Israel is being defeated in Gaza as it was in Lebanon

This evening I gave an interview to Al Jazeera English (video above). I would like to develop some of the points I made.

If military victory and strength are measured in the number of civilians, especially children, that an army can deliberately target and slaughter with sophisticated machines, then there is no doubt that Israel is winning in Gaza, and has always been the winner in Palestine.

But even though it is still mercilessly killing civilians in Gaza as I write these words, Israel has, in political and strategic terms, already lost the “war” it launched on Gaza on the false pretext of stopping rockets.

As I’ve argued repeatedly, and as the facts show, the easy and time-tested way for Israel not to receive rockets from Gaza is not to attack Palestinians in Gaza.

Israel’s defeat in Gaza will be as significant as its defeat in Lebanon in 2006 (where it also “won” in terms of murdering civilians: 1,200 in total, a third of them children).

Lebanon off limits

For decades, when Israeli leaders needed to court popularity or create a distraction, they attacked or invaded Lebanon, slaughtering Palestinian and Lebanese civilians with total impunity.

Due to fierce resistance that Israel did not expect, the Israeli army lost 121 soldiers during its 34-day invasion of Lebanon in the summer of 2006.

Since that painful lesson, even an Israeli prime minister as foolish as Benjamin Netanyahu would not be eager to repeat the experience of his predecessor Ehud Olmert.

With Lebanon off limits, Gaza became Israel’s convenient outlet for its bloodlust, with repeated massacres in 2006 (during the Lebanon war!), in December 2008-January 2009, in November 2012 and now.

All these massacres have been committed against a population held in an open-air prison, virtually cut off from the outside world.

Israel found it could bomb Gaza from the air and, yes, even though the resistance could fire rockets back, these amounted to pinpricks.

Only when large barrages are being fired in the context of Israel’s present massive assault do rockets from Gaza cause more damage, but very little is physical: it is economic and psychological.

With the present massacre, too, Israel insisted on needless bloodshed when it could have had “security” by sticking to the November 2012 ceasefire agreement it signed, which includes the requirement to lift the siege.

Gaza fights back

Israel’s great “deterrent” threat was always the ground invasion of Gaza. A deterrent is often more effective as a threat than as a reality. If it is used and proves to be a bluff, it no longer works.

Now Israel has gone into Gaza, and Israelis are shocked at the extent of the losses they are suffering.

Israel has so far admitted to 25 dead soldiers in just four days of ground operations. That’s a higher daily casualty rate than it suffered in Lebanon.

Had Netanyahu known that would be the price, he would not likely have launched this foolish and criminal slaughter in Gaza.

Al-Qassam, the military wing of Hamas, has proven to be capable, tenacious and ingenious, engaging Israelis in fierce combat inside Gaza and taking the fight to Israeli territory.

But don’t take my word for it. Israeli officers are saying it themselves, as Anshel Pfeffer reported for Haaretz:

One officer, a veteran of Gaza operations, who left the fighting area for a few hours, told Haaretz: “I’ve been to Shujaiyeh before, but I’ve never seen it – or Hamas – like this before. Their equipment and tactics are just like Hezbollah. Missile traps and IEDs everywhere – and they stay and fight instead of melting away like in the past.”

They stay and fight because, unlike Israel, Palestinians in Gaza have no choice, no alternative, no option to go back to a slow death under a crippling siege.

Why no ceasefire?

Now the question is: why hasn’t there been a ceasefire yet? On Sunday night, after the UN Security Council met, US ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power tweeted out these demands:

Let’s be clear: the Palestinian demand to end the siege is not a “precondition” and it is not a political demand. It is a basic humanitarian right.

Now the problem for Israel, the US and their Arab allies, especially the Sisi dictatorship in Egypt, is this: they know that this “war” is not going to get better for Israel the longer it goes on.

But they do not want to give the Palestinian resistance a victory. So now Power, on behalf of the United States and Israel, is reframing the most basic humanitarian rights as negotiable and unreasonable “preconditions.” By doing so she is assisting Israel’s incremental genocide in Gaza.

Palestinians still have and must rely on alternatives to awaiting the mercy of the likes of Samantha Power and her boss, US President Barack Obama.

Palestinians are resisting tenaciously on the ground, as is their right, and globally, a growing movement understands that Israel will continue to commit its massacres with impunity until we stop it.

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Palestinian mourners pray during the funeral of members of the Abu Jami family, at least 23 of whom were killed when Israel bombed their house in Khan Younis, 21 July 2014. (Ezz al-Zanoun / APA images)

The price, in innocent human life, of our failure to stop Israel’s repeated pogroms so far is enormous and catastrophic. As I wrote after the 2008-2009 massacre, Israel can never bomb its way to legitimacy. But its bombs still kill.

We owe it to all those whose lives Israel has stolen not to let them down.

Arms embargo now!

Boycott! Divest! Sanction!

Comments

I have to thank you a lot for this. Based on all the continuous tweets of all the dead bodies in Gaza and the continuous attempt amongst Muslims to do the medias job and display "news".. I ended up missing the bigger picture.. Israel won't win. I'm glad they are realising Hama's isn't just some gorilla organisation. I hope the rest of the world see that and take them for who they are.. A democratically elected party.

...a democratically elected party whose avowed goal is the elimination of Israel.

Any person with any human decency would call for the dismanteling of the Israeli state in its present form, that of a brutal colonial rascist apartheid state which will eventually be brought down by the weight of its own inhumanity.

Do you seriously believe that Hamas will eliminate Israel? Jews were refugees and now they have taken over the land which doesn't belong to them. killing innocent people is shows true colour of the israeli government. Open your eyes man

I believe Israel is in the process of bringing down Israel.

So what is the difference between them and Israel? Don't the Israeli people/ government, and Zionists around the world want the Palestinians dead? The only difference is Israel is committing genocide to get Palestinian land and Hamas is the fighting the oppressor who beats and murders their children everyday. If you enjoy people beating you and your children daily, refusing you clean water, limiting your food, and when an Israeli citizen kills your child they are awarded hero status. If you would be ok with that, well they are not...it's been too long and the Nazis of our time need to be put in their place and charged for war crimes without us interference

compare the maps of Palestine from 1946 until today, and tell me who is eliminating who. Collective punishment of the palestinians is a war crime. And there are reports that the people responsible for the dead of the 3 israeli youth belong to ISIS not Hamas.

The word is :guerrilla," spanish for warrior, not "gorilla." Thanks

Ali, you say Israel is being defeated like in Lebanon (have you seen Sheikh Nasrallah lately ?) and yet want a cease-fire.

Which is it ?

As the author stated, winning is more than a CIVILIAN body count. Winning is working toward your goal. Israel is backtracking in the public mind.

Only the most arrogant and shortsighted "kill all Muslims" Zionist Apartheid supporting racist zealot who believes their own propaganda will miss that.

The purpose of Israel's disingenuous war is to prevent Palestinian unity, and further U.N. action, which would hinder Israel's confiscation of the West Bank. Do you think the world is blind?

Israel has been allowed to steal land because the world is asleep. A wake up call is set, and better mobilization against Israel, is coming.

Yes I agree with you entirely CT and the zionist call is usually "Kill all Arabs", whether they be Muslim, Christian or anything else, for that matter.
I have a very good Palestinian Christian friend whose family and thousands of other Christian families were ethnically cleansed from Palestine in 1948.

Israel doesn't want a cease fire. Netanyahu has refused to attend or send representatives to the Cairo conference re a cease fire. He's pouting because Israel is being criticized on the world stage - and rightly so they are being criticized.

What has changed since A/RES/67/19 ?

1 Pope's visit to region: Adopting the same stance on the Wall as the Resistance
1.1 Removed any doubts where Catholics should stand: On the side of the Palestinian Resistance

2 Ukraine
2.1 These A/RES/67/19 abstention states have to assess their defense positions vi-a-vis comparative modern military to IDF attacking them: Can they resist comparable to the Palestinian Resistance?: Andorra, ,Estonia, , Latvia, Lithuania, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, , San Marino

2.1.1 Whereof, the only protection is the affirmation of International Law

2.2 These These A/RES/67/19 abstention states know what war is and that only affirmation to International can provision peace : Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Moldov, Slovakia, Slovenia

2.3 These A/RES/67/19 abstention states have to decide how they shall react in defense of #2.1 or #2.2 above of aggression in contravention of International Law: Albania, Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, United Kingdom

2.3.1 Have to lead or risk igniting Europe in civil war

3 Islamic State in the Levant [ISIL]:
3.1 Contesting Assad's military has taken three years
3.1.1 Hezbollah Fighters saved Assad Government
3.1.1.1 Its not Iran sponsoring the ISIL

3.2 Rolled back USA Trained Iraqi Forces in two weeks
3.2.1 Iraqi Kurds Self-Defense Forces held their positions

4. P-5: USA against; United Kingdom abstained; China, France, Russia in favor.
4.1 France risks same with its Palestine position flip-flopping as Ukraine's fl-flopping ignited civil war
4.2 USA National Command Authority did learn from 2003-2012 Iraq War

6 Public Diplomacy:
6.1 State of Israel's Sionist propagated falsehoods "Glass Dome" has been shattered

6.2 State of Israel shall never recover: Boycott, Divestment, & Sanctions shall exponentially increase

7 State of Israel destroy its own deterrence
7.1 2006 IDF-Hezbollah
7.2 2008, 2012, 2014 IDF-Hamas

As an American citizen, I find President Obama's unconditional support for Israeli genocide against the Palestinians especially painful. What most Americans are prevented from knowing is that the UN made a huge mistake in 1948 when it accepted the promise of Israeli leaders that the Palestinian refugees would be allowed to return as a condition for UN recognition of Israel. They have never been allowed to return, and UN recognition should long since have been withdrawn. There is no justification for the brutal IDF shelling of ambulances, hospitals, mosques, schools and homes except the unspoken colonial one: the people of Gaza are 80% refugees who were promised a right of return when the Zionist state was created on their land. Just as the attack on the refugee camps to the north were attacked in "Peace for Galilee" in 1982, to annihilate Palestinians who had been driven north, so all these attacks on Gaza are designed to annihilate the refugees who were driven south and who still have a right under international law to return to their lands in the Zionist enclave. So from Netanyahu's perspective, it makes perfect sense to massacre whole families in Gaza to make sure they never get a chance to exercise their right of return -- which is instead being claimed by people of a different ethnic identity from anywhere in the world.
Dr. A. Clare Brandabur

What if Israel was to offer a truly one state solution? That lands that the United Nations deemed were illegally seized are returned to the Palestinians. Humanitarian aid aims to establish infrastructure and reestablish families. We the people of the United States focus on reeducation as we are the world leaders. Do not forget the ethnic Arabs in the area are identical to the ethnic Jews. Shalom and Allahu akbar. God bless you my brothers.

The Israelis would never agree to a one state solution. If they did then the Palestinians would very quickly outnumber the Israelis and would rule the country democratically. Of course, a majority ruling a democratic country is totally fine and you would think that the self proclaimed home of democracy, the US, would be in favour of it.

The Israelis fear that they would be persecuted as a minority. So, to prevent this they persecute the majority. It's definite persecution to prevent possible persecution which is of course, nonsense.

Brothers and Sisters in ISLAM, Asslamualaikum,
and to all non Muslims,

This is an alarm in muslim world especially due to gaza, but there is much more mystical issue of ISIS presents itself before us. ISIS is butchering not only shias but christians n some sunnis as well.

ISIS is doing such inhuman acts on christians, shias, sunnis n justifying it under shariah, n i bet its not so true. ISIS is destroying christian monastries n churches which were there in mosul since 4th century A.D, so its pretty evident that the monastries which weren't destroyed in four guided caliphs' reign, is now been destroyed in the name of islam, which is wrong.

Thus, it concludes that ISIS is not a muslim army rather bunch of pro zionist mercenaries trained by USA, ISRAEL N GULF MONARCHIES. ISIS is killing shias, to create deep gulf between sunni n shia, alongside persecuting christians in syria n iraq, which will breed n promote the notion of islam being a satanic religion, nouzobillah.

So, brothers n sisters, whosoever feel proud of ISIS should rethink about this, coz if ISIS is not fighting with ISRAEL OR SAUDIS then they are certainly not the friends of muslim rather bunch of inhuman, satanic, zionist army of AL-DAJJAL, THE ANTI CHRIST, disguised as MUSLIMS SPEAKING OF QURAN N ISLAM, are actually DEMONIZING ISLAM n ITS FOLLOWERS.

Well done Ali ! Thank God for Electronic Intifada.

Muslims will b mudered as said our prophet, there will b no place on earth without dead bodies of muslims.

Yes, Gaza.. but Ukraina..but Irak..Lybia... oh... I'm in Barcelona, yes: and I'm not the only one to know.. to know that Palestinian people, Saharaui People.. Ukrainian people..even spanish or catalan people: israeli people!.. will... die.. because this is a war in between the people of the world and the called power.. : how to call them?? Cynical Butchers..?? they called themselfs as a "elite"..oh.. there are no words.. Nothing is new (in Palestina since 1948 but... before..before...) Every president of the USA since G.Washington must me hanged as a War Criminal.. as a criminal against humanity..and so all the other "puppet elites" who rules the world: Liers run the world: but they are not just liers: they kill..kill in hundreds...in thousands.. in hundreds of thousands: for a flag?? for a god?? for a shit!!! Criminal butchers: people from all the world is awakening!! Viva el pueblo de Palestina..!!!

Palestinian resistance: you are the courageous Jewish fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto (who included my ancestors). Forced into a small area of their own country by ethnic cleansing colonisers, for racist reasons. Denied human rights. Fighting back courageously, despite the very unequal armaments available to them.

Zionist leaders: what does that make you?

"They stay and fight because, unlike Israel, Palestinians in Gaza have no choice, no alternative, no option to go back to a slow death under a crippling siege."

Wrong. Obviously wrong, since they were always in that open-air prison and never had a choice. They stay and fight, and perform well for the first time, because Hezbollah and Iran armed and trained them, even though Hamas betrayed them. Its not a mystery, and that's not a small factor. The Palestinian, and Arab, propensity to downplay everything Iran and its allies do for the Palestinian cause is disgusting, and if it continues, I'm afraid it will seriously cost the pro-Palestinian movement. Of course, I'm sure many, perhaps yourself included, think its their flyers that are changing the facts on the ground. In reality, activists for Palestine have always been around, to little effect. Lame Arab governments with empty promises have always been around, to little effect. The Iranian-Syrian-Hezbollah alliance has not always been around, but it clearly has changed everything, first in Lebanon, and now in Gaza. Keep that in mind next time you want to suggest support for the "Free" Syrian clowns or other Salafi terrorists.

Americans would resist any foreign power occupying their country. That is for certain. I know of no American who would not resist if a foreign power was holding citizens of this country is a brutal occupation and oppression as the Israelis are containing the Palestinians. Americans would resist with any and every means available. So, why is it that our government cannot transpose that and understand why the Palestinians are resisting their illegal occupation? In international law resistance to occupation is legal.

Thank you for the analysis. Despite all the money that Hasbara and IDF have flooded into the net, they are losing. It is not difficult to see the mass murder and terrorism by Israel, one needs to be human to realize the tragic killings of innocent civilians and cowardly justifications given by Zionist supporters. Pictures they can't distort.

And it's amazing how "intellectuals" and educated people are defending and rationalizing Israeli assault in US media.

I'm missing Edward Said.

I, too, miss the wisdom and intellect of Edward Said. He was a mighty man.

I am a Chinese American and a strong supporter for Palestinian state. I discovered this wonderful website only this morning by watching Democracy Now and Mr. Ali Abunimah happened to be on the show.

I felt embarrassed listening to Mr. Abunimah trying to keep up with Mr. Goldberg. Isn't there somebody at EI who can argue a position without sounding like a shrill, petulant, uninformed political dilettante? Moreover, Mr. Abunimah's (failed) attempts to pronounce Yiddish words ("chutzpah") and appropriate terms proper to the Jewish experience ("pogrom") in describing Gazan hardships constitute revelatory Freudian slips of the first order: could it be that the man wishes he were Jewish? Then again, who could blame him? Shalom, bubbe.

Mr Abunimah is a very dignified,courageous gentleman, an excellent writer and speaker, of the utmost integrity.
Your petty remarks are just at the level that I would expect from a small-minded Ashkenazi zionist

How very superior of you to think Mr Abunimah's job is to learn to speak Yiddish or Hebrew or whatever. That is a laughable criticism but, given the wrongness of Israel's position, I suppose that is all that is available to you to criticize.