Ben Gurion University
Writing for the jihadist Aljazeera, Ben Gurion
University's own Mini-Ayatollah Neve Gordon (Dept of Political
Science) Joins the Initiative to Defend Iran's Right to Nuke the
Preparing Israel for war
Most analysts wittingly or unwittingly
intimated, however, that there were other reasons for initiating the
current cycle of violence, and justifying a major offensive on Gaza
was not one of them.
The recent attack is, however, not only about allocating more money
to the military; it is also about
media continuously drew a connection between the Islamic jihad,
which launched most of the rockets against Israel, and Iran. The IDF
spokesperson pointed an accusing finger towards Teheran, claiming
that it is transferring weapons and money to the Islamic Jihad. A
couple of days later a headline in
declared, "Iran is Behind the Jihad's
Rocket Attack". Hence, another objective was to show the Israeli
public that Iran, by means of a proxy, had already begun attacking
Recent raids on Gaza were not just about allocating more money to defence - they were also
about war with Iran.
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2012
- In response to the recent
assassination of Zuhair al-Qaisi, the Secretary General of the
Popular Resistance Committees in the Gaza Strip, along with another
fighter, Palestinians fired rockets at southern Israel and the
Israeli military launched air strikes at targets throughout the
hours, the media fanfare began. Israeli news outlets began
glorifying the interception missiles by repeatedly showing images of
an Iron Dome battery, often with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
and Defence Minister Ehud Barak standing in front of the defence
system. Reporters continuously emphasised the Iron Dome's high rate
of success in intercepting the short-range rockets launched from
Gaza towards Israel. One columnist
characterised it as a "system that provides the goods, authentic
Israeli brilliance, true pride", while another columnist stated that
this "weekend Israel took its hat off [to salute] Iron Dome".
the government and security establishment claimed that "al-Qaisi was
assassinated in order to prevent an attack that was in the final
stages of preparation". Two days after Israel carried out the
extra-judicial execution, however, the claim that al-Qaisi presented
an imminent danger dissipated.
11, Ofer Shelah reported that "even from the statements made
yesterday by the Minister of Defence one got the sense that the
assassination was not about direct prevention: Barak clearly stated
that it is not totally clear what was being planned, from where, and
whether the attack had been foiled. From this, it can be assumed
that the attack was more about deterrence".
As the days
passed, several commentators revealed that the assassination had
been planned well in advance and that the military had made the
necessary preparations, including deployment of the Iron Dome
batteries. "A Planned Escalation," read the title of one article in
and in the text, the analyst explained that the "IDF had
prepared an ambush" for al-Qaisi. Yoav Limor, an "expert on military
affairs", wrote that in essence "al-Qaisi was alive-dead for over a
week, and his assassination was delayed until the prime minister
completed his diplomatic campaign in Washington, and until after the
Purim Holiday and the weather cleared up". Most analysts intimated
that Israel knew that the assassination would lead to an escalation.
And this, it almost seems, is what it wanted.
question, of course, is why?
There are those who totally
misunderstood Israel's goals.Ma'ariv's
top political analyst Ben Kaspit called for an extensive
attack against the Strip, portraying the residents of southern
Israel as hostages of a "terrorist gang that has infested Gaza… [and] that can spray the whole south with rockets". In his view Barak
had stopped the IDF at the beginning of Operation Cast Lead
ostensibly for humanitarian reasons, but fortunately the operation
turned out to be successful not least because in its midst "the
leaders of Hamas cut their beards and went down to the tunnels".
Kaspit concludes that it is now time to "complete the job". "We need
to understand," he tells his readers, "that no one will clean
Gaza for us… and terror, unfortunately, understands only one language."
Moses Shalom, the wife of the Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom,
is not the most sophisticated thinker either. "I hope," she wrote on
her Facebook page, "that during the cabinet meeting a decision will
be reached to enter Gaza and to liquidate all those responsible for
the nightmare which the south is undergoing. Enough silence. The
time has come to make Gaza's passive residents suffer like [Israel's
southern] residents." As if this kind of beastly reaction was not
enough, she also tweeted to her followers: "Have a good week. I hope
that today it will be decided to demolish Gaza if the shooting does not stop. So that they will suffer too."
analysts wittingly or unwittingly intimated, however, that there
were other reasons for initiating the current cycle of violence, and
justifying a major offensive on Gaza was not one of them.
Message for Iran
majority of reporters and columnists served as the mouthpiece for
the security establishment, calling on the government to allocate
more funds to buy additional Iron Domes. Or Heller from Channel Ten
is a good example. He asked his audience to "imagine how this cycle
would have looked without the success of three Iron Dome batteries…
imagine the tanks that would have had to enter Gaza's mud… a fourth
battery is on its way. What about a fifth battery? God is great and
the budget is small. It is clear to everyone today that we need more
and more Iron Domes." Ofer Shelah from NRG put it succinctly: "The
prime minister must decide unequivocally… that Iron Dome, like other
defence mechanisms, is beyond the realm of the budget debate."
Another more reflective reporter pointed out that the Grad rockets
"flying from the Strip serve as the best lobbyist for the defence
attack is, however, not only about allocating more money to the
military; it is also about Iran. The media continuously drew a
connection between the Islamic jihad, which launched most of the
rockets against Israel, and Iran. The IDF spokesperson pointed an
accusing finger towards Teheran, claiming that it is transferring
weapons and money to the Islamic Jihad. A couple of days later a
headline in Yisrael
"Iran is Behind the Jihad's Rocket Attack". Hence, another objective
was to show the Israeli public that Iran, by means of a proxy, had
already begun attacking Israel.
link was drawn between Iron Dome's success and the perceived Iranian
threat. Ynet cited a military general who stated that the escalation
is about Gaza today, "but I am not sure that this is the scenario for which I am
preparing the fighters. There are threats from the north and threats
from further away". A columnist noted that Iron Dome's effectiveness
"helped demonstrate to everyone that the Israeli home front enjoys a
relatively good defense today... Hamas, Hezbollah and
Iran will have to reconsider their
strategy of missile terrorism..."
many analysts emphasised that only a handful of Israelis had been
injured, but none fatally. The fighting, they accordingly claimed,
produced relatively little pressure on the home front. Alon Ben
David from Channel Ten summed up this perspective when he wrote:
"There is no doubt that Iron Dome alongside the population's
exemplary behaviour prevented casualties on the Israeli side and
enabled Israel to come out of this cycle - I would say - with a
sense of satisfaction. Twenty-two [combatants] were killed on the
other side, and another three or four civilians; we have zero
losses… under these conditions we can conduct a monitored [fray]
that we initiate…"
was one of the lone critical voices, providing readers some
insight into Israel's real objectives. He exposed the logic behind
the Iron Dome's glorification, claiming that it helps Netanyahu
"sell" the planned attack against Iran: "After Iron Dome
demonstrated its 95 per cent effectiveness, there is no better proof
to Israeli citizens that they will not suffer serious damage
following an assault against Iran. Escalation in Gaza is good for Israel, meaning for those
who support attacking Iran".
slightly different context and using Netanyahu's duck allegory,
editor-in-chief Aluf Benn wrote, "what looks like a preparation for
war, acts like a preparation for war, and quacks like a preparation
for war, is a preparation for war, and not just a 'bluff' or a
Neve Gordon is the author of
He can be reached through his
views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not
necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.
Articles appearing on IsraCampus.Org.il are those of the writer and
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