Par Ilan Shalif pour Anarkismo
The main confrontation between the Israeli ruling capitalist elite and the Palestinian working people which have continued forcefully over the last few weeks forms part of ongoing efforts by Israel to transfer them out of Palestine, or at least pressure them into voluntary transfer.
The pressure is applied in the territories still in the possession of the Palestinian citizens of Israel and more intensively in the territories occupied after the war of 1967 and still held by the Palestinians – mainly in the territories annexed to Jerusalem, the C-status areas of the West Bank and the areas adjacent to the separation fence of the Gaza Strip.
The current confrontation
The reason for the eruption of the intense confrontation of recent weeks is the recent intensification of international pressure exerted on Israel to withdraw from the territories occupied in the 1967 war. Most of its efforts are to relieve this pressure, and to overcome the contribution of the recent agreement between the West Bank (partly) ruling elite and the Hamas ruling elite of the Gaza Strip.
Years ago, in order to diminish the pressure to get out of the territories of Palestine occupied in the 1967 war, Israel gave in to a small extent, evacuating its settlers from the Gaza Strip, taking its forces out of it and ending its direct rule. It converted the Gaza Strip into a huge ghetto, controlling all supplies entering into it or going out, and all movement in and out by the residents. As part of its strategy when Israel partly « freed » the Gaza Strip, it refrained from an orderly transfer of jurisdiction and internal rule of the area to the Palestinian Authority, instead enabling it to be taken over by the separatist Hamas fundamentalists – which Israel itself promoted years ago as competition to the Palestinian ruling elite with whom it had made the Oslo Accords twenty years ago.
Controlling the residents of the Gaza Strip and its regime (and avoiding setting it entirely free from Israeli hegemony) is a way to protect Israel’s main efforts to keep its rule in the West Bank.
Israel’s repeated refusal over many years to sign a non-aggression treaty (tahadia, or ceasefire) with the Hamas ruling elite revealed a significant part of the lies and excuses about an « inability to reach agreement with Hamas ».
When the change of regime in Egypt defeated the Muslim Brotherhood, which Hamas was allied with, the siege of Gaza saw an immense increase and the supply pipeline of resources and funds to the Hamas regime was almost lost. As an act of desperation, the Hamas ruling elite came to an agreement of conditional surrender to the ruling elite of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank (whose details have not yet been finalized). This threatened the Israeli strategy of divide and rule which worked for so many years and was part of the justification for avoiding a peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority and a withdrawal from the West Bank occupied in the 1967 war.
To disrupt this surrender agreement and unity between the existing splits in the Palestinian ruling elite, Israel launched an attack on Hamas – both in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip – with the hope of inciting an intense confrontation whose resolution will restore the independent rule of a separate, weakened and submissive Hamas… But the Egyptian government ruled by General Sisi which was responsible in the first place for cutting supples to the Gaza Strip ruled by Hamas, refused to play its part because of its enmity with the Muslim Brotherhood and its Hamas branch, and thwarted this attempt.
The confrontation is still far from resolution
Top Israeli heads admit that they want Hamas rule in Gaza to continue. However, Israel’s immediate rejection of Hamas’ conditions for an immediate ceasefire – without ending the occupation – is conclusive evidence of the real motives behind Israel’s current hostilities. Hamas itself publicly admits that it will agree to a no-fire agreement lasting many years which is less than independent (and will agree to less, if minimal supplies of materials and money enabling it to continue functioning are ensured). However the Egyptians are still refusing « to play ball ».
Israel could independently consolidate the rule of Hamas in the Gaza Strip – independent of the West Bank Palestinian Authority and independent of Egyptian cooperation. However, the sacrifices involved are so large and the political costs and dangers are so great that Israel is trying to gain time and delay the resolution by increasing the pressure on the Hamas elite, and try secret political efforts to pressure Egypt behind the scenes to yield a bit, in the hope of reaching a better and cheaper agreement.