“Terrorize the civilian population, assuring maximal destruction of property and cultural resources… The daily life of the Palestinians must be rendered unbearable: They should be locked up in cities and towns, prevented from exercising normal economic life, cut off from workplaces, schools and hospitals, This will encourage emigration and weaken the resistance to future expulsions”
– Ur Shlonsky, a professor of Linguistics at Geneva University in Switzerland as quoted by Ghali Hassan
It is now 7 days into the ceasefire at which both Israel and Hamas suspended their airstrikes and rocket-fire. 
Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that her office verified the deaths of 270 Palestinians including 68 children in this month’s violent attacks mostly in Gaza, but also in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
She also stated that 10 Israelis were killed by Gaza’s rockets. Bachelet, also a former President of Chile, stated that Hamas had committed “a clear violation of international law” with their “indiscriminate” rocket attacks. However, she was also critical of Israel citing the widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure and fatalities and asserting, “Despite Israel’s claims that many of these buildings were hosting armed groups or being used for military purposes, we have not seen evidence in this regard.”
The UN Human Rights Council agreed on May 28 to investigate alleged crimes committed by both sides, which could potentially include war crimes.
These developments seem welcome. But in the broader frame it isn’t clear how Israel under best circumstances can be contained should the bigger powers, most notably the United States, continue to back them and possibly even drive them. After all, with the blatantly illegal war on Iraq for example, the U.S. seems to do whatever it wants regardless of what international law says.
To put it another way, if there is a long term objective Israel has been seeking for decades involving the continued persecution of Palestinians, what is the likelihood it will be shifted if the U.S. and friends continue to sell them arms and weaponry while UN council will, at best, wag their fingers at them?
On the other hand, Palestine seems to be making gains, incredibly even with the American public. A majority of Americans and a significant majority of Democrats opposed unrestricted military aid to Israel which was being used to expand settlements in the West Bank. If Israeli aggression is seen as a territorial offensive rather than ‘self-defense’, how much longer can the States maintain its unquestioning U.S.-Israel alliance while their PR House of Cards is being dismantled?
This week’s Global Research News Hour attempts to look at the Israel-Palestine conflict through a deeper lens and potentially locate some hopes for a more promising situation for all involved.
First up, the head of Global Research, Professor Michel Chossudovsky breaks down the plans since the turn of the century to break down the Palestine Liberation Organization through the assassination of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, and to provoke attacks on Israelis which allow them to fight back with multiple force. He also underscores the discovery of Natural Gas deposits off the coast of Gaza and its prospects for expanding its state borders still further.
After this, journalist Robert Inlakesh brings us a recent report about Israel’s efforts to deliberately accelerate the breakdown of the ceasefire through more aggressive actions on Palestinians by Israeli soldiers.
Finally, journalist and film-maker Mike Prysner talks about the story behind his recent documentary Gaza Fights for Freedom and about how the stories of Gazan Palestinians or changing mindsets of people in the U.S.
Professor Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (emeritus) at the University of Ottawa, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal, Editor of Global Research.
Robert Inlakesh is a journalist, documentary film-maker, writer and political analyst, who has lived in and reported from the occupied Palestinian Territories. He currently works with The Last American Vagabond, Press TV and Quds News, and has written for various other publications.
Mike Prysner is an Iraq War veteran turned anti-war activist. He has co-produced the Empire Files with noted journalist Abby Martin. He also wrote and produced the film Gaza Fights for freedom, a documentary exploring the territory from the Palestinian perspective (see below).
Transcript – Interview with Professor Michel Chossudovsky, May 26, 2021
Global Research: You mentioned in your work the extraordinary revelation that the violence on Palestinians in Gaza was planned out well in advance of any violence against Israelis. Israel typically seeks violence against Israelis as an excuse to retaliate massively against Palestinians even though there’s no evidence that Hamas is responsible. Take us to that planning around the turn of the century that acts like the fingerprints of these criminal goings-on.
Michel Chossudovsky: Well, there were several intelligence operations starting in 2001 which was called the Dagan plan. It was named after Meir Dagan who was Minister of Defence at the time. It also was tagged as Operation Justified Vengeance. Now, the basis of these plans was, on the part of the Israeli government, to trigger the deaths of Israeli citizens by provoking an incident, it could be a suicide bomber, attack by a group that they were controlling, or it was an attack to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, but it was a carefully planned operation to trigger deaths of Israeli civilians with a view to “justifying vengeance” so to speak. In other words, we have the right to self-defense. And that is the logic of Netanyahu’s statements more recently.
Now this is a diabolical plan, and it’s still active, the objective has been to “justify vengeance” for the deaths occurring in Israel, which they provoked, and then used that as a pretext to literally destroy Gaza. And according to a UN study a couple of years ago, Gaza has become unlivable. In other words, 70 percent unemployment, no infrastructure, no water, no food, and this is an open-air prison.
Now, if we go back in history, under the government of Ariel Sharon, there was a plan to remove the Jewish settlements. Now, that removal of the Jewish settlements had a particular logic behind it. And I recall, at the time, that the Palestinians and also those who supported Palestine were saying victory!
Victory! The Jewish settlements had been moved out of Gaza. But the operation was not necessarily against the Jewish settlements. It was to create a prison, a concentration camp.
And, what happened, was that the Jewish settlements were resettled in the West Bank. And following that, essentially Israel was there not only to impoverish the people in Gaza, but also ultimately to trigger exodus. Now that exodus has not happened on a significant scale, but ultimately that is their intent, is to push people out of Gaza towards Egypt eventually and similarly they are doing the same thing in the West Bank
But there is a whole history behind this, and the creation of divisions between Hamas on the one hand and the Palestinian Authority on the other, was fundamental.
There was a plan to assassinate Arafat approved by the Israeli cabinet. And this people have forgotten, or the media hasn’t reported it, even though at the time it reported by CNN.
That action on the part of the Israeli government was a cabinet decision. And they confirmed it.
They said, we’re going to kill Arafat at the appropriate time and place. And it happened one year later.
But, I mean, when a government makes that statement, that of course is a criminal act. It’s a crime against humanity to go around and kill a foreign head of state. It happens. I mean, the United States has killed how many heads of state, heads of government, in the course of the so-called post-war period, but they don’t say, “We did it.” And in this case, the Israeli cabinet said no, we’re going to kill Arafat. And then one year later he was killed, he was poisoned, and then they invented some kind of a story, and the media didn’t mention it, that Arafat had been killed on orders of the Israeli government at the time.
GR: Okay, if I could just stop you for a minute, I mean, they had tests from Switzerland, Russia, France, and all of them, they didn’t actually assume that it was a poisoning or assassination. It seems like a bit of a JFK assassination, if you know what I mean, it’s not quite determined.
MC: Well, it was, I think it was more than the JFK assassination, because in this particular case, the Israeli government said, we’re going to do it! They passed a decision in cabinet. It was voted upon, and they don’t deny it. I have the quotations on that, okay. Now the CNN had the quotations on it because they interviewed members of the Israeli government. And when it happened, of course, then you sort of invent a JFK type of scenario and you forget the fact that in this particular case the government had ordered the assassination of Arafat.
But the purpose of that was ultimately to create essentially two separate government entities both of which were controlled directly or indirectly by Israel, well, certainly today Mahmoud Abbas is controlled by Israel, and Hamas, at one point, was supported by Israel because it was an Islamist movement, and they saw that in the earlier period.
And I’m not making a reflection on Hamas today, but at an earlier period, this was seen as a way of weakening the secular government of the Palestinian Authority. And, in fact, the Palestinian movement has always been secular, and it has been the movement also of Christians and Muslims, so that this was carefully thought-out intelligence op to ultimately destroy any kind of government or authority which would represent the Palestinian people, and instead it was manipulated both by the United States and Israel.
GR: Now, talk about the major find of natural gas off the coast of Gaza, because Israel had been seeking that gas while the United States was seeking oil and other pursuits within this so-called war on terrorism. So I’m wondering, in their efforts to gain Gaza, if this was planned sequentially with the United States, I’ll go into Iraq you going to Gaza sort of thing, or was it more somewhat in advance.
MC: Well, you know there is a long history of the Gaza offshore gas reserves. There was a contract with British Gas at one point, but what is significant is that these offshore gas reserves were acknowledged by the Israeli Supreme Court as belonging to Palestine. And this, of course, has never been respected by the Israeli government, who have in fact appropriated the reserves and has undertaken contracts with various companies without of course acknowledging the fact that these reserves, which are significant, belong to the Palestinian people. Now that started under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2001 more or less, but those offshore gas fields were known at a much earlier period.
It should be noted that the entire Eastern Mediterranean coastline extending from Egypt’s Sinai to Syria constitutes an area encompassing large gas as well as oil reserves.
GR: I wonder if you could talk more about Greater Israel where it’s expanding its borders beyond, like going through, across Gaza, but also down through Syria and even a portion of Saudi Arabia. This is the ultimate objective. Not the self defense against Hamas as was claimed How would that greater outcome unfold after Gaza according to plan becomes part of Israel again?
MC: Well the Greater Israel plan was analyzed and formulated by the founding father of Zionism Theodor Herzl and that of course this precedes the state of Israel. It consisted in establishing a broader and extended Israel which was “the promised land” from Egypt to the Euphrates, which included parts of Syria and Lebanon.
Now, if we view this in the current context there certainly is an expansionist plan as far as Israel is concerned which consists essentially in appropriating and annexing Palestinian lands. And that of course in the first instance includes Gaza and the West Bank. But I should mention that, and it’s been a lot of debate on that, is that this plan of the Greater Israel, which also is coupled with the fragmentation of neighbouring Arab states, is part of a broader US foreign policy design.
It’s a U.S.-Israeli expansionary project, which also has the support of NATO, and of Saudi Arabia.
And what is important is that the structure of alliances has shifted. Now there’s a Saudi – Israeli rapprochement which is supportive of Israel’s expansionary objectives, but I should mention that, in effect, the United States calls the shots on this.
GR: It’s like Israel is the junior partner in the war on terrorism, in a sense
MC: Well, Israel is a partner, and Israel is a de facto member of NATO. There was an agreement signed between Israel and NATO, I can’t recall the exact date, it was about 2003 or so, but the…there’s a protocol, not de jure, but Israel is part of NATO de-facto on the one hand, and that of course is very important. But there’s another element. In the wake of the 2008/2009 invasion of Gaza, as we recall which was a massacre, the United States came in and it was early 2009, and they installed a military facility and it was an air defense system which was established on Israeli soil, and it was under US jurisdiction, and it was very clearly specified at the time that this is our military facility, and we control the air defense system. Now what we must understand is that while Israel can undertake piecemeal military operations, for major military operations, it requires partnership with the United States. And, invariably, large-scale operations such as the bombing eg. the bombing of Iran would have to go through the United States strategic command headquarters in Nebraska. It would be coordinated, and then there would be NATO, in other words, Israel is part of a broader military Alliance and ultimately any kind of action against eg. Iran would emanate from the Pentagon.
We can recall for instance back during the Bush Administration, Cheney went on record and said, talking about Israel, they might do the dirty… Well I can’t recall his exact terms, but in substance he was saying Israel could do the bombing for us.
Yes. Israel could do the bombing for us. Now, I think in US military history, Washington has always sought to have their wars conducted by their allies rather than by themselves. I mean, or they have wars which have the rubber stamp of the UN. And more recently, NATO has served that particular purpose of waging wars on behalf of the US.
So that, I think that is the underlying agenda in the Middle East. The war on Iran was first stated officially by Central Command Headquarters in a document in the mid-90s, 1995, which said very explicitly, first Iraq then Iran. It said it very explicitly, and they gave as a justification for war: strategic access to Middle East oil. Now that foreign policy agenda is still there, and if Israel plays a role against a neighbouring Arab state, it is doing it on behalf of the United States.
GR: One last question if I could. You together with Hans von Sponeck and Denis Halliday, were involved with the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal (KLWCT), that was following a 2005 initiative to criminalize war. What did this involve?
MC: Well let me give you the background. First of all, back in 2005, the former prime minister of Malaysia, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad took the initiative of establishing a procedure, well it was called the The initative to criminalization of war.
And it was a procedure as well as a commitment. And that was established in 2005. We drafted the text, I was part of that team at the time, together with Denis Halliday, Hans von Sponeck and several prominent Malaysian and foreign personalities.
And that it turned subsequently led to the formation of what was called the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal, as well as the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission. And the War Crimes Commission was essentially responsible for formulating the indictments against the war criminals. There were two cases which were dealt with, first was a procedure of the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal against the Bush Administration, Bush, Cheney, et al in regards to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
And we had many witnesses that came in and provided testimony. And the second one was against the state of Israel, which was implemented in 2013. It was a very important document because it was also based on testimonies of violation of international law and so on, and the commission was Chaired by the former prime minister of Malaysia Mahathir Mohamad, who actually became prime minister in his second mandate. He recently resigned about a year ago, but he chaired the commission, and we came up with an indictment directed against the state of Israel. And the proceedings of that War Crimes Tribunal are on record including the testimonies.
Other stations airing the show:
CIXX 106.9 FM, broadcasting from Fanshawe College in London, Ontario. It airs Sundays at 6am.
WZBC 90.3 FM in Newton Massachusetts is Boston College Radio and broadcasts to the greater Boston area. The Global Research News Hour airs during Truth and Justice Radio which starts Sunday at 6am.
Campus and community radio CFMH 107.3fm in Saint John, N.B. airs the Global Research News Hour Fridays at 7pm.
CJMP 90.1 FM, Powell River Community Radio, airs the Global Research News Hour every Saturday at 8am.
Caper Radio CJBU 107.3FM in Sydney, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia airs the Global Research News Hour starting Wednesday afternoon from 3-4pm.
- Stephanie Nebehay (May 27, 2021), ‘U.N. launches investigation into whether Israel, Hamas committed crimes’, Reuters; www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/un-rights-chief-bachelet-says-israeli-strikes-gaza-may-be-war-crimes-2021-05-27/
Disclaimer: Israel Post Ceasefire: When the Dreams of Israelis Collide with the Hopes of Palestinians By Michael Welch, Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Robert Inlakesh, and Mike Prysner - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view