Israel is, once again, beating the war drums against Gaza. This time it is on the grounds of the missiles from Sinai that hit Israel, which it claims came from Gaza (or rather its launchers). However, it knows with certainty that Hamas, or any other known Palestinian group, have nothing to do with the Eilat missiles, but insists on punishing Gaza, along with its people and political groups, for something they didn’t do. Netanyahu frankly said that Gaza must pay the price for “the two Eilat missiles.”
Anyone reading Israel’s positions and statements following the two Eilat missiles definitely realises that the centre of gravity in Israel’s current thought is no longer clipping Gaza’s claws and teeth, rather turning its people and resistance into border guards, assigning or authorising them to guard the geographic borders of Gaza, along with its surrounding ground and maritime borders.
Since no one in the Gaza Strip would, under any circumstances or threats, accept this dirty job Israel will use its military power to raise the material and human expense for anything coming out of the Gaza Strip or its surroundings. Not only for the resistance and factions in Gaza, but for its people, infrastructure, its resources, and means of survival. Israel will make the Gazans think twice before launching missiles or projectiles from Gaza or its parties, even if those launching them are not from Gaza or those with ‘international Jihad’ agendas who are not, in any way, associated with the national cause to liberate Palestine.
This is the same equation that has been used by Israel while dealing with the Palestinian Authority (PA), the PLO, Fatah, and Yasser Arafat for years since the establishment of the PA (1994) until the building of the protection barrier in 2002. This equation was used when it wanted to take out its anger and destroy the PA’s institutions, agencies, and infrastructure in response to every operation carried out by Hamas or the resistance groups who did not recognise the Oslo Accords or its authority. This then led to the destruction of the PA and the assassination of Yasser Arafat, justified by ‘the war on terror’ and the rest of the dramatic events known to all.
This is the same equation that dictated Israel’s behaviour in Lebanon, when all of Lebanon’s infrastructure in various areas (with no discretion) became targets for Israel’s air and naval forces, in retaliation for every operation carried out by the resistance and Hezbollah on Israeli targets (most of which were military). This was an effort on Israel’s part to raise the civil, economic, and human costs of these operations in order to change the public opinion of those carrying out the operations and to send a clear message to those concerned that the destructive punishment is inevitable.
This is the mind-set of kidnapping and taking hostages, but it is being exercised on an entire country, and its victims are not just a few individuals or isolated organisations, but an entire society, country, and nation. This is what elevates Israel’s behaviour in Palestine and Lebanon to the level of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and this is what elevated Israel’s collective terrorism to the terrorism of a country.
Currently, the goal is to have Gaza pay the price for the outburst of the fundamentalist groups in the entire region, especially in Sinai, which has turned into a ‘Jihad battlefield’ for some of the more extreme movements, as well as those being fought by the West in Mali and supported in Syria. The aim is to have Gaza become the fuel not only for Israel’s war against the Palestinian resistance, but also for the Israeli-Western war on terrorism. Unfortunately, all this is happening amidst conspiring silence, armed with double standards and hypocritical talk that conceals the actions of various regional and international capitals.
Gaza is in for a new round of operations, like Pillar of Cloud and Cast Lead, in light of the continued internal Palestinian division and the long absence of the Arabs and their neglect of their main cause. Furthermore, since Egypt is distracted with its ever-growing internal crises, Gaza has a date with pain and suffering, and unless diplomacy is successful in holding back the raging Israeli bull, Gaza is in for a new wave of endurance, resistance, and heroism. After losing the luxury of timing its wars and battles, Gaza now needs to tune its life to the rhythm of Israel’s aggression stemming from every direction.
The author is the Director, AL Quds Center for Political Studies, Jordan.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.