Reprinted from Bracing Views with the author’s permission.
After dropping 6000 bombs in six days, the Israeli Air Force has now reached the staggering sum of at least 15,000 bombs dropped on densely populated areas of Gaza. The bomb tonnage is already equivalent to two Hiroshimas, notes Joshua Frank at TomDispatch. As he puts it:
[W]ell over 25,000 tons of bombs had already been dropped on Gaza by early November, the equivalent of two Hiroshima-style nukes (without the radiation). Under such circumstances, a nuclear-capable Israel that blatantly flouts international law could prove a clear and present danger, not only to defenseless Palestinians but to a world already in ever more danger and disarray.
Israel is the only power in the Middle East with nuclear weapons; it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that the right-wing government of Netanyahu would choose to use one or more if cornered.
Netanyahu’s goal seems clear: make Gaza uninhabitable to Palestinians through a combination of massive bombing, blockades (water, food, medical supplies, and other essentials), and invasion and occupation. Palestinians are to be “pushed” into the Sinai Desert, with Gaza absorbed into Israel. All this is being justified in the name of neutralizing Hamas, a terrorist organization that has no ability to hurt Israel in a major way. (The brutal attacks of October 7th were a one-off made more brutal by Israeli helicopter gunships whose counterattacks killed friendlies as well as the Hamas attackers.)
In the name of destroying Hamas, Israel is ethnically cleansing Gaza so it can be absorbed into Israel. Apparently, there are enormous gas reserves off Gaza, possibly worth $500 billion, which were to be shared between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza. With the Palestinians either dead, severely wounded, or evicted from Gaza, Israel will likely claim total ownership over those gas fields. Israel may yet become a major gas supplier to Europe, replacing much of the gas lost when Putin blew up his own gas pipelines to Germany. (Just kidding: America did that, as President Biden promised he would.)
Meanwhile, Joe Biden penned an op-ed to the Washington Post equating Hamas with Putin as “pure, unadulterated evil.” Hamas is allegedly trying to wipe Israel off the map with its “ideology of destruction,” but of course Hamas has no military ability to do this, whereas Israel does indeed have the power to wipe Gaza off the map. So where does Biden see the future heading? Consider this passage:
There must be no forcible displacement of Palestinians from Gaza, no reoccupation, no siege or blockade, and no reduction in territory. And after this war is over, the voices of Palestinian people and their aspirations must be at the center of post-crisis governance in Gaza.
As we strive for peace, Gaza and the West Bank should be reunited under a single governance structure, ultimately under a revitalized Palestinian Authority, as we all work toward a two-state solution.
He may as well wish for puppies and unicorns for everyone. Israel doesn’t want a two-state solution with a thriving Palestinian state. Netanyahu’s goal, to repeat myself, is clear: Gaza absorbed into Israel, with Palestinians displaced in another Nakba, along with the West Bank slowly absorbed into Israel as illegal Jewish settlements are extended.
This is, essentially, what Thucydides meant when he said: the strong do what they will; the weak suffer what they must.
What Biden’s op-ed was really about was justifying his $105 billion package in giveaways, mainly for Ukraine and Israel, with more than half that money flowing to U.S. weapons makers, the merchants of death or, as Biden calls them, job creators. In short, Biden celebrates the creation of a few jobs in America in the name of killing tens of thousands of Russians and Palestinians with American-made weaponry paid for by U.S. taxpayers.
Biden calls that “democracy” in action, the work of the world’s “essential nation” in contrast to the “murderous nihilism” of Hamas.
“Murderous nihilism”? Well, as we used to say as kids, it takes one to know one.
William J. Astore is a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF). He taught history for fifteen years at military and civilian schools. He writes at Bracing Views.