Israel and the United States' plan for Gaza

Image: Zeynep Demir
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By JONATHAN COOK*

Israel is already using the precedents it created in Gaza, and the erosion of long-established principles of international law, as a model for the West Bank

You don't need to be a fortune teller to understand that Israel and the United States' game plan for Gaza goes something like this:

In public, Joe Biden appears “tough” with Benjamin Netanyahu, urging him not to “invade” Rafah and pressuring him to allow more “humanitarian aid” to Gaza.

But the White House is already laying the groundwork to subvert its own message. It insists that Israel offered an “extraordinarily generous” deal to Hamas – a deal, Washington suggests, that amounts to a ceasefire. It is not what happens. By all accounts, the best Israel offered was an imponderable “period of sustained calm.” And even that promise is unreliable.

If Hamas accepts the “deal” and agrees to return some of the hostages, the bombing will subside for a brief period, but the famine will intensify, justified by Israel’s determination for “total victory” against Hamas – something that is impossible to achieve. to reach. This will simply delay, by a matter of days or weeks, Israel's move to the next step.

If, as seems more likely, Hamas rejects the “deal,” it will be painted as the intransigent party and accused of trying to continue the “war.” (Note: This was never a war. Or, in other words, how would the West intend a conflict in a territory occupied for decades to be a war? Or even if it was Hamas that “started the war” with its attack on October 7th, when Israel, for its part, blocks the enclave, creating growing despair and hunger there, over the course of 17 years?)

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken advanced this roadmap, stating that Hamas was “the only thing standing between the people of Gaza and a ceasefire… They have to decide and they have to decide quickly.”

The United States will then announce that Israel has drawn up a humanitarian plan, which meets the conditions established by Joe Biden for the start of an attack on Rafah.

This will give the United States, Europe and the region the pretext to back down, while Israel launches the long-awaited attack – an attack that Joe Biden previously stated would be a “red line”, and lead to mass civilian casualties. All this will be forgotten.

As reported by Middle East Eye, Israel is building a ring of checkpoints around Rafah. Benjamin Netanyahu will falsely suggest that they ensure that their attack meets the conditions set out in international humanitarian law. Women and children will be allowed to leave – if they can reach a checkpoint before Israel's massive bombing kills them en route.

All men in Rafah, and all women and children who remain, will be treated as armed combatants. If they are not killed by the bombings or falling rubble, they will be summarily executed or dragged to Israel's torture chambers. No one will mention that any Hamas fighters who were in Rafah have already made it out through the tunnels.

Rafah will be destroyed, leaving the entire Gaza Strip in ruins, and the Israeli-induced famine will worsen. The West will wash its hands, say that it was Hamas that brought this to Gaza, and debate what to do, finally putting pressure on third countries – especially Arab countries – for a “humanitarian plan” that relocates survivors to outside Gaza.

Western media outlets will continue to describe Israel's genocide in Gaza in purely humanitarian terms, as if this “disaster” were an act of God.

Under pressure from the United States, the International Court of Justice, or Hague Tribunal, will be in no rush to issue a definitive ruling on whether South Africa's argument that Israel is committing genocide - which it has previously deemed "plausible" - stands or not proven.

Whatever the Hague Court decides – and it is almost impossible to imagine that it will not rule that Israel committed genocide – it will be too late. The Western political and media class will have moved on, leaving historians to decide what all this meant.

However, Israel is already using the precedents it created in Gaza, and the erosion of long-established principles of international law, as a model for the West Bank. Stating that Hamas has not been completely defeated in Gaza, but that it is using this other Palestinian enclave as a base, Israel will gradually intensify pressure on the West Bank with another blockade. Rinse and repeat.

That's the likely plan. Our job is to do everything in our power to prevent this from becoming a reality.

*Jonathan Cook is a journalist and writer. Author, among other books, of Disappearing Palestine. Israel's experiments in human despair (Zed Books).

Translation: Ricardo Cavalcanti-Schiel.

Originally published on the author's page [Substacks].


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