I wish the once spokesperson of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) hadn’t equated the Hamas attack on its territory as the “Pearl Harbor type of moment.”
Now Pearl Harbor, as most know, was the moment when Japanese attacked the US naval base in Honolulu, Hawaii, killing 2,403 Americans and wounding 1,178 others. It formally brought the United States into the World War II the very next day and gave them the trophy we call the world.
Only, what most don’t know is that the United States knew in advance the Japanese attack but did little so as to justify their entry into a War they couldn’t otherwise have “sold” to its people and Congress.
It also evokes the memory of 9/11 which still defies credulity to have been managed by a few hijackers hoodwinking the entire security apparatus of the mightiest nation of the world.
Be that as it may, let’s look at what happened inside the Israeli territory a few hours ago.
That hundreds of Hamas fighters poured in from the Gaza which is an open territory, impossible to be hidden in their advance yet undetected by Israeli patrols, cameras, ground motion detectors and remote-controlled weapons.
That much vaunted air defenses of Israeli forces were overwhelmed by home-made hang-gliders powered by lawn-mower engines and box fans.
That the much-envied Israel’s advanced surveillance technology (remember Pegasus?) were unaware of the Hamas operation.
The pictures tell us that literally a JCV tractor brought down the border wall, dozens of guys who even didn’t have any guns walked past an Israeli military post, with an abandoned tank and all, taking selfies without any response, and killing and kidnapping hundreds of people.
Let’s assume that Israel was unprepared for this moment: After all Sukkot celebrations were on; it was also the 50th anniversary of the October 1973 Yom Kippur War; but whatever happened to the ubiquity of Israeli informants? Their feared intelligence which could detect the bowel movement of an individual? If the defence is that their surveillance system was jammed, that’s all the more damning for a nation hailed for its sophistication. Where was the security, the police, the army?
The allegation of a cyber attack by Iran also doesn’t cut the ice. Did the Iranians also remove the IDF units? Are we to believe that Israel’s border towns were utterly defenceless?
The Origins of Hamas
It’s one of history’s ironies that Hamas owe their origin to no other than Israelis who nurtured them to counter the secular Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
Once Israel took over the Gaza after the 1967 War with Egypt (remember this date, we would come to it later), it curated the Islamists to neutralize PLO and its dominant faction Fatah.
One of the activists Israelis encouraged was Sheikh Ahmed Yassin who was arrested once but released to continue his militant movement that morphed into Hamas in 1987. (Any resemblance to our own Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and the Congress is only incidental).
Since the very first year of its inception in 1987, the first Palestinian Intifada or uprising, Hamas has had 12 such (1987-1993, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2012, 2014 and 2021) wars, the last one in 2021 involving the Israeli reprisal in Gaza which killed 256 Palestinians, including 66 children.
Now when it’s said to be a “Pearl Harbor moment”, you could take your pick if Israelis would drive out Palestinians out forever from their lands which from 1947 onwards has now been reduced to only a sprinkling of settlements (see image below). Ethnic cleansing of Palestinians that is.
Or you think it’s more likely to suit the United States, joined at hips with Israel, to plunge the Middle East into flames. The US neither can win in Ukraine nor leave Ukraine without a loss of face. Hence comes out the card of another major crisis which would seamlessly shift the attention away from Kiev.
Further, the US-West can’t see a peaceful Middle East where Saudi Arabia and Iran are getting cosy, Syria is being welcomed in Arab League, China is the mediator Arabs are turning to, transport corridors are mushrooming by the minute, and the oil, the very basis of PetroDollar and US hegemony, is getting out of bounds. Did somebody mention Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE now a part of BRICS and ushering in multipolarity enveloping US’ unipolar world?
Sure, the present crisis suits Israel and the US. Israel could justify the hell its raining on Palestinians and wipe out whatever of latter is left. Why, only last fortnight, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was upholding a new map of the New Middle East without Palestine in the 78th session of the UN General Assembly in New York City (image below). Never mind Palestine is recognised by 138 of the 193 nations in UN.
Hamas, and its reasons, are apparent too. They can’t see Arabs getting pally with Israelis as if the Palestinian cause doesn’t exist. Further, the occupation, oppression and illegal settlements of Israelis on their land is one thing, desecration of Palestinian religious symbols is a complete red line. There is a reason why their operation was named “Al Aqsa Flood.”
Al-Aqsa or al-Haram al Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary) is the third holiest site in Islam after Mecca and Medina. It’s the name of a compound which is home to two holy Muslim places: the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque built in the eighth century.
This compound overlooks a sacred place for the Jews, the Western Wall, the western side of the Temple Mount, a religious site like none for them. Israel captured it during the 1967 War and it gave them the East Jerusalem in addition to the West Jerusalem they already had.
East Jerusalem is considered a Palestinian territory under the international law. Among the states which recognise it as Palestinian are 57 nations of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), besides biggies such as China, Russia and India of course. Some 61 per cent of its population remain Palestinian Arabs. In 1980, Israel formalized the annexation of East Jerusalem under the Jerusalem Law.
It’s East Jerusalem where the Old City is, home to many sacred sites for all three Abrahamic religions—Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It’s where the Al-Aqsa is, as there is Temple Mount, Western wall, the Dome of the Rock etc.
Even though the Jewish law forbids Jews from visiting any part of the Al-Aqsa Mosque due to its sacred nature, a place where only Muslims could offer prayers, there have been multiple instances where ultralight Jews flout it with disdain.
In May this year, Israel’s far-right national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, one of his many, where he declared Israel is “in charge here.”
Just three days before the Hamas Operation, on October 4, dozens of Israelis forced into the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex, and attempted to perform “Talmudic rituals.”
The worst case scenario is if Israel goes to war with Iran. It would help nobody, neither China, Russia, India or the rest of the humanity but only the West. Its control of Middle East and its oil is as important to them as is vassalage of Europe. Middle East in peace and harmony, oil out of bounds, would sink the United States. It won’t let that happen. Just won’t let that happen.