Death roulette

Forced displacement of Palestinians by Israel/ Reproduction Telegram
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By CHRIS HEDGES*

Israel's attack is the last desperate measure of a colonial project that foolishly and arrogantly thinks it can crush the resistance of an indigenous population with genocide.

After a seven-day truce, the skies of Gaza are filled with the projectiles of death. Warplanes. Attack helicopters. Drones. Cannon and tank bombs. Grenades. Missiles. Gaza is a cacophony of explosions and stray cries for help beneath collapsed buildings. The tentacles of fear are once again advancing on hearts in the Gaza concentration camp.

Last Friday night alone, 184 Palestinians – including three journalists and two doctors – were killed by Israeli airstrikes in northern, southern and central Gaza, and at least 589 were injured, according to the Ministry of Health. The majority are women and children.

Israel will not be deterred. It plans to finish the job, destroy what remains in northern Gaza and decimate what remains in the south. Make Gaza uninhabitable. Seeing its 2,3 million inhabitants expelled in a massive campaign of ethnic cleansing through starvation, terror, massacre and infectious disease. The aid convoys, which carried symbolic amounts of food and medicine – the first batch was shrouds and coronavirus tests, according to the director of al-Najjar hospital – were stopped. No one, especially President Joe Biden, plans to intervene to stop the genocide.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Israel last week and, in calling on Tel Aviv to protect civilians, refused to set conditions that would stop the $3,8 billion the country receives from the US in annual military assistance, or the additional package of US$14,3 billion. The world will watch passively, muttering useless platitudes about more surgical strikes, as Israel spins its roulette wheel of death.

When finished, the Nakba 1948, when Palestinians were massacred in dozens of villages and 750 were ethnically expelled by Zionist militias, will seem like a picturesque reliquary of a more civilized era. Nothing is off limits. Hospitals. Mosques. Churches. Residences. Apartment buildings. Refugee camps. Schools. Universities. Media offices. Banks. Sewer systems. Telecommunications infrastructure. Water treatment plants. Libraries. Wheat mills. Bakeries. Markets. Entire neighborhoods. Israel's intention is to destroy Gaza's infrastructure and kill or injure hundreds of Palestinians daily. Gaza is destined to become a wasteland, a dead zone unable to sustain life.

It is not a war against Hamas. It's a war against the Palestinians. Israel began bombing Khan Younis again on Friday (1/12), after dropping leaflets warning civilians to run further south, to Rafah, located on the border with Egypt. Hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians have sought refuge in Khan Younis. Once the Palestinians are pushed into Rafah, there will be only one place left to flee – Egypt.

The Israeli Ministry of Intelligence, in a leaked report, calls for the forced transfer of the Gaza population to Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. A detailed plan to intentionally displace Palestinians in Gaza and push them into Egypt has been embedded in Israeli doctrine for five decades. Of the Palestinians in Gaza, 1,8 million have already been expelled from their homes. Once they cross the border into Egypt – something the Egyptian government and Arab leaders are trying to avoid despite US pressure – they will never return.

Israeli attacks are generated at a dizzying rate, many of them from a system called “Habsora” – The Gospel –, built on artificial intelligence that selects 100 targets per day. The Artificial Intelligence system is described by seven current and former Israeli intelligence officers in an article by Yuval Abraham on Israeli websites +972 Magazine e Local Call, as facilitator of a “mass murder factory”.

Once Israel locates what it presumes to be a Hamas operative – from a cell phone, for example – it bombs and strikes a wide area around the target, killing and injuring dozens and sometimes hundreds of Palestinians, says the article. “According to intelligence sources,” says the article, “the Habsora generates, among other things, automatic recommendations to attack private residences where people suspected of being Hamas or Islamic Jihad operatives live. Israel then carries out large-scale assassination operations through intense bombing of these homes.”

Around 15 Palestinians, including 6 children and 4 women, have been killed since October 7. More than 30 thousand were injured. More than six thousand are missing, many buried under the rubble. More than 300 families lost 10 or more members. More than 250 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank since October 7, and more than 3 have been injured, although the area is not controlled by Hamas. The Israeli army claims to have killed between 3 and 30 of the roughly XNUMX Hamas fighters – a relatively small number given the scale of the attack.

Most resistance fighters take shelter in its vast tunnel system. Israel’s manual is the “Dahiya Doctrine.” The doctrine was formulated by former Israeli Army (IDF) Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot, who is a member of the war cabinet, following the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Dahiya is a southern suburb of Beirut and a Hezbollah stronghold. It was bombed by Israeli jets after two Israeli soldiers were taken prisoner. The doctrine posits that Israel must employ massive and disproportionate force, destroying infrastructure and civilian homes, to ensure deterrence.

IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari admitted at the start of Israel's most recent attack on Gaza that the “emphasis” would be “on damage and not precision.” Israel has abandoned its “roof-hitting” tactic, where a rocket without an explosive charge would land on a roof to warn those inside to leave it. Israel also ended its telephone calls warning of an imminent attack.

Now, dozens of families in an apartment building or neighborhood are killed without warning. Images of mass destruction fuel the thirst for revenge within Israel following the humiliating incursion by Hamas fighters on October 7 and the murder of 1.200 Israelis, including 395 soldiers and 59 police officers.

There is a sadistic pleasure expressed by many Israelis when they talk about genocide and an increase in calls for the murder or expulsion of Palestinians – including those living in the occupied West Bank and those who hold Israeli citizenship. The savagery of the airstrikes and indiscriminate attacks, the cutting of food, water and medicine, the genocidal rhetoric of the Israeli government, make this a war whose only objective is revenge.

None of this will be good for Israel or the Palestinians. Everything will fuel a general conflagration in the Middle East. [French President Emmanuel Macron warned on Saturday that Israel's goal of eliminating Hamas could trigger a decade of war.] Israel's attack is the last desperate measure of a colonial project that foolishly and arrogantly thinks it can crush resistance of an indigenous population to genocide.

But even Israel will not escape the consequences of massacre on this scale. A generation of Palestinians, many of whom saw most (or all) of their family members killed and their homes and neighborhoods destroyed, will carry with them a lifelong thirst for justice and retaliation. This war is not over. She hasn't even started.

*Chris Hedges is a journalist. Author, among other books, of Empire of illusion: the end of literacy and the triumph of spectacle (Nation books).

Translation: Antonio Martins to the website Other words.


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