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Colonialism's input on reinvention

The claims in the Israeli media that another tunnel has been discovered has provided yet another opportunity to flaunt both belligerence and aggressive rhetoric against Palestinian resistance. Replete with both time frames and warnings, the latest Israeli rhetoric is a recapitulation of the previous occasions when Israel required a sustained terror narrative despite its combined efforts with Egypt to destroy the Palestinians' tunnel network.

According to the Times of Israel, the tunnel was discovered by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) "inside Israeli territory". The report claimed that it is a recent excavation, an allegation denied by Hamas and, it seems, by Israeli defence officials who stated that "most of the tunnel was dug before the 2014 war".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lauded the technology used in detecting tunnel construction. "In recent days, the State of Israel has achieved a world breakthrough in its efforts to locate tunnels," he proclaimed. "That doesn't exist anywhere else. We checked the entire world." Unintentionally, I'm sure, his statement confirms that this is probably because Israel is the only expanding colonial presence in the world that is condoned by the international community. Netanyahu is, in fact, gloating about technology developed to sustain its illegal presence in occupied Palestinian territory.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, meanwhile, is clearly availing himself of the opportunity to further manipulate history and memory. Commenting upon the recent news and with reference to Israel's 2014 colonial offensive, he stated, "Hamas has not been deterred from reinventing itself, as we have consistently warned."

The metaphor of reinvention is one that Israel applies consistently to justify its own phases of existence. Bennett's reference to Hamas in terms of reinvention is indeed grotesque and requires careful thought. Primarily, the definition attached to the tunnels holds no equivalence to their uses in the Palestinian narrative. Hence, deterrence cannot be determined by Israel and, as a consequence, neither can reinvention. Israel has manipulated its warped limits by extrapolating a means of defence for the Palestinians and extinguishing its essence to suit its own narrative which, unfortunately, has been absorbed by mainstream international rhetoric. However, attempting an external imposition upon Palestinian narratives is something which is resisted by ordinary Palestinians and resistance factions alike, including Hamas, thus invalidating any spurious Israeli talk of reinvention and deterrence. The use of territory for tunnels is an integral part of anti-colonial struggle; to expect further fragmentation of Palestinian self-defence is abominable.

If the reinvention discourse were to be applied to Israel, we do not even need to navigate any further back than 2014 and the rapidly changing excuses given for Gaza's destruction and reduction to a fragment of its former self by the Israeli military offensive, as well as the creation of "buffer zones" by Israel which have reduced the enclave's area still more. The tactic is to project Israel's premeditated violence upon Palestinian efforts at strengthening resistance, regardless of whether or not another bout of aggression against Gaza is imminent. It is imperative to distance one's self from the interpretations that Israel intends to disseminate, thus avoiding the propaganda trap which Netanyahu envisaged through his appointment of Bennett as education minister. Far from disseminating probability and speculation, the recent news and ensuing projection is nothing other than a deceitful attempt to illustrate and extend Israel's impunity well before the next massacre it commits, when international media will again transform the cold-blooded mass murder of Palestinians into sensational reporting and, ultimately, consign it to oblivion.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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