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Israel’s Rape of Gaza, 2023: A Prelude to Genocide

Dr Can Erimtan
21st Century Wire

“At the moment, the world is watching in horror as Israel is conducting the latest stage in its seemingly endless and relentless campaign of extermination aimed at the population of the Gaza strip,” are words I wrote on 16 July 2014.

Now, nine years later, Bibi (or Israeli PM Netanyahu) has once again vowed to annihilate Hamas. But, as remarked by Professor Efraim Inbar, “Hamas was clearly defeated by Israel in [2014’s] “Operation Protective Edge,’ but not destroyed.” At that time, “[i]ts destruction was not a goal of Israel’s military campaign.” Instead, Inbar explains that “[w]hat Israel wanted was a weakened Hamas to continue to rule Gaza.” In other words, Bibi wanted a manageable and malleable Golem at hand, to use and abuse to serve his own purpose.

Alas, now that plan has backfired . . . or, has it?

Sheer Revenge or Convenient Pretext: The Israeli Assault on Gaza as a Prelude to Genocide

The 10/7 Hamas attack led to a “death toll among Israelis has exceeded 1,200, including more than 120 soldiers.” But Robert Inlakesh and Sharmine Narwani explain that now “[e]vidence is . . . emerging that up to half the Israelis killed were combatants; that Israeli forces were
responsible for some of their own civilian deaths; and that Tel Aviv disseminated false ‘Hamas atrocities’ stories to justify its devastating air assault on Palestinian civilians in Gaza.” Inlakesh and Narwani continue in some detail:

Now, detailed statistics on the casualties released by the Israeli daily Haaretz paint a starkly different picture. As of 23 October, the news outlet has released information on 683 Israelis killed during the Hamas-led offensive, including their names and locations of their deaths on 7 October. Of these, 331 casualties – or 48.4 percent – have been confirmed to be soldiers and police officers, many of them female. Another 13 are described as rescue service members, and the remaining 339 are ostensibly considered to be civilians. While this list is not comprehensive and only accounts for roughly half of Israel’s stated death toll, almost half of those killed in the melee are clearly identified as Israeli combatants.

This sudden eruption of violence in the ‘Holy Land’ has allowed the U.S. and its NATO allies to deflect global public opinion “away from the west’s spectacular debacle in Ukraine,” as expressed by the ever-eloquent Pepe Escobar. As Israel “is [the one] entity on the planet capable of switching [public opinion’s] focus, in a flash.” While the names Zelensky and Putin were on everyone’s lips for weeks and months on end, now the whole world or rather, the global mainstream media, are continuously talking about Hamas and Israel. As Israel’s asymmetric reaction to the Hamas attack has now led to numerous displays of public support for the Palestinians across the world. While, Bibi’s government is seen as responsible for “astonishing military and intelligence failures” that allowed Hamas operatives “to break through Israeli defenses and occupy several towns and kill ravers, peace activists, grandparents, little kids, and entire families.”

The state of Israel, on the other hand, is steadfast in its decison to utilize this crisis to further its own ends, as related in tweet by In Context Media:

On October 24, 2023, a document leaked from Israeli Intelligence Minister Gila Gamliel exposed a plan to transfer Gazans to Sinai, Egypt, as a postwar solution for Gaza. The plan includes the establishment of tent cities in Sinai, creating a human corridor and building new cities in North Sinai for the expelled Palestinians. To prevent the Palestinians from returning, Israel foresees the establishment of a “sterile zone” south of their border with Egypt.

The state of Israel and its military arm, the IDF, are now implementing a policy popularized but not invented by the Serbs in the Nineties: ethnic cleansing, an exercise in forced displacement of people that aims to “eliminate a population from the ‘homeland’ in order to create a more secure, ethnically homogeneous state” or territory as defined by Dr Andrew Bell-Fialkoff in 1993. In practical terms, Gaza without the Gazans, as understood as Muslim Palestinians. And on day 31 of the current crisis in Gaza, the IDF has managed to kill 10,000 Palestinians, the Palestinian health ministry. Adding that a t least 4,000 are children, 2,500 are women and 500 are elderly people, comprising 70 percent of the total death toll. In addition, the Palestinian health ministry indicates that nearly 25,000 more people have been wounded (06 November 2023). The United Nations Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) even tweeting on the same day that “[o]n average, a child is killed and 2 are injured every 10 minutes during the war.”

Yet, one wonders why the IDF is now attempting to accomplish what it could not do earlier. On 28 October 2023, the Israeli news website Local Call published a leak of a ten-page text, detailing the contents of a Israeli Ministry of Intelligence a plan to ethnically cleanse the Gaza Strip of Palestinians – however, this plan has to be understood as an initial policy document and has not yet been formally adopted, as explained by the news & media website Mondoweiss, based in Detroit, MI:

The State of Israel is required to bring about a significant change in the civilian reality in the Gaza Strip in light of Hamas’s crimes that have led to the “Iron Swords” war . . . This document will present three possible alternatives as directives of the political echelon in Israel regarding the future of the civilian population in the Gaza Strip . . . The three alternatives that have been examined are as follows: Alternative A: The population remains in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority rule is imported. Alternative B: The population remains in Gaza and a local Arab administration is fostered. Alternative C: The evacuation of the civilian population from Gaza to Sinai . . . Alternative C is the one that yields positive and long-term strategic results for Israel, but is a challenging one to implement.

And, as it is, the “Pentagon [recently] awarded a multimillion-dollar contract to build U.S. troop facilities for a secret base it maintains deep within Israel’s Negev desert, just 20 miles from Gaza,” as explained by Ken Klippenstein and Daniel Boguslaw. This secret bas carries the code-named ‘Site 512’ and appears to be “focused on Iran, more than 700 miles away.” A former chief analyst at the CIA’s counterterrorism center, Paul Pillar, told the press the following: Sometimes something is treated as an official secret not in the hope that an adversary would never find out about it but rather [because] the U.S. government, for diplomatic or political reasons, does not want to officially acknowledge it . . . In this case, perhaps the base will be used to support  operations elsewhere in the Middle East in which any acknowledgment that they were staged from Israel, or involved any cooperation with Israel, would be inconvenient and likely to elicit more negative reactions than the operations otherwise would elicit. President Joe Biden has dispatched “one of the largest aircraft carriers in the world and an accompanying strike group to the Eastern Mediterranean” – the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (CSG). Additionally, the USS Ford strike group also arrived in the waters of the eastern Mediterranean, including the cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60), as well as destroyers USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116), USS Ramage (DDG 61), USS Carney (DDG 64), and USS Roosevelt (DDG 80). Does this indicate that the Palestinian terror group provided a pretext for Israel to implement a policy of ethnic cleansing in order to safeguard a U.S. military facility that is apparently geared towards the Islamic Republic of Iran?!?? Does this now mean that the policy aims and goals of the U.S. and Israel happen to conspire in such a way that the unspeakable 10/7 Hamas atrocities offered but an ideal pretext to hasten the possible eruption of World War III upon attacking Iran, that would necessarily lead Russia and China to take direct action?!?

The West supports Israel: America leads the way

The historian Derek Penslar, who specializes in studying Zionism and modern Israel, put forward that “American Jewish support for Israel during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War was in part the result of an emotional mobilization.” Going down to the nitty-gritty, Penslar explains:

In 1948 the United Jewish Appeal, the most important vehicle for Jewish fundraising in the United States, released a film depicting the plight of Jewish refugees who had left Europe for Israel, only to be placed in tents in the desert due to a lack of housing . . . The film transparently attempted to induce feelings of both compassion and guilt in the viewer. The manipulation of emotion, however, is only successful if the recipient of the message is receptive to an emotional appeal . . . But the emotional message of this film hit its target—and was replicated in a vast body of American Jewish fundraising material in 1948. In the year of the creation of the state of Israel, the United Jewish Appeal raised $150 million, a sum worth ten times that in today’s currency.

In successive years and decades, the U.S. people and government have continued to put their money where their mouths are – the Congressional Research Service indicates that “Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II . . . To date, the United States has provided Israel $158 billion (current, or noninflation-adjusted, dollars) in bilateral assistance and missile defense funding. At present, almost all U.S. bilateral aid to Israel is in the form of military assistance; from 1971 to 2007, Israel also received significant economic assistance.” And according to the website USA FACTS, “[t]he United States committed over $3.3 billion in foreign assistance to Israel in 2022, the most recent year for which data exists. About $8.8 million of that went toward the country’s economy, while 99.7% of the aid went to the Israeli military.”

Does this mean that the U.S. is effectively bankrolling the current Israeli assault on Gaza under the pretext of revenge for the Hamas atrocities?!?

Eyeless in Gaza: No Future

The Grayzone’s Max Blumenthal tweeted that “Israel has destroyed and/or bombed every university in Gaza and bombed multiple hospitals, now including the pediatric oncology ward of Al-Rantisi. Meanwhile, a ‘senior security source’ in the Israeli govt has claimed 20,000 – or 1% of Gaza’s entire population – has been killed. But it’s not enough for Israeli civil society: In the past week, 100 Israeli doctors, including pediatricans, have signed a letter urging more attacks on hospitals, while 50 Israeli rabbis have issued a letter giving halakhic approval to bomb medical facilities in Gaza” (3:24 am 6 Nov 2023). Adding that Israeli doctors have proclaimed that “the residents of Gaza” have “brought their annihilation upon themselves.” The Gaza strip has been in the news constantly over the past days and weeks, even succeeding in bursting the Ukraine bubble and relegating Zelensky to a lower billing. As horrendous as the Hamas attack was, the IDF’s actions are no less brutal and inhuman. And in this context, I would like to turn to the admirable and tenacious Dr Norman Finkelstein – famous or infamous for coining the term The Holocaust Industry in 2000 — who could not remain silent under the present circumstances. Speaking to the Anadolu Ajansı ‘s İslam Doğru, Finkelstein minced no words:

For most people, it is very easy to condemn Hamas as ‘despicable murderers’, etc. I think this is a more complex moral question. How do you morally evaluate the actions of most of the militants who rushed through the gates of the Gaza border [to Israel], born in a concentration camp, who have spent their entire lives in this concentration camp from day one? A place where the world’s most densely populated area, with a length of about 40 kilometers and a diameter of 5 kilometers, is locked in, where no one can enter or leave, with very few exceptions, with no job opportunities, no future. You are caught in a black hole. You have no past, no future, and no present.

Dr Finkelstein then tries to look into the future and with a sad voice concludes that “Israel will proceed with its plan to evacuate the region they refer to as the northern part of Gaza and almost certainly declare it a new security zone. Half of Gaza’s population will be pushed to the south of Gaza. How will these people live in the south? I believe Israel will simply say, ‘This is not our problem; it’s Egypt’s problem,’ and the US will likely accept this.”  But, he concedes, there are many variables at play still, notably Hezbollah in Lebanon.

As illustrated by Al Jazeera, reporting that three children and their grandmother have been killed, after an Israeli strike targeted a civilian car in southern Lebanon. Their mother is severely injured. Lebanon’s Foreign Minister says the country will submit a complaint to the UN over the killing of civilians. The Israeli army claims it hit a vehicle ‘identified as a suspected transport for terrorists’. Hezbollah said its fighters fired rockets into Israel in response. An Israeli civilian was killed in the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona. If these minor skirmishes were to escalate, the possibility of a wider conflagration could even usher in a worldwide armed conflict, as allies and their dependencies would become embroiled. And in turn, the Palestine conflict could very well turn into another battlefield for the New Cold War as the war in the Ukraine has now all but ended.

Russian President Vladimir Putin told a meeting in Moscow recently that “[i]t’s easy to throw a spark, very easy. With the horrors happening there, it’s easy to do . . . When you look at the suffering and bloodied children, your fists clench and tears come to your eyes. This is the reaction of any normal person. If there is no such reaction, then a person does not have a heart, it is made of stone.” In contrast, the U.S. appears to remain committed to its annual investments in the Middle East, as expressed by Secretary of State Antony Blinken:

And as I’ve said and said repeatedly, and as President Biden has said and has said repeatedly, we stand strongly with and behind Israel in its right and obligation to defend itself, defend its people, and take the steps necessary to try to ensure that this never happens again. Nothing has changed and that won’t change.

In reality though, the world has already changed. And America can no longer claim to be the “indispensable nation,” as so boastfully claimed by political journalist Sidney Blumenthal and foreign policy historian James Chace in 1996. Leaving Ankara, Secretary of State Blinken addressed the press using words to the effect that the U.S. continues to be the world’s top dog . . . but the rise (and fall) of China, the aspiring BRICS nations, continuing de-Dollarization and the débâcle in the Ukraine all but underline that the world is now on the brink of a new future. Will the rape of Gaza constitute the fuse that will light the way to a brave new world, a brave new world without an American spectre casting its shadow across the globe?!?

21WIRE special contributor Dr. Can Erimtan is an independent historian and geo-political analyst who used to live in Istanbul. At present, he is in self-imposed exile from Turkey. He has a wide interest in the politics, history and culture of the Balkans, the greater Middle East, and the world beyond. He attended the VUB in Brussels and did his graduate work at the universities of Essex and Oxford. In Oxford, Erimtan was a member of Lady Margaret Hall and he obtained his doctorate in Modern History in 2002. His publications include the revisionist monograph “Ottomans Looking West?” as well as numerous scholarly articles. In Istanbul, Erimtan started publishing in the English language Turkish press, culminating in him becoming the Turkey Editor of the İstanbul Gazette. Subsequently, he commenced writing for RT Op-Edge, NEO, and finally, the 21st Century Wire. You can find him on Twitter at @TheErimtanAngle. Read Can’s archive here.

READ MORE PALESTINE NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Palestine Files





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