Unmentioned Casualties of the Gaza Massacre
By Abu Yussef
The Israeli sea and air bombardment of the Gaza Strip has done more than decimate the already suffering inhabitants of the world’s largest prison; it has led to a number of other important casualties that the press has failed to mention amidst the chaos and death of the last few days.
1. The first casualty has been Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. His attempt to walk the thin line between American and Israeli dictates on the one hand, and the needs and wants of the Palestinians on the other, has gone up in flames.
At best he now looks incompetent and weak; in the worst light some are already calling him a ‘spy’ or ‘traitor’. It is unclear now, how he will receive the legitimate support to extend his Presidential mandate in the coming weeks as he can no longer even claim to be able to deliver peace through negotiations in the near terms, nor represent the Palestinian people.
Oddly enough, Israel’s bombs killed, or at least severely wounded, their only self-appointed ‘partner for peace’ – a consequence which must have been understood prior to carrying out the mission.
2. The second casualty has been the prospects for Palestinian unity in the near future. Relations and rhetoric between the two main rival political factions has hit an all-time low, with Hamas even vowing to target PA leaders right alongside those of the Israelis.
3. With the political death of Abu Mazen, and the prospects for national unity shelved, the third casualty of the massacre will be the US-brokered Annapolis Peace Process. With no real identifiable leaders in either Israel or Palestine at the moment, it is hard to image the new US administration launching itself head first into this quagmire promised. Instead, they will most likely concern themselves with other, more pressing problems until the Israelis and Palestinians ‘get their houses in order’.
It could be a year; it could be a decade – and the momentum of Annapolis (if there actually ever was any) will be lost to time.
4. The fourth casualty, and perhaps the most tragic, is the Palestinian voice of peace and non-violence. Anyone who has devoted their time and work to teaching the merits and methods of non-violent resistance and joint dialogue have been made to look like utter fools and apologists for the ongoing horror.
They are now cajoled on the street, ‘what peace do you expect us to reach with people who would bomb our schools and our mosques, our women and children? There will be no peace now, the Israelis do not want it. They only understand violence.’ The sheer ruthlessness of the recent attacks makes this an increasingly impossible and dangerous claim to counter on the ‘Palestinian street’.
5. The Israeli political parties Kadima and Labour, whether they know it or not, will be the fifth casualty of this ill-fated and sadistic venture. Their attempts to ‘look tough’ only weeks before the election will soon backfire dramatically.
Their attack, or massacre, was launched with no unity of command, no objective and no exit strategy. They have not, and will not be able to destroy or undermine Hamas from the air, and will soon be sending ground forces into a bloody and protracted urban war which will result in high casualties for both sides. But even this will not stop the rockets. Instead they will rain down on the south of Israel at increasing rates and with increasing range. It is also quite probable that Hamas will revive more traditional and terrifying methods such as suicide bombing. The only winner will be Bibi Netanyahu.
6. The final casualty of this conflict, the two-state solution, has yet to be pronounced dead publicly in either Israel or Palestine, but with the previous five casualties in place, it is becoming a foregone conclusion.
In the coming years it seems doubtful that a viable peace process will be sustained, that Palestinian unity will be achieved, or that Israel will be governed by a more moderate faction. In the mean time settlements will continue to expand faster than ever, and with them, the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. It will soon be quite impossible to separate these two peoples, whether the majorities want it or not.
This casualty could be counted double as: the death of the dream of Palestinian sovereign statehood, and the eventual death of the Jewish state.
We should continue focusing on, and loudly screaming about, the ongoing slaughter of the Gazan people. The senseless deaths of so many innocent civilians will only spur on the cycle of violence and the endless tit-for-TAT that characterizes this conflict.
However, we should also begin preparing for the new realities which have been created over the last few days. Because of the casualties listed above, we now live in a whole different world, with different facts, different opportunities and different consequences.
Those of us still alive that is…