Israeli aggression and 'new circumstances in the Mideast'
It is the seventh day of attacks in which Israel is killing Gazans indiscriminately and in the insensitive eyes of the world. So far 115 Palestinians, at least half of whom are civilians, including many infants, were killed in these attacks. And about 850 Palestinians, including at least 225 children, were wounded. If the visit to Gaza on Tuesday by the foreign ministers of the Arab League, along with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, in a show of solidarity with Gazans, and the talks US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon held in Cairo prove to be futile, the number of innocent Palestinians mercilessly killed by the Israeli forces will further increase.
I don't think the new wave of killings being undertaken by Israel -- a country that killed 1,435 people, including mostly civilians and children, during its operation codenamed "Cast Lead" in early 2009 -- has anything to do with the threat that Hamas, which occasionally resorts to unacceptable methods as well, poses against the security of Israeli civilians. Rather, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is conducting these attacks and instrumentalizing these murders to consolidate the power of a kind of national front government, which consists of many parties, such as the Labor Party as well as the myriad of the most radical and ultra-right parties, as its partners. By waging his first comprehensive war against Palestinians ahead of the elections slated for January, Netanyahu seeks both to strengthen the national consensus regime and boost his party's electoral support in the elections. Surveys suggest Netanyahu is close to fulfilling his goals. By the way, this also indicates that Israeli voters, be they to the right or to the left, are too easily lured by violence and bloodshed.

Netanyahu's domestic policy plans are not, of course, the sole driving force of the recent attacks under the name "Pillar of Cloud." The latest round of aggression and massacres undertaken by Israel -- a country that has inherited the pitiless legacy and mission of the very terrorist organizations that laid the groundwork for its establishment and acted, since then, as a terrorizing state -- aims to terrorize the Middle East, thereby paralyzing the ongoing process in the region. Without sparing any opportunity to hinder the reshaping of the Middle East, Israel seeks to sabotage the process in which hundreds of millions have invested high hopes. Thus, by speaking in the language it knows best, i.e., the language of violence and aggression, Israel is breaking its silence as regards the developments in the region aiming to implement democracy.

In this context, I must note, the Israeli state has correctly assessed the circumstances to which Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan referred in a speech he delivered in Egypt, in which he had said: "I address this to Netanyahu: We are not living in the year 2008. We are in 2012. You must know the circumstances of 2012 are not like those of 2008. Make your calculations correctly," and the timing of its aggression is proof of Israel's full comprehension of what is implied in Erdoğan's words. Of course, Erdoğan is right in stressing that circumstances have changed since 2008. In the intervening years, the world has seen the Arab Spring that triggered radical changes in the Middle East and even around the globe, and this process is still under way. The Arab Spring-related incidents demolished the despotic regimes of Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Yemen. Its impact even on the surviving regimes cannot be denied. The destructive dynamics of the Arab Spring have done their part in getting rid of the dictators of Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, but to what extent can we say the systems that have replaced their tyrannical regimes have been fully consolidated? Furthermore, the process of abolishing former despotic regimes is still under way in some countries, such as Syria.

Having well analyzed the circumstances -- which are surely very different from those of 2008 -- related to the Middle East's ongoing process of change and concluded that the course of these events is not to its benefit, Israel has decided to attack Gaza in order to meddle with and sabotage the process without this change being taken to its conclusion and freshly established systems being consolidated. Using its mastery in committing murders with calmness and totally demolishing all the infrastructure of a nation, Israel aims to terrorize the whole region, and make the innocent Palestinian nation in Gaza the target of its unrestrained atrocities, which are also intended to serve as an admonishment for the region. Israel is sending messages written in blood to the new actors of the Middle East, who are still busy consolidating their powers, telling them to look at the persecution of the Palestinian people to see and understand what will happen to them if they act contrary to Israeli interests.

True, the circumstances of 2008 no longer apply to the Middle East and the world. But there is still uncertainty about how the new circumstances will be shaped and what their powers will be. Despite revolutionary steps quickly undertaken by Mohammed Morsi, it is hard to say that the new Egypt has recovered and is able to consolidate its power. Morsi-led Egypt will need a long time during which it will keep away from calamitous moves as well as unceasing international support in order to overcome its economic and sociopolitical problems. Other countries even lack the opportunities available to Egypt.

On the other hand, there is no change in the unconditional support to Israel that certain countries, in particular the US, give to the Jewish state regardless of the magnitude of its sins. The European Union countries, which have always refrained from positioning themselves as clearly as the US in terms of backing Israel, are currently troubled with their own problems. In such a critical conjuncture, in a move that is very similar to that of Russia and China, which rendered the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) ineffectual as regards Syria's tyrannical Bashar al-Assad regime, the US incapacitated the UNSC in the face of Israel's cold-blooded killings. It seems that while Russia is protecting a tyrannical regime that sides with it, the US is taking another cruel regime, a Trojan horse, in the region under its protective wings. In this context, while the circumstances in the region have changed, at least in terms of the damage done to the status quo, the same can hardly be said of the regional and international power system. Moreover, as I noted above, the old status quo in the Middle East has yet to be fully replaced with something new and consolidated.

In sum, by slaughtering civilian Palestinians in Gaza, the Netanyahu-led Israeli government secures and cements its domestic and international backing in the run-up to the elections, and at the same time sabotages and paralyzes the ongoing historic evolution of the Middle East toward democracy, thereby nipping it in the bud. To foil Israel's sabotaging efforts and its evil plots, we need a wise and common action plan that goes beyond individual countries in the region. I hope the visit to Gaza by Foreign Minister Davutoğlu and his colleagues from the Arab League countries will pave the way for the creation of this wisdom.

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Last Modified: 2012-11-21 10:00:02
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