Thursday, December 27, 2012

Leading from Behind

From the desk of Reuven Kaminer
Thursday 22, November, 2012
 Leading from Behind
The Israeli Government: We are going to Finish with Hamas
There are many signs, such as the text of the cease fire agreement, which suggest that Israel suffered a crushing defeat in its effort to break Hamas. The government spread illusions among the people that this time it was going to deal Hamas a final "death blow." This is what the masses, especially those in the south under rocket fire, believed was going to happen. It is hard to know what people are thinking regarding the promises by Netanyahu and Barak that they were going to bring Hamas to their knees. Instead of surrender, it is clear that Hamas survived a critical political-military test. It personified, in its own way, the Palestinian demand for freedom and independence. Hamas was not brought to its knees and the masses of Gazans celebrating after the cease fire bears witness to this. Israel's bragging and boasting were exposed in their full  spiteful ugliness.    
Israel's failure to smash Hamas can serve to encourage renewed efforts to advance the cause of Palestinian unity.  This unity is as vital as ever in order to overcome the US-Israeli determination to destroy the hopes and the dreams of the Palestinians for the full realization of their rights.

Obama – Leading from Behind
When hesitation regarding a ground offensive was gathering force in Israeli public opinion here two-three days ago, the world heard from the White House that : Obama has not asked Israel to hold off on ground invasion of Gaza and believes that Israel has [the] right to make its own security decisions. (Reuters)
It is too early to sum up all the events connected with the Israeli offensive and the ensuing diplomatic activity. A lot of the facts and information are still hidden. Even so, some initial conclusions seem warranted.
This whole crisis burst out and sharpened with the United States seemingly out of the picture. This was the US technique of leading from behind. But it was absolutely clear here by virtue of Obama's total enthusiastic backing that the US was behind the Israeli aggression and leading it from behind.   
In Spite of Everything - Obama Loves Bibi
Obama led the international choir chanting the gibberish about Israel's right to defend itself. Israel had exploited one of those almost daily border skirmishes going on along the border with Gaza to launch a full scale retaliation, which was in fact, an attempt to eliminate the Palestinian issue from the international arena. Let us be clear that whoever gives total blanket approval to the Israeli attack bears responsibility for the aggression which in terms of scope and proportion has nothing in common with legitimate defense.
The diplomatic remoteness of the US during the first week of the Israeli operation is merely an indicator that it had appointed Israel as its proactive deputy in the region, including a carte blanche to advance US interests in the region through armed operations. This policy answers the US need to have sizable military ground forces of its or those of a faithful ally at its disposal. The shortage of its own appropriate ground forces is a well-known Achilles heel of the US giant.  Israel, on the other hand, has demonstrated a capacity to mobilize tens of thousands of ground troops in a matter of days. The romance between Barack and Bibi intensifies precisely when many liberals were waiting for the US president to punish Bibi for his attempt to stab a knife into Obama's back during the recent elections. Interests overcome sentiments.
The Demotion of Muhammad Morsi
The complete US identification with the Israeli operation on the Egyptian doorstep was a severe challenge for the Egyptian president.  It was a clear demonstration that the US had empowered Israel to be the sole interpreter and exponent of US interests in the region.  This was a slap in the face for Egypt and a challenge to Morsi's standing.  Morsi failed to meet the challenge. It is definitely not the role of Egypt as the chief force in the Arab world to become a mediator in the conflict between the Palestinians, under occupation, and Israel.  Egypt is supposed to formulate the position and the demands of the Arab world and to fight for those demands, one way or another. At any rate, it is the first duty of the president of Egypt to express to the best of his ability solidarity with the Palestinian people. The job of "objective mediator" for Morsi is demeaning and a self imposed demotion for him and for Egypt. He received his task as mediator through the good offices of the United States and the Israeli establishment has been showering him with compliments ever since he took the job.
And so: Obama and Netanyahu have this new romance. The Israeli population in the south of the country is trying to figure out how it was conned into believing that Bibi, Barak and Lieberman were going to bring them years of peace and quiet. Hamas wrote an impressive chapter in Palestinian resistance. The Palestinian issue does not want to go away and will survive current Egyptian faint heartedness.
This morning news is that the Israeli army and police have arrested 55 Palestinian leaders and activists in the West Bank for fomenting resistance to the Israeli aggression in Gaza. This, it seems is supposed to alleviate the severe frustration of the Israeli leadership.