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The era of 'fortress Israel' is over

Ali Jaradat

September 1, 2014

Just as it is not possible for the Palestinian resistance or any armed popular resistance movement to achieve a decisive knockout victory in a short amount of time, it is also not possible for Israel, like any occupying army, to deter the Palestinian resistance and to prevent the development of its cultural and structural forms. It was upon this general rule that the war between Zionist forces and the Palestinian resistance in Gaza was based.

Therefore, just as the Palestinian resistance has yet to achieve a victory against the occupation, at least in terms of forcing Israeli forces to withdraw from the occupied 1967 territories, Israel has also not been able to break the will of the Palestinian people and prevent them from developing despite the fact that Israel's army is undoubtedly the strongest in the region. In fact, the Palestinian resistance is present in many forms and in many areas of the Gaza Strip and the Israeli army was unable to defeat these resistance forces despite its vast supply of sophisticated weaponry. Although the Israeli army is known to some as being the "invincible army", it was unable to eradicate the Palestinian resistance.

The historical factors that have governed the Arab struggle with Israel become even more significant when considering the War of Attrition (March 1969-September 1970) and the joint efforts of the Syrian and Egyptian armies in 1973. These two moments in history, when paired with the Camp David agreement, can be considered the factors that put an end to the dream of a "Greater Israel", because of the Israeli government was forced to hand over Sinai. Moreover, the work of the Lebanese resistance front, which forced Israeli forces to withdraw from southern Lebanon in 2000, and the subsequent Israeli defeat in Lebanon in 2006, completely shattered the notion of Israeli invincibility despite Hassan Nasrallah's claim that Israel was nothing more than a "house of cards".

One can say that Israel is no longer what it once was and this can be said without taking its abilities lightly. Israel is no longer capable of achieving clear and concise victories nor can it continue to deter resistance or threats that come its way. Thus, the Israeli government practices racism to the point of fascism and continues to commit massacres against civilian populations, including women, children and the elderly. All of these game changers are what will force Israel out of its place of privilege as the world's favourite child and when that happens, it can no longer continue to be a state above international law. I believe that this is one of Israel's biggest losses due to its ongoing massacre of the Palestinian people. How?

At the end of the first month of the most recent war on Gaza, the Israeli army ended its limited ground offensive in Gaza and was not able to fully undermine the resistance's apparent victory, which ultimately gave Netanyahu's government room to dictate the grounds of the ceasefire. Yet, the fascist nature of this government eventually led to its lack of cooperation in the ceasefire negotiations and increased its drive to practice violence against the Palestinian people. They believed that in doing this, they would be able to break the will of the Palestinian people and their resistance and force them to accept one of the three following conditions: either Israel lifts the siege on Gaza in exchange for disarming the resistance, or peace (as in a ceasefire) in exchange for peace on both sides, or that the Palestinians cooperate to meet Israel's security needs in exchange for Israel cooperating to meet Gaza's humanitarian needs.

It was here that Netanyahu and his government of settler-colonialists realised that it would be impossible to achieve any of these three goals without prolonging the violence and deepening the bounds of their ground invasion by taking complete control of the Gaza Strip. Although the Israeli government and army are more than capable of achieving these motives, a comprehensive and total occupation of the Gaza Strip is an outcome that the Israelis have been avoiding for years. Thus, Netanyahu and company's threats to fully occupy the Gaza Strip are nothing more than empty threats because they fear this outcome the same way that humans fear a plague. The Israeli government's threats to re-launch their ground offensive on Gaza not only function as talking points for the ceasefire negotiations, but they also solidify Israel's intention of separating Gaza from the West Bank geographically, politically and in terms of resistance and political fate. What does all this mean?

The Israeli army's failures in their latest barbaric war on the Gaza Strip not only demonstrate the failures of Netanyahu, Ya'alon and Gants, as the opposition would undoubtedly express; however, they also solidify that the golden era of Israeli expansionism, the idea of a "Greater Israel" and the privileges that Israel once enjoyed as the world's rogue state are now a thing of the past that will never return.

I say this knowing full well that the Israeli government's barbaric aggressions against the Palestinian people have not come to an end and that they will not stop in the near future. I say this despite the fact that the massacres will continue and despite the fact that the Obama administration, like all American administrations before it, will not stop funding these massacres because of Israel's inherent "right to defend itself".

The United States continues to act as if Israel is not responsible for countless fascist policies against anything that may be Palestinian or as if Israel has not been the sole party responsible for 20 years of failed negotiations. The United States blindly funds Israel despite the fact that it has pushed the members of Palestinian society to the point of implosion. And yet, the American administration goes on talking about the Palestinian people's right to determination and human rights as if it wasn't America that continues to encourage Israel to systematically cleanse the Palestinians through years of genocide. The US has yet to admit that it is the American administration that keeps Israel from being condemned by the International Criminal Court and other global institutions of international law. However, one cannot ignore the fact that the Arab governments have also failed to provide the Palestinians with a true sense of support. Despite all of these factors, one cannot ignore that Israel's position on the global and political stage is no longer the same.

Take the following factors as examples of how Israel's era of power is over:

How can a sane person believe that the Israeli army, which was not capable of achieving a clear decisive victory in the Gaza Strip, would one day be able to defeat the Lebanese national army in a battle on their front? One must not forgot that the Lebanese army has sophisticated weapons and training and possesses the ability to strike their target with precision and accuracy.

How can a sane person believe that the Israeli army, which was not capable of achieving a clear decisive victory in the Gaza Strip, would one day be able to win in a war with Iran, a war that Netanyahu continues to call for and claims he would win if it was waged?

In a nutshell: Many of the lessons that we have learnt from Israel's latest war on Gaza have demonstrated that the Israeli army was unable to defeat the Palestinian resistance and disarm them and yet what this also demonstrates is that Israel no longer "sits in its magical castle above the law". Israel is no longer invincible. Yet, this new reality runs contrary to the core ideology of today's Zionist rulers who continue to argue that the Arab governments are vulnerable and have abandoned their national duty to defend their people and continue to take part in American-backed negotiations, which falsely argue that they will result in "land in exchange for peace". This is the notion that was sanctified by the Madrid Conference and for 20 years American and global leaders have argued that the ability to achieve peace is in American hands. However, our practical and hands-on experience shows that 99 per cent of the reasons that the war has continued are American and that 99 per cent of the failures of the negotiations are due to American and Israeli motives. More importantly, 99 per cent of the reasons behind the conflict are American and 99 per cent of the responsibilities for Zionist massacres against the Palestinian people lie in American hands.

Translated from Al-Ayyam newspaper, 27 August, 2014



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