Hubris: why Israeli leaders failed in Gaza 28Nov12 November 28, 2012

Alternative Information Centre    -   27 November 2012

According to foreign experts, the state of Israel has one of the best intelligence services in the world, and nevertheless it systematically fails to foresee the outcome of its own military adventures: in Lebanon (1982, 2006), in the occupied Palestinian territory (1987, 2000), and more recently in Gaza. If we look from a historical perspective, we will easily see that this structural failure starts with the 1967 Middle East War. Until then and despite several great mistakes (the outcome of the 1956 Suez War was totally misunderstood), the Israeli leaders and their intelligence services had a  reasonable analysis of the political context in which they had to make their choices.

June 1967 rendered the entire Israeli society, including most of its experts, blind, deaf and stupid. The blitz victory over three Arab armies, the admiration of most of the Western world – with the notable exception of French President De Gaulle – and the myth of David winning the war against Goliath generated in Israel an atmosphere of post-party drunkenness. “We were like in a dream” – this quote from Psalms was the motto of the late sixties when dealing with “the miracle of the Six Days War”. The marginal, radical and anti-Zionist group Matzpen was the sole dissenting voice in this consensual patriotic choir, arguing, like the little boy in the Emperor’s New Clothes, that such a misreading will lead to a painful awakening. The 1973 Middle East War confirmed that Israel’s 1967 victory was due more to the weaknesses and built-in corruption of the Arab regimes than to the almighty Israeli state.

Colonialism is always mere use of force, and Israeli colonialism is no exception. In that sense, a colonial state depends entirely on the relations of forces, both locally and internationally. As long as the United States of America is the only superpower in the Middle East and Israel is its major strategic ally, the latter is secure and can continue its aggressive colonial and war strategies. That situation, however, is changing: the decline of US imperialist power, the counterproductive effects of the neo-conservative strategy of permanent preemptive global war (Afghanistan, Iraq), the emergence of new powers in the Middle East (Turkey, Iran), all these factors threaten in the medium term the status of the Zionist state in the region.

Moreover, the Arab Revolution resulted in the fall of important Israeli allies in the Arab Middle East (Mubarak, Ben Ali), and led to the emergence of a new central actor: the Arab peoples, freeing themselves from domination and fear. The new regimes are much more dependent on their public opinions than the old dictatorships, and have to take into consideration their aspiration not only for freedom and democracy, but also for dignity. Israel’s impunity is rightly perceived as an attack on Arab dignity. Dignity is might and gives to people the strength to resist.

Failing to understand this basic fact of life explains the fiasco of the last Israeli aggression against Gaza. The Israeli leadership is living in the past and unable to grasp the deep changes in the area: they were not prepared for retaliation by Hamas armed forces, the strong moral support of the Egyptian masses to the resistance of the Palestinian population of Gaza, or for the changing role of Egypt in the area and the new potential alliance between imperialism and the Muslim Brotherhood. The neo-conservative global war against Islam is gradually being replaced by a US-Muslim Brotherhood alliance to maintain the old social order in the Arab area.

This failure to understand the regional, social and political changes explains how, despite its huge military superiority, Israel is the loser in Gaza. Zionism is more and more the victim of its colonial hubris, and this is why it failed to win a single war since the 1970s. Indeed, the state of Israel can harm, destroy and impose a terrible price on the peoples of the region. It cannot, however, win.

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