Originally posted 12-Jan-09 at truepolitik.myperspective.org.au
Israel’s retaliative assault on Hamas has been going for 17 days, since 27 December 2008. Dr Muawiya Hassanein, the head of Gaza emergency services, says almost 900 people of Gaza have been killed, including more than 270 children. Some of those children died as Israel attacked clearly identified UN schools, whose GPS locations were known to Israeli commanders.
Israel stated its objective was to eliminate/destroy Hamas. This gives the Israeli military a chance to flex its muscle, particularly as its political leaders ignored requests from the UN and France for a peaceful resolution. The destruction of Hamas is a politically popular “ideal” among Israelis, but is unrealistic. Not even the partial genocide by Israel has been able to eliminate Hamas. Here we can branch into internal politics: Israel will have an election on 10 February 2009, brought about by Prime Minster Ehud Olmert as leader of the Kadima Party. His then Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, was unable to form a viable coalition government. There is much jockeying by various party leaders to be seen to be tough on Hamas, and the war certainly helps them. Hamas and Fatah are in limbo over how to manage the end of Mahmoud Abbas’s official term as President of the Palestinian National Authority (on 9 January)
There is justifiable international condemnation of the excessive response by Israel, and of the use of civilian areas for rocket launching by Hamas, but this war is about Israeli and Palestinian/Hamas politics, muscle-flexing, and religious & racial hatred by both sides. Israeli politicians will be looking to ‘ease-off’ and secure a tenuous, “victorious” peace before the elections in February. It will nevertheless have failed to achive its stated objective - the destruction of Hamas. For its part, Hamas will also have failed to achieve the destruction of Israel. Both sides have ignored UN resolutions, and approaches from France and Egypt.
The real tragedy surrounding the death of so many civilians and children, and the 3 Israeli civilians, is that no-one will be held accountable. No one!
PS This month (Jan-09) Israel said it would legislate to protect its politicians and military from any consequences of war crimes!