like giving a drink to an alcoholic or a fix to a junkie. Goes down easy. It’s what they know. Hits the pleasure centers in the right spot. But ends up killing them. And if this propaganda goes on much longer, it will not kill 9,000, it will kill 20,000 or 30,000.
Gaza and Total War
Israel’s military strategy follows precisely the parameters its war planners proclaimed: total war. This would not be mowing the grass. This was a fight all the way to the end of the line. To eradicate Hamas, yes. But far beyond that.
US leaders have telegraphed their acceptance of this approach by floating the notion of “what comes after Hamas is defeated.” In other words, after Hamas is totally dismantled and destroyed as a viable entity. They may be thinking of how the west and its regional allies attacked and largely eliminated ISIS as a viable force.
But as this article points out–the proper insurgency analogy for Hamas is not ISIS, but the Vietcong. A people’s army rooted in every home and village. With disciplined political and military cadres operating covertly and overtly everywhere and anywhere. Even when the Vietcong faced the most severe US-Vietnamese attacks, they never wavered. It was their country after all. They could never be defeated in any real sense. And events proved them right. They outlasted the invaders: a Vietcong version of summud.
Gaza, of course, is a much smaller area than Vietnam. So targeting Hamas would be an easier feat. But among 2-million people, you cannot eradicate a movement the people embrace. You would have to eliminate all the people to do that. Which brings me to my next point.
It is very likely, I believe, Israel intends to expel all Gazans. This isn’t just a war to destroy tunnels, or to eliminate Hamas fighters. It wasn’t even exclusively a war to eliminate Hamas. It was a war to make Gaza entirely unlivable. It is total war in an urban setting.
By total war, I mean one that destroys everything. Everything and everyone. Leaving the living to bury the dead…or die trying. The goal is to make Gaza so uninhabitable, that the world will find this version of the Final Solution perhaps unpalatable, but in the end unavoidable.
I can’t think of any modern version of total war comparable to this one. In every similar attack on a major city, the attacker did not intend to render the place permanently unlivable for survivors. Even in the case of the atomic bomb attacks in Japan, the US formed an Occupation government which entirely rebuilt the country, including Hiroshima and Nagasaki, while also creating a new democratic political system. After murdering 500,000 during the infamous Dresden bombing, the city was rebuilt. Only the ruins of the bombed cathedral remained, as a testament to the cruelty and suffering of the War.
There are ancient versions of this, all revolving on conquerors sowing the earth of the vanquished state with salt, so it would be unable to produce anything that could sustain life. In fact, this ancient version of a scorched earth-total war strategy, may originate in the ancient Middle East.
This may Israel’s Total War 2.0: a military strategy “updated” for the modern age. Preferably, it would be studied in military academies more for its horror than for the innovation of tactics or long-term success in achieving political goals.
The first stage of this process is the one we are in now–genocide by degrees. Eliminate neighborhoods, infrastructure, institutions. Render hospitals, schools, businesses either destroyed or inoperable. The latest is they’re even bombing water tanks and solar panels. Because I presume they’re major weapons of war.
People will then die not only from the bombs, but from their untended wounds, starvation, disease, etc. Despite the savagery of Israeli tactics in this stage, eventually the world slowly becomes acclimatized to it. What was once horrifying and downright uncivilized, is now the new normal.
That leads to what may be the next stage: Israel declaring, Gaza is now unlivable. It’s a sad tragic fact of war. We had to do it. They gave us no choice, etc. But guess what, the Israelis could say. Let’s start over. Let’s reconceive what Gaza is.
They might have a hybrid approach to how the post-war landscape will look: perhaps Israeli Jewish settlements, interlaced with Gazans carefully screened by the security apparatus, who are permitted to remain. Or perhaps it would be Palestine-rein (though that might be a bridge too far for a finicky global audience).
Gaza: Nakba 2.0
Israel has already published two separate plans, one produced by a whack job analyst, Amir Weitmann, arguing it would only cost $5-8-billion to resettle Gaza Palestinians in existing or newly built housing stock on the outskirts of Cairo.
In the video below, he tries to tear an RT reporter a new asshole. Pulling an Israeli Rambo, he threatens to personally destroy Russia. Or something.
— 🗣️📢 𝕗𝕣𝕖𝕖 𓂆 𝕡𝕒𝕝𝕖𝕤𝕥𝕚𝕟𝕖 (@ronnie_barkan) October 20, 2023
The other proposal came from the intelligence ministry. It was similar in some respects to the other plan. But it did not offer the newly expelled refugees anything other than tents in the Sinai. As far as this proposal was concerned, Israel dumped them there. It was now someone else’s problem.
Which wasn’t much different than what Israel did after the 1948 War. It expelled a million indigenous Palestinians and foisted them on neighboring Arab countries: your problem, Israel said. These countries now have 5-million Palestinian “problems.”
Media reporting on these two documents noted they weren’t produced by the country’s highest level security think tanks and that the intelligence ministry is really an insignificant backwater as far as government ministries go.
But a different strategy may be involved. These plans may be part of a broader plan. After they are leaked, the government gives them time to be absorbed by Israelis and the world. Then the genocide continues. The body count continues to rise. Savagery even escalates. Pressure builds up. Then Israel says: hey, we have a plan to end all this. No more killing. No more terrorism. No more Palestinian Gaza. Are you interested, world? It is quite possible that so many nations and world leaders will be so outraged by this Israel will pack it in and return to killing business as usual.
But…if Israel preps enough allies, if it gets Biden and Blinken on board. If they lobby the European allies, then Israel may be able to pursue a diabolical plan to its “logical” criminal conclusion. At least that’s what Israel hopes.
Gaza as colony. Israel, US, and European and Arab allies as colonial powers
The US and Israel have cooked up a real stew. They propose that after Hamas is eliminated (a dubious proposition to begin with–but more on that later), an occupation force consisting of American troops would administer Gaza:
The US and Israel are exploring options for the future of the Gaza Strip, including the possibility of a multinational force that may involve American troop…
Plan B involves an Arab multilateral force that would administer Gaza. It has even designated who that could be–none other than the next-up in the Abraham Accords sweepstakes, Saudi Arabia. Yes, those Saudis did such a bang-up job in Yemen, where they not only murdered 80,000 Yemenis, they also slaughtered hundreds of Ethiopian refugees fleeing from Yemen. We want these humanitarians to work their magic in Gaza.
Secretary of State Blinken summed up the (stupid) thinking behind the plan:
“We can’t have a reversion to the status quo with Hamas running Gaza,” Blinken, who will travel to Israel on Friday, told the Senate Appropriations Committee. “We also can’t have — and the Israelis start with this proposition themselves — Israel running or controlling Gaza.”
“Between those shoals are a variety of possible permutations that we’re looking at very closely now, as are other countries,” he said.
So you can’t have Hamas running the show. And Israel wants nothing to do with the job itself because, guess what? It tried it and didn’t work well for them: one of the reasons Sharon so unceremoniously withdrew in 2005. A decision which led–you guessed it–to Hamas’ takeover of Gaza. Israel, of course, wants to foist the unwelcome job on someone, anyone else. Smart move for them. But not for the sucker left holding the bag.
But look at the language of Blinken’s statement. Who’s missing from consideration? Gazans themselves. They are an after thought. Or a non-thought.
The only thing colonial powers understand is who will run things. Not who lives there or what they want. But who’s on top. The problem with that approach is it ends up as all colonizing schemes do–the natives reject the guy running things because they want to run them for themselves. This is precisely the disaster the US is heading for under any of these schemes.
For once in his professional life as a pro-Israel US diplomat, Aaron David Miller is right when he warns:
“The idea of bringing Arab states in to do counter insurgency in Gaza in the wake of the death and destruction that the Israelis have visited is going to be extremely problematic because it would involve Arabs killing Palestinians,” said Aaron David Miller…
You bet. Not only that. It will involve Gazans killing Israel’s Arab stooge occupiers. That’s a message that would resonate with any Gazan.
Oh and here’s another Biden humdinger:
…One option would grant temporary oversight to Gaza to countries from the region, backed by troops from the US, UK, Germany and France. Ideally, it would also include representation from Arab nations such as Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates,
Consider all the vague meaningless unquantifiable terms in this passage: “temporary,” “oversight,” “representation.” These words mean nothing: tissue paper floating on the breeze. What European country in their right mind would want to station troops in a Gaza tinder keg?
It was bad enough for them when they joined multinational forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. At least there was some international consensus behind the US invasion (as wrong as it was). There is no such consensus how to deal with Gaza. They would be walking into a building already on fire.
Which Arab nations would be foolish enough to join this shit show? Of course, those buddy-movie heroes, MBS and MBZ. They’ll go anywhere, do anything: Starve Yemen? Check. Murder Shiite clerics? Check. Fund ISIS? Check. Fund anti-Iran terror? Check. Dissolve dissident journalists in vats of acid? Check.
Israel’s friends at the Washington Institute came up with their own plan. It has as much merit as my last Amazon packing slip:
[It] called for a Palestinian-run interim administration, with the UN Relief and Works Agency continuing to provide food, heath and education.
“Public safety and law enforcement could be directed by a consortium of the five Arab states who have reached peace agreements with Israel—Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco,” Washington Institute scholars wrote in an Oct. 17 note. “Only those Arab states would have Israel’s confidence, which is essential for this effort to succeed.”
So in other words, some Palestinian stooges, presumably the PA since they’re perfect casting for such characters, and UNWRA, will respectively, feed Gazans and administer traffic tickets (if there any cars left); while Abraham Accord stooges do all the heavy-lifting on behalf of Israel. I couldn’t have come with anything better myself (and I didn’t!).
As if reading my mind, Blinken offered fond hopes for PA’s future stooge role. Just not quite yet:
…What would make the most sense would be for an effective and revitalized Palestinian Authority to have governance and ultimately security responsibility for Gaza..
If those aren’t a few choice euphemisms concealing his admission that the PA is a bunch of corrupt aged incompetent grifters.
Media reporting on the various plans say Democratic senators were receptive. I wonder: do they have eyes in their head? Do they read the news? Do they remember when we imposed our own version of “democracy” on captive nations in Afghanistan and Iraq? How well did that end? If any of these harebrained schemes sees the light of day they should all have their heads examined.
But hey, it’s their own party. Let them make the rules. But remember the Pottery Barn rule, which Tom Friedman so infamously and erroneously attributed to Colin Powell: you break it, you buy it. The beauty of the these plans, especially for Israel, is that after they break it, they don’t buy it or fix it. They pawn it off on the Saudis and they “fix” it, as only the Saudis do (cf. Yemen). If Biden thinks that a joint military occupation by European or Arab allies will absolve him of responsibility for the inevitable disaster, he should think again. It won’t. Republicans will see to that. And for once in their lives, they would be right.
Hamas will last
Whatever happens to Hamas during this war, no matter how decisively it has been defeated (which is by no means certain), it will not disappear. It will not be eliminated. You can kill 100,000 Gazans and you will not eradicate it. Like the Vietcong, it is so part of the people the two cannot be separated.
No matter how much propaganda Israel tries to peddle. For example: Whispered in Gaza, a dog and pony show “hosted” by pro-Israel front-man, Dennis Ross, with his Foundation for the Defense of Democracies sidekick, Jonathan Schanzer. I tell you: there’s nothing that validates Israeli genocide more than offering Israelis and the west the delusion that they’re actually helping Gazans. One question? How did they obtain these purported statements from Gazans? Under what guise or pretense? Because even if these statements are genuine (not necessarily established), I guarantee that interviewees were deceived as to the purpose for which their statements would eventually be used. This is plain and simple information warfare. Ross has moved on from US diplomat to propaganda warrior.
That doesn’t mean all Gazans love Hamas. Not all Vietnamese loved the Vietcong. Not all colonial Americans loved the patriots. But Hamas fights. It resists. There is no other force in Palestinian society that fights for its rights against occupiers and oppressors. So until something better comes along, Gazans say this will have to do.
In whatever bright new future the colonial powers have in mind for Gaza, Hamas will not just fade into the mist never to be seen again. It will be there. It will assert itself and its presence. It will resist whoever calls himself a colonial Lord Jim. Doesn’t matter whether its a GI Joe, Saudi commander, or a Jedi knight. They’re all foreign occupiers. All unwelcome. It will be the undying mission of Hamas to rid Gaza of them. And eventually, if it takes a decade or five, it will. My money is riding on it. Colonial powers don’t have a very good, or long track record.
Something better could come along if these powers deciding Gaza’s fate recognized a Gazan voice, and compelled Israel to recognize a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, including free, full and fair elections. Never happen. I know. But I wanted to put out the real and only solution that works. Not the one that these colonial douchebags are sticking together with rubber bands and wood glue.
Gaza: the Biggest Loser
The Biggest Loser–and they always are–are the Gazans. At least one can say that in the Saudi scenario, they aren’t expelled and turned into refugees twice in 75 years. But they would now be under the boot heel of a hated, corrupt, despotic monarchy. If Hamas resonated with Palestinians before–it will even more in this scenario.
The Saudis failed to quell the Yemeni Houthis. In Gaza the conditions would be even less favorable. Despite their Israel-induced deprivation, Gazans are worldly, technologically-adept, politically engaged, etc. They are not tribal kinsman from the mountains. Gazans have as much in common with Saudis as Gigi Hadid has with Tokyo Rose. The Saudis will be as unwelcome occupiers as Israelis.