The tide turns against Tel Aviv and the US


The tide turns against Tel Aviv and the US

America and key allies consider Israel a critical element of Western dominance, but the moral and material support for what is now generally seen as genocide is starting to backfire, writes MAX DU PREEZ.


HISTORY will probably show that the bloody occupation of Gaza, ordered by the war cabinet of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, weakened Israel more than any other event since 1948.

America, Britain and Germany, the three major powers that actively support and supply Israel with weapons, will also be losers on the international stage. This is not equally true for those countries' bêtes noires supporting Hamas, like Iran, even though it is a brutal theocratic dictatorship.

On October 7 last year, when Hamas invaded Israel, killing more than 1,000 Israelis and taking 250 hostages, Israel enjoyed overwhelming international solidarity and support. The attack filled the world with horror.

However, the clearer it became that Israel wanted to go much further than just militarily destroying Hamas and retrieving its hostages, the more international sentiment turned against Israel.

The International Court of Justice, at South Africa's request, declared that Israel might be committing acts of genocide and asked the country to protect civilians. A whole group of countries, including Egypt, Turkey, Malaysia, Namibia, Jordan and Pakistan, have since aligned themselves with South Africa's case. Their decision, particularly that of Egypt — like Jordan, a country that shares a border with Israel — was a significant diplomatic blow. Israel's other neighbours, Syria and Lebanon, count among its greatest enemies.

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), British barrister Karim Khan, KC, announced this week that he is applying to charge Netanyahu and his defence minister, Yoav Gallant, with war crimes and crimes against humanity. He wants to do the same with Hamas's leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, the commander of the Al-Qassam Brigades, Mohammed Diab Ibrahim Al-Masri, and the political head, Ismail Haniyeh.

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“Israel, like all states, has a right to take action to defend its population,” Khan said. “That right, however, does not absolve Israel or any state of its obligation to comply with international humanitarian law. Notwithstanding any military goals they may have, the means Israel chose to achieve them in Gaza — namely, intentionally causing death, starvation, great suffering and serious injury to the body or health of the civilian population — are criminal.”

President Joe Biden described Khan's application as “outrageous”. Khan says a senior world leader told him the ICC is meant for Africa and “thugs like Putin”, not for the West.

America and Israel are not members of the ICC but Britain, Germany and 122 other states are. If the warrant against Netanyahu is issued, all these countries will have to arrest him if he sets foot on their territory.

Massive protests and marches against Israel's war now regularly occur in almost every Western country, and campuses are severely disrupted.

The US State Department found in a report that Israel's military action “raised serious questions” about whether Tel Aviv, mostly fighting with American weaponry, is doing enough to prevent “civilian harm” and said the provisions of international humanitarian law are not being met.

Ireland and two Nato countries, Norway and Spain, announced this week that they officially regard the Palestinian territories as a state along the pre-1967 borders. Israel reacted furiously and recalled its ambassadors.

More European countries, such as France, Sweden, Belgium and Slovenia, are also expected to soon recognise Palestine as a fully fledged state. On May 10, 143 out of 193 countries in the UN General Assembly voted for full UN membership for Palestine.

More than 35,000 Palestinians, about 15,000 of them children, have been killed by Israeli bombs, missiles and bullets in the last 229 days, and 80,000 have been wounded or injured. Together, this constitutes 4.5% of the population of Gaza of 2.2 million. The equivalent impact on Israel, with 9.6 million people, would be 432,000 victims; for the US, with 333 million, it would be 15 million; and for South Africa, with 60 million people, it would be 2.7 million victims.


We do not need statements from Israel or Hamas; we have seen with our own eyes how Israel bombed most of the houses, apartment blocks, schools, universities, hospitals and other infrastructure in Gaza to rubble.

Virtually every international aid and human rights organisation has been saying for months, along with UN agencies, that Israel is preventing the people of Gaza from getting enough food, water, electricity and medical assistance, leading to unprecedented suffering.

After October 7, Israel launched a propaganda and disinformation campaign like the world has not seen in a long time and described all criticism of the war as antisemitism. The massacre of six million Jews during the Holocaust is shamelessly presented as a licence for genocide.

For months, major Western television networks and newspapers played along and repeated this propaganda verbatim, but recently channels such as CNN, MSNBC and the BBC and some leading newspapers have started using reporting from their teams on the ground that contradicts this and exposes serious human rights violations such as the torture, humiliation and execution of civilians by Israel.

One of Israel's most loyal allies, the New York Times, published a lengthy article this week in which it declared: “For decades, most Israelis have considered Palestinian terrorism the country’s biggest security concern. But there is another threat that may be even more destabilising for Israel’s future as a democracy: Jewish terrorism and violence, and the failure to enforce the law against it.” 

Washington, London and Berlin still stand behind the Israeli government, despite repeated (ignored) requests that the country's army should henceforth avoid civilian targets.

For these countries, Israel is a cornerstone of Western dominance, and they see Hamas and those who support Hamas, like Iran and other Muslim countries, as part of an existential threat that also includes China and Russia.

This means these Western democracies turn a blind eye to war crimes in Gaza and land grabs and violence by Israeli settlers in the West Bank,  blatantly applying double standards.

They demand that Russia comply with standards in its war in Ukraine that they do not expect of Israel; they praised the prosecutor of the ICC, who is now requesting a warrant for Netanyahu, when he did the same with Vladimir Putin, but now threaten him and his court with countermeasures and sanctions.

This could eventually lead to a finding that these Western countries financed and armed a genocide. It will have an impact on international power balances.

Prof John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago, one of the most influential political scientists in the West and author of many best-selling books, says it is now clear that Israel's actual goal was to drive the Palestinians out of Gaza — ethnic cleansing — because it rejects a two-state solution and wants to rule alone in Greater Israel. He says Israel knew well it could not destroy Hamas with pure military action.

“To ethnically cleanse, you have to kill significant numbers of people, of Palestinians, basically innocent Palestinians, not Hamas. You give them a powerful incentive by killing them.

“Two, you have to make the place unlivable, and that’s what they’re doing. They’re not just killing people, they’re making Gaza unlivable because they want to cleanse Gaza.

“Finally, they’re starving the population. Why? They want to drive them out. I was on record that it wasn’t genocide, but after December I changed my mind. I think the Israelis are now engaged in genocide.”

But it did not work because no neighbouring country wanted to admit the Palestinian refugees. Hamas was not destroyed and Israel could not retrieve its hostages.

Gen David Petraeus, the former commander of US and allied forces in Iraq and former CIA chief, expressed his surprise this week that the Israeli army threw accepted military doctrines for this type of war out the window.

After October 7, they should have done in Gaza what his forces did in Iraq, he said in conversation with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria: make life better and safer for ordinary civilians, build and repair infrastructure like schools and hospitals, alienate the civilians from the terrorists, preach reconciliation. This is how Hamas could have been isolated and eventually eliminated.

Petraeus says his office in Mosul had two posters on the wall. One read: “What have we done for the Iraqi people today?” The other: “Will this operation take more bad guys off the street than it creates by its conduct?”

The Israeli leaders should also have asked these questions, he says, and shown the civilians of Gaza that they care and want to make their lives better.

The fact that the Israelis did the opposite supports Mearsheimer's theory.

One of the more moderate Palestinian leaders, Mustafa Barghouti, also supports the analysis that ethnic cleansing is Israel's goal. Barghouti is a medical doctor, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and founder of the Palestinian National Initiative. It is worth the time and effort to listen to his analysis and standpoint:

♦ VWB ♦

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