Israels far right head honcho takes another hit over corruption trials as Gaza is struck by warplanes and the US cosy’s up further to ultra-Zionist settlement buildingContinue reading
8 months ago I wrote an article on Trump’s plan to withdraw support for the northern region of Syria known as Rojava but a last minute resignation within the US armed forces swayed Trump to reverse his decision. Sadly, trump announced via tweet that support for N.Syria, including Rojava, will be withdrawn, with the absurd assertion they don’t deserve support because they weren’t there at the battle of Normandy. By Wednesday, Turkey had already began to ramp up plans for a ground ‘offensive’, citing a need to protect Turkey from terror threats in the region.
As I write this piece, bombs rain down on the people of northern Syria and Rojava, a people who have been continually at war for the best part of the last decade. Trump has claimed he is withdrawing troops on the basis that the US needs to remove itself from the Middle East entirely. However, he is only moving 50 troops from the north of Syria to protect them from the subsequent Turkish invasion, green-lighting the invasion and inevitable destruction of Rojava and its people. This is nothing less than a betrayal – if not an unsurprising one – of the Kurdish people who have been allies to the US in defeating ISIS. As a consequence, the precariousness of the 90,000 ISIS prisoners that the Syrian Democratic Forces now hold, pose a serious threat to the resurgence of ISIS as a regional power. As well as this, Turkey is using the idea of the resulting Syrian refugees as a political pawn to gain European approval for their invasion, threatening to let 3.6 million refugees into Europe if the EU recognises the offensive for what it is – an invasion. Some, like Spain, have shown their colours and expressed support for the invasion.
What we must not also forget here is that Turkey is a NATO power (the second largest in numbers) and hence is supported and armed by other states like the UK and Spain. In fact, the UK has almost doubled its supply of arms to states on its own human rights watch list, including Turkey. Therefore, the British state is also complicit in this invasion: the ever turning wheel of profits from war spins on.
As discussed in my original article, the area known as Rojava was created out of the ongoing Syrian civil war, underpinned by the ideas of radical feminism, social ecology and democratic confederalism. It was originally conceived of by Murray Bookchin and later developed by the imprisoned leader Abdullah Öcalan.
Since those beginnings the region has developed dramatically. However, we must take into account that although advances have been made on many fronts, there still remain many contradictions and issues that have not be solved, we must be pragmatic and try not to meet this revolution with the starry-eyed enthusiasm some of us previously held; it is not a perfect democracy, free of oppression and suffering, it is a revolution in progress with clear goals and should be viewed as such, supported and encouraged.
Nonetheless, it has been proven as a beacon of hope for a different kind of democracy, a different kind of life, for many around the world. It has inspired many from the globe to its cause under the banner of internationalism, through initiatives such as the Make Rojava Green Again Project, addressing the war of attrition Turkey and Assad have waged on the ecology of Rojava; the very soil and land the people inhabit.
Unsurprisingly this burgeoning society has caused reactionary responses in the so called west, such as the banning and confiscation of the Make Rojava Green Again book in Germany and the removal of passports of internationalists planning to aid the civil society projects.
With the invasion of Rojava by Turkey and the west’s implicit backing, clearly a war of ideas is at play. A war between a proto-fascistic NATO nation with an agenda to wipe out the Syrian Kurdish population and a hopeful political project.
It’s clear that what is really at stake is the lives of many Syrians. With Turkey’s invasion many will die and many more will be displaced (The international rescue committee predict that the offensive could displace 300,000 people living in the area), causing more misery and suffering to a community that has already suffered enough at the hands of autocratic regimes.
There is hope, because as mentioned in the original article, by an international volunteering effort. The Kurdish people and the wider population of Northern Syria have been resisting effectively for years and will not roll over now.
The US should reconsider their decision to dump the people of Rojava and instead use diplomatic pressure along with other NATO allies to prevent the invasion (reinstating the no fly zone on the North Syria border) and most importantly recognise, with support, the autonomy and freedom the people of Rojava deserve. As the citizens of these states we should provide our own forms of opposition and resistance to this injustice because if Rojava falls, we all fall.
If you believe in democracy, read below:
Israel has stepped up its campaign against citizens of the Gaza strip, allegedly hitting 100 targets in the embargoed stretch of land.
The overwhelming response came after two long range rockets fired from Gaza reached Tel Aviv and hit a house. Despite allegations that the rockets may have been accidentally fired or that the blame lies with dissident anti-Hamas salafists (whom have been routinely tortured by Hamas authorities), Israel has blamed and targeted Hamas in spite of a Hamas’ denial of rocket fire claiming it goes “against national consensus“. Similarly, the Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees have denied undertaking the militant action.
The hard hitting response should come as no surprise as embittered Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu seeks to improve his damaged reputation from this years corruption revelations and trial. However, he has seen himself outflanked by his newfound ultra-right reactionary government partners. The co leaders of the New Right (Hayamin Hehadash) party, Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, have called for further strikes stating “Bombing an empty building and then feeling good, as if this is what is deterring Hamas, is nonsense, it does not work.” Bennett has since said that he wishes for the IDF “to open the gates of hell” against Hamas. Despite this, it seems that Netanyahu has remained the budding face of the Israeli right, with a recent poll revealing that most Israelis think the PM is too weak on Gaza, but will vote for him anyway.
Since these events, recent developments have shown yet more heightened tensions on the Gaza border. In recent border clashes, it is alleged that Gaza protesters have thrown some 500 explosive at the IDF throughout Thursday night. The factions in Gaza have also called the Palestinian masses to yet again participate in the “Great Return March”. It comes one year after the deadly events of Land Day in March. Whilst organisers have called for the event to be peaceful, the IDF’s response is likely to be as aggressive as every other time Palestinians have marched to the border. The IDF has since showcased no signs of any peaceful intent.
All this has come amid a new atmosphere of budding American support for Israeli claims in the Middle East. This week saw the United States government recognising Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Israel had captured the territory after the 6 Days War and the construction of illegal settlements soon began after. The rest of the international community has long since regarded the area as being under occupation, which was showcased in the European Union member state’s unanimous rejection of Trumps proclamation.
In response to the US proclamation, locals in the Golan Heights participated in large scale demonstrations, with many holding posters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, defiantly declaring their loyalty to Damascus. Syria itself has called the move “blatant aggression”, further stating that Washington was “the main enemy” of Arabs.
With tensions once again building, both Netanyahu and Trump are no doubt looking to play on their nationalist electorate as both find themselves embattled with investigations. Whilst Trump has considerably less pressure than Netanyahu, whom is soon to be facing trial for corruption, he is no doubt looking to once again whip up his nationalist voting base for next years election. Much of Trumps biggest support has come from New Right Evangelicals who support Israel wholeheartedly due to their apocalyptic belief that the Jews must return to Israel as a precondition for Christ’s Second Coming. Netanyahu meanwhile has attempted to placate his far right support base despite anger at perceived lack of action simmering from settlers and neo-fascists alike. Whatever lies ahead for the two figures, the occupied peoples of Gaza and Golan are likely to feel the brunt of the consequences from the decision making processes of Netanyahu and Trump.
Sam Glasper is TPN’s Foreign Affairs Commentator and studies at Manchester Metropolitain University.
Supporters of the Revolutionary Peoples’ Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) march against the killing of Berkin Elvan during the Gezi Uprising
As Turkey prepares for local elections on March the 31st, president Erdogan has once again moved against the militant opposition who have long opposed his authoritarian rule. The regime has refused entry to two French Communist Party members who planned to observe the local elections showcasing the already fraudulent nature of the elections. Posters belonging to the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) have been confiscated across the country alleging they are “Maoist” leading to the arrest of an election official in the Dersim district. Maoism in Turkey has come under a McCarthyite red scare as a Peoples War insurgency has gripped the east Tunceli region for nearly 40 years. The attacks have come amid an international hunger strike by imprisoned Kurds, leftists and their sympathisers which has come to be seen as a direct challenge to Erdogan’s rule.
In the most blatant and direct attack against their opposition, the right wing Islamist Justice and Development Party have went through on the prosecution and imprisonment of 18 lawyers on the grounds that they are “members or leaders of a terrorist organisation,”. The lawyers are either members of the Progressive Lawyers Association or the People’s Law Bureau and stand accused of belonging to the Revolutionary Peoples’ Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C). Amnesty Internationals Senior Campaigner on Turkey, Milena Buyum has stated that “Today’s convictions are a travesty of justice and demonstrate yet again the inability of courts crippled under political pressure to deliver a fair trial.”
The DHKP-C have been a thorn in the side of the Turkish government for over 30 years. Coming from a long line of left wing splinter groups that fought against fascist paramilitaries during the Turkish Years of Lead in the 1970’s, the group have since become known as one of the most professional militant groups in Europe. The far left group had claimed responsibility for a series of high-profile killings, including the assassination of far right nationalist politician Gün Sazak. The killing of whom would trigger events leading to the hijacking of the Turkish DC-9. The group would also go on to assassinate former Prime Minister Nihat Erim in 1980. The killing was believe to be related to the approval by the parliament of the execution of three leftist militants during his tenure. One of the executed was Deniz Gezmiş, considered by some as “Turkey’s Ché Guevara”. The group are also believed to have killed several prominent Turkish intelligence officers.
The groups recent resurgence, which includes attacks such as the suicide bombing of the US embassy and the kidnapping and the assassination of leading prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz, has clearly worried the Erdogan regime. In response, along with the conviction of lawyers who have defended socialists such as the DHKP-C, the Turkish government has launched a series of raids capturing alleged high ranking members of the group. The announcements may be treat with suspicion however, as the Turkish government have long treated anyone with sympathies towards the anti-gentrification and anti-imperialist message of the DHKP-C as a terrorist. Proof of this can be found in the government treatment of the popular left wing folk band Grup Yorum who have sympathies for the DHKC-P and have thus faced arbitrary arrest and torture.
With opposition in Turkey once again facing a clampdown, the integrity of the Erdogan regime diminishes day by day. The countries prominent place in NATO and its intervention into Syria has meant though, that the regime has remained legitimised in the eyes of west. However, with opposition to AKP rule remaining rampant in spite of these attacks, Erdogans dream of full dictatorship has not yet been fully realised. The determination of the Turkish left, which has not been diminished in spite of nearly 6 decades of repression, will almost certainly not let Erdogan grasp full power without a fight.
Sam Glasper is TPN’s Foreign Affairs Commentator and studies at Manchester Metropolitain University.
Benjamin Netanyahu teams up with fascists ahead of the elections.Continue reading
More than 700 Kurdish and leftist political prisoners and 300 Kurdish people worldwide are on an indefinite hunger strike as prison conditions continue to worsen for leftist militants currently imprisoned in Turkey.
The hunger strike was first started by the formerly imprisoned HDP MP Leyla Guven in protest over the increasing isolation of the Kurdish Workers Party leader, Abdullah Ocalan. Guven herself was imprisoned following her public critique of Turkish military actions in the predominately Kurdish town of Afrin.
Worldwide solidarity has been shown to the strike especially within Germany where Left Party and Communist Party of Germany activists joined with Kurdish protesters in numerous cities across Germany. Here in the UK, Imam Sis (a Kurdish rights activist) has been on hunger strike for 52 days and has been supported within his new home of Wales by Liz Saville Roberts MP, of Plaid Cymru. Over in France, Leyla Guven was awarded honorary citizenship of Paris after a motion was tabled and supported by French leftist opposition parties including the French Communist Party and France Insoumise.
The strike has been primarily driven by a desire to end the isolation and horrific conditions faced by Abdullah Ocalan who has been imprisoned since 1999. Since 2011 his lawyers have been refused access to him and have attempted to appeal over 700 times. This is not the first hunger strike in support of Ocalan. In October 2012 several hundred Kurdish political prisoners went on hunger strike for 68 days until Ocalan demanded for it to be stopped.
The hunger strike comes amid a wave of repression by the Erdogan regime and its benefactors against not only Kurdish activists but also against any form of opposition including numerous radical leftists. It also comes as a part of Turkeys long running history of political violence between right wing Salafists and nationalists against communist revolutionary organisations and pro-Kurdish groups.
Turkish politics lives in the shadow of the years of leadership in the late 70’s that cost the lives of around 5000 people from rival left wing and right wing paramilitaries. The scars of the war can still be seen today as this week saw the imprisonment in Germany of key Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front leader Musa Asoglu who is accused of masterminding the bombing of the United States embassy in 2013 as well as numerous attacks against Erdogans right wing Islamist party, the Justice and Development Party.
Asoglu’s Marxist-Leninist revolutionary group (commonly known as the DHKP-C) is part of the numerous armed opposition groups who have long opposed Erdogan and Turkeys authoritarian rightist governance which has been long plagued by numerous military coups and NATO’s stay behind operational forces known as the Gladio Organization. A 38 year old Maoist peoples war has also gripped the country mainly in the east Tunceli region. The current hunger strike can be seen as part of a long running, although not necessarily united, struggle by Kurds and leftists to topple the Erdogan regime.
The ongoing hunger strikes success hinges on the solidarity shown to oppressed groups in Turkey. A hunger strike in the year 2000 by numerous communist organisations with a total of 816 prisoners in 18 prisons against the holding of political prisoners in isolation eventually succeeded after the martyrdom of 122 people, some of whom died by self-immolation. The Turkish opposition faces a formidable challenge against the Erdogan government but its continued resolve will no doubt see it remain committed to ending the authoritarian rule of Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
As we greet the new year with choruses of auld lang syne, the news of the white house’s surprise decision to withdraw support from Syria jolts us back to the reality of the new year as it dawns before us, leaving the ugly realisation that Rojava may be the first pillar of 2019 to fall.
I was first introduced to the democratic federation of northern Syria (formerly and more commonly known as Rojava) by the ex-British diplomat Carne Ross in his autobiographical film “the accidental anarchist”. The film charted the ex-diplomat’s journey from the establishment to a self-confessed anarchist, culminating in his journey to Syria to interview the soldiers of the YPJ, an all-female fighting force. At the time a large proportion of people had heard of the YPJ, through western media images of airbrushed, overly-idealised Syrian women carrying ak-47s and fighting ISIS. But very few people had heard of Kurdistan and even fewer had heard of Rojava. However, the triumph of the YPJ and the YPG (the all gender Kurdish fighting force) in defeating ISIS, was part of a larger movement that had been growing across borders and between people for many years.
Rojava sits within northern Syria and is part of an area known as Kurdistan which spans Turkey, Syria, and Iraq. It declared independence in 2012 during the Syrian civil war but is not officially recognised by any governments despite being aided by the united states in its war against ISIS. It’s a polyethnic confederation but consists mostly of the long persecuted Kurdish people. What makes Rojava fascinating to people all over the world is its political structures and underlying philosophy.
The ideas that underpin Rojava took a meandering road to reach Syria, borrowing ideas from Murray Bookchin (the communist turned anarchist turned libertarian municipalist) to the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan worker’s party Abdullah Öcalan. These ideas centre around the concept of social ecology, a theory outlined by Murray Bookchin, which describes how the roots of ecological destruction are based in human domination and hierarchy. This was taken and adapted by Abdullah Öcalan into the radical feminist and communalist society seen today in northern Syria. As is inevitable in the case of the history of radical politics and our veneration of leaders, we forget the normal, everyday people who carry change on their shoulders. This does a disservice to the many people of Rojava who took these ideas and made them real, and who built these ideas and put them into being. It is a testament to the people of Rojava that not only do they stand today but that they built a radically different society to the rest of Syria whilst defeating ISIS in Raqqa.
What has been built in Rojava is a system of multiple small communes, made up of already existing towns and villages. The people of these communes meet regularly to discuss the local needs, ranging from agriculture and food, to health and education. In each commune it is important that all people have a say (rules dictate that those belonging to the less represented ethnicities speak first before others). Two representatives are then voted for and sent to the higher councils, which must be one man and one woman. The higher councils then coordinate projects and implement changes at a larger scale, forming a confederation. Each commune also has its own security force and other councils, for example all female councils to represent and discuss the specific issues facing women. The structure of this society encourages direct democracy and the participation of all members of the community, including those previously marginalised such as women and minorities. Of course, not all communes are arranged in this way and there have been issues with traditional cultural attitudes conflicting with the new ideas of the revolution. However, what is striking is that it seems to work, and has been the main structural basis of politics in Rojava since its creation in 2012.
This beacon of democratic hope in northern Syria has sparked the interest of many people across the globe, so much so that there are those that have taken the perilous journey to Syria to fight and contribute to the revolution. Leading to suggestions that Rojava is our generation’s civil war Spain. Although, while the parallels are striking, this is not civil war Spain. For one, Rojava has already lasted longer than the anarchist communes of Spain ever did, and its international base is not just centred around fighting and resistance but now also incorporates the political and cultural education of those who travel to live in the internationalist commune of Rojava. A bold and hopeful project that has both the intention of supporting the democratic efforts of the people of Rojava through their campaigns, like the make Rojava green again project, and spreading the message of social ecology and the triumphs of Rojava internationally through books and YouTube videos centred around the life of internationalists living in Syria. Rojava is also different to civil war Spain in that it is inspired by, and exists in parallel with other similar movements, like the Zapatistas of Chiapas, Mexico and the municipalist council members of Barcelona. These Movements are built on the cooperation and effort of all types of people, particularly those of indigenous origin, in the case of Syria and Mexico.
This brings us to the current situation facing Rojava, a three-pronged offensive with devastating implications. The terror of a possible re-emergence of ISIS in the east, the inhumanity of the Assad regime in the south, and the brutality of the bordering Turkish government. These threats make the prospects of the united states withdrawing support for the people of Rojava disturbing.
Although, many would argue that western interventions in the middle east has been proven to destructive and negative, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, the issue here is that Donald trump’s decision to withdraw support is accompanied by a lack of any official recognition of the confederation or promises of additional aid. To initially support and arm the YPJ and YPG then pull the rug from under them with no ongoing support is simple exploitation and opportunism, something the Kurdish people and Rojava have experienced before. Furthermore, trump has the wholehearted support of the Turkish authorities and Putin, which is questionable but disturbing. What reasons must Russia and turkey have to support this move? It may be obvious when the recent taking of Afrin (one of the major enclaves of Rojava) by turkey is considered. Rojava and northern Syria is a powerful place to control with borders to the rest of Syria, turkey and Iraq. As such, the withdrawal of American support provides a thinly veiled green light for interested parties, who are making threats to invade, to claim land and power. Not only that but it allows for the continuation of the historic persecution of the Kurdish people by the Turkish government.
Therefore, with the decision to withdraw American aid, Rojava is open to renewed attacks from Isis, the prospect of encroaching Turkish land grabs, and the ever-present Assad regime. Without this support, whether through arms, intelligence, or aid, Rojava will be left in a vulnerable position. However, that is not to say that the society of Rojava will not continue. Internationalist Matt Broomfield points out in his recent interview addressing the withdrawal of support, “The Kurdish people have known nothing but betrayal for centuries”. In other words, the people of Rojava have seen this before and they have survived. So, as a new year dawns on the democratic federation of northern Syria and existential threat looms, should those of us who believe in progression and democracy question the intentions of the United States decision to withdraw support. At the very least should we not express our solidarity with the spark of change that has been lit in northern Syria?
Edit: since this article was written the US National Security Adviser John Bolton has stated that America will not withdraw troops unless certain conditions are met, such as the assured safety of the Kurdish people. This is a welcome statement but does not guarantee a commitment to or recognition of Rojava.
On the 25th of December, Israeli warplanes struck Damascus during Christmas celebrations allegedly targeting Hezbollah senior figures and strongholds in the city. It has been reported that Syrian government air defences destroyed 14 of the 16 missiles fired by the Israeli Air Force during the strikes.
The aggressive strikes come as US president Trump has announced that his administration will pull troops out of Syria. The decision comes as Trump has harked back to his anti interventionist campaign rhetoric as part of his “America First” plans. The resolution has already led to defence secretary James Mattis’ resignation as United States foreign policy has seen a seemingly remarkable change of pace compared to the last 50 years of hawkish interventionist foreign policy.
With the US withdrawal also comes a loss of support for the Kurdish Peoples Protection Units (YPG) whom US forces have been assisting against the so-called Islamic State. It has thus also led to the emboldening of Erdogan’s Turkey whose military have long since wished to displace and attack the Syrian Kurds whom they see as connected to the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), a group who have participated in a decades long guerrilla conflict against the Turkish government.
The bombing of Damascus can be seen as a play by Israel to take a leading role in Syrian civil war as the US pulls out. The hawkish display of power is no surprise to anyone who knows Israels interventionist military history which includes the invasion of Lebanon in 1982. The conflict saw Israel topple leftist pro Palestinian forces and attempt to remove Syrian influence from Lebanon. It also helped lead to the creation of Hezbollah, the very same force Israel now seeks to combat in Syria.
Hezbollah have taken a large role in the war on the side of the Assad government. Its a relationship that goes back to the Lebanese civil war where Hezbollah and Baathist backed militias fought the Israeli backed rightist Phalange for control of the nation. Hezbollah is a commanding military presence, as shown during its strategic victory against the IDF in the 2006 Lebanon war. Its intervention on behalf of Assad cannot be emphasised enough with regards to the continued survival of the Syrian Arab Socialist Baath Party. It has recently played a leading role against rebel forces near the occupied Golan Heights during the Beit Jinn offensive and spearheaded the capture of Abu Kamal from the so-called Islamic State.
The withdrawal of the US from the region and the display of Hezbollah military prowess had no doubt worried Israel. The events reminisce in the happenings of the Lebanese civil war where America similarly withdrew for the conflict, after a suicide bombing killed 241 US troops, and Hezbollah gained a decisive edge in the closing chapters of the 15 year war. Now, Hezbollah has yet again proven itself decisive as the Assad government asserts itself day after day.
Israel meanwhile has been in somewhat of a crisis over the last few months. Its reputation has once again been tainted after a series of shootings of Palestinians during Gaza border protests earlier this year. A corruption scandal has emerged against Israel’s long running rightist PM Benjamin Netanyahu and a tactical victory by Gazan armed factions last month has directly led to the collapse of the Likud led right wing governing coalition. With fresh elections around the corner, the Netanyahu administration has no doubt attempted to claw back some legitimacy with these recent strikes on the Syrian capital.
The situation in Syria remains unstable. With the US withdrawal, a Turkish invasion against YPG militants in the north now looms and a deal seems to be on the horizon between Kurdish and Baathist forces. A more determined Israeli intervention into the conflict will unquestionably have untold consequences for the future of the region.
In the past month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has faced off against the third police recommendation that he be investigated charges of bribery and corruption. Despite this, the well known controversial leader of Israel has remained steadfast in his position undeterred by the multiple allegations of nepotism and corruption by opponents.
Netanyahu has recently passed a bill that ensures only the leader of each elected political party has the right to form a government and not any other figure on the parties’ lists, leading to opposition leader Tamar Zandberg stating that “For a long time now this coalition has been busy with nothing else except to protect the seat of a corrupt prime minister,”. Netanyahu has survived controversy after controversy during his tenure as Israeli PM.
Netanyahu is a figurehead for hard line Zionism within Israel as a notable critic of the Oslo accords since their inception. He has, in his time, banded together a number of right wing organisations to support his Likud led government including the homophobic Shas party whose MK Nissim Ze’ev stated that homosexuals were “carrying out the self-destruction of Israeli society and the Jewish people.” and that homosexuals were as “toxic as bird flu.”
Yet despite all this Netanyahu has faced his toughest challenge yet. A number of corruption allegations into the suspicion that the he had eased business regulations for the country’s largest telecommunications company in exchange for favourable coverage for him and his wife on a popular news website owned by the firm.
And yet, in spite of these seemingly damning assertions by the police, Netanyahu has remained steadfast in his position. When, the right wing defence minister Avigdor Lieberman resigned in protest of the tactical defeat of Israeli forces by the Palestinian armed factions, Netanyahu decided to take over role of defence minister, adding it to his responsibilities as prime minister and foreign minister. After nearly a decade in power, Netanyahu has become the face of the current Israeli regime. Uncommitted to the peace process but committed to the continued building of illegal settlements.
Following a drive by shooting by a Palestinian militant this week, assassinating two IDF members, Netanyahu has stated that he will legalise thousands of settlement homes built without even Israeli permits in the occupied West Bank. It is clear to see that Netanyahu’s grasp on power remains fragile yet just sturdy enough to remain in government, thanks to his relationship with the Israeli right. However, even that now seems in jeopardy as the Palestinian armed factions grown in confidence against the Israeli occupation. “If there is no real solution, this government will be in existential danger,” warned leading settler spokesman Yossi Dagan.
Netanyahu is a political contradiction. He is routinely probed for corruption yet polling has him set on course to win a fifth election next year. He is often criticised by the Israeli far right and yet he has not been substantially challenged as leader of the Israeli government. The reasoning of this contradiction is that he has been one of Israels more successful modern leaders against the armed groups that seek its destruction.
Former Israeli PM Ehud Olmert faced a similar corruption charge that led to his downfall after the withdrawal of Israeli force from Lebanon after their tactical defeat from Hezbollah. Netenyahu has not had his dramatic defeat from the armed factions yet and so he remains abiding in his role as PM. But with the armed Palestinian militants gaining strength day by day and the growing anger of Israeli settlers, Netenyahu’s corruption charges may soon catch up on him yet.
2 day clashes in Gaza, the most intense since the 2014 Gaza war, have led to an Egyptian negotiated ceasefire in what has been seen as a blow to what remains of the right wing Netanyahu government. The Israeli defence minister Avigdor Lieberman has subsequently resigned denouncing the move as “surrendering to terror”. He has since stated that his ultra right, anti integrationist party will pull out of the ruling coalition possibly leading to an early election.
The conflict and subsequent ceasefire deal comes after months of tensions as outlined in an earlier TPN piece. The military response of the Palestinian armed factions in Gaza, including Hamas and the PFLP, was launched following a botched Israeli intelligence mission that left 7 Palestinians and 1 Israeli dead. In an act of reprisal, the armed factions launched some 460 rockets with most penetrating Israel’s Iron Dome system. Israel responded with more than hundred and fifty strikes, including some on a local Palestinian television studio.
The deal reached has seen an Israeli commitment to freer movement of goods in and out of Gaza and a Qatari commitment of 15 million dollars cash to Hamas leaders. The deal can be examined as tentative as the regions actors remain cautious of events in Gaza. Egypt’s president Sisi, who has played an important role in the Gaza blockade since coming to power, has no sympathy for Hamas, an offshoot of the now persecuted Muslim Brotherhood. Yet with half of Egyptians living either at the poverty line or below it, he is eager to see the inflamed and seemingly everlasting situation resolved as Egypt relies on its importation of wheat from neighbouring states.
Similarly, Israel and its dominant right wing forces are at a standstill with Gaza. Despite numerous heavy-handed and viscous operations into the blockaded Gaza Strip, Israel cannot ostensibly crush the armed Palestinian resistance it faces there. The armed factions successful use of the Soviet and North Korean manufactured Kornet missile system is a worry for Israel. It was decisive in Israel’s defeat in southern Lebanon in 2006 and a critical factor in ending Israel’s occupation of the country through armed actions by Hezbollah. Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s leader, has proudly admitted to supplying rockets to Gaza despite tensions between Hamas and Hezbollah owing to the Syrian civil war. The appearance of this unity and presence of these weapons have no doubt given Netanyahu serious pause.
Meanwhile, the radical armed factions of Gaza have grown in both confidence and support from the 2 day insurrection. Already, Hamas have busted a spying network responsible for the botched operation and resistance supporters have rallied across the occupied territories, celebrating a perceived Israeli embarrassment.
Events have once again proven that Israel cannot hope to crush the Palestinian resistance movement through military measures. Its only hope for an end to the conflict whilst maintaining its status as a nation is through the peace process. However, with internal right wing anger at the believed lack of action growing and a developing corruption investigation into Netanyahu and his associates, the current government is unlikely to pursue any long-lasting commitment to peace in the region.