Saturday, 27 December 2008

The Road to Nowhere

In the wake of major bombing raids which killed an estimated 200 people in the Gaza Strip, the Hamas leadership declared its determination to continue with their present course of action. Namely, randomly lobbing rockets into Israel.

Now, let's take the current disposition of the Israel State as a given. They want to preserve their little colony, keeping the best land and resources for themselves. They've no problem with perpetual war, because the security industry is one of their major exports. They'll do almost anything within reason to eject the democratically elected Hamas movement from control over the Gaza Strip, having already effected a coup d'etat to put Fatah back in control of the West Bank.

To be honest, Israel doesn't need the pretext of rocket attacks to do what they like in the region, and they've always more or less behaved however they damn well pleased.

But from the perspective of Hamas. Imagine for a moment that they're a serious political movement that sets achievable aims and draws up plans and strategies by which they might make them reality (and not, as many suspect, a murderous death cult that is happy to glorify in martyrdom in perpetuity). So where does the 'randomly hurling rockets over the border' strategy get them? It's not really an inconvenience to the Israeli State, which can stand to lose the odd civilian now and then without collapsing. In fact, it gives them an indefinite excuse to continue the collective punishment of Gaza (not that they need excuses, or wouldn't manufacture other ones if they did, but no need to make it easy for 'em). In fact I don't really see any positive end game, other than giving Hamas the feeling that they're doing something, anything, to defy the oppressor.

I note today that Hamas leaders have been calling for a new intifada. Well, I wonder what was so effective about the first intifada? Might it have been the spectacle of bare footed children hurling stones at tanks? A whole people rising up to defy a system of occupation? What was politically powerful about that moment was that a whole people was taking direct action, protesting, forming a political movement against domination.

The people of Palestine have power as political entities that they certainly don't seem to able to wield as guerrilla warriors, even on the military scraps they get fed by the Iranians and the Syrians. As the siege goes on, I can't help but wonder if the means to ending it lies out of the scope of Hamas' limited vision, toward a more general mobilisation of the Palestinian people...

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