Nov 13,2018 -JORDAN TIMES –
Hasan Abu Nimah
Two days ago, there was an Israeli military incursion into Gaza. An assassination squad crossed the border into southern Gaza in a disguised vehicle, to murder a resistance Hamas leader. They were detected just as they managed to hit their intended target. The firefight that erupted while the murderers were trying to escape back across the border into Israel resulted in many casualties. One Israeli officer was killed and two others were injured. On the Palestinian side, there were seven deaths and about the same number of injuries.
To guarantee a secure retreat, the Israeli assassination squad enlisted help from their air force, which proceeded to fiercely bomb targets in Gaza. The Palestinian resistance retaliated with volleys of rockets on neighbouring Israeli targets.
All this was sparked by blatant Israeli provocation, which could have escalated into a full-scale war. The region is so volatile that any spark could cause a devastating explosion; the last thing any party in our region can afford, Israel in particular.
Israel’s track record consists of countless assassinations of Palestinian targets around the world, as well as cross-border raids into neighbouring countries.
In the past few years, Israeli raids on Syrian targets have been routine. No blame has ever been placed on Israel for violating international law in committing such aggression, or even when openly threatening more aggression. No one blames Israeli fighter planes for violating Lebanese airspace on their way to Syrian targets.
Israel took advantage of the fact that the Syrian government was in no position to retaliate in view of the situation in the country. It is necessary to ask what such aggressive raids have achieved, other than deepening the hatred and the hostility to a level that no amount of future reconciliation, once that may happen, would be able to heal.
In this case, why should we consider this raid on Gaza to be a surprise, or an exception to the norm?
In fact, it is neither.
Israel did not deny this recent botched covert military operation in Gaza; it just denied that the purpose was the assassination of the Hamas leader. It was an intelligence collection mission that “went awry”, the Israelis said, even after the assassination had taken place.
What is very odd about the timing of this attack, however, is that it happened just as Egyptian efforts to broker an open-ended truce between Gaza and Israel were about to reach a positive conclusion.
Despite the huge contrast between the two situations in Gaza and in Israel, which falls clearly in Israel’s favour in every possible aspect, Israel needed the truce as much as Gaza did.
Israel is not under siege as Gaza is and Gaza’s resistance forces are no match for Israel’s military might, and yet, Israel still needed assistance from the Egyptians to reach a state of calm.
Had it not been initiated by Israel, this reckless assassination adventure into Gaza would have been seen as an attempt to sabotage the Egyptian truce effort. It appears, therefore, that Israel is prepared and willing to sabotage its own schemes.
Israel complains incessantly that it is threatened by surrounding enemies: It crows about peace and constantly claims that all it seeks is to live in peace with its neighbours. Towards that claim Israeli leaders have demonised the Palestinians as terrorists and any effort on their part to reject the siege or the occupation, however peaceful, is deemed as blatant terror.
The common formula in most of the grovelling Western media is that Israel’s aggression is always seen as justified self-defence; while real acts of legitimate Palestinian self-defence are routinely condemned as acts of terror.
For years, “peace loving Israel” has been fiercely trying to instigate a war on Iran. Its efforts in this direction remain in full force with its relentless attempts to recruit allies and sponsors. Israel’s hand in all previous wars in the region cannot be denied, particularly the disastrous US-led war on Iraq in 2003. Unfortunately, much of the world submits to Israel’s aggression, with no serious efforts to demand accountability for its constant violations of international law, despite the fact that in this region, and perhaps further afield, no peace, no political stability and no normal life can ever prevail while Israeli aggression remains unchecked.