by Stephen Lendman
Observers thinking Palestinians gained from Pillar of Cloud might think again.
Nothing changed. Hardline Netanyahu policies continue. Expect worse ahead. Palestinian peace, reconciliation and unity advocates are murdered or arrested.
Qassem brigades leader Ahmed Jabari negotiated a truce agreement draft. Ways for establishing ceasefires in case of future flare-ups were included.
Jabari was working with Egypt to establish permanent peace. Israel murdered him to prevent it. Peace, stability, and Palestinian unity defeat its agenda. Conflict and violence are prioritized.
Rogue states need enemies to justify policies. Israel's include crimes of war and against humanity. They rage against soft targets. Tougher ones require US intervention. Israel prefers riding shotgun.
When enemies don't exist, they're invented. Hamas is a convenient one. So are Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah.
Achieving regional hegemony depends on inventing enemies, destroying major ones, and eliminating rivals various ways. Balkanizing some into weak statelets substitutes for full-scale war.
Israel's longstanding strategy calls for dividing the entire region along ethnic and sectarian lines. It wants easily controlled satellites.
In 1982, Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs senior advisor Oded Yinon published "A Strategy for Israel in the 1980s."
Longtime Israeli academic, activist, analyst, and outspoken critic Israel Shahak (1933 - 2001) translated, edited, and retitled it "The Zionist Plan for the Middle East."
Israel modeled it after the Ottoman Empire's Millet (or nation) system. It functioned by letting local authorities govern confessional communities with separate ethnic identities.
Israel wants the region ruled this way. Peace and stability defeat its agenda. Great pains are made to prevent them. Jabari was murdered for that reason. Palestinian divisions and besieging Gaza serve the same purpose.
On November 21, Israel arrested at least 55 Palestinians. Dozens of others followed. Many were Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine members. Victims committed no crimes.
At issue is preventing peace and stability from erupting. Dr. Mahmoud Ramahi was targeted. It wasn't the first time. He's both anesthesiologist and politician.
He serves as Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) Secretary-General. He belongs to the wrong party. His Change and Reform Bloc works cooperatively with Hamas.
On November 10, 2010, he was arrested at home pre-dawn. Administrative detention uncharged followed. He was targeted for brokering PA/Hamas reconciliation. He also belonged to the wrong party.
On May 10, 2011, his detention was renewed for six months. On November 10, it was renewed for another six months. He was imprisoned until July 4, 2012.
On December 16, 1992, he was first arrested, detained, brutally interrogated for four months, tortured, and imprisoned for 28 months. He was targeted for being affiliated with Hamas. On May 14, 1995, he was released.
On August 20, 2006, he was arrested again. Earlier, his home was raided and ransacked multiple times. Computers, cell phones, and other personal possessions were confiscated. His children's ID documents were taken.
He was targeted for belonging to the Change and Reform Bloc (CRB). In February 2007, Israel declared it illegal for being affiliated with Hamas.
Other Hamas and CRB officials were also arrested. Their crime was belonging to the wrong party. Extra harshness was imposed for winning PLC seats.
Ramahi was imprisoned for another 28 months. On March 31, 2009, he was released.
On November 25, Haaretz contributor Amira Hass discussed him. Her article headlined "Guilty of the crime of pushing for Palestinian unity."
Last week Ramahi and other Hamas-affiliated PLC members were arrested. Days earlier, he said all Hamas anti-war West Bank protesters knew they risked arrest.
Ramahi had another cross to bear. He actively pursued Hamas/Fatah reconciliation. Israel arrested him and others involved to prevent it. Doing so warned activists not to try.
Hass spoke to Ramahi earlier. He said:
"Israel and the United States are preventing the PA from reaching reconciliation with Hamas. It's in Israel's interest not to prevent this reconciliation."
"Israelis don't listen to us. They come to talk to us once we are in prison. They send us people from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs."
"Last time I refused. I said that I don't negotiate when I'm under detention. When I get out we'll talk, you and I."
He believes unity benefits Israel. Perhaps he doesn't understand longstanding Israeli plans explained above.
"We will rehabilitate Gaza and the West Bank and the society that is divided due to the political rift," he said.
"We know that these changes are possible because change is taking place in the world. We think that some day Israel will accept the two-state solution. Otherwise it won't continue to exist."
"If there's a national unity government, we'll support (Abbas) in his policy of obtaining the rights of that state. Strengthened, (he'll) negotiate with Israel about implementing the UN resolutions."
"That's preferable to what exists now. Hamas hasn't said that it wants a two-state solution, but it didn't object."
"When (Hamas founder) Sheikh Yassin said in 1999 that a Palestinian state would be established within the 1967 borders, he in effect said that there's a second state within the 1948 borders."
"(It's often asked) whether there are ties between the two states. We won't discuss ties now. When the state is established, it will discuss whether there will be ties with Israel and Jordan."
Settlements will also be discussed, he added. Future "generations will decide what's next."
Israel decided for them. Peace, stability, unity, and reconciliation are verboten.
Ramahi is held administratively uncharged. Attorney Fadi Qawasmi represents him. He said he'll appeal. Other Hamas MPs condemned his arrest and detention.
Israel wants Palestinian resistance and unity subverted, they said. They urged international support and pressure to stop Israel from "killing Palestinian legitimacy." They also want other detained PLC members released.
Palestinian arrests and detentions uncharged violate Fourth Geneva's Article 33. It states:
"No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited."
Other political arrests included:
PLC Hamas-connected members Basem al-Za'areer, Imad Nofal, Ryad Radad, Fathi Kar'awi, and Yasser Mansour.
Former al-Sammou village mayor Jamal Abul-Jadayel was arrested. So were Islamic Jihad members Ja'far Izz-Eddin, Mohammad Shibany, Tariq Hussain (Qa'dan), and Tamer Saba'na.
Other Palestinians thought to be Hamas members, affiliated with it, or members of other resistance groups were also apprehended.
Arrests occurred after memorandum of understanding terms were agreed. Doing so constitutes punitive reprisals. They help subvert Palestinian unity. They also signal harsher measures coming.
On November 26, former Israeli politician/diplomat/US ambassador Moshe Arens headlined his Haaretz op-ed "Operation Pillar of Defense: mission not accomplished," saying:
Unfinished business remains. Southern Israeli residents remain vulnerable. Gaza rockets and missiles can target half of Israel. Many remain despite eight days of bombing and shelling.
Reduced supplies will be substantially replenished. Before long, "it will be difficult to observe a (significant) change in the security situation compared to what existed before the operation."
Air attacks fell short, said Arens. Ground operations are needed. He's not alone. Many Israeli hardliners want more done to complete what air attacks couldn't accomplish.
They urge greater slaughter and mass destruction than already caused. American/Israeli Professor/Foundation for Constitutional Democracy president Paul Eidelberg discussed 10 reasons why ceasefire won't work.
Only one is central. His list omitted it. Israel won't tolerate it. It spurns peace and nonviolence. It's just a matter of time before conflict again erupts. Palestinian victims will be blamed like always.
Other hardline Israeli supporters and citizens share Eidelberg's mindset. It's inflexible, incorrigible, and racist.
"Arab-Islamic culture is strictly authoritarian," he claims. Saying so is like calling all Israelis and Americans warmongers. Views of ordinary people in all societies often differ vastly from ruling authorities. Perhaps Eidelberg forgot.
Other reasons he cited are hopelessly misguided. Israel is democratic, he claims. It pursues peace. Arab-Islamic cultures are violent. They oppose it.
Jeffersonian democracy defines Israel. "Islam is based on absolutism."
"(G)enuine and abiding peace between Israel and its Arab-Islamic neighbors is not possible. Those who think otherwise live in denial, or in Alice-in Wonderland."
"Israel's ruling elites need a crash course on statecraft, with emphasis on Machiavelli, The Prince."
"Unlike Muslim leaders, Israeli prime ministers are not warriors; they abhor bloodshed."
Imagine what Eidelberg teaches students. Imagine what they learn in his classes. Try imagining why anyone would choose them. Truth is turned on its head.
Eidelberg needs a crash course in Islamic tenets. Christianity, Judaism and Islam share common roots and beliefs.
The Koran teaches love, not hate; peace, not violence; charity, not selfishness; and tolerance, not terrorism.
Its five pillars include profession of faith, prayer five times daily, fasting during Ramadan, charity, and performing the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime for those able to afford it.
He also needs tutoring on Zionism. Either its violent ideology escapes him, or he suppresses what he knows.
It claims Jewish supremacy, specialness and uniqueness as God's chosen people. It's contemptuous of moral values, ethical principles, and inviolable rules of law.
It advocates strength through militarism, intimidation, and naked aggression. It disdains peaceful coexistence. It calls diplomacy and nonviolence four-letter words.
It's a monster consuming humanity. Israel is its most belligerent exponent. Like America, it lives by the sword. One day, it may hasten their demise.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.