I thought that the 2012 War on Gaza could be much longer. Usually there is a war when the relationship of forces is not clear, so the politicians throw the boys to fight it out until the balance of power is verified and a new order (or the old one) settles down. There are many new elements that were put to test in this war, so it could take some time to clear things up.
Israel wanted to test its brand new anti-rockets defenses. They probably made a nice show for commercial promotion – but they didn’t change much in the actual war. Hamas waited for this chance to test its new equipment that can hit Tel Aviv. It proved that there are no geographic red lines and no secure areas in Israel. But it also wasn’t effective enough to strike a decisive blow.
But the new Gorilla in the middle of the room that had to be tested was the two years old Arab Spring. And it behaved perfectly well.
It could be dangerous – in prior wars the main concern of the Americans (if I’m allowed to use this popular name for the North American US imperialism) was to prevent the anger of the Arab street from toppling their client regimes, mostly Egypt’s Mubarak. Will they now allow the Israeli killing machine go lose because they have not so much to fear for?
It is not like this in real politics and wars. The worst violence occurs when the strong side uses disproportionate power, feeling impunity and careless about the suffering of the helpless. Israel was bombing Lebanon regularly, refugee camps, villages and schools included, until there was another side that can shoot back.
Now, for the first time, the Palestinians were not alone. The flow of Arab dignitaries to Gaza in the middle of the war said it all. Israel had to contend itself with the German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle, which came to encourage its one sided massacres’ campaign for its eternal right to invade Gaza’s land, assassinate activists and shoot farmers and fishermen. Obama didn’t stop his important pivot to East Asia and Hilary Clinton didn’t come until it was time to tell the Israelis that enough is enough.
The Arab Spring started to create a new regional order that is completely different from the old American-Israeli one. The Israeli attack on Gaza was it first real test, except the “internal” Arab Revolutions. If in previous wars it was the US that was mediating and setting the rules, now the center of the political activity was in Cairo. The new elected leaders of Egypt and Tunisia confirmed without reservation that they don’t mediate from a point of neutrality, but are clearly on the side of the Palestinian people and Hamas, and that they try to find a solution for the current flare-up from this perspective.
We were still planning for tomorrow’s “#Haifa4Gaza Demo” when the fire stopped and celebrations broke out in Gaza. When I went home I looked for the details. The agreement was public and clear. Israel should stop all violations of Gaza’s liberated Palestinian lands, air and sea.
The ceasefire was set for “21:00 Cairo Time” – it says it all.
Just not to be thought foolish, well, I know: This is only a small step toward the return of the Palestinian refugees, the restoration of Palestinian national rights and the establishment of free Palestine as a democratic state where Arab and Jews can live peacefully. But you are all welcomed to wake up to the new Middle East where all these wonders can happen.