Op-Ed by Brandon Turbeville
On Saturday morning, an ominously quiet region was set alight with rocket fire, gun battles, and declarations of war, the latter threatening to bring in a multitude of other countries on either side. Indeed, the events that took place yesterday in Palestine and Israel could very well be the powder keg that ignites the rest of the world into an open and undeniable Third World War.
The clash began when fighters from Hamas launched rockets and a ground attack on villages near Gaza. Unlike previous clashes, the fighters used paratroops and parasails and also cut through the border fence to conduct their operations which were also conducted from the sea with Hamas using a number of ships. Hamas was able to capture several villages under Israeli control as well as make off with Israeli soldiers as prisoners. Hamas also reportedly captured Israeli civilians, taking them back across the battle lines into Hamas territory.
Hamas also launched thousands of rockets, with some reports of between 2,000 and 5,000, against numerous cities, with Tel Aviv reporting damage as well. Israeli officials claimed that 300 people were killed and hundreds wounded. Palestinian officials from the Palestinian Health Ministry reported 160 Palestinians had been killed and estimated that 1,000 were wounded.
Reports stated between 13 and 21 Israeli controlled villages were “infiltrated” by Hamas.
Human rights groups consider Gaza an “open-air prison.” Most Palestinians living in the region are refugees. Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas on the planet, with 2 million people living in 140 sq. miles. Israel severely restricts the amount of food, fuel, and water the people of Gaza can access.
An Israeli official said the Palestinian forces were able to capture the headquarters of an Israeli military unit near Gaza. “The headquarters of the Gaza division in camp Ra’im is under the control of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam brigades,” the official explained.
Photos and videos on Twitter show Hamas returning to Gaza with captured Israeli military equipment. Additional images show Israeli Brigadier General Nimrod Aloni was captured by Hamas, although this has not been confirmed by either side.
Hours after the attack began, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu announced the start of Operation Iron Swords. “We are at war, not an operation. Hamas has launched a murderous surprise attack against the State of Israel and its citizens,” he posted on Twitter. “I ordered first of all to cleanse the settlements of the terrorists who had infiltrated and ordered a large-scale mobilization of reserves. The enemy will pay a price he has never known.”
A spokesman for the Israeli military, Daniel Hagari, said soldiers were being mobilized, and strikes on Gaza have begun. “The IDF [Israeli army] is flooding the area with troops. We are focusing on the fighting on the Gaza border.” He continued, “We have begun a widespread call-up in all parts of the IDF. The air force is also striking in Gaza.”
Tel Aviv reports targeting 21 locations in Gaza, and Palestinian officials say there are dozens of casualties. Israel’s minister of national security, Itamar Ben Gvir, declared a state of emergency. The White House National Security Council spokesperson said Washington “unequivocally condemns” the Hamas attack.
The violence has spread to other regions of Israel. In East Jerusalem, Israeli soldiers fired teargas at Palestinian protesters. An Israeli police station was set on fire in Jerusalem. In the West Bank, occupying forces shot a Palestinian man.
Predictably, the United States is declaring its unwavering support for Israel, with President Biden stating that military assistance is on its way to Israel and neo-con Nikki Haley, former SC governor and US diplomat currently running for the Republican nomination stating that Israel should “finish them,” meaning the Palestinians.
The United States is joined by much of the Western world including usual suspects Britain and Germany. But the Middle East and other countries are not so willing to throw unquestioning support behind Israel, thus exposing a worldwide rift in the philosophy of the current world order.
The Lead Up
Israel claims that the surprise element of the attacks were the result of a catastrophic failure of intelligence on the part of the Israeli intelligence apparatus. In short, Israel claims that Hamas used methods to bypass its surveillance system and thus avoid detection during a prolonged period of planning. While Israel has a robust system of cameras and internet/cellphone monitoring, it is reported that Hamas used more traditional methods of communication such as in-person meetings and the use of couriers to deliver messages, thus avoiding technology and the pitfalls of technological surveillance.
Something Doesn’t Seem Right
However, something simply doesn’t add up when it comes to the Israeli explanation. Gaza is one of the most surveilled areas of the world. The Israelis are exceptionally good at intelligence gathering and putting that intelligence to use and yet we are supposed to believe there were not enough Israeli intelligence agents on the ground in Palestinian territory to catch wind of such a monumental operation? Anyone who understands geopolitics and has been to the Middle East knows well how powerful and effective Israeli intelligence is in the region.
But, while it may be possible that Hamas did outwit the Israeli intelligence apparatus by using more rudimentary methods of communication, how do we know this now? How did we know the next day? Did Hamas announce its methods or did Israel discover it 24 hours too late? This explanation seems all too neatly sewn and all too quickly delivered to be entirely believable.
Indeed, the attack was able to deliver losses to the Israeli military in direct combat, missiles got past the Iron Dome, and ships escaped discovery. None of these losses are such that the Israeli military is crippled or even damaged beyond a potential perception of weakness, but it was all theatrical enough and horrendous enough for civilians to experience that it has been useful to instill fear in the population.
Is it possible that Israel did, in fact, know about the plans to attack before they happened and that the Israeli government allowed it to happen for some reason or other? Is it also possible that the Israelis worked with Hamas to do so?
Who Is Hamas?
Indeed, on its own soil, Israel has long been documented as creating “fake” al-Qaeda groups to justify its treatment of the Palestinian people.
With that in mind, it is important to note that Israel’s arch nemesis, Hamas, was created by Israel itself for the purpose of splitting the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) and Fatah, the leading outfit for the Palestinian freedom and resistance movement.
Robert Dreyfuss, a veteran journalist for The Nation, even wrote that,
In the decades before 9/11, hard-core activists and organizations among Muslim fundamentalists on the far right were often viewed as allies for two reasons, because they were seen a fierce anti-communists and because the opposed secular nationalists such as Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser, Iran’s Mohammed Mossadegh.
In Syria, the United States, Israel, and Jordan supported the Muslim Brotherhood in a civil war against Syria. And … Israel quietly backed Ahmed Yassin and the Muslim Brotherhood in the West Bank and Gaza, leading to the establishment of Hamas.
Amid all the howls of pain and gnashing of teeth over the triumph of Hamas in the Palestinian elections, one fact remains relatively obscure, albeit highly relevant: Israel did much to launch Hamas as an effective force in the occupied territories. If ever there was a clear case of “blowback,” then this is it. As Richard Sale pointed out in a piece for UPI:
Israel and Hamas may currently be locked in deadly combat, but, according to several current and former U.S. intelligence officials, beginning in the late 1970s, Tel Aviv gave direct and indirect financial aid to Hamas over a period of years. Israel ‘aided Hamas directly – the Israelis wanted to use it as a counterbalance to the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization),’ said Tony Cordesman, Middle East analyst for the Center for Strategic [and International] Studies.Israel’s support for Hamas ‘was a direct attempt to divide and dilute support for a strong, secular PLO by using a competing religious alternative,’ said a former senior CIA official.
Middle East analyst Ray Hanania concurs:
In addition to hoping to turn the Palestinian masses away from Arafat and the PLO, the Likud leadership believed they could achieve a workable alliance with Islamic, anti-Arafat forces that would also extend Israel’s control over the occupied territories.
In a conscious effort to undermine the Palestine Liberation Organization and the leadership of Yasser Arafat, in 1978 the government of then-Prime Minister Menachem Begin approved the application of Sheik Ahmad Yassin to start a “humanitarian” organization known as the Islamic Association, or Mujama. The roots of this Islamist group were in the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood, and this was the seed that eventually grew into Hamas – but not before it was amply fertilized and nurtured with Israeli funding and political support.
It is important to note here that the Muslim Brotherhood, in addition to this close connection to the predecessor of Hamas and thus Mossad and other forms of Israeli intelligence, also contains close and historical ties to Western intelligence, most notably the British and the American versions.
With that in mind, Raimondo’s article continues by stating that,
Begin and his successor, Yitzhak Shamir, launched an effort to undercut the PLO, creating the so-called Village Leagues, composed of local councils of handpicked Palestinians who were willing to collaborate with Israel – and, in return, were put on the Israeli payroll. Sheik Yassin and his followers soon became a force within the Village Leagues. This tactical alliance between Yassin and the Israelis was based on a shared antipathy to the militantly secular and leftist PLO: the Israelis allowed Yassin’s group to publish a newspaper and set up an extensive network of charitable organizations, which collected funds not only from the Israelis but also from Arab states opposed to Arafat.
Ami Isseroff, writing on MideastWeb,shows how the Israelis deliberately promoted the Islamists of the future Hamas by helping them turn the Islamic University of Gaza into a base from which the group recruited activists – and the suicide bombers of tomorrow. As the only higher-education facility in the Gaza strip, and the only such institution open to Palestinians since Anwar Sadat closed Egyptian colleges to them, IUG contained within its grounds the seeds of the future Palestinian state. When a conflict arose over religious issues, however, the Israeli authorities sided with the Islamists against the secularists of the Fatah-PLO mainstream. As Isseroff relates, the Islamists
Encouraged Israeli authorities to dismiss their opponents in the committee in February of 1981, resulting in subsequent Islamisation of IUG policy and staff (including the obligation on women to wear the hijab and thobe and separate entrances for men and women), and enforced by violence and ostracization of dissenters. Tacit complicity from both university and Israeli authorities allowed Mujama to keep a weapons cache to use against secularists. By the mid 1980s, it was the largest university in occupied territories with 4,500 students, and student elections were won handily by Mujama.
Again, the motive was to offset Arafat’s influence and divide the Palestinians. In the short term, this may have worked to some extent; in the longer term, however, it backfired badly – as demonstrated by the results of the recent Palestinian election
Israel’s relentless offensive against its perceived enemies – first Fatah, now Hamas and Islamic Jihad – has created a backlash and solidified support for fundamentalist extremist factions in the Palestinian community.
What Raimondo refers to as “backlash,” however, has revealed itself to be more of a cleverly written script designed to play out years later. Still, The Wall Street Journal concurred with Raimondo’s analysis in an article published in 2009. In this article, entitled “How Israel Helped To Spawn Hamas,” Andrew Higgins wrote,
“Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel’s creation,” says Mr. Cohen, a Tunisian-born Jew who worked in Gaza for more than two decades. Responsible for religious affairs in the region until 1994, Mr. Cohen watched the Islamist movement take shape, muscle aside secular Palestinian rivals and then morph into what is today Hamas, a militant group that is sworn to Israel’s destruction.
Instead of trying to curb Gaza’s Islamists from the outset, says Mr. Cohen, Israel for years tolerated and, in some cases, encouraged them as a counterweight to the secular nationalists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and its dominant faction, Yasser Arafat’s Fatah. Israel cooperated with a crippled, half-blind cleric named Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, even as he was laying the foundations for what would become Hamas. Sheikh Yassin continues to inspire militants today; during the recent war in Gaza, Hamas fighters confronted Israeli troops with “Yassins,” primitive rocket-propelled grenades named in honor of the cleric.
When Israel first encountered Islamists in Gaza in the 1970s and ’80s, they seemed focused on studying the Quran, not on confrontation with Israel. The Israeli government officially recognized a precursor to Hamas called Mujama Al-Islamiya, registering the group as a charity. It allowed Mujama members to set up an Islamic university and build mosques, clubs and schools. Crucially, Israel often stood aside when the Islamists and their secular left-wing Palestinian rivals battled, sometimes violently, for influence in both Gaza and the West Bank.
When it became clear in the early 1990s that Gaza’s Islamists had mutated from a religious group into a fighting force aimed at Israel — particularly after they turned to suicide bombings in 1994 — Israel cracked down with ferocious force. But each military assault only increased Hamas’s appeal to ordinary Palestinians. The group ultimately trounced secular rivals, notably Fatah, in a 2006 election supported by Israel’s main ally, the U.S.
In Gaza, Israel hunted down members of Fatah and other secular PLO factions, but it dropped harsh restrictions imposed on Islamic activists by the territory’s previous Egyptian rulers.
The Muslim Brotherhood, led in Gaza by Sheikh Yassin, was free to spread its message openly. In addition to launching various charity projects, Sheikh Yassin collected money to reprint the writings of Sayyid Qutb, an Egyptian member of the Brotherhood who, before his execution by President Nasser, advocated global jihad. He is now seen as one of the founding ideologues of militant political Islam.
Mr. Cohen, who worked at the time for the Israeli government’s religious affairs department in Gaza, says he began to hear disturbing reports in the mid-1970s about Sheikh Yassin from traditional Islamic clerics. He says they warned that the sheikh had no formal Islamic training and was ultimately more interested in politics than faith. “They said, ‘Keep away from Yassin. He is a big danger,’” recalls Mr. Cohen.
Instead, Israel’s military-led administration in Gaza looked favorably on the paraplegic cleric, who set up a wide network of schools, clinics, a library and kindergartens. Sheikh Yassin formed the Islamist group Mujama al-Islamiya, which was officially recognized by Israel as a charity and then, in 1979, as an association. Israel also endorsed the establishment of the Islamic University of Gaza, which it now regards as a hotbed of militancy.
Gen. Yitzhak Segev, who took over as governor in Gaza in late 1979, says he had no illusions about Sheikh Yassin’s long-term intentions or the perils of political Islam. As Israel’s former military attache in Iran, he’d watched Islamic fervor topple the Shah. However, in Gaza, says Mr. Segev, “our main enemy was Fatah,” and the cleric “was still 100% peaceful” towards Israel. Former officials say Israel was also at the time wary of being viewed as an enemy of Islam.
Mr. Segev says he had regular contact with Sheikh Yassin, in part to keep an eye on him. He visited his mosque and met the cleric around a dozen times. It was illegal at the time for Israelis to meet anyone from the PLO. Mr. Segev later arranged for the cleric to be taken to Israel for hospital treatment. “We had no problems with him,” he says.
In fact, the cleric and Israel had a shared enemy: secular Palestinian activists. After a failed attempt in Gaza to oust secularists from leadership of the Palestinian Red Crescent, the Muslim version of the Red Cross, Mujama staged a violent demonstration, storming the Red Crescent building. Islamists also attacked shops selling liquor and cinemas. The Israeli military mostly stood on the sidelines.
A leader of Birzeit’s Islamist faction at the time was Mahmoud Musleh, now a pro-Hamas member of a Palestinian legislature elected in 2006. He recalls how usually aggressive Israeli security forces stood back and let conflagration develop. He denies any collusion between his own camp and the Israelis, but says “they hoped we would become an alternative to the PLO.”
A year later, in 1984, the Israeli military received a tip-off from Fatah supporters that Sheikh Yassin’s Gaza Islamists were collecting arms, according to Israeli officials in Gaza at the time. Israeli troops raided a mosque and found a cache of weapons. Sheikh Yassin was jailed. He told Israeli interrogators the weapons were for use against rival Palestinians, not Israel, according to Mr. Hacham, the military affairs expert who says he spoke frequently with jailed Islamists. The cleric was released after a year and continued to expand Mujama’s reach across Gaza.
Taking into consideration the fact that Israel has provided military and medical support to the most bloodthirsty and brutal Islamic extremist terrorists in the world and the fact that it has created Hamas from the very beginning, the answer to the question of “Why aren’t organizations like Nusra, al-Qaeda, and ISIS attacking Israel?” is quite simple – because Israel is partly responsible for funding and directing them.
With all of this in mind, any claims of victimhood by Israel should immediately be discarded. Indeed, this portrayal of self-defense and endangerment should especially be discarded when one considers the history of the state itself. This does not justify the attack on innocent Israeli citizens, however. It is important to distinguish between natural-born Israeli civilians and their counterparts of settlers and the Israeli government.
Israel has made its own enemies by virtue of its colonial nature, its foreign and domestic policy, and even by direct organization and funding. It is thus wholly accurate to say that Israel’s enemies are literally those of its own making.
In the end, the information presented in this article is simply one more window into the realm of the Anglo-European-American-Israeli intelligence apparatus and the depths to which the rabbit hole goes in terms of international terrorism. The script which is being acted out across the Middle East and the rest of the world is clearly being directed by a force unseen by the vast majority of the world’s population.
Still, the players act out their roles according to the predetermined narrative provided to them, despite the fact that they have no idea they are actually acting out the will of a shadowy “other” who does not have their best interests at heart.
In this game, virtually all of those acting out their parts on the ground are merely players unaware of their roles.
What Is The End Game?
Of course, the Israeli “official story” of the attacks may very well be true and we cannot discount the possibility of an organic uprising against the Israeli government which has treated the Palestinian people so horribly throughout its history and has essentially engaged in a plan of slow eradication of Palestinians.
But, given the questionable nature of the Israeli official story and the questionable allegiances of Hamas, what would be the end game of allowing a Hamas attack on Israeli soil? For the Israeli government, there are several options:
1.) Declare martial law on the Israeli population who have been divided and restless over the economy and cultural manipulation as well as other political issues inside Israel. This war has effectively silenced political dissent and internal disagreements.
2.) Create an “Israeli 9/11” that would generate support both inside and outside Israel for the “final solution” to the Palestinian “problem.” In other words, a massive incursion into the Gaza Strip and possibly other territories.
3.) An excuse to launch an attack against Hezbollah before the Iranian-backed militia gains so much strength that Israel is unable to defend itself successfully, a very real possibility given the increasing strength and skill of the militia currently.
4.) To launch a war against Iran that will logically draw in the United States to do the brunt of the fighting, thus breaking its largest functional enemy in the region.
Naturally, it would be important to point out that it is unlikely that the Israeli government would take such steps without first consulting the United States and being reassured the American military will quickly come to its rescue.
Is Open World War Three The Natural Result?
The military battles between Hamas and the Israeli government threaten to bring in more powers besides the two directly fighting, all the way to the point of multinational military conflicts directly in the region and far outside its scope. Already, Hezbollah and Israel have traded rocket fire on the border. Hezbollah is backed by Iran which, predictably, is a connection Israel and its acolytes will seize upon in order to justify military conflict with Iran and claims that Iran is ultimately behind the current conflict.
Interestingly enough, however, the spokesman for Hamas has already told the BBC that Iran gave its support to the organization for the operation that was just launched. It is unusual for combatants to openly volunteer the names of their financial backers but, conveniently for those who want to demonize Iran and blame it for the new war, Hamas has come through with flying colors.
Iran’s side of the story is currently unknown. Perhaps it did support the operation and perhaps it did not. Both possibilities are realistic but neither of them will matter in the West where the Western media has already drawn the logical conclusion – Iran is responsible for the attacks in Israel.
The current Israeli war is already spilling across borders but, if it is not contained immediately, will risk bringing in Lebanon, Hezbollah, Iran, Syria, Egypt, the United States, NATO, and Russia as well as the gangs and hordes of Islamic fundamentalist terrorists the West and GCC have sponsored across the Middle East.
Western powers must stay out of the Israeli/Hamas war. Both the United States and Russia (though it will likely only become involved as a result of US involvement) must show the utmost restraint in this regard. The world cannot afford to allow this war to become the graveyard of humanity.
Brandon Turbeville is a journalist and author. He is the author of fourteen books, including Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 and volume 2, The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President, and Resisting The Empire: The Plan To Destroy Syria And How The Future Of The World Depends On The Outcome as The War Continues Vol. 1 and 2. Turbeville has published over 2500 articles on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, civil liberties and, most notably, geopolitics and the Syrian crisis. He has also released a book of poetry, Dance, Amputee. Brandon also hosted a radio show for three years which was called Truth on The Tracks. His website is BrandonTurbeville.com. You can contact him through his website.
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