The Unspoken Elephant in the Room of Netanyahu’s Intent in Gaza


by Alastair Crooke, The Unz Review:

Is this punishment on Gaza’s civilian population, prompted by desire for vengeance? Or is it an outpouring of eschatological rage and determination?

The point about the Gaza crisis is that should everyone agree to stick their head in the sand and ignore the ‘elephant in the room’, it’s easy enough so to do. The meaning to a severe crisis is only properly understood when someone notices ‘the elephant’, and says look out; there’s an elephant stamping here. That’s where we are today. Slowly, the West is beginning to take notice. The rest of world however, is transfixed by it, and is being transformed by it.


What is the ‘elephant’ (or elephants) in the room? Blinken’s recent regional diplomacy was ‘a bust’. None of the regional leaders that Blinken met would talk further about Gaza beyond demanding stridently, ‘no Palestinian population displacement into Egypt’ a ‘stop to this madness’ – the carpet bombing of Gazans – and the demand for an immediate ceasefire.

And Biden’s calls for a ‘pause’ – softly, at first, and the more strident now – is being bluntly ignored by the Israeli government. The spectre of President Carter’s impotence during the Iran hostage crisis hangs ever more soberly in the backdrop.

The truth is that the White House cannot force Israel to do its will – the Israeli lobby holds more clout in Congress than any White House team. Thus, ‘no exit’ from the Israeli crisis is readily to be seen. Biden ‘made his bed’ with the Netanyahu cabinet and must live with consequences.

Impotence then, as the Democratic Party fractures beyond the simplistic division between centrists versus progressives. The polarisation emanating from the ‘no ceasefire stance’ is having stark destabilising effects on politics, both in the U.S. and Europe.

Impotence then, as the shape of the Middle East crystallises into sharp antagonism towards the West’s perceived accommodation of the mass slaughter of Palestinian women, children and civilians. The die may be too far ‘cast’ to brake the ongoing tectonic reset already underway. Western double standards are just too inescapably obvious now to the Global Majority.

The large ‘elephant’ is this: Israel has dropped more than 25,000 tons of high explosives since 7 October (the 1945 Hiroshima nuke was 15,000 tons equivalent). What exactly is Netanyahu and his war cabinet’s aim here? Ostensibly, the earlier military operation in Jabalia Camp was about targeting a Hamas leader suspected of lurking under the camp – but six 2,000 lb bombs for one Hamas ‘target’ in a crowded refugee camp? And why too the attacks on water cisterns, hospital solar energy panels and hospital entrances, roads, schools and bakeries?

Bread has almost disappeared in Gaza. The UN says all bakeries in northern Gaza have closed following the bombing of the last bakeries. Clean water is desperately short, and thousands of bodies are slowly decomposing under rubble. Disease and epidemic are appearing, whilst humanitarian supplies are being tightly restricted as a bargaining tool toward further hostage releases..

Editor of Haaretz, Aluf Benn, puts the Israeli strategy very plainly:

“The expulsion of the Palestinian residents, transformation of their homes into piles of construction rubble, and the restriction of the entry of supplies and fuel into Gaza are the “tiebreaking move” employed by Israel in the current conflict, unlike all previous rounds of fighting in the Strip”.

Of what are we talking here? This clearly is not about avoiding collateral civilian deaths occurring as the IDF battles with Hamas. There have been no street battles in Jabalia, or in and around the hospitals – as one soldier commented: “All we’ve done is ride around in our armored vehicles. The boots on the ground stuff will come later”. The pretext of a ‘humanitarian evacuation’ therefore is bogus.

Hamas’ main forces are sitting deep underground, for the right moment to engage the IDF (i.e. when they are on foot amidst the rubble). For now, the IDF are staying in their tanks. But sooner or later, they will have to engage with Hamas on foot. So, the fight with Hamas has barely begun.

Israeli soldiers complain that they ‘barely see’ Hamas fighters. Well, that is because they are not present at street level, except in one or two-man raiding parties that exit the underground tunnels to attach an explosive device to a tank, or to fire a rocket at it. The Hamas operatives then quickly return to the tunnel from which they emerged. Some tunnels are constructed only for this purpose – as ‘once and done’ structures. As soon as the raiding soldier returns, the tunnel is collapsed so that Israeli forces cannot enter or follow. New ‘throw-away’ tunnels are continually being constructed.

You will not find any Hamas fighters in the Gaza civil hospitals either; their own hospital is in the main facilities deep underground (along with dormitories, stores to last several months, armouries and excavating equipment to dig new tunnels). And the Hamas cadre is not to be found in the basements of the main Gaza hospitals.

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