THE COMING OF GREATER ISRAEL
Once upon a time Palestinian Freedom Fighters, classified by the Free World as
‘terrorists’ used to lob Katyusha ‘Little Kate’ rockets just across the Green Line into Israel. Zionist
propaganda made the most from these ‘barbaric attacks’ which only rarely exploded.
(In private the military called the home-made Little Kates ‘pin pricks.’)
That was two decades ago when I reported from the region. In those days the
Israel-Palestinian flare-ups were still considered posturing for a better Two-State-side-by-side
peace deal. It was a time when the media could still travel freely and sit down on either side
to listen to mostly rational points of view. Reporting was not as lopsided as it is today.
News coverage was more balanced in those days. But if you watch our news today
only the Israelis seem to be suffering. Only Israeli women are shown screaming and running about
panic-stricken. Only round-eyed Israeli children look horrified into camera lenses. Surely Palestinian
children and families are equally horrified and panic stricken.
But the dead and the wounded in Gaza are mere statistics. Now and then we get a
camera shot of a coffin being carried through Gaza by masked and angry yelling youths with rifles,
Take the New York Times, often cited as world opinion maker. It dedicated 85 per cent
of its conflict coverage to describing and interviewing crying Israelis on the very day eleven
Palestinian civilians, among them two children, were killed in a Israeli missile strike that, like so
many, hit a residential building.
(During the conflict so far three Israelis were killed by a Palestinian rocket but more then
80 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli missiles and bombs.)
The blatant injustice of the current media coverage is a triumph for Israeli
propaganda which has managed once again to portray Israel as the victim, the Palestinian as
the aggressors when everyone with basic knowledge would have known the Hamas
government in Gaza would retaliate once the Israelis assassinated one of their top leaders.
Israel’s strategy vis-à-vis the Palestinians has never changed: An Israeli of Spanish
origin once told me: “The Arabs are like bulls in the arena. All you have to do is prick the bull and it
Back in the old days the Americans saw Israel as a guardian of U.S. oil interests in the
Middle East, still chained but always ready to be let off the leash. In those days coddled Arab
dictators like Saddam Hussein, Mubarak, the Saudi King and the Gulf State Emirates -and even
Ghadaffi at times - made sure America had access to the lion’s share of Middle East oil, the lifeblood
of the industrialized western world.
But dictators fall, often victims to populist revolts. Today the Arab Spring has
elevated the role of Israel a country financed and armed by the U.S., as Washington’s most
strategically important ally, a nuclear-armed American Middle East outpost safeguarding U.S. oil
Today the rift between Palestinians and Israelis, between Arabs and Jews, has become
a bottomless abyss. On both sides ruling fanatical fundamentalists have sworn to destroy each other.
Israel has always assassinated Palestinian leaders it defines as terrorists. But now it
has found a fiendish new method to kill them by remote-controlled drones in ever greater numbers.
In retaliation Hamas, the Islamic fundamentalist organization elected as government by the people of
Gaza, has smuggled into Gaza better rockets that now fly further and do explode.
(In eight years, since 2004, Hamas-fired rockets have killed twenty-six Israelis
according to researchers, a far cry from the thousands or hundreds Israeli officials tell their
international audiences at every opportunity to justify Tel Aviv’s disproportionate military
reaction and the construction of more and more Israeli settler colonies on Palestinian land,
colonies considered illegal under international law.)
Israel, never slow to react to any perceived threat, is now amassing troops for yet
another military incursion into the tiny overcrowded Gaza Strip (1.7 million pop.) while the so-called
Free World looks on stoically, numbed and confused by the bombardment of Zionist propaganda as
well as each country’s guilt complex over anti-Semitic pogroms in bygone eras.
But there is another reason why our governments mouth only polite exhortations for
both sides to stop killing each other. Recent Middle East developments have emphasized Israel’s
importance as a strike force against trouble from militant Islamists or against nuclear armament
projects in the region. Fear is rising in western capitals that the Islamic Brotherhood, already in
control in Egypt, will gradually take over Arab governments and with them control over strategic
Middle-East oil reserves.
No ‘democratic’ government can afford to allow the lights to go out, one
reason perhaps why Israel’s hawkish Likud regime now feels confident to strike a fatal blow
in Gaza, perhaps a test run for a more active role in Syria and a crippling strike against Iran’
s nuclear installations.
Israel can do no wrong. There was no world-wide outcry recently when Foreign
Minister Avigdor Lieberman publicly pledged that not ‘a single refugee’ (of the estimated one and a
half million Palestinian refugees abroad) will be allowed to return to what is left of Palestine. Yet
Lieberman, a hawk among hawks, allowed 850 additional homes for Jewish settlers to be built
‘illegally’ on Palestinian land - to which Palestinian refugees may not return.
New migration to ‘the promised land’ in what was once Palestine will take the
number of Jewish settlers in the West Bank to over 450,000 - just under ten per cent of the Israeli
population. How to accommodate these hard-line or religion-motivated settlers makes a peace deal
or a two State solution virtually impossible.
On the other hand it does promote a rarely expressed Zionist final objective to create
a Greater Israel encompassing all Palestinian territory plus Jordan and Lebanon.
No one should forget the fury of the last Israeli invasion of Gaza between 2008-
2009. The casualty figures that emerged, quietly and much later, found the raid known as
‘Operation Cast Lead” killed 1400 Palestinians on the Gaza side and 13 Israelis on the Israeli
The new incursion about to be launched will be known as ‘Operation Pillar of
Defense.’ Judging by the history of escalating violence the death toll is sure to be far more chilling –
and lopsided as usual.
Uli Schmetzer, a former foreign correspondent for Reuters and the Chicago Tribune is the author of
‘Gaza’ a faction novel available in digital and print on www.amazon.com.