A dead end – Gaza is theatre of war, the world is watching

In Gaza the dead are being counted after yet another aggression of the Israeli State. The siege and suffocation of this plot of land, which is the Gaza strip, are accomplished facts since a long time ago. The bloody military incursions are simply their horrible confirmation.

The arrogance with which the Israeli army is waging its operations under the camera lenses of the entire world press is striking. But it could only still surprise those who naively believed that politics and international interests are directed by codes of moral conduct. World politics are as pragmatic as they are opportunistic.

The cynical conclusion of this military action is that there are two victors: Hamas and the Israeli State. Hamas can brag about itself simply because it still exists tout court, after yet another aggression by one of the most impressive military powers in the world. And even more, since this military power has not completely occupied the Gaza strip – according to Hamas, undoubtedly also a consequence of its “resistance”; a resistance which mainly consisted of launching rockets in the direction of Israeli territory, striking completely random targets (and in the vast majority of cases not striking anything at all). The power position of Hamas has hardly been disrupted – because who else could claim to be able to protect the inhabitants of the Gaza strip from total elimination?

The Israeli State has once again legitimized the necessity of an operation by the operation itself. Dozens of tunnels escaping its control have been destroyed, “terrorist bases” directly threatening its security have been wiped off the face of the earth. What obedient citizen could then still question the necessity of this operation? Meanwhile, the rhetoric of war and militarization dominate the Israeli society. The real contradictions in this society (racist discriminations and class conflicts) are covered up by the “threat of a common enemy”. And the more brutalities the Israeli State commits in the name of the Israeli population, the more this population becomes dependent on that same State to protect themselves against possible attempts at vengeance. The less people with an Israeli passport in their pockets resist against the terror of the Israeli State, the more the arbitrary actions of vengeance get favorable reception.

The myth of the “two-state solution”

The Palestinian flag may well be waved everywhere as a symbol of resistance against the Israeli colonization, yet the existence of the Palestinian Authority has above all benefitted the Israeli State. The Gaza strip which officially contains no more Israeli settlers (since Sharon forced all of them in 2005 to leave the Gaza strip) is totally monitored by the Israeli State. The inhabitants of Gaza are totally dependent for their daily survival on the power games of Hamas and the Israeli State. On the West Bank, space of movement is progressively limited by the Israeli army (often also with the collaboration of the Palestinian Authority) and the settlers. Economical survival largely depends on the “neighbouring country”. The Israeli army can do whatever it likes to “protect the security and integrity of its territory and population,” without having to bear any responsibility for the fate of the inhabitants of Palestinian territories (at least, not for those who aren’t settlers). A Palestinian State which would put a halt to the daily humiliations of its subjects is nothing more than an illusion. In reality the Palestinian Authority, this embryo of a future State, contributes to the oppression of the population on its own initiative or on demand of the Israeli State. The “two-state solution” is therefore not only a dead end, it is also to the benefit of the Israeli State without anyone realizing it.

And yes, nowadays in Israel voices are pleading for more steps in the direction of a full recognition of a Palestinian State. These voices are afraid of an implosion of the Palestinian Authority, which would oblige the Israeli State to recognize all inhabitants of Palestinian territories as Israeli citizens. And that would complicate the maintaining and legitimating of the apartheid system. In short: an implosion of the Palestinian Authority would damage the Zionist project of an Israel as “Jewish State”.

Even if the scenario of the two States would become reality, this would therefore not at all mark a step on the road towards a “just society” for the whole population. Without a doubt, this new State would find other ways to feed and exploit the racist and sectarian demarcations amongst its subjects, as all States do. The military occupation and the daily humiliation would only change face.

Two States or one State, neither of these perspectives are means of emancipation for the inhabitants of the Israeli and Palestinian territories.

The empty rhetoric of the Resistance

The defense of the “Palestinian cause” has often been used to ends of internal politics by all kinds of leaders of “anti-imperialist” regimes (with pan-Arabist, socialist, or Islamist discourses). When these regimes, like the Syrian dictatorship of Assad or the theocratic regime of Iran, supported the Palestinian resistance organizations, they didn’t do this to support the struggle for freedom, but to dominate and channel the Palestinian revolt which has inspired so many fights elsewhere, and which always risks to do the same in these “supporting” regimes. Today, it is clear that, no matter how difficult it may be, it is absolutely necessary to give birth to autonomous hotbeds of resistance and struggle. Hotbeds which are independent of tyrants elsewhere, independent of the geopolitical games States of the entire world are playing on the back of the inhabitants of the Palestinian territories and camps; autonomous and self-organized fighting groups.

Also here, in Western Europe, the indignation aroused by the “Palestinian cause” has long been cultivated by leftist and socialist parties that have used it as a means for mobilization and recruiting. Today, other (religious-)fascist groups, which like to evoke the old racist myth of a “Jewish complot”, join the game. A “solidarity” that only serves to reinforce and/or enlarge its own authority can only be an empty box. To refuse such instrumentalizing means to put the fight for freedom back on the frontline, a fight which takes place in the West Bank as it takes places in Europe, in Syria like in Latin America, a fight which has to oppose all impositions, all dirty political maneuvers, every reactionary and conservative vision.

Because we have to say it. Also in the Palestinian territories such dynamics exist. The narrative about the Resistance is being poured from the old political organizations into the new Palestinian Authority to legitimize the obtained seats and privileges. And in the meantime, the Western NGOs try to impose a moral straitjacket on the resistance which is still existing to make it more digestible for their sponsors; a moral straitjacket which consist of a rejection and condemnation of clashes, riots, sabotages and armed struggle.

Autonomous initiatives of resistance, thus independent of and hostile toward the existing power groups, could give oxygen to liberatory ideas and cause cracks in the permanent war mobilization and the suffocating military occupation. Over there as well as here.

(PS: It is impossible to analyze the totality of the situation in all its nuances by such a short text, or even a much longer one. Here, the military action in Gaza was used as a starting point in an attempt to unravel this thread. A different starting point or a more deepened analysis would, no doubt, raise other points.)

When conflicts in the Israeli and Palestinian territories are echoed in the European streets, one often hears all sorts of guardians of order calling not to “import” the external conflicts. Meanwhile, protected against the howling winds, the repression industry jumps easily across borders and imports or exports at will the new control technologies and instruments of massacre.

The FP7 European investigative project (followed by Horizon 2020) gave billions of euros in subsidies to universities and companies in the EU countries, some other countries on the European continent, and Israel. The biggest arms producers in Europe have put this money in their pockets, as well as several important Israeli players in the market of death, like Israel Aerospace Industries (a producer of arms belonging to the State of Israel, that adapted its drones to “European needs”, used to perform border surveillance against migration, but also as a weapon against civil unrest and criminality), Elbit Systems (an Israeli company involved in the construction of the wall, among other things, which participated in a research project aiming to secure European airports), the IMI Academy for Advanced Security & Anti-Terror Training (established by veterans of the Israeli security forces, that received EU subsidies in exchange for its aid in counter-radicalization strategies), the Israeli branch of Motorola (which constructs “virtual fences” around Israeli settlements), and Aeronautics Defense Systems (an Israel-based company which specializes in unmanned air, sea and land vehicles). Belgian universities like the KU Leuven and UGent worked on research together with Israeli arms manufacturers.

To give a concrete example of the repressive cooperation between authorities: videosurveillance cameras delivered by an Israeli enterprise have been set up everywhere within the Brussels Capital Ixelles police zone. The City of Brussels has signed a contract agreeing to provide access to images from these cameras to the Israeli State should the latter ask for it.

Then, beyond the arms producers, there are so many other companies that make money out of the colonialist politics of the Israeli State, such as Caterpillar (constructor of bulldozers specially designed for the destruction of buildings in the occupied territories), Hewlett-Packard or HP (supplier of information technology hardware to the occupation, particularly equipping checkpoints), Ernst & Young (multinational financial advisory business hired by Israel to attract tourists and investments), and G4S – impossible to miss – which manages several checkpoints and detention centres in Israel.

Source: Hors Service, n.46, Brussels, October 2014