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Re: SC83

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January 10, 2009 10:53PM
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article21670.htm

Gaza Catastrophe: Resource Conflict?

Natural Gas, Palestinian Elections, and Israel’s Subversion of the ‘Peace Process’

Israel claims it is fighting in Gaza to stop Hamas rocket-fire against Israel, the continuation of which constituted a flagrant breach of the six-months ceasefire. Hence, the objective of the military operation is limited by the aim of putting an end to the rocket-fire. In fact, the current outbreak of violence cannot be understood without analysing the asymmetries in military violence between the two parties; the dynamic structure of the conflict in the context of the character of the Israeli occupation; the central role of recent discoveries of substantial natural gas reserves in Gaza; and joint Anglo-American and Israeli attempts to monopolise the lucrative (and strategic) energy resources through a political process tied to a corrupt Palestinian Authority run by Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah Party. Hamas’ unprecedented victory in democratic elections in 2006 fundamentally threatened these plans. Operation Cast Lead, the concurrent Israeli military venture, was operationalised as a war plan in early 2008, and already finalised in detail as far back as 2001 by Israeli military intelligence. Its execution in late December 2008 into January 2009 is designed to head-off not only domestic Israeli elections, but more significantly, the outcome of further incoming Palestinian democratic elections likely to consolidate Hamas’ power, to permanently shift the balance of geopolitical and economic power in its favour. The long-term goal is the “cantonization” of the Occupied Territories making way for increased Israeli encroachment, and ultimately the escalation of Palestinian emigration...........

.............The incentives for Israel are obvious – as the Telegraph reports: “Israel’s indigenous gas fields - north of the Gaza Marine field - could run out within a few years and the only other long-term source will be a pipeline from neighbouring Egypt.”

The British Foreign Office, described the reserves as “by far the most valuable Palestinian natural resource.” Tel Aviv journalist Arthur Neslen cites an informed British source saying, “The UK and US, who are the major players in this deal, see it as a possible tool to improve relations between the PA and Israel. It is part of the bargaining baggage.” The project could provide up to 10 per cent of the Israel’s energy needs, at around half the price the same gas would cost from Egypt. The Gaza Strip would be effectively circumvented, as the gas would be piped directly onshore to Ashkelon in Israel. Neslen reports another informed source noting “an obvious linkage” between the BG-Israel deal and “attempts to bolster the Olmert-Abbas political process.” Yet this process is designed precisely to marginalise the Palestinian people, as Neslen reports that “up to three-quarters of the $4bn of revenue raised might not even end up in Palestinian hands at all. While the PIF officially disputes the percentages, it will provide no others for fear of a public backlash.” The “preferred option” of the US an UK is that the gas revenues would be held in “an international bank account over which Abbas would hold sway.” No wonder then, that Ziad Thatha, the Hamas economic minister, had denounced the deal as “an act of theft” that “sells Palestinian gas to the Zionist occupation.”

Things didn’t go quite according to plan. In fact, before any deal could be finalised, Hamas won the 2006 elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council, provoking a bitter power struggle between Hamas and the pro-west Fatah, fuelled by the input of US and Israeli arms to the latter. Ultimately, the Palestinian Authority split in 2007, with Hamas taking control of Gaza and Fatah taking control of West Bank. Having been excluded from the US-UK brokered gas deal between Israel and the PA, one of the first things that Hamas did after getting elected was to declare that the natural gas deal was void, and would have to be renegotiated.

With Hamas declaring the constitutional imperative to hold elections in 2009, as early as January if possible, Israeli military and policy planners recognized the probability of a Hamas win – with all its political implications. At one time even stating its willingness to recognise Israel's right to exist within its 1967 borders, a consolidated Hamas government in control of Gaza’s natural resources would fundamentally alter the balance of power in the region, granting Palestinians the prospects of sustained economic growth, foreign investment, unprecedented infrastructure development, and thereby the prospect of a far more equal relationship with Israel, who in coming years needs to increasingly diversify energy supplies. Meanwhile Israel’s original Anglo-America sponsored plans for the Occupied Territories – a docile Fatah-controlled patchwork of underdeveloped cantonized Bantustans whose natural resources are controlled by Israel and profited by Anglo-American companies – would be thrown into the sea.

Israeli Military Objectives

Pundits, slavishly quoting Israeli defence sources, claim that Israel is trying to stop the Hamas rocket-fire, and will keep the operation rolling until they believe that they have degraded Hamas military capabilities sufficiently so as to forever prevent Hamas from firing rockets at Israel again. Ever. Failing this, pundits tend to be confused about the scope of Israel’s objectives, noting that the state aim is rather vague and intrinsically impossible to measure.

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 monopolisation 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-colonisation programmes.

The attack 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 US, 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 Settler-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.............

Israel's war crimes and genocidal masacre of the palestinian people continues while the western media serve as the propaganda mouthpiece for Israeli and AIPAC interest. Its a huge decades long sickening travesty of planned destruction of innocents and the infrastructure of their homelands by the occupier nation of Israel, that can only do what it does because of US backing.
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