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Is Israel’s Operation
Protective Edge Really About Natural Gas?
by TASCHA SHAHRIARI-PARSA
While many articles
have debunked the myth that Israel is acting out of “self-defense,”
very few have attempted to establish why Israelis continuing its assault on Palestine throughOperation Protective Edge,
aside from the supposition that Zionists have a fanatic penchant for drawing
Palestinian blood. Behind the operation, behind the mass Israeli and U.S.
propaganda attempting to justify the massacre, and behind the death of every
child in Gaza is a conflict rarely discussed, an imperialist conflict and a
contradiction that rests onIsrael’s
ambitions to appropriate and profit from Gaza’s natural gas resources.
To provide some background, the natural gas issue arose in the
year 2000 when British Gas (BG) discovered what they claimed to be $4 billion
worth of natural gas reserves off the coast of Gaza. The Palestinian
Investment Fund (PIF) and British Gas (BG) both invested in the project, with
BG holding 60% of the rights. Since then, more gas has been found in the
region. Michel Chossudovsky, a Canadian economist, has estimated that the
amount of gas in Palestine is so grand that it
could make Palestine as rich as Kuwait. In due reaction,
since 2000, Israel has strengthened its maritime blockade on Gaza, denying
Palestine basic rights over its territorial waters, driving away Palestinian
fishing boats, and contaminating the waters so heavily from its naval attacks
that the fishing industry essentially collapsed. “On its coastal littoral,”
reported Peter Beaumont from Gaza several years ago, “Gaza’s limitations are
marked by a different fence where the bars are Israeli gunboats with their huge
wakes, scurrying beyond the Palestinian fishing boats and preventing them from
going outside a zone imposed by the warships.” It is discernible that this is
directly due to Israel’s appetite for
In recent years, Israel’s energy crisis has
deepened,as marked by a letter by two Israeli scientists.
“We believe Israel should increase its
[domestic] use of natural gas by 2020 and should not export gas,” the letter
reads. “The Natural Gas Authority’s estimates are lacking. There’s a gap of 100
to 150 billion cubic meters between the demand projections that were presented
to the committee and the most recent projections. The gas reserves are likely
to last even less than 40 years!” As the need for energy has grown in Israel, so have their
ruthless attempts to seek it.
After the election of
Hamas in 2006, Israel began negotiating with
BG since,according to the former chief of staff of the IDF
Moshe Ya’alon, the previously negotiated investment meant that a
portion of the revenue could fall into the hands of Hamas and ‘threaten’ Israel. In other words, Israel wanted the gas, but
they did not want part of the revenue to go to Hamas. Their solution,
therefore, was to get rid of Hamas. More accurately, it is safe to affirm that Israel both desires a financially
and militarily weaker oppositionas
wellas a more subservient
entity that may agree to willingly hand over its natural gas to Israeli
Operation Cast Lead
began in June 2008, at the exact same time that Israel contacted BG to
discuss critical negotiations around Gaza’s natural gas. As
these negotiations continued, Israel was killing 1,417 Palestinians, displacing
over 50,000 Gazans and destroying over 4,000 homes through air strikes and a
deadly ground invasion with the declared purpose of securing areas within the
Gaza strip that rockets were fired from. In reality, it had nothing to do with
the rockets, or a notion of “self defense”, considering how disproportionate
the casualties were—just as they are now under operation protective edge.
It was merely a means as part of Israel’s overall goal of
appropriating Palestinian natural gas, both through territorial control and the
failed attempt to defeat Hamas.
While Israel was fighting to get
rid of Hamas, they were simultaneously supporting and negotiating with Fatah.
In 2011, a new round of negotiations with Fatah completely excluded Hamas from
the process; in turn, Hamas declared these talks as illegitimate. Even more
from December 2010confirmed
that Fatah had asked Israel to attack Hamas. Yuval
Diskin, the head of Israel’s security agencyShin
Bet, made comments on Israel’s desire to strengthen
Fatah. “Fatah is in a very bad shape in Gaza. We have received
requests to train their forces in Egypt and Yemen. We would like to get
them to get the training they need, and to be more powerful, but they do not
have anyone to lead them”. Before that, in 2006 after the election of Hamas,Israel authorized the
delivery of “light weapons and ammunition” to armed forces loyal to Fatah.
All in all, it is clear
that Fatah, heavily criticized by the People’s Front for the Liberation of
Palestine (PFLP) and other liberation-seeking groups in Palestine, has at least to a
great extent sold itself out to Israel. It is also evident
that Israel would much prefer
Fatah over Hamas in negotiations on natural gas. Operation Protective Edge,
very much like Operation Cast Lead, has neither anything to do with
self-defense (as the right may tell us), nor is it a meaningless slaughter motivated
principally by a hatred for Palestinians (as the confused left may believe). It
is very clear what it is:a
war driven by the hankering yet callous lust of the imperialist capital of a
colonial state to expand its appropriation of Palestinian natural resources and
profit at the severe expense of the Palestinian people.
While Palestine must receive the full
support of people around the world in its struggle for national liberation, Israel must be unequivocally
condemned for its indefensible war crimes and occupation of Palestine. It is clear that Israel’sOperation Protective Edgeis a misnomer, as it should be renamed
to something along the lines ofOperation
Capital-driven Genocide. The truth is, Israel’s brutality will
continue and Palestine will never be freeuntil the Zionist apparatuses of
colonialism and occupation are dismantled once and for all.
Tascha Shahriari-Parsais a student from Vancouver, British Columbia, who has recently
found himself unable to allow an hour to pass by without seeking updates on the
situation in Palestine. Angered and
frustrated by the horrors of Israeli war crimes and occupation, he has been
involved in Palestine-solidarity activism and does what he can to spread the
truth about Palestine in his community. More
generally, he is interested in the liberation of the oppressed from their
oppressors across the globe and in the contradictions
that necessitate such liberation.
today the most dangerous place in the world for Jews. Since its establishment,
more Jews were hurt in wars and terror attacks that took place in Israel
than anywhere else. The war in Gaza
took this one step backward – it endangered world Jews as well, as no other war
has before it. The Jewish home, the national refuge, not only doesn’t provide
refuge, but even threatens Jews everywhere else. When you tote up the results
of the war, include that too in the loss column.
A wave of animosity is washing over world public opinion.
In contrast to the complacent, blind, smug Israeli public opinion, people
abroad saw the pictures in Gaza
and were aghast. No conscientious person could have remained unaffected. The
shock was translated into hatred toward the state that did all that, and in
extreme cases the hatred also awakened anti-Semitism from its lair. Yes, there
is anti-Semitism in the world, even in the 21st century, and Israel
has fueled it. Israel
provided it with abundant excuses for hatred.
But not every anti-Israeli sentiment is anti-Semitism. The
opposite is true – most of the criticism of Israel is
still substantive and moral. Anti-Semitism, racist as any national hatred,
popped up on the sidelines of this criticism – and Israel is
indirectly responsible for its appearance.
and the Diaspora Jewish establishment automatically tag any criticism as
anti-Semitic. It’s an old trick – the burden of guilt is shifted from those who
perpetrated the Gaza
horrors to those who are tainted with so-called anti-Semitism. It’s not us,
it’s you, anti-Semitic world. No matter what Israel
does, the whole world is against it.
This is nonsense, of course. Just as not every policeman
who gives a Jewish driver a trafficticket
is an anti-Semite, as the Jewish organizations try to put it, and not every
robbery of a rabbi is a hate crime, so not every criticism of Israel is
motivated by hatred of Jews.
These organizations have become the lightning rods of the
criticism of Israel
and they have brought it on themselves. This is the price of their blind
support of Israel,
their noisy propaganda campaigns in Israel’s
name, their turning of every Jewish community center into a PR agency for Israel,
and their unanimous support for everything Israel
does. We’re all one people, they say. In that case, if every Jew who dares to
even when it’s involved in brutal conduct, is a self-hating Jew – then everyone
Quite a few Jews abroad sent me frightened messages during
the war, pleading me to stop writing my articles, cease my criticism, because
the anti-Semites use them. I replied to all of them that all my articles together
haven’t affected Israel’s
status as much as one news report from Gaza. I
also know many who still harbor sympathy for Israel
precisely because of the remnants here of a free society, one that allows
In any case, the address for the Jews’ fear should be the
State of Israel. Many Jews now feel afraid. Part of the fear may be
exaggerated, part of it is justified. It seems to me that being a Muslim in Europe is
still harder than being a Jew. But in Paris,
Jews don’t dare wear a kippa, in Belgium a
woman wasn’t allowed into a store because she was Jewish and a French
journalist who visited Algiers
last week told me that the hatred for Israel
and the Jews in France
has reached an all-time high.
The address for all the complaints is Israel,
because Israel is
the one to blame for Gaza.
Whoever is afraid for the Jews’ fate, whoever is shocked
by the anti-Semitic incidents, should have thought about it before taking Israel to
another runaway war. The world isn’t always against Israel.
Suffice it to remember Israel’s
status during the Oslo
period, when the entire world cheered it, including parts of the Arab world.
This world will be happy to embrace Israel
again, if this country only changes its bullying, domineering behavior.
Gevalt, anti-Semitism? Maybe. But Israel is
supplying the fuse.
It has long been known that the media in Australia tug their forelocks to the Australian zionist lobbies, but never has it shown itself to be so subservient as what happened in Sydney with the Sydney Morning Herald over an article by Mike Carlton on 26 July 2014 and the outcry from the zionists during the week of around 4 to 8 August 2014.
This is a long story and in Melbourne only bits and pieces have filtered through the fog, but as much as possible will be detailed.
Here is the Mike Carlton article - without the cartoon at the centre of some explosive attacks about the cartoonist's and Carlton's supposed anti-semitism - the expression all zionists use for any criticisms of their beloved country Israel:
rank and rotten fruit is being called fascism
images from Gaza are searing, a gallery of death and horror. A dishevelled
Palestinian man cries out in agony, his blood-soaked little brother dead in his
arms. On a filthy hospital bed a boy of perhaps five or six screams for his
father, his head and body lacerated by shrapnel. A teenage girl lies on a torn
stretcher, her limbs awry, her face and torso blackened like a burnt steak.
Mourners weep over a family of 18 men, women and children laid side by side in
bloodied shrouds. Four boys of a fishing family named Bakr, all less than 12
years old, are killed on a beach by rockets from Israeli aircraft.
I write, after just over a week of this invasion, the death toll of
Palestinians is climbing towards 1000. Most are civilians, many are children.
Assaulting Gaza by land, air and sea, Israel has destroyed homes and reduced entire city blocks to
rubble. It has attacked schools, mosques and hospitals. Tens of thousands of
people have fled, although there is nowhere safe for them to go in this
wretched strip of land just 40 kilometres long and about 10 kilometres
wide. There are desperate shortages of food and water, of medical and
an open letter to US President Barack Obama, Dr Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian
surgeon working at Gaza's al-Shifa hospital, writes of "the incomprehensible
chaos of bodies, sizes, limbs, walking, not walking, breathing, not breathing,
bleeding, not bleeding humans. Humans!
grey faces – Oh no! Not one more load of tens of maimed and bleeding. We still
have lakes of blood on the floor in the emergency room, piles of dripping,
blood-soaked bandages to clear out ... the cleaners, everywhere, swiftly
shovelling the blood and discarded tissues, hair, clothes, cannulas – the
leftovers from death – all taken away... to be prepared again, to be repeated
onslaught is indiscriminate and unrelenting, with but one possible conclusion: Israel is not fighting the terrorists of Hamas. In defiance of
the laws of war and the norms of civilised behaviour, it is waging its own war
of terror on the entire Gaza population of about 1.7 million people. Call it
genocide, call it ethnic cleansing: the aim is to kill Arabs.
none other than Malcolm Fraser tweeted this week: "If any other country
went to war killing as many civilians, women and children, it would be named a
war crime." But it is not, although the UN is asking the question of both
Hamas is also trying to kill Israeli civilians, with a barrage of rockets and
guerilla border attacks. It, too, is guilty of terror and grave war crimes. But
Israeli citizens and their homes and towns have been effectively shielded by
the nation's Iron Dome defence system, and so far only three of its civilians
have died in this latest conflict. The Israeli response has been out of all
proportion, a monstrous distortion of the much-vaunted right of self defence.
is a breathtaking irony that these atrocities can be committed by a people with
a proud liberal tradition of scholarship and culture, who hold the Warsaw
Ghetto and the six million dead of the Holocaust at the centre of their race
memory. But this is a new and brutal Israel dominated by the hardline, right-wing Likud Party of Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition. As one observer puts it:
"All the seeds of the incitement of the past few years, all the
nationalistic, racist legislation and the incendiary propaganda, the scare
campaigns and the subversion of democracy by the right-wing camp – all these
have borne fruit, and that fruit is rank and rotten. The nationalist right has
now sunk to a new level, with almost the whole country following in its wake.
The word 'fascism', which I try to use as little as possible, finally has its
deserved place in the Israeli political discourse."
in Israel? At this point the Australian Likudniks, as Bob Carr calls
them, will be lunging for their keyboards. There will be the customary torrent
of abusive emails calling me a Nazi, an anti-Semite, a Holocaust denier, an
ignoramus. As usual they will demand my resignation, my sacking. As it's
been before, some of this will be pornographic or threatening violence.
fact, that paragraph within the quotation marks was written by an Israeli.
Gideon Levy is a columnist and editorial board member of the daily
newspaper Ha’aretz. Born in Tel Aviv to parents who fled the Nazi
occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1939, he despairs of what his country has become and
the catastrophe its armed forces are visiting upon Gaza. After a recent column calling on Israeli pilots to stop bombing and
rocketing civilians, his life was threatened and he now has a bodyguard day and
night. It has come to that. In the worst insult of all, Levy is branded "a
propaganda is subtle and skillfully put. "If Israel were to lay down its arms tomorrow, she would be
destroyed; but if Hamas were to lay down their arms, there would be
peace," goes the line, parroted endlessly.
in all these long and agonising decades, Israel has never offered the Palestinians a just and equitable
peace. They would have only a splintered, vassal state, their polity and
economy and even their borders and freedom of travel and trade managed and
determined by Israel. The occupation of Palestinian lands would remain with the
relentless expansion of illegal Israeli settlements on the West Bank of
the Jordan and the Dead
the Palestine Liberation Organisation official Hanan Ashrawi put it this week
in a television interview with the Australian journalist Hamish Macdonald:
"No nation can accept being imprisoned, being besieged by land, by air, by
sea and deprived of the most basic requirements of a decent life: freedom of
movement, clean water. For seven years they have been under a brutal and lethal
Israeli siege ... You shell them and you bomb them; you destroy homes, you
destroy whole neighbourhoods. You obliterate, annihilate, whole families, and
then you come and say that this is self defence?"
is why the killing and the dying goes on. Ad nauseam, ad infinitum. And the
rest of the world, not caring, looks away.
That was the start of a very ugly saga which revealed the zionist influence on not only the Fairfax media, but also the Murdoch media and left both groups with mud on their faces. At the end of his article, apparently Carlton provided his email address for people to send comments, and apparently they did, in large and abusive numbers. In responding to many of the nastiest, Carlton used language which the SMH took exception to, and the Murdoch media got hold of some of them and between them all they made a gigantic issue of it. Carlton told some of them - and I am on his side about this, although many are not - to fuck off. Many comments called him anti-semitic and many other crudities, probably too numerous to list here, but you get the drift! My take on all of it is that the zionist community in Australia think they have the right to insult and abuse anyone, Jewish or otherwise, who dares to criticise apartheid zionist Israel which has been behaving as revoltingly as any police state with which we have become acquainted in the last 150 years. The Sydney Morning Herald decided to suspend Carlton and called him in to tell him, at which stage he promptly - and correctly - resigned. In my view he had nothing to apologise for, but of course thousands have seen it differently. The Murdoch media, who are incapable of keeping their paws off anything they deem to be fair game, climbed in with an article and cartoon, all of which were as to be expected, disgusting. The cartoon has since been withdrawn and is no longer available on the web. The same has happened with the Glen Le Lievre cartoon which appeared with the Carlton article, and it was, together with the cartoonist, accused of the vilest anti-semitic slurs and insults known to the semi-literate newspaper classes. If we have reached the stage when comments about Israel are off limits, then censorship of the worst type has arrived and the intimidation of journalists and those who respond to articles and blogs will be complete. It is up to all of us to complain about those in Australia who support Israel at all times and under all circumstances, and those of the so-called Jewish religion need to take themselves off to Israel and stop pretending to show any joy at living in Australia. I don't think the story is finished yet. Practically all politicians in Australia are zionists, whether they are Jewish or several other religions and they are all in the pocket of the Australian Jewish zionists who have them literally eating out of their pockets with their wonderful free trips to Israel. It is all to nauseous to contemplate, and as one of our friends says when reading some of these disgusting goings-on, have a bucket handy!
evacuate a survivor of an Israeli airstrike that hit a family building Sunday
in Rafah, in southern Gaza.AP/Eyad Baba
All governments lie, asI.F. Stonepointed out, including Israel and Hamas. But Israel engages in the kinds of jaw-dropping
lies that characterize despotic and totalitarian regimes. It does not deform
the truth; it inverts it. It routinely paints a picture for the outside world
that is diametrically opposed to reality. And all of us reporters who have
covered the occupied territories have run into Israel’s Alice-in-Wonderland narratives, which we dutifully insert
into our stories—required under the rules of American journalism—although we
know they are untrue. I saw small boys baited and killed by Israeli soldiers in the Gaza refugee camp of Khan Younis. The
soldiers swore at the boys in Arabic over the loudspeakers of their armored
jeep. The boys, about 10 years old, then threw stones at an Israeli vehicle and
the soldiers opened fire, killing some, wounding others. I was present more than
once as Israeli troops drew out and shot Palestinian children in this way. Such
incidents, in the Israeli lexicon, becomechildren
caught in crossfire. I was in
Gaza when F-16 attack jets dropped
1,000-pound iron fragmentation bombs on overcrowded hovels in GazaCity. I saw the corpses of the victims,
including children. This becamea
surgical strike on a bomb-making factory. I
have watched Israel demolish homes and entire apartment
blocks to create wide buffer zones between the Palestinians and the Israeli
troops that ring Gaza. I have interviewed the destitute and homeless families, some
camped out in crude shelters erected in the rubble. The destruction becomesthe demolition of the homes of
terrorists. I have stood in
the remains of schools—Israel struck two United Nations schools in the last six
days, causingat least 10 fatalitiesat
one in Rafah on Sunday andat least 19at
one in the Jebaliya refugee camp Wednesday—as well as medical clinics and
mosques. I have heard Israel claim that errant rockets or mortar
fire from the Palestinians caused these and other deaths, or that the attacked
spots were being used as arms depots or launching sites. I, along with every
other reporter I know who has worked in Gaza, have never seen any evidence that
Hamas uses civilians as “human shields.” There is a perverted logic to Israel’s repeated use of the Big Lie—Große
Lüge—the lie favored by tyrants from Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin to
Saddam Hussein. The Big Lie feeds the two reactions Israel seeks to elicit—racism among its
supporters and terror among its victims.
By painting a picture of an army that never attacks
civilians, that indeed goes out of its way to protect them, the Big Lie says
Israelis are civilized and humane, and their Palestinian opponents are inhuman
The Big Lie serves the idea that the slaughter in Gaza is a clash of civilizations, a war
between democracy, decency and honor on one side and Islamic barbarism on the
other. And in the uncommon cases when news of atrocities penetrates to the
wider public, Israel blames the destruction and casualties
George Orwell in his novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four” called this form
of propaganda doublethink. Doublethink uses “logic against logic” and
“repudiate[s] morality while laying claim to it.” The Big Lie does not allow
for the nuances and contradictions that can plague conscience. It is a
state-orchestrated response to the dilemma of cognitive dissonance. The Big Lie
permits no gray zones. The world is black and white, good and evil, righteous
and unrighteous. The Big Lie allows believers to take comfort—a comfort they
are desperately seeking—in their own moral superiority at the very moment they
have abrogated all morality. The Big Lie, as the father of American public relations, Edward
Bernays, wrote, is limited only by the propagandist’s capacity to fathom and
harness the undercurrents of individual and mass psychology. And since most
supporters of Israel do not have a desire to know the
truth, a truth that would force them to examine their own racism and self-delusions
about Zionist and Western moral superiority, like packs of famished dogs they
lap up the lies fed to them by the Israeli government. The Big Lie always finds
fertile soil in what Bernays called the “logic-proof compartment of dogmatic
adherence.” All effective propaganda, Bernays wrote, targets and builds upon
these irrational “psychological habits.” This is the world Franz Kafka envisioned, a world where the
irrational becomes rational. It is one where, as Gustave Le Bon noted in “The
Crowd: A Study of the Public Mind,” those who supply the masses with the
illusions they crave become their master, and “whoever attempts to destroy
their illusions is always their victim.” This irrationality explains why the
reaction of Israeli supporters to those who have the courage to speak the
truth—Uri Avnery, Max Blumenthal, Noam Chomsky, Jonathan Cook, Norman
Finkelstein, Amira Hass, Gideon Levy, Ilan Pappé, Henry Siegman and Philip
Weiss—is so rabid. That so many of these voices are Jewish, and therefore have
more credibility than non-Jews who are among Israel’s cheerleaders, only ratchets up the
level of hate. But the Big Lie is also consciously designed to send a chilling
message to Gaza’s Palestinians, who have lost large numbers of their dwellings,
clinics, mosques, and power, water and sewage facilities, along with schools
and hospitals, who have suffered some 1,650 deaths since this assault
began—most of the victims women and children—and who have seen 400,000 people
displaced from their homes. The Big Lie makes it clear to the Palestinians that
Israel will continue to wage a campaign of
state terror and will never admit its atrocities or its intentions. The vast
disparity between what Israel says and what Israel does tells the Palestinians that there
is no hope. Israel will do and say whatever it wants.
International law, like the truth, will always be irrelevant. There will never,
the Palestinians understand from the Big Lie, be an acknowledgement of reality
by the Israeli leadership. TheIsrael Defense Forces websiteis replete with this black propaganda.
“Hamas exploits the IDF’s sensitivity towards protecting civilian structures,
particularly holy sites, by hiding command centers, weapons caches and tunnel
entrances in mosques,” the IDF site reads. “In Hamas’ world, hospitals are
command centers, ambulances are transport vehicles, and medics are human
shields,” the site insists. “... [Israeli] officers are tasked with an enormous
responsibility: to protect Palestinian civilians on the ground, no matter how
difficult that may be,” the site assures its viewers. And the IDF site provides
this quote from a drone operator identified as Lt. Or. “I have personally seen
rockets fired at Israel from hospitals and schools, but we
couldn’t strike back because of civilians nearby. In one instance, we acquired
a target but we saw that there were children in the area. We waited around, and
when they didn’t leave we were forced to abort a strike on an important
target.” Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, in a Big Lie of his own,
said last month at a conference of Christians United for Israel that the Israeli army should be given
the “Nobel Peace Prize … a Nobel Peace Prize for fighting with
The Big Lie destroys any possibility of history and
therefore any hope for a dialogue between antagonistic parties that can be
grounded in truth and reality. While, asHannah Arendtpointed
out, the ancient and modern sophists sought to win an argument at the expense
of the truth, those who wield the Big Lie “want a more lasting victory at the
expense of reality.” The old sophists, she said, “destroyed the dignity of
human thought.” Those who resort to the Big Lie “destroy the dignity of human
action.” The result, Arendt warned, is that “history itself is destroyed, and
its comprehensibility.” And when facts no longer matter, when there is no
shared history grounded in the truth, when people foolishly believe their own
lies, there can be no useful exchange of information.
The Big Lie, used like a
bludgeon by Israel, as perhaps it is designed to be,
ultimately reduces all problems in the world to the brutish language of
violence. And when oppressed people are addressed only through violence they
will answer only through violence.