War on Gaza: Israel’s lethal charade hides its real goals in plain sight

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Forget Israel’s stated goals about destroying Hamas. Its real, undeclared goal has always been to make Gaza uninhabitable and destroy as many traces of Palestinian life as possible
Youths watch from afar as people search the rubble of destroyed buildings in the Asra residential compound, northwest of Nuseirat in the Gaza Strip, on 25 March, 2024 (AFP)

Afriend in Gaza recently wrote: “The undeclared goals of the war: kill as many people as possible, destroy as many homes and buildings as possible, shrink the surface of the Strip and divide it. Control the gas resources. Prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state; Hamas, hostages are marginal issues.”

The accuracy of these “undeclared goals” gets clearer by the minute, as the charade of official blather continues, despite the latest UN resolution demanding a ceasefire in Gaza.

After the grotesque ice-cream cone declaration by US President Joe Biden, mumbling about being assured of a “ceasefire” in Gaza by Ramadan, and that “my national security adviser tells me… we’re close… My hope is by next Monday we’ll have a ceasefire”, that Monday and many more came and went, but the mumbo-jumbo continued.

And the platitudes continued, too: White House spokesperson John Kirby droned on about “Israel having the right to defend itself”, that the “US is doing more than anyone to bring in humanitarian aid”, and, of course, “it all started 7 October”.

If anyone could possibly be more smug and odious, the efforts of State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller are noteworthy, with teary-eyed Secretary of State Antony Blinken nodding off just behind, method-acting his way through a role riddled with the angst of “moral consciousness” on full public display.

As if all this weren’t nauseating enough, top virtue signaller Vice President Kamala Harris struggled to put a few coherent sentences together as the alarm clock on the 2024 campaign apparently woke her out of deep slumber.

The docile press corps raised its voice an octave or two but no one asked precise questions, such as “Why are the Israelis both blocking aid and shooting people trying to reach a bag of flour?”, or “Why isn’t the US telling their ally to open land crossings?”

But they all back off obediently, so they’ll be called on again at the next exercise in the charade.

‘Astonishing asymmetry’
But as it continues, others have taken the stage. Last month, US Air Force serviceman Aaron Bushnell set himself on fire outside the Israeli embassy in Washington DC, shouting “Free Palestine”. He died later that evening.

Other veterans publicly burned their uniforms in protest of the US role in Gaza. Protesters continue to shut down public speakers and politicians.

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People all over the world are aware, outraged, and active: an Irish artist in Dublin painting murals about Gaza finds herself in touch with the mother of a child killed by the Israelis; millions demonstrate weekly in Yemen.

Holding a “ceasefire now” sign in Washington, DC, recently retired 17-year US Army veteran Josephine Guilbeau, speaking over an Israeli drone video, said: “We have technology that we can see exactly who is in these locations… they’re targeting and bombing homes knowing who and how many children were actually inside… this is not self-defence. The civilian casualties are catastrophic… The elite that sit in Capitol Hill… lie over and over and over… one of the biggest awakenings… I’ve had… is just how corrupt our government is and that anyone that’s in the military is simply just one chess piece that they use at their leisure for their own internal gain to protect their own internal assets and money.”

If Gaza is gone, there will be no Palestine
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With widgets for the US arms industry manufactured in practically every congressional district in the country, the revolving door between lobbyists and government officials just keeps on turning, and the bloated “defence budget” keeps growing.

And as for what began this deadly charade, we need to look as far back as the 1917 Balfour Declaration. The 67-word text is a blueprint for the political and juridical state of exception Palestinians still find themselves in, and which imperial powers, international conferences, Arab puppet regimes, and various other players on the stage still find themselves dancing around or bombing to the tune of.

As Lebanese economist Georges Corm wrote, it is, “a text notable for its esoteric racism in which the whole Palestinian drama has been inscribed… there is not one word… about the political rights of… the Palestinian people, whom they refuse to name, just as any possibility of their collective existence is eliminated by depriving them of any and all political rights.”

Noting its “astonishing asymmetry”, he called it: “A futurist text… the declaration is inscribed in the Arab memory as a monument to perversion.”

Extraordinarily cynical move
All the major issues this “futurist” text mobilised are fully laid out: asymmetry, political rights and demography – but, also, the tip of the imperial spear.

The “outpost of civilisation against barbarism”, as David Ben-Gurion put it, or, as then-Senator Biden forcefully declaimed in 1986: “It’s about time we stop… apologising for our support for Israel… It is the best $3bn investment we make. Were there not an Israel, the United States of America would have to invent an Israel to protect her interests in the region.”


It seems not at all incongruous for Biden to now be the one overseeing the present genocide. Even as a thought experiment, it is well worth contemplating how the liberal establishment might have reacted to the situation in Gaza had it taken place under a Donald Trump presidency.

It is well worth contemplating how the liberal establishment might have reacted to the situation in Gaza had it taken place under a Donald Trump presidency
One can only imagine media pundits, politicians, Hollywood and academia, all ranting in unison about white rage, the arrival of fascism, the end of democracy, and all the rest of it.

As for asymmetry, it is the air we breathe, the fuel energising the propaganda machine producing the relentless drumbeat of cognitive dissonance. The same airspace Gazans look up to in terror with nothing to shield them from the constant Israeli surveillance drones and aerial bombardment is now a source of outdated non-halal meals parachuted in by the US, who also deliver the weapons.

In an extraordinarily cynical move, the US is adding a new port to the mix, using the rubble of destroyed Palestinian homes and institutions.

Maybe parts of hospitals or universities will find themselves submerged with the remains of decomposed bodies never recovered from under the rubble. Whether this becomes a military base or an exit port for mass expulsion is yet to be seen but, as the American phrase has it, “you can’t make this stuff up”.

Law of ever-greater destruction
As all this genocidal, geopolitical and mental shrapnel resounds through what is left of our rational faculties – along with Israeli snipers and artillery aiming at Palestinians desperately seeking food – the global populace is subjected to things that make absolutely no sense.

US spokespersons claim there can be no place for Hamas in the political process referring to declarations long superseded, while the US tramples on treaties it is still a signatory to.

A medic treats an injured Palestinian man on a stretcher after an air strike on al-Ahli Arab hospital, 17 October 2023 (Reuters)

Throughout, Israel operates by the law of ever-greater destruction as a way of both sweeping earlier destruction under the carpet and creating the illusion that there are “two sides” and not one overpowering force hell-bent on the suffocation of all forms of resistance, autonomy and independence.

As we see pictures of children starved to death, who remembers fake news of a rocket, falsely attributed to the Islamic Jihad, that killed dozens of people at al-Ahli Arab hospital?

Despite its enormous might, Israel has failed to meet the minimum of its stated objectives. It has not repatriated its hostages, and Hamas forces continue to resist
As widespread famine and disease masterminded by Israel kill more and more people, who remembers the controlled demolition of universities and the targeted assassination of academics and journalists? If Palestinians in Gaza are forced over the border en masse, who will remember Deir Yassin and the Nakba?

Despite its enormous might, Israel has failed to meet the minimum of its stated objectives. It has not repatriated its hostages, and Hamas forces continue to resist. Amid the chaos of airdrops and the “flour massacre”, Gaza police struggled to regain control, distributing leaflets barring people from the deadly roundabouts.

On 17 March, met by cheering crowds, over a dozen aid trucks – the first food convoys to reach the north of Gaza without incident in four months – arrived to orderly lines of people assembled at the Unrwa warehouse in Jabalia.

But the latest attack on al-Shifa hospital, and the targeted assassination of Faiq Mabhouh, operations director of the Gaza police, on the same day, tells you everything you need to know about Israel’s aims, as reported in an essential Mondoweiss piece. Other police officers, with their families, were assassinated, along with dozens of aid workers. Any order not dictated and imposed by Israel must be obliterated.

Unprecedented cruelty
The obvious conclusion can only be that Israel’s stated goals are not its real goals, as my friend in Gaza wrote. Israel’s real goals are what is now underway: making Gaza uninhabitable, and destroying as many traces of Palestinian life as possible, both present and past.

But in order to accomplish that, the occupation machine must introduce new forms of collaboration, something that Hamas, often with severity, put an end to in Gaza. This is at the root of Israel’s policy of unprecedented cruelty as they continue the onslaught.

And Israel does this most effectively by perpetrating its biggest lie, by enacting asymmetry in every single attack, whether a bombing campaign, a house demolition, a land grab or a mass round-up, making every single act of resistance a potential capital crime.

A nuclear power that has never signed the non-proliferation treaty or allowed its facilities in Dimona to be inspected – with the most sophisticated weaponry and technology in the world available at its disposal, with an air force, navy, and a total of some 635,000 troops – continues to promote the charade that a coalition of 30,000 guerilla fighters with no tanks, no anti-aircraft artillery, no air force and no navy, is right on the verge of destroying the “Jewish state”.

And all while at the time criminalising and utterly obliterating any and all forms of civilian resistance to the decades-long state of siege they have been under.

If that makes any sense at all, keep reading – I’ve got more than a few bridges to sell you.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

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