Clean Break Coming?

There is a heightened danger in coming weeks that Neocon’s proposed "clean break" strategy may be put into action by a politically beleaguered Ehud Olmert. The result could be a civilian bloodbath far worse than Lebanon, one which will probably get less attention because the world is tied up with bolstering Israel’s border with Lebanon (and Syria and Iran).

Under this strategy, Israel is to throw off all international agreements concerning Palestine, and evict, relocate or "otherwise deal with" Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.

Shin Bet Chief Yuval Diskin was upfront in saying Gaza could become another Lebanon and indicating the Israelis didn’t have to "wait three years" for an investigation to be conducted into alleged arms smuggling by Hamas.

("Why do they hate us?" I can almost hear him moan, "we have only arrested part of their government, cut off their power and water, and destroyed much of their infrastructure and killed civilians with impunity. So why do they have us?")

Gilad Atzmon writing in Counterpunch (Aug. 22, 2006) states that, for Olmert’s sake, Israel must win.

"You cannot promise victory, produce a humiliating defeat, and stay and power," says Atzmon.

Olmert may well seek to stay in power by reclaiming parts of the Occupied Territories, smashing Hamas and installing a pliant puppet government to govern the Palestinian "chicken coop" patchwork settlements that may be set up. In the process, however, he may have to exceed the destruction wrought in Lebanon and the "collateral" damage to civilians and civilian infrastructure. In other words, yet another Israeli bloodbath.

One ominous sign that this may happen–probably once a "peacekeeping" force is set up to protect Israel’s border with Lebanon–is the concerted effort being made to scare journalists out of Gaza and the West Bank.

First two Fox journalists were kidnapped in Gaza by a hitherto unknown group–the so-called "Holy Jihad Brigades" (sounds like something cooked up by an intelligence agency)–and the kidnapping was repudiated by known factions in Gaza. The Israeli government quickly recommended that journalists leave or not go to Gaza "for their safety". Next, on Aug. 24th, Nablus journalist Dr. Farid Abdel Fatah abu Sher was kidnapped ("detained") by Israeli forces.

I remember that years ago, police in New York used to tell women not to fight a sexual assault because it might result in serious injury. The only exception, they said, was when your abductor puts a bag over your head. Then you should fight, the police advised women, because he is probably going to kill you.

If the press can be scared off, Palestine may soon be in the latter position.