By Gilad Atzmon – London
Haaretz reported today that IDF Senior officials "believe that Israel should strive to reach an immediate cease-fire with Hamas, and not expand its offensive against the Palestinian Islamist group in Gaza."
This shouldn’t take us by great surprise. Though Israel has proved beyond doubt that it is rather capable of conducting large-scale genocide, it also proved that its military forces do not have the answer to Islamic resistance. The Israeli chief military officials admitted as well that "Israel achieved several days ago all that it possibly could in Gaza." The IDF, so it seems, finished its role in Gaza. It turned its neighbourhoods into piles of rubble. Relentlessly, it even murdered the civilian population in broad daylight by means of air raids and attacks from warships. Images of white phosphorus artillery shells bursting over schools and hospitals are now part of our collective memory. Tanks firing into schools loaded with evacuees seeking refuge from the bombing of their buildings is now the image associated with the Israeli soldier and yet, the Israelis failed to achieve any of their objectives. I must admit that it must take a special talent to be an Israeli general. As much as they are good in committing war crimes, they somehow fail in everything else.
The Israeli politicians initially swore to destroy Hamas, they then lowered their expectations, they promised just to destroy Hamas’ rocket launching capabilities, all the while reassuring their excited Israeli voters that this time the Jewish State will fight till the bitter end. Seemingly, their promises fell too short once again.
Hamas is still there; its support within the Palestinian street is stronger than ever. But it is not only the Palestinian street. Hamas’ message of defiance is spreading all over the Muslim world and beyond. Last week I was marching in London together with another 100,000 protesters. The support for Hamas was all around. It was on placards, flags, headbands and loudspeakers. Not only is Hamas far from being defeated, its rocket launching capability seems to be unaffected. Day after day Hamas combatants manage to remind Israelis in Ashdod, Ashkelon and Sderot that they actually live on stolen Palestinian land. Give Hamas the necessary time and the ballistic message will be carried to every corner of stolen Palestine.
Israel is desperate for an exit strategy. I learned today that Defence Minister Ehud Barak is looking for a week long humanitarian ceasefire. Please do not hold your breath, the notorious mass murderer didn’t change his spots all of a sudden. Being a veteran general, Barak realises very well that his soldiers on the ground need a break and they need it now. Being that they are gathered together in a few scattered open areas, they are currently exposed to Hamas’ snipers and mortar fire. In the last few days, Israeli forces started to suffer a growing number of causalities. The attempt to step up the battle into Gaza’s neighbourhood met with some severe resistance. The Israeli army is stuck once again.
If this is not enough, within a few days Obama is going to reside in the White House and the Israelis are not totally convinced that the new American president will blindly support their murderous strategy. Defence Minister Barak realizes that his window of opportunity might be closing down. He realises that IDF soldiers may have to dig in Gaza city outskirts without achieving any of the war’s military objectives. Barak needs a few days of ceasefire to create a new reality on the ground. He obviously prefers to hide behind a humanitarian effort. This is far easier than admitting that once again the IDF was caught unprepared. Olmert aids, however were stupid enough to admit the lie. Apparently one of them slammed Barak earlier on today suggesting that "Hamas sees the scenes and hears the voices, these comments are a shot in the arm for Hamas and its leaders."
As things stand, IDF soldiers are now stranded in Gaza. Don’t misinterpret me, they are still capable of spreading death and inflicting carnage, yet they cannot win this war. The IAF ran out of ˜military" targets a week ago and the artillery is probably facing the same situation. As news floods in it becomes evident that once Israeli soldiers leave their armoured vehicles and Merkava tanks they are subject to the mercy of Hamas. I have read today on Ynet that some IDF soldiers reported that they "don’t really see the enemy", "we get hit and we do not know by who and how."
As things stand, Hamas is becoming a symbol of heroic persistence. Its combatants on the ground fight almost with bare hands against America’s most lethal technology. Similarly, Hamas’ political leadership has managed to set itself as the key to any possible resolution of the current conflict. The hope that Hamas would be toppled or discredited proved to be just another Israeli dream. Hamas is now becoming a widely accepted entity by the international community. It is regarded as an elementary ingredient in any possible solution. Israel, on the other hand, is seen for what it is for real, a murderous criminal state involved in genocidal war crimes of the worst order.
However, there is a new reality that we have to bear in mind. The damage Israel is leaving behind in Gaza is horrific. It has flattened neighbourhoods, it has spread white phosphorus in populated areas. As if this is not enough, the many tons of bunker buster bombs which Israel was using day and night have shaken the foundations of every building in Gaza and the question looms large as to whether Gazan houses that are still standing will be safe to live in. EU officials raised the question today wondering who is going to pay for the reconstruction of these eradicated towns, camps and villages.
In an ideal ethical world, Israel would have let the Gazans go back to their land. But ethics and Israel are very much like parallel lines. They somehow never meet. As much as it is clear that Palestinians will come back to their land, it won’t be Israel that that will welcome the inevitable returning Palestinians.
Someone will have to rebuild Gaza, and the only name that comes to mind is the democratically elected Hamas. Such a huge project maintained by Hamas will be the right answer to Israel’s criminal war and its murderous objectives.
– Gilad Atzmon was born in Israel and served in the Israeli military. He is the author of the several novels. Atzmon is also one of the most accomplished jazz saxophonists in Europe. His CD, Exile, was just named the year’s best jazz CD by the BBC. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.