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Occupying the Rafah Crossing is no real victory for Netanyahu

May 13, 2024 at 11:58 am

Israeli tanks are seen by the border as the Israeli army announced that it has taken control of the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing in Rafah, Gaza on May 06, 2024 [IDF – Handout/Anadolu Agency]

Was anyone surprised that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s insane determination to stay in power led to him sending tanks to the Palestinian side of the Rafah Crossing on the Gaza-Egypt border, lowering the Palestinian flag and raising the Israeli flag? He is defeated and he knows it. His desperation to achieve any of his goals that he announced when he launched Israel’s latest military offensive on 7 October is pitiful to watch.

This offensive has shaken the world and exposed the weakness of the Zionist entity, which cannot act without massive amounts of military and financial support from the US and other allies. The image of the “Israel Defence Forces” being invincible and “the most moral army in the world” has been shown by the Palestinian resistance fighters and the disgusting acts of Israeli soldiers to be false propaganda.

Israel has revealed its true racist face and its brutal criminality for the whole world to see.

Unable to engage professionally with the urban guerrilla warfare of the resistance fighters, the occupation army has instead vented its anger and frustration on defenceless Palestinian civilians, mainly children, women and the elderly. Well over 100,000 Palestinians have been killed or wounded; tens of thousands of homes have been destroyed or seriously damaged. Civilian infrastructure including schools, universities and hospitals have been targeted and destroyed, as have Christian and Muslim places of worship. Patients and staff have been killed mercilessly in hospitals, and hundreds of academics and teachers have been killed in Israel’s cowardly genocide.

Soldiers in the so-called Israel “Defence” Forces are merely thugs in uniform, acting in the worst possible tradition of the Zionist terrorists such as the Irgun, the Stern Gang and the Haganah, which were the IDF’s forerunners. Forget about Hamas and 7 October as “the reason” for this Israeli carnage; the occupation state has always sought to kill or expel as many Palestinians as possible.

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Netanyahu appears to have lost his mind during this, Israel’s longest-ever war. He has been unable to fulfil any of the promises he made to the Israeli people. His army hasn’t freed any hostages held in Gaza, but has apparently killed a number with its bombs and missiles. He also failed to eliminate Hamas within a week, as he had claimed he would do; the movement still has the military capability to attack Israeli troops everywhere across Gaza.

Displaced Palestinians struggle to survive in tents in Rafah [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Displaced Palestinians struggle to survive in tents in Rafah – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Meanwhile, the head of the most extreme right-wing government in Israel’s history of right-wing governments is living out a fantasy with his delusions of being able to crush Hamas and force it to surrender, lay down its arms and leave the Gaza Strip. Likewise, he is fantasising about using brute force to get the hostages back, even though earlier hostage exchange deals have been negotiated with the resistance movement. It is a fact acknowledged by Western research and strategic studies centres and even Israeli military leaders that the Hamas ideology that govern its actions has at its heart the liberation of Palestine from Israeli occupation, and legitimate — under international law — resistance to that occupation. We know from history that beliefs do not die, even if their advocates or supporters are killed. Someone else is always there to pick up the flag and carry on.

Netanyahu is facing a massive loss of confidence in himself and his government at home and abroad. Mass demonstrations take place within the occupation state calling for him to accept a hostage deal with Hamas. The Israeli economy is collapsing due to his reckless, vengeful war. That’s why he felt the need to take the Rafah Crossing and raise the Israeli flag there in what is a Pyrrhic victory.

The Rafah Crossing is located on the border with Egypt, which is separated by the “Philadelphi Corridor” buffer or safe zone. For Israeli troops to enter that zone threatens the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty, because it is an important strategic position for both Egypt and the Gaza Strip; it is Egypt’s gateway to Palestine and the only land outlet for the Gaza Strip to the outside world. The city of Rafah is just two kilometres from Egypt, and 1.3 million displaced Palestinians are under Israeli bombardment there. Israel seems to be taking the war to the very edge of a state with which it has a peace treaty, and Netanyahu seems to be prepared to sacrifice this in order to stay in power and out of prison (he still faces corruption and fraud charges).

The longer that Netanyahu prolongs the war against the Palestinian in Gaza, the worse his situation becomes, and the more stubborn he becomes. With no easy escape route in sight, the more capable the resistance becomes of imposing its conditions on any deal. Netanyahu is driving himself into a corner in his anger and his shame.

By storming the Rafah Crossing and portraying it as a victory over Hamas he has gained nothing but some ridiculous propaganda. He knows this, but went ahead anyway to stave off the collapse of his extremist government a little longer. However, it will lead to greater losses, a much harder fall, and an even more shameful failure for the leader of the apartheid state.

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