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Letter to the Editor: Israel’s plan in Gaza a euphemism for occupying the territory

Recently, I wrote an opinion piece about the Oct. 7 slaughter and kidnapping of innocent Israelis by Hamas militants. I strongly and unequivocally condemned the attacks and then focused on a need for Israeli military and political leadership to realize that the relentless bombardment of Gaza, shutting off the supply of water, electricity, food and medicine to two million Palestinians trapped in Gaza will not lead to a lasting peace. I was pleading, knowing that some military response was unpreventable and unhinged military actions may cause the death of thousands of innocent Palestinians. It is now obvious that Israel’s invasion of Gaza from the air, sea and land is a well-thought-out and well-planned military action, not a knee-jerk rapid retribution for the Oct. 7 attacks. 

In one month since Oct. 7, the Israeli military has killed more than ten thousand Palestinians. How many more thousands of Palestinians will have to die before Israel declares victory and withdraws from Gaza is anyone’s guess. Oh, wait no need to guess. Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, just confirmed that Israel would hold an indefinite security role in Gaza after the fighting ends. An indefinite security role is simply a euphemism for occupying the territory. President Joe Biden, after offering unconditional support for Israel, including a veto of the UN Security Council resolution for humanitarian pauses in the Israel-Gaza war, has cautioned Israel against reoccupying Gaza. General David Petraeus, former Director of the US Central Intelligence Agency, also thinks that the occupation of Gaza is inevitable.  Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of the State, has stated that the US would like Gaza to be unified with the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority. However, Bibi Netanyahu has rejected Blinken’s proposal by saying that Hamas lost control of northern Gaza; Palestinian Authority cannot run the Strip.

It appears now that the plan to occupy Gaza again was in place and waiting for a justifiable trigger. This is eerily similar to what George W. Bush did after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. I knew Bush would attack Iraq before he took the oath of office. I wrote, nine months before the 9/11 attacks, that instead of attacking Iraq to depose Saddam Hussain, he should focus his efforts on convincing Palestinians and Israelis that he and the U.S. are committed to an equitable, just and lasting resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict (Athens Messenger, Dec. 28, 2000). George W. Bush went ahead with his plan to attack and occupy Iraq. The rest, as they say, is history. History, however, offers lessons to those willing to learn.  

For now, the Israeli government is not interested in history lessons or its own lesson of occupying and then withdrawing from Gaza in 2005. Confident of her military prowess, Israel is falling into the trap of occupying Gaza again. Yes, it is a trap because eventually the Palestinians will start armed uprisings again, and the search for illusive peace in the MidEast will have to continue. To avoid this from happening, Israel is trying to find willing Arab countries to take over the security role in Gaza to prevent Palestinians from armed uprisings against Israel. However, it is highly unlikely that any of the Arab heads of state will oblige and risk massive protests similar to the 2011 Arab Spring.  

Huzoor Akbar, Athens, Ohio 

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