Neither Torah nor Quran

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By LISZT VIEIRA*

Even in times of war, the fight for human rights and people's self-determination remains one of the great flags of civilization against barbarism.

 “The observer does not make moral judgments. He tries to understand and analyze the correlation of forces”.
(General Vincent Desportes, former Director of the War College in Paris).

With rare exceptions, the social media ping-pong over the Hamas-Israel war ultimately boils down to the opinion of a football fan: my team is always right, the enemy is always wrong. Until the outbreak of war, there were two dormant proposals on the negotiating table. The “two States” proposal and the “one State, two peoples” proposal. The first weakened after the death of Yitzhak Rabin, its great defender. The second never came to fruition, but was announced as a proposal. The problem is that Hamas does not accept either. The only possible solution for Hamas is the destruction and annihilation of the State of Israel. This takes him to extreme positions, outside of reality.

It is true that there are people and nations without a State, besides the Palestinians. You. Kurds, for example, lost their country and live mainly in Turkey and Iraq. But the situation was different, and Kurdistan did not have Israel's international support. The situation of the “Palestinian issue” was paralyzed due to a lack of interest on the part of the parties in advancing peace proposals. In practice, Israel's military and political superiority was satisfactory to Israel and its Western allies. What has changed? Or rather, why did it change?

Political events have complex causality and can almost never be reduced to a single cause. But, in general, one or the other stands out. In this case, there is no doubt that the agreement being negotiated between Israel and Saudi Arabia was the trigger that triggered the invasion of Israel by Hamas. This agreement, with talks already advanced, would break the fragile existing balance and completely nullify the possibility of a future for Palestine.

This is the opinion of Pierre Brochand, former director of the General Directorate of Foreign Security (DGSE) and former French ambassador to Israel. In an interview with the newspaper Le Figaro, on 10/10/2023, he raised important questions.

According to him, what happened is unprecedented; The territory of Israel had never experienced land warfare operations of this type and magnitude. If we add the astonishment linked to the absolute surprise, the lack of immediate reaction from the army, the number of civilians killed and injured and, even more so, kidnapped, men and women of all ages, including high-ranking soldiers, we can see the state of astonishment, not only from Israelis, but also from the rest of the world.

He compares the “rave” party, organized at the gates of Gaza, highly symbolic and the victim of brutal murder, to that already seen at the Bataclan, in Paris, when a “western”, hedonistic and cosmopolitan youth, is attacked by another, “latecomer”. , violent and frustrated.

It is, therefore, difficult to understand how an attack of this scale, which required long preparation and involved several hundred people, could have escaped all of Israeli Intelligence's information sensors. The failure goes beyond the secret services: it is also military and strategic. As for the strategic level, it is a kind of “grand design” of Israel, with regard to the Palestinian issue, which has just been directly achieved.

This project could be analyzed in two parts: on the one hand, isolating the Palestinians from the Arab States, in order to reduce the conflict to a face-to-face confrontation with the Hebrew State. On the other hand, divide your national movement into at least two factions, one vaguely cooperative (the Palestinian Authority, coming from the PLO and Fatah) and the other, presented as obstinate (Hamas and Islamic Jihad).

According to Pierre Brochand, in all cases, the objective was to indefinitely prolong the status quo, that is, a situation of “neither war nor peace”, with no political solution, ultimately comfortable for Israel, whose overwhelming superiority of power guaranteed sustainability in the short and medium term. The isolation of the Palestinians had certainly progressed remarkably: Egypt, Jordan, the signatories of the “Abraham Accords” (United Arab Emirates, Bahrain), Morocco, and Sudan recognized the State of Israel one after another and concluded agreements of cooperation with him.

Now it is the turn of a heavyweight, Saudi Arabia, guardian of the holy sites, in advanced talks with Israel through Washington. It is clear that Hamas' lightning offensive has changed the situation and is now making it difficult, for a certain period at least, any rapprochement between a Muslim country and Israel, at a time when the latter is carrying out operations of massive destruction in Gaza. The military invasion of Israel by Hamas placed Palestine back at the center of world politics and shook the traditional “neither war nor peace” policy that so interested Israel.

On the other hand, General Vincent Desportes, former Director of the War School in Paris, in an interview with the newspaper Le Figaro granted to journalist Pascal Boniface on 11/10/2023, stated that Israel's pride in its military supremacy and contempt for the Palestinians and Arabs explain why they were surprised, even going so far as to disregard the information from the Egyptians.

He added that intelligence is more important than strength and that technology does not solve everything. Today, Israel's dilemma is tragic: if it fulfills what it announced, we will have genocide in the Gaza strip, where two million people live, with severe repercussions for Israel and its Western allies.

Israel has blocked the supply of water, electricity, food and fuel to the Gaza Strip, and has been bombing military and civilian targets, including hospitals, schools and mosques. It has killed thousands and displaced hundreds of thousands of civilians, mobilized one hundred thousand soldiers to the borders of Gaza and called up more than three hundred thousand reservists for combat.

The Israeli government will keep Gaza without water, electricity, food and fuel until the hostages are returned. Israel denied a Red Cross request requesting fuel passage to prevent “overloaded hospitals in Gaza from becoming morgues” (The Globe, 12/10/2023). Despite threats from Israel, Jordan and Egypt announced humanitarian aid to Gaza.

With the worsening of the situation in Gaza, the struggle between Hamas and Israel could degenerate and escalate, with the participation in the conflict of new actors, such as Hezbolah, Syria and, ultimately, Iran, already that this would mean the internationalization of war. For now, this is speculation. Israel's dilemma is to promote genocide or become demoralized if it does not fulfill its promise. What will actually happen is a land invasion, which is already expected by Hamas, and this will turn into urban guerrilla warfare, a trap for Israeli soldiers. Israel will try to overthrow Hamas, which will not be simple.

According to General Vincent Desportes, the hostage drama is a central issue. The coalition government in Israel has been set up to destroy Hamas, but this will be difficult. The crisis is prolonged. There is no military solution. Military action can improve the correlation of forces and influence diplomatic negotiations, which always take time, the war continues, but the only solution will be political through diplomacy.

The general recalled the Korean War, which lasted three years, between 1950 and 1953. In 1951, negotiations began that took two years. Meanwhile, the war killed two million people. And in the Vietnam War, negotiations lasted four years. They are always time-consuming, but the sooner they start, the sooner they finish.

Both the former head of French Intelligence and the former commander of the War College in Paris credit the responsibility for the Hamas attack to the scandalous failure of Israeli Intelligence to predict Hamas' military offensive into Israeli territory. This will lead to the fall of the Netaniahu government, it is a matter of time. When criticizing Israeli Intelligence, both reject the “conspiracy theories” that always lurk around us, on the right and on the left, rejecting the possibility of error.

The number of Jews killed, and the hostages that will be executed if Israel razes Gaza, will demoralize the current Israeli government. In fact, it appears that Hamas was supported by Israel in the beginning to weaken the Palestinian Authority, Al Fatah, founded by Yasser Arafat. This was a huge strategic error. In January 2006, Al Fatah lost its majority in the Gaza Strip to Hamas, which has a less political and more military vision.

Israel ended up receiving back the violence it used in Palestine in recent decades. Raping women and killing innocent civilians is not a Hamas monopoly. Israeli soldiers did the same thing when occupying Palestine. There are differences, but the biggest one is that this was not reported by the mainstream media.

With permission from General Vincent Desportes, and abandoning the perspective of objective analysis, it is good to remember that, even in times of war, the fight for human rights and the self-determination of people continues to be one of the great flags of civilization against barbarism.

*Liszt scallop is a retired professor of sociology at PUC-Rio. He was a deputy (PT-RJ) and coordinator of the Global Forum of the Rio 92 Conference. Author, among other books, of Democracy reactsGaramond). [https://amzn.to/3sQ7Qn3]


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