Kurdish issue is Turkey’s issue. It was same in the past, but now there is a significant difference: Reshaping Turkey as a whole is now on the agenda.
Once for leftists of Turkey it was usual to say “The route of revolution in Turkey passes via the solution of Kurdish issue”. The choice of the ones who have little more “revolutionist” perspective was “The revolution of Turkey will be triggered by a Kurdish rebellion”. For sure it was not right to say “Where is the relevancy?”, but there were the ones like us who were objecting to simplifying and narrowing the revolution route of Turkey so much.
Now who is confirmed?
Even “the most revolutionaries” seem to forget the route of revolution: Now Turkey’s democracy route is passing via the solution of Kurdish issue! The militant version of this argument includes building the democracy in Turkey with the force of Kurdish issue.
Kurdish issue has always been important. Not only left has told this. Imperialists have always been aware of the opportunities carried by Kurdish issue to reshape Turkey and they had a clearer conception after 1991. Reactionists of Turkey have always felt it; they have started to call boldly when after they were sure of themselves.
As the left of Turkey could not transform itself into a real class movement and therefore as no real alternative could be presented to the Kurdish poor, imperialism and reactionism became more and more able to use Kurdish problem to reshape Turkey.
Today, Kurdish issue is one of the most significant tools in effort to reshape Turkey.
But, it should be kept in mind, when you cannot put a counter balance and you do not mobilize your priorities and principles for this counter balance – call it “negotiation” or “struggle”, how you like – you become a part of “the reshaping process”, since you take your place in the broader framework.
Nobody should cheat himself with the thought of “this is a hopeful progress”. Fascist Evren denied Kurdish reality because he was reshaping Turkey. His successors and himself – while waiting for his death – are acknowledging Kurdish reality, because they are reshaping Turkey once again.
Asking which one is better is a trap. Year is 2009; philosophy of September 12 is pointing another direction today. Will these all -recognizing Kurdish identity, starting to “negotiate” – be the consolation of Turkish and Kurdish progressives? Or will it be said, “Kurdish people resisted and forced the state and the government for the table”?
Kurdish issue is not being solved. Turkey is being reshaped. “We were not happy with the former” was a problematic approach but if analyzed by only itself, it was right, it was real. Since we were not happy with the former, we were aiming for revolutionary transformations.
Are we happy with the newly shaping Turkey?
The important point is this. Are we happy with Turkey building up by imperialists and reactionist?
“But… the Kurdish issue is being solved”, “Arms will be laid down”, both arguments are too naive.
Like someone is saying, “but I’ve got my compensation” while obliged to lifetime unemployment. Is it right to say to him: ”Forget about it, in any case you have been exploited ”!
In these kinds of subjects, we can’t say “but there are improvements”. We look to the main direction and where the country is heading. We analyze whixh actors determine the process. What is good, what is bad can only be understood by this way. Could something like “bad on the overall but good specifically on Kurdish issue” be possible? What happens to “Kurdish issue is the most important issue of Turkey”?
If goings-on for Kurdish issue is good, why would Turkey go worse!
If else, if a big fight on Kurdish issue is still going on, what different things do both parties of this fight ask for?
How is it possible to say “but there are improvements in Kurdish issue” on a more dependent, more reactionist and more market-oriented region?
More dependent, more reactionist and more market oriented region is the reality of Turks, Kurds, all of us. To resist to all of these will be an issue for all of us in near future. The base for mechanical arguments like, “Kurds do not have leftist-rightist”, “Kurds are in the era of being a nation, class decomposition will be a later issue”, are losing their ground.
While Turkey is being reshaped, the terms of progressivism, revolutionism and patriotism are destined to have the same meaning for both Turkish poor and Kurdish poor.
The projected construction of the 4,000 km Trans-Sahara Gas Pipeline (TSGP) will be one of Africa’s most ambitious infrastructure projects. However, the risk of terrorism could seriously undermine the profitability of this enterprise, raising costs beyond current expectations.
The Trans-Sahara Gas Pipleine: What is at Stake?
On July 3, Algeria, Nigeria and Niger signed an intergovernmental agreement for the development of a 4,128 km gas pipeline that will send gas from the Niger Delta through Niger to Algeria’s export terminals. The project is estimated to cost around $12 billion and will supply up to 30 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year to Europe; in addition, it will enable Nigeria to increase its share of natural gas exports, while helping make Algeria one of the major energy hubs in the region, catering mainly to the European market.
The European Union supports the program and considers the building of the TSGP crucial to the diversification of its energy resources. The pipeline would enable European countries to tap directly into Nigeria’s 5 trillion cubic meters of natural gas and reduce its reliance on Russia and Algeria (although Algeria’s Sonatrach and, potentially, Russia’s Gazprom will also be involved in the TSGP project). Unsurprisingly, various European energy companies have already expressed an interest in the project; France’s Total, Russia’s Gazprom, Anglo-Dutch Shell and Italy’s ENI have indicated that they are ready to take part (El Watan, July 29).
However, several doubts weigh on the building of the TSGP, despite a study carried out by Penspen and IPA Energy Consulting in 2006 that found the pipeline technically and economically feasible. First, the TSGP will be the world’s longest pipeline; much of the construction will take place in one of world’s most difficult environments, the Sahara desert, significantly raising costs. Second, developing Nigeria’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry would probably be a less expensive and more efficient way to export the country’s natural gas resources. Third, the TSGP is a highly speculative project and it will not be easy to find private partners willing to commit to such an unpredictable enterprise. It would take just one major incident to halt construction work and increase costs beyond profitability.
The Terrorism Threat to the TSGP: Nigeria
However, the most significant obstacle to this massive project is the issue of security in the countries through which the pipeline will run. Nigeria, Niger and Algeria are among the least secure areas of the world because of the various guerrilla and terrorist movements that destabilize them; security risk, along with the speculative nature of this project, means that even a small-scale attack could seriously impair or delay the completion of the pipeline, dramatically raising costs for the companies involved.
The most serious threat so far has emerged in Nigeria, the originating point of the resources that will be transported through the pipeline to Europe. Soon after the signing of the agreement, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) threatened to thwart the project by sabotaging the construction works (AFP, July 4). MEND has already successfully attacked Nigeria’s oil and gas infrastructure and has been active in kidnapping foreign oil workers. The latest episode occurred on July 13, when militants in speedboats assaulted an oil distribution point in Lagos, killing several sailors on guard and using dynamite charges to destroy ten pipelines at the terminal. Security forces did not intervene to prevent MEND from striking at one of Nigeria’s main oil terminals (see Terrorism Monitor, July 27).
MEND’s terrorist attacks are the main cause of Nigeria’s falling levels of oil production. According to government officials, Nigeria’s oil production has declined by 1 million barrels per day (b/d) and is now close to 1.4 million b/d, well below its potential of 2.3 million. Royal Dutch Shell declared that its output was down 35% in July (UPI, July 22). In this context, it is hard not to take MEND’s threats to the TSGP pipeline seriously, as 1,037 km of its track will run through Nigeria from the coast to the border with Niger. If government and private security forces are unable to protect the country’s oil infrastructure in Lagos, the protection of a 1,037km-long pipeline will be even harder, again affecting the costs and economic viability of the plan.
The Terrorism Threat to the TSGP: the Sahel region
However, MEND does not represent the only security risk to the TSGP project. 3,151 km of the pipeline (around 76% of the total distance covered) will be laid down in Niger and Algeria, where two more major threats are likely to complicate further the realization of the project. This area is known as the Sahel, a semi-arid strip of land between the Sahara desert and Sub-Saharan Africa where various insurgencies and terrorism groups have been active in recent years, raising fears in the West of a new “safe haven” for Islamist militants.
Niger has been the scene of major uprisings by Tuareg guerrilla movements in the 1990s and more recently between 2007 and 2009. The latest conflict was only halted by a ceasefire in May that followed a split within the major rebel organization, Le Mouvement des Nigeriens pour la Justice (MNJ). The MNJ includes disgruntled members of various semi-nomadic tribes in northern Niger, although it is mostly identified with the local Tuareg population (see Terrorism Focus, July 31, 2007).
In past years the MNJ has been able to attack some of the country’s infrastructure and kidnap a Chinese nuclear engineer and four French employees from the nuclear energy company Areva. The movement concentrated on hitting the uranium industry, disrupting its production and targeting its officials, engineers and employees, with the movement demanding a fairer share of the profits generated by this sector and more environmental protection. Although the insurgency has wound down and talks between government and rebels are gradually leading to the end of the insurrection, security risks cannot be discounted yet; in the event of renewed hostilities, not only the uranium industry, but the new TSGP pipeline could become a target for Tuareg rebels as well.
Another major source of concern has been the alleged collaboration between the MNJ and the southern branch of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). This threat is likely overstated and recently cooperation between local Tuareg tribes and the government against AQIM was reported in Mali (Aurore [Bamako], July 20). More interesting, however, is the increasing number of incidents in this area in which AQIM has been involved lately.
In recent months AQIM’s Southern Zone command has been very active in the Sahel region, striking at Algeria, Niger, Mali and Mauritania. AQIM has focused mainly on hostage-taking to obtain ransoms to fund its activities, kidnapping two Canadian diplomats (captured in December 2009 and released in April 2009), and a group of European tourists near the border between Mali and Niger in January (L’Expression, February 19). In addition, executions of hostages and assassination of AQIM’s opponents have been alarmingly frequent; one of the kidnapped European tourists, a British national, was shot dead in May and a Malian intelligence officer was murdered in his home by AQIM militants in June (Le Republicain [Bamako], June 4; Radio France Internationale, June 11; see also Terrorism Monitor, June 25). As Algeria’s security apparatus concentrated on wiping out al-Qaeda’s presence in the northeast of the country and Mali and Niger were intent on solving their Tuareg insurgencies, AQIM’s Southern Zone command was able to exploit the void left by the three countries, making a profit through ransoms and drug and arms smuggling in the region.
In recent weeks local governments seem to have realized the seriousness of the threat posed by AQIM to security. Rumors about an impending offensive against the group spread quickly in June, although negotiations for the release of the European hostages (one of them is still in the hands of the militants) apparently postponed the beginning of the operation. Despite this setback, several bilateral meetings between Algeria’s defense officials and their counterparts from Algeria’s two southern neighbors have already taken place (Le Quotidien d’Oran, July 30). In the meantime, Mali’s President Amadou Toumani Toure has reiterated his call for a regional conference on security (Jeune Afrique, July 13). Moreover, the Algerian army has been supplying Mali with military equipment (El Watan, June 18).
Clashes between local armies and AQIM have led so far to the killing of dozens of militants and government troops, demonstrating that it will take much more than limited regional cooperation to root out the group. To date, AQIM’s Southern Zone has not struck at Algeria’s oil and gas infrastructure; this shows the limited resources and organization of a small group operating in a hostile environment. However, in the past, AQIM’s northern cells have attacked foreign oil workers. In July, the Chinese embassy in Algiers issued a warning to Chinese citizens in Algeria after a London-based risk analysis firm claimed to have seen an AQIM document threatening Chinese workers, who are mainly active in the construction and hydrocarbon sectors (AFP, July 15). Against this background, it is hard to discount the security threat posed by AQIM to the construction of the TSGP, as an attack on foreign workers could be the kind of realistically achievable operation that AQIM’s Southern Zone could carry out.
Conclusion: Is the Trans-Sahara Gas Pipeline a viable project?
Despite the high costs and risks related to the TSGP project, the governments of Algeria, Niger and Nigeria are committed to its realization and have not expressed any doubts so far. The pipeline is considered strategic to the development of these countries’ resources, as it would enable Nigeria’s energy sources and Algeria’s southern gas fields to be duly exploited, reaching the European market. However, security threats are too significant to be ignored, undermining the economic viability of the project. Security costs are likely to be very high, as foreign and local workers will need to be protected from potential attacks. Insurance premiums are also likely to be considerable while a single successful terrorist attack could easily halt and delay construction for months, further raising costs for the companies involved. Once completed, the pipeline will need constant patrolling and expensive surveillance systems to protect this infrastructure from potential security threats. All these factors are liable to raise costs beyond profitability for this extremely ambitious project.
[The spin masters are turning the debate on the idea of death committees, to decide whether "grandma lives, or not," when the real issue is the subtle denial of vital tests and treatments to those patients who have no chance to become productive citizens. Obama's plan focuses on maintaining obscene profits for the medical industry at an immoral cost to the citizenry, whose needs the health care industry is supposed to serve. Profits over people is the name of our savior's big idea.]
Violent Signs, Gun, Standoff Latest in Emerging Anger Towards the President
By BRIAN ROSS, ANNA SCHECTER and MEGAN CHUCHMACH
Experts who track hate groups across the U.S. are growing increasingly concerned over violent rhetoric targeted at President Obama, especially as the debate over health care intensifies and a pattern of threats emerges.
The Secret Service is investigating a Maryland man who held a sign reading “Death to Obama” and “Death to Michelle and her two stupid kids” outside a town hall meeting this week. And in New Hampshire, another man stood across the street from a Presidential town hall with his gun on full display.
Los Angeles police officers apprehended a man Thursday after a standoff with him inside a red Volkswagen Bug car in Westwood, CA – the latest disturbing case even though officials said the man had mental problems.
“I don’t think these are simply people who are mentally ill or off their rocker,” Mark Potok, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, told ABC News of those behind the threats. “In a very real sense they represent a genuine reaction, a genuine backlash against Obama.”
By D.S. Rajan
Almost coinciding with the 13th round of Sino-Indian border talks (New Delhi, August 7-8, 2009), an article (in Chinese language) has appeared in China captioned “If China takes a little action, the so-called Great Indian Federation can be broken up” ( Zhong Guo Zhan Lue Gang, www.iiss.cn , Chinese,8 August 2009). Interestingly, it has been reproduced in several other strategic and military websites of the country and by all means, targets the domestic audience. The authoritative host site is located in Beijing and is the new edition of one, which so far represented the China International Institute for Strategic Studies (www.chinaiiss.org).
Claiming that Beijing’s ‘China-Centric’ Asian strategy, provides for splitting India, the writer of the article, Zhan Lue (strategy), has found that New Delhi’s corresponding ‘India-Centric’ policy in Asia, is in reality a ‘Hindustan centric’ one. Stating that on the other hand ‘local centres’ exist in several of the country’s provinces (excepting for the U.P and certain Northern regions), Zhan Lue has felt that in the face of such local characteristics, the ‘so-called’ Indian nation cannot be considered as one having existed in history.
According to the article, if India today relies on any thing for unity, it is the Hindu religion. The partition of the country was based on religion. Stating that today nation states are the main current in the world, it has said that India could only be termed now as a “Hindu Religious state’. Adding that Hinduism is a decadent religion as it allows caste exploitation and is unhelpful to the country’s modernization, it described the Indian government as one in a dilemma with regard to eradication of the caste system as it realizes that the process to do away with castes may shake the foundation of the consciousness of the Indian nation.
The writer has argued that in view of the above, China in its own interest and the progress of whole Asia, should join forces with different nationalities like Assamese, Tamils, and Kashmiris and support the latter in establishing independent nation-states of their own, out of India. In particular, the ULFA in Assam, a territory neighboring China, can be helped by China so that Assam realizes its national independence.
The article has also felt that for Bangladesh, the biggest threat is from India, which wants to develop a great Indian Federation extending from Afghanistan to Myanmar. India is also targeting China with support to Vietnam’s efforts to occupy Nansha (Spratly) group of islands in South China Sea. Hence the need for China’s consolidation of its alliance with Bangladesh, a country with which the US and Japan are also improving their relations to counter China. It has pointed out that China can give political support to Bangladesh enabling the latter to encourage ethnic Bengalis in India to get rid of Indian control and unite with Bangladesh as one Bengali nation; if the same is not possible, creation of at least another free Bengali nation state as a friendly neighbour of Bangladesh, would be desirable, for the purpose of weakening India’s expansion and threat aimed at forming a ‘unified South Asia’.
The punch line in the article has been that to split India, China can bring into its fold countries like Pakistan, Nepal and Bhutan, support ULFA in attaining its goal for Assam’s independence, back aspirations of Indian nationalities like Tamils and Nagas, encourage Bangladesh to give a push to the independence of West Bengal and lastly recover the 90,000 sq km. territory in Southern Tibet.
Wishing for India’s break-up into 20-30 nation-states like in Europe, the article has concluded by saying that if the consciousness of nationalities in India could be aroused, social reforms in South Asia can be achieved, the caste system can be eradicated and the region can march along the road of prosperity.
The Chinese article in question will certainly outrage readers in India. Its suggestion that China can follow a strategy to dismember India, a country always with a tradition of unity in diversity, is atrocious, to say the least. The write-up could not have been published without the permission of the Chinese authorities, but it is sure that Beijing will wash its hands out of this if the matter is taken up with it by New Delhi. It has generally been seen that China is speaking in two voices – its diplomatic interlocutors have always shown understanding during their dealings with their Indian counterparts, but its selected media is pouring venom on India in their reporting. Which one to believe is a question confronting the public opinion and even policy makers in India. In any case, an approach of panic towards such outbursts will be a mistake, but also ignoring them will prove to be costly for India.
(The writer, D. S. Rajan, is Director of Chennai Centre for China Studies, Chennai, India, email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Gordon G. Chang
As it catches up to its neighbor and arch-rival, India finds its safety compromised.
China and India wrapped up their 13th round of border talks on Saturday in New Delhi. The meeting produced agreements on various matters, such as the installation of a hot line between the Chinese and Indian capitals and plans to celebrate 60 years of diplomatic ties next year. The two nations also agreed to expand bilateral trade, hoping to meet their target of $60 billion for 2010, a substantial increase over last year’s $51.8 billion.
Yet there was no progress when it came to the main subject for discussion–competing territorial claims in Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin. Beijing and New Delhi are no closer to settling disputes that led the two giants to war in 1962 and that have, in recent years, hampered relations. Chinese officials see their nation on the rise and feel no need to compromise. The number of incursions by China’s troops into Indian-controlled territory appears to be increasing.
India, generally acknowledged as the weaker of the two, has tried to maintain cordial ties, often following former Prime Minister Nehru’s “Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai” slogan, promoting the notion that the two Asian nations are brothers. Beijing, for its part, has been under no such delusions, playing a hard game. In the middle of the 1970s, it began helping Pakistan build a nuclear weapon to keep arch-rival India off balance. Since then, the Chinese have supported Islamabad’s campaign of terror against the Indian state.
The terrorists attacking Mumbai hotels last November used Chinese equipment–the distinctively blue Type 86 grenades, manufactured by China’s state-owned Norinco, which has continually supplied parties working with militants inside India. China has given Pakistan most of the ordinance that its notorious Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence–better known as ISI–gives to terrorist groups. Almost all of the sophisticated communications equipment used by terrorists in India, especially Kashmir, is Chinese-made and was routed through the Pakistani army. The training the Chinese give to Pakistani personnel is, with Beijing’s knowledge, leached to terrorists. Furthermore, in April and May 2006, May 2007 and August 2008, China blocked U.N. sanctions against and censure of Lashkar-e-Taiba and its front, Jammat-ud-Dawa, the organizations responsible for the horrible hotel attacks.
No wonder the Indians are starting to reassess their ties with Beijing. Although it is unlikely the Chinese will attack India before 2012, as Bharat Verma, editor of India’s leading defense journal, predicted last month, the Indians can expect tougher Chinese actions in the years ahead.
This month, Zhan Lue, a Chinese analyst connected to China’s Ministry of National Defense, suggested that Beijing try to divide India into as many as 30 states. The article, unfortunately, appears to represent the thinking of Chinese strategists and has been widely circulated inside China.
Breaking up India is about the only thing Beijing can do to keep pace with its subcontinent rival. The Chinese today are proud they inhabit the most populous state on earth, but, due to their brutally enforced one-child policy and other factors, the Chinese population will level off sometime around 2030, according to official Beijing estimates. India, at about that time, will take over the top ranking. And thanks to an extreme gender imbalance, the
Demographic trends are not the only problem for China. As India’s population nips at China’s heels, its economy is also taking off. Starting liberalization later than China, India has appeared to be a laggard. But now India is consistently posting big increases in gross domestic product. In the most recently concluded fiscal year, the country’s GDP growth came in at 6.7%. Beijing’s National Bureau of Statistics claims higher growth, but its numbers are overstated. Moreover, the Chinese have an export-led model that is particularly ill-suited to current global conditions while the Indians have a more balanced economy bound to outperform China’s in the years ahead.
There are other reasons for the Chinese to feel nervous. India, turning away from Nehru’s “non-aligned” orientation, is finding powerful new friends, such as the U.S. The growing partnership between the world’s largest democracy and its most powerful one suggests an enormous setback for Chinese plans to destabilize New Delhi. The democracies in Asia may not yet be ready to formally create an “arc of freedom” to defend themselves, but nations in the region are increasingly concerned about Beijing’s hostility and aggressiveness. We can expect, therefore, the states to China’s south and east to continue to grow closer together. The Indians do not want to be anyone’s pawn in containing an apparently rising China, but they are beginning to find common cause with Beijing’s neighbors nonetheless.
Whether or not the Chinese teach India “the final lesson” by launching an attack, Verma’s advice about strengthening the country’s northern border seems prudent. Just three days after the border talks with New Delhi ended in failure, the Chinese started the two-month long “Stride-2009,” their “largest-ever tactical military exercise.” Designed to improve the country’s “long-range force projection,” the massive war game is sending a message to India, especially because it appears troops will be sent to bordering Tibet. In 1962, China’s People’s Liberation Army surprised India with its ability to fight in hostile terrain far from its bases. Now, the PLA wants to improve its ability to do so.
The real danger to India is not the heightened readiness of the Chinese army or even the improvement in its capabilities. In May, Fali Homi Major, then India’s air force chief, said China posed more of a threat than Pakistan to his country. He was widely criticized in New Delhi and forced to retract his remarks. The Indian government, however, will not be able to defend its borders until its officials can start talking in public about the dangers it faces. India and China should be friends and brothers, but at this moment they are not.
[One of every six people in the world is hungry, or literally starving, yet still, the leadership of the world is more concerned with feeding their purses than with the "useless eaters" who cannot contribute to a meaningful society.]
The increasing price of food has spiked the number of hunger-stricken people in the world by 40 million to reach 923 million in 2008.According to a recent report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), more people will fall under the undernourished category if the current economic trend continues in the world.”With a very large population and relatively slow progress in hunger reduction, nearly two-thirds (583 million) of the hungry live in Asia,” the report adds.Nearly 65 percent of these hunger stricken individuals live in India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Ethiopia and the Congo.The hunger report issued by the UN body cites soaring food prices as the main reason behind the deepening crisis.”Prices of major cereals have fallen by over 50 per cent from their peaks earlier in 2008, but they remain high compared to previous years.”While the 1996 World Food Summit had set the objective of halving the number of hungry people by 2015 and despite some countries’ positive move toward this goal, the spike in food prices slowed their progress, the report says.”The world hunger situation may further deteriorate as the financial crisis hits the real economies of more and more countries. Reduced demand in developed countries threatens incomes in developing countries via exports. Remittances, investments and other capital flows including development aid are also at risk. Emerging economies in particular are subject to lasting impacts from the credit crunch even if the crisis itself is short-lived,” the UN body cautions.
All Israeli governments since the collapse of the Oslo Process have lacked plans for the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). A state of paralysis has taken hold of Israeli politics, and all major Zionist parties—from liberal-Left Meretz to quasi-fascist Israel Beitenu, agree on the following points:
1. Israel shouldn’t withdraw from the OPT unless a permanent peace can be reached with the Palestinians, as a unilateral withdrawal will.
2. Israel cannot control the entire OPT forever, because the international community doesn’t recognize the occupation and because the Palestinians will continue to resist it.
be perceived as weakness.
3. The Palestinians will never agree to peace without true sovereignty, East Jerusalem as their capital and recognition of the Right of Return of Palestinian refugees. *
4. Israel should never allow the Palestinian refugees to return to within the borders of pre-1967 Israel, and should never own up to all of the crimes committed in 1948 and since 1967.
This wide consensus in the Israeli political sphere leaves no room for proactive action, only for eternal procrastination. Unless the Palestinians will miraculously “forget” the atrocities committed against them and decide to compromise on all of their rights for which they have fought for many decades, Israeli governments will continue to contend that there is “no partner for peace.” No partner, that is, to accept Israel’s unilateral dictates.
This political paralysis has created fertile ground for the design and implementation of creative policies intended to buy time for Israel. Policies intended to put the Israeli public to sleep include the separation policies, forbidding Israelis to enter “Areas A” in the West Bank and Gaza, allowing the settlers to keep building, and finding countless excuses to avoid negotiations with the Palestinians. Privatized checkpoints in the West Bank also help the authorities temper resentment from soldiers, who are tired of the pointless and physically arduous task of manning the checkpoints.
Policies intended to deflect international pressure on Israel to end the occupation include the demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as a “Jewish state” (in other words, announce their support of ethnic discrimination against them), the massive marketing efforts by the Israeli Foreign Ministry to convince the world of Israel’s righteousness and the fake withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005 (which was called by a senior Israeli official the “amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians”).
But the trickiest part of the Israeli delay tactics is how to suppress Palestinian resistance. After the 1948 Naqba and 42 years of military occupation in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, the Palestinians have become familiar with the various Israeli tricks. They cannot be fooled again with the disingenuous promise of negotiations, or with Netanyahu’s rehashed idea of “economic peace” that lacks real substance. The policy against Palestinians is therefore not merely deception, but containment and active suppression. Israeli authorities crack down on Palestinian institutions and organizations, deploy military force and extensive surveillance measures, but are also fighting a psychological war against Palestinians, striking terror into the hearts of people so that they will be reluctant to act against the occupation, and single themselves out for punishment.
The division imposed by Israel between Gaza and the West Bank is a classic “divide-and-conquer” policy, in which Israel attempts to present the severance of the two areas as an internal Palestinian conflict, as if Gazans are all Hamas supporters and West Bankers are all Fatah supporters. In reality, the two policies enacted by Israel towards the two regions are components of a single policy to contain the Palestinian resistance, and bide for time.
The siege on Gaza is a “primitive” form of containment, a simple repressive siege which has transformed the Gaza Strip into the world‘s largest prison. The people of Gaza are held as prisoners—by restricting them to a small location, and by strictly controlling everything going in or out of that area. Like in most prisons, a smuggling industry is thriving in Gaza and, like in most prisons, the prisoners are taught a cynical lesson that “might makes right.”
The containment strategy over the West Bank is more sophisticated and complex, but the message Israel is sending the Palestinians in the West Bank is clear: “If you resist the occupation, we can do to you what we do in Gaza!” The more violent and cruel measures Israel applies in Gaza, the more fear it can instill in the hearts of Palestinians in the West Bank.
Killings of Palestinian Civilians during Operation Cast Lead
This 63-page report is based on field investigations of seven incident sites in Gaza, including ballistic evidence found at the scene, medical records of victims, and lengthy interviews with multiple witnesses – at least three people separately for each incident.