Is the Gaza Catastrophe Really About Natural Resources?
Continued from previous page
Given the preceding analysis, Israel’s official war aim is difficult to take seriously. On the contrary, there is thus little doubt that Operation Cast Lead is aimed at obliterating Hamas as a viable source of politico-military resistance in the Palestinian Territories, paving the way for the "cantonization" of the latter under the erection of the corrupt Abbas-led PA, before imminent 2009 Palestinian elections could consolidate Hamas’ socio-political entrenchment. The operation thus has two major objectives:
1) The short-term objective is to allow Israeli and Anglo-American unchallenged monopolization of the Gaza gas reserves, and continued apartheid-style domination of the Territories.
2) The long-term objective is to create permanent conditions facilitating Israel’s re-encroachment on the Territories, encouraging Palestinian emigration and expulsion from their homes, and absorbing their remaining lands under renewed Israeli settler-colonization programs.
The war on Gaza is, therefore, a war on democracy; a war on the right of peoples to self-determination; a war on the right of peoples’ to utilise their own resources for their own benefit. It continues and extends the policies of repression and discrimination perpetrated by Israel in the Occupied Territories since 1948, when three quarters of a million Palestinians were forced from their homes, and hundreds massacred, by Israeli forces in the Nakba (Catastrophe). Since then, Israel has continued to violate UN resolutions, attempted to grab as much territory as possible from the Palestinians, denied them the right to statehood and self-determination, and instituted racist laws to deprive them of civil liberties and human rights. Even Israeli officials like Ami Ayalon, the retired head of Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security service, have condemned these policies as a form of " apartheid": "The things a Palestinian has to endure, simply coming to work in the morning, is a long and continuous nightmare that includes humiliation bordering on despair… We have to decide soon what kind of democracy we want here. The present model integrates apartheid and is not commensurate with Judaism." (Ma’ariv, 05.12.00)
Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine is supported by the U.S., Britain, and Western Europe, through financial aid, extensive supplies of arms and military equipment, diplomatic support. The global social justice movement needs to extend its support for Gaza far beyond marching and demonstrations, by pressuring media, government and civil society institutions to recognize that the Gaza crisis is an outcome of long-term policies that can only be understood in the context of recognizing the reality of Israel as a Setter-Colonial Apartheid regime sponsored by Anglo-American power.
Thus, the global social justice movement should look to widening and deepening public understanding of the origins of the current crisis in the contemporary conjuncture of the global imperial system. Yet just as South African apartheid required a massive international campaign of diplomatic and economic boycotting to bring it down, so too will the Israeli Settler-Colonial Apartheid regime require a comprehensive campaign of diplomatic and economic boycotts to weaken the nexus that ties Anglo-American power to Israel, and move toward a meaningful resolution of the conflict based on democracy and equality for Jews and non-Jews, together.
Where can we start, practically? An outstanding example is to call for the establishment of an International Criminal Tribunal for Israel (ICTI) under UN Charter Article 22, as has been advocated by the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC), a London-based NGO with Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. As IHRC Chairman Massoud Shadjareh observed, "The setting up of such a tribunal is long-overdue, and is desperately needed to address the war crimes perpetrated not only in the current attacks on Gaza but in previous campaigns against the Lebanese and Palestinians. The relevant procedures and precedents are in place. It is time for the UN to act if it hopes to regain a shred of credibility amongst the outraged peoples of the world." The IHRC's call for a tribunal resonates with numerous comments from independent experts on Israeli war crimes, such as Francis Boyle, Professor of International Law at the University of Illinois: