The rampage that Israel has created in Gaza is not just a reaction against Hamas’ October 7 attacks that killed more than 1100 hundred Israelis. The callous destruction being inflicted upon the Gazans is not simply about eliminating Hamas, either. In fact, the ongoing Israeli military campaign – and the West’s support for it – is now aimed at a much bigger target: the total social and political annihilation of everything that stands for Palestine in that part of the world. The mission, in simple words, is to make Palestine, i.e., Gaza and the West Bank, simply unlivable for the people so that they are forced to relocate themselves to other states, including Egypt. The mission is to create a crisis of such proportions and on such scales that relocation becomes the preference of the Palestinian people themselves.
On the 11th of November, Likud Minister Avi Dichter said that Israel was, for all practical reasons, rolling the “Nakba 2023” i.e., a mass exodus of the Palestinians from and mass infiltration of the Israelis into the Palestinian territories. The “Nakba 2023” has so far led to the destruction of about 45 percent of houses in Gaza. This is in addition to the thousands of people who have died. This includes children, which indicates how Israel is targeting, deliberately, the next generation of the Palestinians, potentially decapitating not Hamas itself but future members of the Palestinian society.
The targeted killing of children – and civilians – at the mass level, which some describe as genocide, is an outcome of the Israeli military’s strategy of using unguided bombs. As reports in the western media show, whereas the bombing itself is akin to the carpet bombing that allied forces did on Germany during the Second World War, about 50 percent of the bombs out of the 29,000 fired so far used are actually unguided. A US intelligence assessment found this, which would explain why the civilian death toll is so high. Again, this is not some mistake; it is part of the Israeli strategy to annihilate Palestine in all possible ways.
Killing civilians is part of an overall strategy to instill fear as well. This is evident from Israeli’s decision to release several videos of Palestinians stripped to their underwear and being marched through urban ruins. Although Israel claimed that these men were Hamas fighters – and anti-Israel groups said that these men were civilians – the video served a very specific purpose of the Israeli efforts to establish total control of Palestine in a way that would leave no space for the Palestinians to live as equal humans. In fact, Israel’s Netanyahu has been talking about the imperative of total control.
As early as November 10, Netanyahu said in a press conference that they want “full security control. Gaza must be demilitarized (of Hamas). I don’t think resettlement is a realistic goal”. He also said that they would not give up control of Gaza “under any circumstances”.
This control, as it stands, is not just physical control of the Gaza Strip. The video of stripped Gazans shows Israeli control over the bodies and lives of the Gazans.
More importantly, this reality is not hidden to the West. “The people of Gaza are being told to move like human pinballs – ricocheting between ever-smaller slivers of the south, without any of the basics for survival,” Guterres told the UN Security Council. “Nowhere in Gaza is safe.”
Yet, instead of western liberal ‘democracies’ – which have been advocating human rights as part of their policy agendas for decades – have not only not pushed against the Israeli onslaught but are instead advocating a continuing bombing of Gaza. On December 12, Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said that “The United States will also continue to support its Israeli allies … The department also continues to stay actively engaged in our objectives related to the current situation in the Middle East region, which are to protect US forces and citizens, support Israel’s inherent right to defend itself, work closely with Israel to help secure the release of hostages from Hamas, and ensure the crisis doesn’t escalate into a broader regional conflict”. Washington obviously does not care about the indiscriminate killing of the civilians. The reason for this is the way the US itself bombarded and killed thousands of civilians during its “war on terror” and how it has subsequently blocked inquires into war crimes in Afghanistan.
This is on top of the fact that the US has repeatedly vetoed all resolutions for a ceasefire in Gaza. These vetoes are, in fact, part of the US strategy to support Israel’s genocidal campaign. This strategy also includes massive financial support for Israel’s military campaign. Apart from more US$3 billion paid every year and the support provided thus far since October, Joe Biden has already asked for an additional US$14 billion.
The reason for this ‘request’ is the Biden administration’s total belief in the Israeli claim that defeating Hamas would still take months – a period that Israel would, in reality, use to execute what is increasingly clear the ‘One State’ solution, i.e., an Israeli state in total control of the lives and territories of what we today call Palestine. This is why, Israel is surely, although gradually at this stage, inserting itself into the West Bank area too. It has been killing Palestinians there too since October 7. The uninvited foray into the West Bank against illustrates Isarel’s execution of the strategy of total control, leaving no space for the Palestinians. Israel envisions only one authority in the future, and that is Israeli only.
Salman Rafi Sheikh, research-analyst of International Relations and Pakistan’s foreign and domestic affairs, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.