Palestine: the view from Korea (May 6, 2013)

According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, the IDF arrested 32 Palestinians including 7 children in the West Bank and conducted 63 invasions into Palestinian communities in the besieged Gaza Strip and occupied West Bank in the week ending May 1.

There are signs that Israel may be gearing up for another assault on Gaza. A popular Israeli web portal has reported that Israel may be preparing a second Operation Pillar of Defense as it conducted last November in which 160 Palestinians were killed and countless more wounded. The article, as reported by Press TV, is claiming that the IDF may carry out another military operation in order to destroy Hamas’ military infrastructure.

War and Peace

The revised peace deal put forward by the Arab League for a settlement between Israel and Palestine has been rejected outright by Hamas. The Arab League’s proposal is a weaker version of that first suggested and rejected by Israel in 2002 and includes potential land swaps. Mondoweiss is reporting that Netanyahu’s backing of the proposal is in part fueled by his fear of an eventual one-state solution: “The purpose of the future agreement with the Palestinians is to prevent the eventuality of a binational state and to guarantee stability and security.”

Over the weekend Israel reportedly bombed a number of sites including a military research facility near the Syrian capital of Damascus, purportedly targeting advanced Iranian-made missiles that were earmarked for Hezbollah. One report suggests 100 soldiers were killed in the strikes. The U.S. has predictably defended Israel’s right to bomb a sovereign nation. You would be forgiven if the varying accounts had left you rather confused about the whole situation.

It is important to note that Israel was the first and has been the loudest to claim that the Assad regime has been using chemical weapons, especially given that the U.S. may use this as a pretext to escalate its involvement (thus far through covert training operations) in backing Syrian opposition forces with lethal force. Interestingly, while there is no hard evidence of the Assad regime using chemical weapons, a recent Haaretz article reports that the United Nations has gathered testimony that indicates that opposition rebel forces have been employing saran gas.

The last time Israel bombed Syria was January 31, but this time the bombings were reportedly on a much larger scale. Such a move could certainly provoke a response that could quickly escalate into a larger regional conflict. As Larry Derfner suggests that it is in part a show of strength, “The rules of this game are that Israel continually flies spy planes over Lebanon, bombs Syria now, and may bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities later, secure in its belief that the targets can’t do much in return… In other words, Israel’s air strikes in Syria were meant to maintain its ability to carry out continued acts of aggression against its enemies without fear of challenge. This is the game, and this is what Israel doesn’t want anyone to change.”

Resistance is Never Futile

Despite the threat of a future Israeli attack on Gaza and the ongoing occupation, Palestinans remain resiliant and defiant. Members of Jenin’s Freedom Theatre in the occupied West Bank recently performed a play depicting the resistance of the villagers of Nabi Saleh based on the testimonies of children from the village itself.

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