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Israel can be defeated

Sunday 4 January 2009, by Azmi Bishara

In an escalation of the ongoing attacks against the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip, Israeli ground forces entered into the Gaza Strip on the evening of 3 january 2009. *There is continuity between the Siege and the ongoing military attacks on Gaza. Both are aggression on the part of Israel. When the crippling Siege failed to crush the resistance of Gazans, Israel decided to achieve its goals through a military operation.
*It was obvious from the beginning of the so-called "truce" that a military operation would follow. The "truce" in fact was an aggression under silence—an aggression which required only the Palestinians to stay quiet and obey the "truce." Also obvious was that these attacks would come about as part of a bloody competition between Israeli political parties to win the hearts Israeli voters, whose dignity was wounded in Lebanon.

*It was clear that the party who refused to attend the Cairo Negotiations [Hamas], to recognize the victory of the Siege and accept its political results, would pay the price. This was the last opportunity to blame Hamas for not accepting Israel’s conditions.

*This is the same as when Israel warned Yasser Arafat when he refused to accept Barak’s offer at Camp David, when they warned Syria after the War in Iraq, and when they warned Hizbollah before the war in June 2006.

*Preparations for the attack on Gaza came after political and security coordination with certain Arab and Palestinian forces, who at the very least were informed of the operation. The extent of involvement has depended on the level of relations with Israel.

*The stance of some Arab forces toward Israel is based on current and/or desired alliances such that any discussion or contradiction with Israel becomes simply a misunderstanding between friends. Meanwhile, these same Arab forces are in contradiction with Palestinian and other Arab resistance movements.

*There is no contradiction between the support of some Arab regimes for the attacks and official condemnations. As has often been the case, these condemnations are coordinated with Israel. It goes something like this: “We understand your attack and we agree that Hamas is responsible. But you must understand us when we are under pressure to condemn. So we might ask you for a ceasefire, but don’t take our demand seriously. Try to finish your mission quickly, or we will have no choice but to ask you to end it seriously.”
* The regimes that are now trying to postpone an Arab Summit want to wait until Israel finishes its mission because they know that if they go to the Summit in support of Israel they will lose the support on the Arab world.

*Certain Arab regimes have decided that Israel is not their enemy, or even that it’s an ally, and have established agreements with Israel. These are the same regimes that are supporting the false “peace process,” and that are saying “We don’t want to be more Palestinian than the Palestinians.” As a result of the forging of these relationships, resistance against Israel in these countries became popular resistance, often supported by other Arab regimes for tactical or strategic reasons.

*The regimes that have sought agreements with Israel have prevented popular resistance in their countries, but have not been able to attack resistance movements in other countries. The resistance has continued however where the role of the central state is weak, and where capacity to quell resistance is lacking, such as in the Palestinian Authority, Lebanon, and Iraq.

*The Arab regimes that oppose the resistance rely on Israel to protect their interests. In 1982, they kept silent throughout the Israeli aggression against the PLO in Lebanon, and attempted to reap the benefits after it was completed. The same was the case when Israel surrounded the Palestinian Headquarters Al Muqata’a in Ramallah. But in June 2006, and December 2008, the coordination between Israel and the Arab regimes is open. This is new.

*The world–international public opinion–is a mirage conception in the minds of many Arab regimes. What, for instance, would the UN or the EU do to help Hezbollah if it failed to protect itself in the war in 2006? And if it did, the so-called “moderate” Arab regimes would be happy to benefit from the Israeli victory. But this victory didn’t come.

* The credibility of the democracy slogan as a Western agenda has seen its last breathe in the Arab world. America deals with any enemy of Israel, including those that are just against the occupation as if they are enemies of Israel even if they are elected in a democratic way; and deals with allies of Israel as though they are American allies even if they are dictatorships.

*The Siege against the elected PA in 2006 began without giving the elected government any opportunity to so much as commence its work. Many European countries preferred the Israeli conditions and dictates over the democratic election, thus revealing the falsities of the European discourse on ethics and politics. Given this, European regimes should be the last to talk about such ethics outside their borders.

*The "world" will not be in solidarity with the victim just because it is the victim, nor will it go out of its way to appoint defeated persons to positions of power, willfully provide people with their rights, or work to establish international law. The world will be in solidarity with the victim only when it resists. International legislation will help those who struggle for their rights.

*The most important things are steadiness on the ground, legitimization of the accountability of the aggressors, and forcing them to pay the price for their actions. These are the only things that carry weight at the Arab summit and in other international organizations.

* "Humanitarian solidarity" with the victim does not aim to achieve rights but only to provide relief. There is no meaning behind Arab political solidarity if it doesn’t mean supporting the resistance. Relief is important but this differs from solidarity.

*It is wrong to talk about Palestinian, West Bank, or Diaspora solidarity with Gaza. All Palestinians are fighting the same battle and no one is doing anyone any favors. It is their duty as Palestinians.

*The enemy also provides humanitarian aid. This is not solidarity.

*Arab solidarity must not be used superficially to calm the anger of the Arab street. This only helps Israel to continue its attacks. The movement of the Arab street must have very clear political goals. The main one: to force Israel to lose the political battle. This will be achieved by putting pressure on Arab regimes who wish to continue their peaceful relations with Israel. What is therefore required is an escalation of the struggle to achieve this goal, the result of which will be to force Israel to take steps backward and to weaken its alliances in the Arab world.

*The Israeli aggression in Gaza can be defeated.

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