The frenzied violence with which Israel has recently lashed out, not only against the Palestinians but even directly against the security forces of its neighbour Egypt, reveals the growing desperation of zionism, confronted with a new Egypt that is starting to shake itself free from the perpetual subservience to imperialism which has shamed it ever since the death of Nasser.
A fascist tradition: collective reprisals
Taking as pretext a series of coordinated gun and bomb attacks in Eilat on 18 August that targeted Israeli military forces, apparently carried out by unknown assailants crossing from Sinai, Israel renewed its aerial bombardment of the Gaza Strip, in contravention of the January 2009 agreement that ended the previous mass slaughter. The lack of any evidence linking the Eilat attacks to Gaza was of no concern to the zionists, who adopted the well-known fascist policy against perceived acts of resistance: collective reprisals.
A minimum of 14 Palestinians lost their lives in this latest exercise of state terror, and many more were injured. Curiously, the bombing of Gaza commenced even before the fighting around Eilat had finished, suggesting premeditation. The dead included the leader of the People’s Resistance Committees (PRC), a Gaza-based organisation which denies involvement in the Eilat operation.
Palestine: litmus test for the ‘Arab spring’
Not content with this, Israel sent a gunship full of troops over the Egyptian border into Sinai who ‘accidentally’ slaughtered five border guards, sparking a wave of outrage across Egypt.
Thousands protested outside the Israeli Embassy in Cairo, with one protestor climbing to the top to tear down the Star of David and replace it with the Egyptian flag. Under this kind of pressure, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) initially vowed to pull its envoy back from Tel Aviv in protest – a mild enough response given the scale of the outrage.
But as it turned out, all Netanyahu had to do to change Tantawi’s mind was to get the military ‘strong man’ into a private corner and apply a little pressure, after which the threat to sever relations was quietly dropped. However, the Egyptian prime minister, Essam Sharaf, no doubt motivated by a need to please the Egyptian electorate, did shock Israel by saying on Turkish television on 15 September: “The Camp David agreement is not a sacred thing and is always open to discussion with what would benefit the region and the case of fair peace.”
Were Israel less bent on hastening its own destruction it might try harder to cultivate such ‘moderate’ elements in the Egyptian leadership, not make their lives more difficult. Instead, by its own actions it is helping to accelerate the ‘Arab spring’, further undermining US hegemony in the region and shortening the timescale for its own inglorious departure from history.
The story did not end there however. A further attack on the Israeli embassy followed in September. After the first attack, a twelve-foot concrete wall was built to defend the building. This wall was in turn smashed down by protestors, who then besieged and partially occupied the embassy building, burning Israeli flags and chucking diplomatic documents off the balcony.
Prudently, the ambassador elected to get airlifted home. Direct action by the patriotic masses thereby achieved what SCAF had failed to deliver.
The Palestinian Authority’s UN initiative
Whatever the outcome of the current round of protests in Tahrir Square and of Egypt’s imminent presidential elections, Palestine remains the litmus test for the Egyptian revolution, and Cairo is currently begging Washington to soften its open hostility to the Palestinian bid to have its statehood recognised at the UN.
In effect, the Palestinian leadership is politely declining the prospect of an endless vista of sterile US-brokered talks with the zionists, accompanied always by the drumbeat of expanding settler enclaves on the West Bank. Instead, it is taking the demand that its statehood be recognised direct to the UN.
Despite the very great moderation of the actual Palestinian proposal – still based on a two-state solution around pre-1967 borders and fuzzy on the question of the right of return – US imperialism remains obdurately opposed, forcing Cairo into an uncomfortable choice: with imperialism or against imperialism?
It was Cairo’s progressive role in easing the blockade of Gaza and brokering a tentative reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas (to the spitting fury of Israel) that paved the way for the Palestinian Authority’s current diplomatic initiative. Now Cairo must either continue along this progressive direction, or turn about to face the judgement of its own masses.
The US veto on the UN Security Council makes it a foregone conclusion that no Palestinian state will succeed in winning full member status, even with overwhelming support from the General Assembly, although it is possible that the current non-state observer status could be upgraded to state observer status. More important than such details, however, is the way in which the registering at the UN of a huge majority in favour of an independent state would underline a new high in zionist isolation and a new low in Washington’s prestige.
For the moment, it seems that US imperialism remains locked in a dead-man’s embrace with the doomed zionist entity, accelerating its own degeneration in the process.
On the question of Israel, cross-party consensus in the US reigns supreme. Should Obama’s zionism ever waver, his political foes stand ready to step into the breach. The Republican chair of Congress’s Foreign Affairs Committee has already tabled a bill to cut off US funding from any agency of the UN that has the temerity to grant state-level membership or any other upgraded status to the Palestinian observer mission at the UN.
Meanwhile, in a sign of the internal pressures that are now piling up on Israel’s own jewish population, some youth have decided to attempt an Arab spring of their own, organising mass protest camps to complain about high taxes, falling living standards and the grip over the economy exercised by the 20 or so families who own and control most Israeli businesses.
Whilst justice for Palestine may not figure large in these protests, the vast amount of money lavished on keeping up armed settler outposts on the West Bank has certainly not escaped their attention, and the cumulative stress imposed on the Israeli population by dwelling in the permanent shadow of zionist war crimes should not be underestimated.
The harder zionism strives to reverse the tide of history, the more surely it moves towards implosion.
Forward with the Egyptian revolution! Victory to the intifada!