Once again, the gun has vanquished the olive branch in the Middle East. The dawn assault by masked Hamas gunmen who infiltrated Israeli towns, villages and kibbutzim across the Gaza border and went on a rampage of indiscriminate killing against civilians asleep in their homes and farms. Any act of calculated violence against an unarmed civilian population is an act of terror, whether it was committed by Menachem Begin’s Irgun against the Palestinian village of Deir Yassin in April 1948 or by Hamas militants against the grannies, housewives and children of Ashkelon on the Jewish sabbath on October 07, 2023.
This is exactly 50 years after Sadat’s troops crossed the Suez Canal and assaulted the Bar Lev Line in the opening moments of Yom Kippur War, a geopolitical convulsion that almost escalated into a US-Soviet nuclear confrontation and triggered King Faisal’s oil boycott that led to visceral panic in the Rotterdam spot market, a fourfold increase in the price of oil and a global recession. History does not repeat but rhymes all too tragically and all too often in the 100-year war between Arabs and Israelis since the onset of modern Zionism in Theodor Herzl’s fin de siècle Vienna.
The potential for escalation now is as lethal as it was in 1973. Benjamin Netanyahu has sworn vengeance against Hamas for the sheer scale of Israel’s death toll and hostages, including senior IDF officers kidnapped and taken to Gaza. This is Israel 9/11 and Pearl Harbour moment, a colossal intelligence failure by Israel’s myriad security agencies, from Shin Bet to Mossad to Aman. Hamas also boasted about having launched 5000 rockets into southern Israel and sirens were wailing amid empty streets as far north as Tel Aviv and Jaffa as Iron Dome intercepted incoming rockets in the sky.
It is now certain that Israel will launch a new assassination blitz against Hamas’s top officials, presumably holed up in safe houses and underground bunkers in Gaza City. After all, this was the fate of its founders Sheikh Ahmad Yassin and Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi in 2004. Just as Golda Meir launched Operation Grapes of Wrath to kill all the PLO men who planned the Black September’s murder of 11 Israeli athletes in the 1972 Munich Olympics, political pressures on Netanyahu from his far-right coalition zealots to not just launch a ground attack on Gaza but actually militarily occupy the congested Arab enclave on the Mediterranean that Arik Sharon voluntarily evacuated in 2005. This could escalate tensions with a near bankrupt, isolated Egypt desperately seeing US and IMF financial lifeline. Since 2000 Palestinians were killed in the 2014 Gaza war, I regret that Hamas’s act of murderous recklessness will now cause the lives of thousands of innocent Arab men, women and children.
There is now zero chance that the Biden White House can or will pressure Israel into giving any concessions to the Palestinians on the West Bank, a prerequisite for a peace deal with the Saudis that an outraged US Congress will never approve in an election year. So who benefited from this senseless act of premeditated mass murder that has cost the lives of so many Israelis and Arab civilians? In this case the Ayatollah regime in Iran, who bankrolls both Hamas and Hezbollah, which had also instigated a similar kidnapping and murder of two Israeli soldiers in July 2006 to trigger a brutal one-month war that gutted Lebanon’s infrastructure, as I saw with my own eyes when I visited Beirut, Tyre and the Bekaa Valley a few months after the cease-fire. The last thing the Iranian regime wants is a Saudi-Israeli military alliance and peace pact underwritten by the USA and joint naval patrols in the Gulf, the Arabian Sea and the Red Sea, all global choke points for Iran’s oil tanker exports.
A Hamas assault on this scale requires logistical, intel, cyber and financial support that the spymasters of Al Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards are all too happy to offer in their continual quest to nurture proxy militias and foment instability against the pro-West, moderate Arab regimes of the Gulf. The Islamic Republic of Iran has brought nothing but misery, devastation and economic ruin to the sons and daughters of its failed revolution.
I would not be surprised if the assault on Israel was designed just to deflect global attention from jailed human rights activist and a true heroine NargesMohammadi, who deservedly won the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize because she dared to defy the Ayatollah’s despicable axis of evil. I just love the motto of the brave heroines who have challenged this medieval political obscenity that has ruled Iran since the fall of the Shah’s Peacock Throne in 1979. Zan, zindgi, azadi – means women, life, freedom in Persian. Bravo, my sisters, the civilized world embraces your sacrifices and your dreams. If there is even a shred of justice in this world, you will win your struggles against these odious theocratic tyrants.
Who will be the losers in this orgy of militia violence and state counter violence other than the innocent children of Gaza and Israel who will now know death before they even knew life? Two old men. One, Abu Mazen in Ramallah, a toothless tiger on the West Bank, whose forces were defeated by Hamas after it seized Gaza in 2007. I can still remember the disgust I felt seeing masked Hamas thugs on TV handcuff Fatah commanders who had surrendered and then throw them from the roofs of buildings to a horrific death. Hamas has been rightly designated a terrorist organisation by the US State Department for such acts of callous/barbaric terror.
The IDF will now ensure that Hamas no longer exists to terrorize Gaza, creating a political vacuum that Cairo and Ramallah must ensure is filled by Fatah government. Two, the Hamas assault has just destroyed Joe Biden’s plans to remake the Middle East. The Republicans will attack him with their usual virulence for exposing Israel to danger in Gaza even as they squabble over aid to Ukraine. 50 years after the 1973 war in October, the choice in the Middle East has now morphed into the drone and the olive branch – and sadly, the drone will win. (IPA Service)
By arrangement with the Arabian Post