Reports in the Times of Israel have not yet exhausted their Iran-Hamas rhetoric. Coinciding with affirmations that Hamas military commander Mohammed Deif survived an Israeli assassination attempt during Operation Protective Edge last summer, Israel’s media has focused on the cross-border tunnel network, as well as Iran’s military and financial assistance to Hamas; the intention is to set the scene for another military offensive against the Palestinians in Gaza.
Tunnel reconstruction in Gaza, which the UN, at the behest of Israel and the US, had outlawed ineffectively, has continued to provide a backdrop to any future violence perpetrated by Israel. According to the Times of Israel, “The IDF is training for the possible reconquering of the entire coastal Palestinian territory in a future confrontation with the Islamic organisation [Hamas].”
During the course of Operation Protective Edge, Israel and the US toyed with the possibility of the compliant Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority regaining control of Gaza, a hypothesis shattered before it took shape. While further violence against Palestinians in Gaza has been cited routinely by several Israeli ministers, even in the immediate aftermath of last summer’s brutal massacre, Israel’s agenda is a conglomeration of tactics that clearly portray the reality of its colonisation of Palestine. Striking Gaza, according to Israel’s military command, “is only a matter of time.”
Hence, the intent to increase rhetoric about Iranian aid to Hamas and enforce further deprivation upon the Palestinians in Gaza because, says the Times of Israel, the Israeli leadership “would prefer to face a weakened Hamas than the anarchy of unruly organisations, some of which harbour extremist Islamist ideologies.” Israel has utilised the “Islamist” jargon in several contexts, this time usurping the terminology as partial justification for its strategy of deprivation of basic necessities from Gaza’s civilian population.
“With the Egyptian border closed indefinitely to Gaza,” says the Times of Israel article, “the impoverished, devastated Strip grows increasingly dependent on Israel for its sustenance.” Deprivation and dependence enforced by Israel upon Gaza have taken a sinister twist, especially within the context of reconstruction and the attempts to thwart Hamas’s defence of the besieged enclave.
In Haaretz, Hamas is described as having distanced itself from the reconstruction process, conveniently neglecting the fact that the resistance movement was marginalised from the process intentionally by those with vested interests that Gaza remains an enclave of perpetually displaced Palestinians. However, the argument is nothing but a pretext to shift the focus upon tunnel reconstruction and, according to the newspaper, Mohammed Deif’s role in training engineers to assemble rockets to be used in defence of Gaza; thus, in turn, it seeks erroneously to justify Israel’s forthcoming brutality.
Haaretz juxtaposes Hamas’s defence strategies against humanitarian concerns in Gaza, seeking to project blame upon the resistance movement for the failed reconstruction process that has proved to be farcical since its inception. As in other instances, the Israeli media seeks to bring forth the flawed argument that Palestinian humanitarian concerns would be eradicated if Hamas complies with externally imposed conditions. Israel’s deprivation tactics have already elicited some necessary, albeit unfortunate compromise, as regards the import of goods from the settler-colonial state to alleviate basic human needs. However, Israel’s ultimate aim is to enforce deprivation that hinders Hamas’s defence capabilities, hence the incessant focus and collaboration with Egypt about tunnel reconstruction. Ultimately, the aim is to prevent the Palestinians from utilising their territory with any degree of autonomy.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.