Saturday 24 August 2019

Robert Fisk: 'Opening the gates of hell' and 40 years of other Middle East cliches

Terror, terror, terror, terror, terror. Here we go again. Israel is going to "root out Palestinian terror" – which it has been claiming to do, unsuccessfully, for 64 years – while Hamas announces that Israel has "opened the gates of hell" by murdering its military leader, Ahmed al-Jabari.

Hezbollah announced several times that Israel had "opened the gates of hell" for attacking Lebanon. Yasser Arafat too waffled on about the "gates of hell".

And we journos are repeating all the cliches we've used for the past 40 years.

The killing of Mr Jabari was a "targeted attack" – like the Israeli "surgical air strikes", which killed almost 17,000 civilians in Lebanon in 1982, the 1,200 Lebanese, most of them civilians, in 2006, and the 11 civilians killed in one Gaza house yesterday.

At least Hamas, with their Godzilla rockets, don't claim anything "surgical" about them. They are meant to murder Israelis – any Israeli, man, woman or child.

As, in truth, are the Israeli attacks on Gaza. But don't say that or you'll be an anti-Semitic Nazi.

The new exchange rate in Gaza for Palestinian and Israeli deaths has reached 16:1. It will rise, of course. The exchange rate in 2008-9 was 100:1.

Washington supports Israel's "right to defend itself", then claims a spurious neutrality – as if Israel's bombs didn't come from the US as assuredly as the Fajr-5 rockets come from Iran.

Meanwhile, the pitiful British foreign secretary William Hague holds Hamas "principally responsible" for the latest war.

But there is no such evidence. According to 'The Atlantic Monthly', the Israeli killing of a "mentally unfit" Palestinian who strayed towards the border may have been the start of the latest war.

But is there nothing to stop this nonsense, this garbage war? Hundreds of rockets fall on Israel. True. Thousands of acres of land are stolen from Arabs by Israel – for Jews and Jews only – on the West Bank. But we're encouraged to ignore that.

There are, we are told, only good guys and bad guys in this outrageous conflict in which the Israelis claim to be the good guys to the applause of Western countries (who then wonder why a lot of Muslims don't like Westerners very much).

The problem, oddly, is that Israel's actions are bringing closer the very event which Israeli fears every day: Israel's destruction.

In the battle of rockets, a new warpath is being trodden by both sides.

It's no longer about Israeli tanks crossing the Lebanese border or the Gaza border. It's about rockets and hi-tech drones and computer attacks.

And if Benjamin Netanyahu believes that the arrival of the first Iranian Fajr rockets necessitates the Israeli big bang on Iran, and then Iran fires back – and perhaps at the Americans, too – and brings in Hezbollah – and Obama gets swallowed up in another Western-Muslim war, what happens then?

Well, Israel will plead yet again for the undying support of the West in its struggle against world evil, Iran included.

And why not praise the killing of Mr Jabari? Please forget that the Israelis negotiated via the German secret service with Mr Jabari himself, less than 12 months ago. You can't negotiate with "terrorists", right?

Israel calls this latest bloodbath Operation Pillar of Defence. Pillar of Hypocrisy, more like. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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