Gaza Strip 2021



A meteorite in the sky of the future.

“Netanyahu opposed Oslo from the beginning. He saw Israel as a Jewish community besieged by hostile Arabs and Muslims who wanted to destroy it. He considered the Arab-Israeli conflict a perpetual fact of life that could be managed but would never be resolved” (Benn, A. “The end of the Old Israel”, Foreign Affairs, July/August 2016).

Often, rereading history is the best way to understand a conflict as violent, asymmetrical and prolonged as the war between Jews and Palestinians, which has lasted about 70 years and is perhaps the longest in modern history. Many consider it to be a “religious war” between two monotheistic sects that claim the same origin, and that share the same dogmatic fundamentalism.

However, as surprising as it is, the dispute between Jews and Palestinians has nothing to do with Islam or Islamism. On the contrary, its social and intellectual origin has to do with the persecution of Jews in the Catholic countries of Central Europe, especially in the Austro-Hungarian Empire (1867-1918), during the second half of the 1860th century. It was there that the Jewish journalist Theodor Herzl (1904-1897) was born, the great promoter, organizer and first president of the World Zionist Organization, founded in the city of Basel, Switzerland, in XNUMX.

Herzl had published in Vienna, the year before, the book the jewish state – a kind of “foundational stone” of Zionism – in which he proposed that Jews from all over the world should unite in the same national and independent State. An idea that was in line with the spirit of his time and with the nationalist ideas that agitated Central Europe, which ended up imploding the Austro-Hungarian Empire. With the difference, with respect to Serbs, Czechs, Hungarians, Croats and other nationalities who claimed the same thing, that the Jews were claiming an imaginary territory from which they had withdrawn 1.800 years ago.

A territory that was first under the rule of the Roman Empire, and then under the Islamic rule of the Ottoman Empire (1300-1919), which did not prohibit the Jewish religion, and where Jews have always found refuge from Christian persecution, since the times of the Inquisition Iberian (1478-1834) and throughout the history of the Habsburg or Austrian Empire (1526-1867), which was deeply and radically Catholic.

Most likely, Theodor Herzl's project would have fallen into the void and would have turned into another of the "nationalist delusions" of the 1917th century, if it weren't for the fact that he received support from Great Britain towards the end of the First World War. , when Arthur Balfour – British Foreign Minister – declared that “Her Majesty's Government looked favorably upon the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish People”. And this “Balfour Declaration”, made in the year 1922, acquired much more importance when the League of Nations granted Great Britain, in 11, an “International Mandate” over Palestine, which was then inhabited by a majority Arab and Muslim, with the participation of only XNUMX% of Jews, and the majority had emigrated there at the beginning of the XNUMXth century, already responding to Herzl's appeal.

Therefore, it is not necessary to say that this immigration movement increased immensely after the British took over the government of Palestine, and almost 350 thousand Jews from all over the world immigrated there, between 1922 and 1935, provoking a first Palestinian revolt, against the British government. , between 1936 and 1939. A revolt that later remained in a chronic state until Great Britain decided to get rid of its Mandate and abandon Palestine in 1947, when Jews already represented 33% of its total population.

It was at that moment that the United Nations (UN) endorsed the British project of creating “two States” within the territory, through its Resolution n.o 181, one for Jews and one for Arabs. The proposal was immediately accepted by the Jews and rejected by the Arabs, for more or less obvious reasons. The UN had just been created and would never have taken such a decision had it not been for the decisive support of Great Britain and the United States.

In the North American case, after intense debate, the government of Henry Truman finally took a position in favor of the creation of Israel, mainly because the Middle East, where the small disputed territory is located, was close to the new “golden center” of world oil. That was how, on May 14, 1948, the State of Israel was born, conceived by Theodor Herzl and sponsored by the two great Anglo-Saxon powers. And for that very reason, the first war between Israel and the Arab states of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan immediately began. The war lasted a year and ended with Israel's victory and the Israeli annexation of the territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, in addition to the delivery of the Gaza Strip to the Arabs, where about 700 thousand Palestinians expelled from their lands by the Resolution of the UN, already mentioned, and for the Arab defeat in 1948.

In 1949, therefore, the basic terms of an equation were already defined that still does not close, and that is at the origin of this recent confrontation between Jews and Palestinians, in May 2021. Suffice it to say that even today, 70 years after the forced partition of Palestinian territory, approximately 13 million people live between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, half of whom are still Palestinian: 3 million who live in the West Bank, under Israeli military occupation; 2 million who live as “supervised citizens” within the State of Israel itself; and, finally, 2 million who live in the Gaza Strip, a narrow strip of land that is 412 km long and only 6 km wide, one of the most densely populated territories in the world, with scarce water and a sanitary, educational infrastructure and extremely poor communication. A kind of “besieged territory”, since Israel maintains military control of its borders, its ports and its airspace.

At first, shortly after the 1949 armistice, the Gaza Strip was maintained under Palestinian rule from 1949 to 1959, passing to Egypt between 1959 and 1967. However, after the new Arab defeat in the “Six Day War”, in 1967, Israel occupied and incorporated its territory, along with the Sinai Peninsula, the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip was then under Israeli rule until the signing of the Oslo Peace Accords, in 1993, when it was returned to the Palestinian Authority (PA), created in 1994 precisely to administer the territories of Gaza and the West Bank.

Even so, it was only in 2005 that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ordered the complete withdrawal of all Jews from the Gaza Strip. And it was then that Hamas – a new Palestinian faction created in 1988 – won the internal elections and took over the government of the Gaza Strip in 2007, after a fratricidal war with the forces of Al-Fatah, the hegemonic current of the PLO, led at that time by Yaser Arafat (1929-2004), and after his death by Mahamoud Abbas. As an immediate response, Israel decreed a complete economic and military blockade – by land, sea and air – of the Gaza Strip, and shortly afterwards elected Benjamin Netanyahu as its prime minister, in 2009, a staunch critic of the Oslo Peace Accords and the unilateral withdrawal of Jews from the Gaza Strip:


Benjamin Netanyahu was sworn in as prime minister less than two years after the Hamas victory, and less than two months after the first major Israeli air and ground bombing of the Gaza Strip, which lasted 21 days and killed 1.400 Palestinians and 15 Israelis, in the early 2009. Netanyahu was also at the forefront of the new bombing and territorial invasion of Gaza in 2014, which lasted 51 days and left 2.205 Palestinians and 71 Israelis dead; and now again, in the new May 2021 conflict, which lasted 11 days and killed 232 Palestinians and 27 Israelis.

In that same period, in agreement with far-right religious groups, Netanyahu's government sponsored the Jewish occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank, where around 600 Israeli settlers already live. It is a clear and explicit project to incorporate almost the entire West Bank into the territory of a “new Israel”, with undisputed supremacy of the Jews and its capital in the city of Jerusalem. Needless to say, this new project definitively discards the idea of ​​creating a Palestinian State, which had been invented by the British and sponsored by the UN and the United States, having been endorsed by the Oslo Peace Accords.

The new project led by Benjamin Netanyahu and supported by Israel's religious extreme right has advanced by leaps and bounds over the past five years, with the endorsement of the US government of Donald Trump, and today it seems rigorously irreversible. At this moment, Joe Biden's United States is without a project and a clear idea of ​​what they want and what they can still do, but it seems that they have also understood that talking about "two States" is just a tribute to the past and an indirect declaration of impotence, with nothing else to do but try to lessen the damage of a conflict that has become “chronified”. And now, even if the “Netanyahu era” ends and assumes a new alliance of forces led by the centrist Yair Lapid, involving seven extremely heterogeneous parties, the government must be very weak and transitory, and will only survive with the support of the extreme nationalist. religious right Naftli Benett, who is a staunch enemy of the “two states” idea.

Therefore, from this point of view, Benjamin Netanyahu's project of a "new Israel" must go forward, especially when one takes into account that, on the other hand, the Palestinian Authority is increasingly weak and without credibility even among Palestinians, while the military strength of Hamas has been growing but will continue to be impotent in the face of the gigantic Israeli military power, at least as long as they continue to be supported by the United States. Over 70 years of conflict, Israel has become an atomic power, with US military aid of 3,8 billion dollars a year, while the Palestinians survive thanks to philanthropic international aid, which has been indispensable even for the operation of the of the Palestinian Authority bureaucracy in the West Bank, and of Hamas itself, in the Gaza Strip.

At the moment, there is not the slightest prospect of new peace negotiations in the region, and it is unlikely that this will happen again. The world's geopolitical axis is shifting towards Asia, and the strategic importance of Middle Eastern oil is likely to decline over the next 50 years. Furthermore, the conflict between Jews and Palestinians, or even between Judaism and Islam, is entirely foreign and irrelevant to Asian civilizations. And even in the case of the Western powers, this conflict should lose density as the relationship between the United States and Iran is equated, and the so-called Abraham Accords, signed at the end of the Trump administration, are expanded, with the recognition and acceptance of the State. from Israel to several Arab countries, as well as Egypt and Jordan.

If all this happens, it is most likely that the conflict between Jews and Palestinians will lose its centrality, and that the “Palestinian cause” itself will become increasingly isolated and forgotten, despite the support and rhetorical protests of the great powers, and of the Arab peoples themselves. A sad fate for two peoples who would have gone almost unnoticed within the international system, had they not been transformed into “Siamese enemies” by the religious xenophobia and racism of the “Christian peoples” of Central Europe, and by the North American desire to build a common head. of militarized bridge in the oil territory of the Middle East.

Perhaps one day the Anglo-Saxon powers and Christian peoples will apologize to the Palestinian people, as some have done in the past with regard to their persecution of the Jews, and as France and Germany have just done, with regard to the genocide of the Namibian populations. and Rwanda, respectively. But if this happens, it must be in the future far, far beyond the visible horizon of the world system.

Jose Luis Fiori Professor at the Graduate Program in International Political Economy at UFRJ. Author, among other books, of History, strategy and development (Boitempo).


See this link for all articles


  • About artificial ignoranceEugenio Bucci 15/06/2024 By EUGÊNIO BUCCI: Today, ignorance is not an uninhabited house, devoid of ideas, but a building full of disjointed nonsense, a goo of heavy density that occupies every space
  • Franz Kafka, libertarian spiritFranz Kafka, libertarian spirit 13/06/2024 By MICHAEL LÖWY: Notes on the occasion of the centenary of the death of the Czech writer
  • The society of dead historyclassroom similar to the one in usp history 16/06/2024 By ANTONIO SIMPLICIO DE ALMEIDA NETO: The subject of history was inserted into a generic area called Applied Human and Social Sciences and, finally, disappeared into the curricular drain
  • Strengthen PROIFESclassroom 54mf 15/06/2024 By GIL VICENTE REIS DE FIGUEIREDO: The attempt to cancel PROIFES and, at the same time, turn a blind eye to the errors of ANDES management is a disservice to the construction of a new representation scenario
  • Letter to the presidentSquid 59mk,g 18/06/2024 By FRANCISCO ALVES, JOÃO DOS REIS SILVA JÚNIOR & VALDEMAR SGUISSARDI: “We completely agree with Your Excellency. when he states and reaffirms that 'Education is an investment, not an expense'”
  • Volodymyr Zelensky's trapstar wars 15/06/2024 By HUGO DIONÍSIO: Whether Zelensky gets his glass full – the US entry into the war – or his glass half full – Europe’s entry into the war – either solution is devastating for our lives
  • PEC-65: independence or patrimonialism in the Central Bank?Campos Neto Trojan Horse 17/06/2024 By PEDRO PAULO ZAHLUTH BASTOS: What Roberto Campos Neto proposes is the constitutional amendment of free lunch for the future elite of the Central Bank
  • A look at the 2024 federal strikelula haddad 20/06/2024 By IAEL DE SOUZA: A few months into government, Lula's electoral fraud was proven, accompanied by his “faithful henchman”, the Minister of Finance, Fernando Haddad
  • Introduction to “Capital” by Karl Marxred triangular culture 02/06/2024 By ELEUTÉRIO FS PRADO: Commentary on the book by Michael Heinrich
  • Hélio Pellegrino, 100 years oldHelio Pellegrino 14/06/2024 By FERNANDA CANAVÊZ & FERNANDA PACHECO-FERREIRA: In the vast elaboration of the psychoanalyst and writer, there is still an aspect little explored: the class struggle in psychoanalysis