Just a little under a month ago, it seemed quite clear that the root cause of the more recent conflict between Israel and Gaza lay ultimately with the kidnapping and subsequent killings of three Israeli teens, after which President Netanyahu did not hold back in pointing the finger. Infact, both Netanyahu and his official spokesperson Mark Regev made official statements in which they very confidently claimed Hamas was responsible for these crimes, and that there was ‘absolutely no doubt' about it.
This narrative was soon revealed as untrue when officials confirmed that Hamas was not responsible for the kidnapping and killing of the teenagers. It was also revealed that Israeli intelligence knew about the death of the boys shortly after their disappearance, but kept this vital piece of information from the public to stir up emotions inciting a public outcry and condemnation for Hamas.
Having revealed to the world, the truth about the facts relating to the deaths of the teenagers, Israel now very desperately needed a new narrative to continue with the onslaught on Gaza; the rockets! The media soon caught onto the lexicon of Israeli propaganda, and the world was now fully embroiled in one the most prominent and persistent rhetorics so far; ‘Israel has a right to defend itself’. One does wonder however, what exactly does Israel intend on defending itself from? Hamas rockets are nothing short of hollow metal tubes with fireworks inside. In fact, the only ‘Hamas rockets’ to have ever made it into Israel other than the fireworks, are smoke bombs. There has been no evidence to date to indicate any visible damage caused by Hamas’ supposed rocket attacks, which in reality contain no warheads, and are mostly intercepted by Israel’s multi million dollar iron dome. So, why continue with this farce? Its simple. Israel needs to keep the fear, and belief of a legitimate attack on lives alive in its citizens, in order to add to their existing and growing hate of the Palestinian people, which will eventually justify a ground incursion.
The international community however started to pulverize this claim, much like all of Israel's justifications for its cold blooded killings. The media instantly caught onto Israel’s latest propaganda, that the assault was really about the destruction of the tunnels, describing them as a ‘maze of tunnels' designed to allow them [Palestinians] to ‘come into our territory and kill our people'. Yet again this fed the ever-growing fear factor amongst the Israeli population, and gave Israel the perfect ammunition to approve a ground incursion into Gaza.
Now, to anyone who knows little or nothing about this long-running conflict, this reason could seem perfectly justified. However, it is extremely important to understand why these tunnels even exist in the first place. Gaza is an open-air prison that has been locked up from the rest of the world for the best part of a decade; by Israel on one side, Egypt on the other, and an ocean on the third. These tunnels are a necessity for almost every aspect of their daily life; from bringing in food, water, medical supplies, to just everyday items. So, to destroy these tunnels under the pretext of keeping Israel safe is, in actual fact, to destroy the means of functioning for an entire city.
In the early hours of 1st August 2014, a 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire was announced, but less than two hours into it, Israel claimed that Hamas had broken the ceasefire by capturing an IDF soldier; Hadar Goldin. Israel used this to unleash a ruthless attack on the citizens of Rafah, claiming that the soldier was captured within the Rafah borders. This resulted in the murders of more than 200 civilians, amongst which were women and children. However, in less than 48 hours, it was revealed that Hamas yet again had no involvement in the capturing or killing of Hadar Goldin. It is also suspected that he was killed by IDF in a technique that is known as the Hannibal, where the captured is killed along with the captors.
So, the world is now left asking one question; why? Why has Israel gone to such lengths to create falsified stories, one after the other? Did Israel provoke and unleash a war on Gaza without clear objectives or correct intelligence information, but rather, based on mere assumptions and false pretexts?
It's really not that complicated once you think about it. Israel is and always has been power-hungry. It will not rest until it has complete control over the Gaza strip. Isreali sympathisers and the government themselves often exclusively name Hamas as the opposers of a two-state-solution, claiming that their charter includes a call for the obliteration of the Isaeli state, but their rhetoric falls short of mentioning Israel's rejection of an Arab state. Benjamin Netanyahu's ruling right-wing party ‘Likud' has, since 1999, had a charter which includes the principle that:
"The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state..."
This quite evidently means that Israel will never accept the possibility of a separate Palestinian state being established, thus rejecting the "two-state solution".
It is also worth noting that prior to the kidnapping and killings of the three teenagers, Fatah (the opposing political party in the West Bank) and Hamas put aside their differences, as they realised that the only way to come to any negotiation is to unite, and formed a united government. Netanyahu rejected this unity claiming that Hamas is a terrorist organisation. He then, to avoid genuine negotiations, threatened to withhold all aid to the Fatah government in the West Bank if it did not break off the pact with Hamas. Fatah however, refused Netanyahu's demands, thus providing Netanyahu with perfect ammunition, along with the kidnapping of the three teenagers, to justify his current onslaught on Gaza.
The conflict is not and never has been about anything other than control over the strip of land that is Gaza. You only need to take a quick glance at the growing occupation and number of settlements throughout the entire West Bank and Gaza over the years to see that.
So, when you hear the same old rhetoric; "Israel has a right to defend itself", "Israel just wants to exist", ask yourself this; who really is the victim here, and who is the oppressor?