Under the disguise of diplomacy | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 17, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 17, 2009

Under the disguise of diplomacy

Photo: AFP

On December 29, 2008 Israel started a large-scale aerial bombardment on Gaza strip to push back Hamas and halt its rocket attacks into Southern Israel. This unilateral Israeli step has initiated another war in the Middle East causing severe humanitarian crisis in the already war-torn and tainted region. For one more time, Palestine is flooded with bloodshed, atrocity and genocide by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). Simultaneously, we have seen a more silent Arab World this time along with an all-time silenced United Nations and world community (despite their so-called diplomatic efforts). We are also the spectator of the US's blind endorsement to the Zionist government one more time.
Interestingly, some western diplomats, including those of European Union who are deemed to be the closest US allies regarding its Middle East policy, are trying to broker a cease-fire in Gaza with, until now, almost every effort in vain. UN Security Councilis playing a very ludicrous game here too, showing its extreme incapability one more time in stopping a brutal aggression.
Although Gaza War sees the sure diplomatic collapse, how can one justify the EU diplomatic delegation's traveling and roaming around from Damascus to Cairo? Is that something just to misguide the issue in a planned manner and for a planned game which the US, EU and Israel are cunningly playing right now? Many suspect so.
After a major setback at the recent Israel-Lebanon War where the guerilla group Hezbollah played a very significant role, both Israel and the US sat together to devise a new strategy to fight such non-state actors and unconventional forces in the region. However, it is deemed that Iran provides training to these groups and equipped them with modern warfare technologies. Therefore, Hamas could also be in the receiving end of such largesse from Iran. This probability raises much concern in the Israeli and the US's think-tank. It has been portrayed in different Israeli newspapers many times in the recent months. Moreover, one of the prestigious international magazines The Economist in its January 3rd, 2009 issue has also commented on the issue with similar fashion: “...On its border with Lebanon, Israel already faces one radical non-state actor, Hezbollah, that is formally dedicated to Israel's destruction and has a powerful arsenal of Iranian-supplied missiles at its disposal. The Israelis are understandably reluctant to let a similar danger grow in Gaza”
So the excuse of halting rocket attacks from Gaza does not truly depict the whole picture of the conflict. It is to be noted that Egypt has brokered a truce between Hamas and Israel earlier on June 19, 2008 which, as Israel blames, Hamas breached by firing rockets into Southern Israel. Israel also blames Hamas for smuggling arms and missiles through tunnels across the Egyptian-Gaza border and claimed that Gaza has become a launching pad of Hamas' rockets into Israel. Therefore, Israel, as it argues, needs to react to stop firing of rockets and cross-border smuggling of arms which threatens the peace and security of its people. But the truth is Israel was the first one who breached the six-month cease-fire by carrying out an aerial attack on Hamas's target on November 4, 2008 killing at least four Palestinians. More importantly, during the truce, Israel played a very nasty game by clamping an economic blockade on Gaza and turning the enclave into a giant living-jail with virtually no food, no power, no water and no medics. Therefore, it is pretty clear that Israel itself has prepared the ground of the war only with a different excuse.
A few days back an Israeli military official gave an interview to the Arabic TV channel Aljazeera where he clearly mentioned that Israel is facing two Iranian proxy armies on its either side: one is Hezbollah and another is Hamas. This is the bottom line of all thoughts regarding the current crisis. What I believe is Israel, along with the US, does not want another strong Hezbollah-like guerilla group to grow in this region. They have just played with different cards to dismantle Hamas at different times, nothing less or nothing more than that.
But the western diplomats' response to the crisis and the ill-motive of the western media campaign only emphasized that Israel is defending itself from terrorists' rocket attacks and trying to bring peace and security in the region to safeguard its own people. However, I strongly suspect that it has been done deliberately by all quarters engaged in this conflict to punish Hamas and Palestinians as a whole (who voted Hamas to bring it to power).
The so-called shuttle diplomacy during the continued Israeli aggression is also deemed to be a stage-managed diplomatic drama. What many suspect is that all these countries have engaged in this diplomatic row to pass a green signal to Israel to continue shelling and bombing to smash Hamas on the one hand and fool some Arab States with this frantic move in a bid to show their eagerness in bringing the cease-fire and save lives of innocent Palestinians on the other. We also understand that all these so-called diplomatic efforts ranging from Damascus to Cairo is only for refraining Arabs from responding to the crisis militarily. The cause of such motive is very clear. They know Syria is, still now, officially at war with Israel. The Egyptian leader is facing a tremendous pressure from its people on the Palestine issue. The Lebanese government is strongly influenced by Hezbollah. Hence, any coordinated Arab efforts to respond to this crisis would deliver a grim reality for Israel and its western allies. It may even kick off another Arab-Israel war after 1973. And they know this time Israel would have to face much stronger and well-equipped foes surrounding its territory.
Moving hither and thither in the name of diplomatic effort by western diplomats seem nothing special to me, rather it is giving a blank cheque to Israel to go on - to crash Hamas, force Palestinians to have a defeated life and give signals to Arabs to bury their long-cherished dream to conquer Jerusalem once again - with having an assurance that Arabs will not meddle in the affairs risking their peace-effort. And all these games are to give some ease and breadth to Israel's very existence. But will it work at the end of the day?

The author is a researcher. He can be reached at his e-mail: zak_info@yahoo.co.uk

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