by Zafar Bangash (Editorials, Crescent International Vol. 41, No. 10, Muharram, 1434)
Killing a large number of people is not the only factor that determines the outcome of wars. Zionist Israel murdered 32 times more Palestinians than the latter did to the Israelis yet the Zionists failed in their objectives in Gaza.
If killing a large number of people were the criterion for winning wars, Zionist Israel would be the clear winner in Gaza. Even Israeli politicians questioned the purpose and rationale for launching the war when virtually none of its objectives was achieved. Only 20% of Israelis said they won the war while 29% conceded victory to Hamas. If the Zionists had any sense — and sense of history — they would have known that a war’s outcome is not determined by the number of people one kills. US defeats in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan all prove this point.
Israel is the most militarized state in the world. The Bonn International Centre for Conversion also confirmed this last month, according to its latest Global Militarisation Index. Its weapons, almost all US supplied gives it immense killing capacity. The Hamas-led government in densely populated Gaza, on the other hand, has no army, air force, anti-aircraft guns or missiles. Israel, therefore, had a completely free hand to kill as many civilians as it wanted. And it did, killing more than 160 people, almost all of them women and children. No bravery or moral superiority were involved there despite the habitual lies of Zionist apologists in the West about Israel’s extreme care in “minimizing civilian casualties.”
Despite killing and terrorizing Gaza’s civilians for eight days, Israel failed to stop Hamas rockets. This, however, is only a small part of the picture. The more important point is that Hamas has not only survived the Israeli onslaught — again — but has come out with its political and international stature greatly enhanced. And it was not only representatives of Arab governments that made a beeline to Gaza but also Western officials whose governments brand Hamas a “terrorist” organization. They all conceded that Hamas is a major player and has to be dealt with, even if indirectly, as the American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did using Egyptian officials as intermediaries.
Neither its designation as a “terrorist” organization nor the siege of Gaza after Hamas won elections in 2006 and assumed full control in June 2007 by driving out the Western-backed, corrupt Palestinian Authority (PA) puppets reduced its standing among the Palestinians. On the contrary, its steadfast resistance against Israel has enhanced its stature. Even as Zionist Israel and its Western supporters tightened the siege to increase people’s misery, thereby hoping to turn them against Hamas, the result has been exactly the opposite. The Palestinians have shown that they will not barter their dignity or freedom for a loaf of bread.
Israel’s latest outrage was perpetrated on the assumption that it would enhance Benjamin Netanyahu’s prospects in the January 2013 elections. Shedding the blood of innocent people to garner public support has become the favorite tool of all oppressors and tyrants. When Israel assassinated Hamas security chief Ahmed al-Ja‘bari on November 14, the Zionists thought Palestinians would protests for a few days and then return to struggling for daily survival. Instead, Hamas retaliated with rockets that for the first time in 40 years targeted major Israeli cities. While they caused little damage, the psychological impact was huge.
Netanyahu launched a vicious air campaign killing Palestinians in their homes, offices and farms; Gaza’s power grid was also attacked and damaged. None of this stopped Hamas rockets. The Zionists then attempted to exert pressure by calling up 75,000 reservists and massing them along the Gaza border threatening to invade unless the rockets stopped. Hamas was not intimidated; it stood its ground and kept retaliating. Realizing that this could go on for months — between them Hamas and Islamic Jihad have an estimated 15,000 rockets, thanks to technical know-how provided by Islamic Iran, as publicly acknowledged by leaders of both groups — Netanyahu could see the prospects of victory receding rapidly. This would prove extremely damaging to his reelection bid. The war’s outcome could still undermine his prospects.
Unable to carry out the threat of invasion, he had to call on the US to bail him out. President Barack Obama, on a Southeast Asian tour, quickly dispatched Clinton to secure a ceasefire with Hamas, albeit through the good offices of Egypt. Both sides put forward their demands but ultimately it was Hamas’ conditions that prevailed. The resistance group had already agreed to stop firing rockets into Israel if the latter stopped its aggression against Gaza, pledged not to carry out assassination of Palestinian leaders and ease the illegal siege. Israel had demanded that tunnels from Egypt used for smuggling much-needed goods and weapons be destroyed, and that no weapons be supplied to Hamas. No such guarantees were given; Hamas insisted on the right of self-defense.
When the ceasefire was announced on November 21, victory celebrations immediately broke out in Gaza but the mood in Tel Aviv was greatly subdued. Netanyahu did not look like the leader of a country that had achieved victory despite all the sophisticated weaponry that kills innocent people but cannot kill their will to resist and maintain dignity. The following day, when Israeli reservists started withdrawing from Gaza’s border, it had all the hallmarks of a demoralized army in retreat.
The political and strategic equation in Palestine has been radically altered. Hamas and the resistance front are ascending; Zionism is in retreat. The political landscape around Palestine has also changed. Dictatorial regimes in the Muslim East (aka Middle East) are also feeling the heat. Some, like the Saudi and Jordanian regimes, kept their heads low; others offered only rhetorical support but the reality is that Hamas has emerged as the main representative of the Palestinian people bypassing the clowns running the Palestinian Authority.
We may be on the verge of major changes in the Holy Land. The racist ideology of Zionism will be banished and a new ideology that respects the rights of all people — Muslims, Christians and Jews — will be established, insha’Allah. Only then will justice be done and peace restored.