It matters little whether the mastermind behind the killing of three Americans in Gaza on Wednesday, October 15, was a Palestinian group or Israeli intelligence. What?s of relevance, however is that the Palestinian people, their leadership, resistance and aspirations will wholly bear the brunt of the incident.
A disturbed Palestinian child covers his ears after an Israeli warplane fired a missile on a car in Zeitoun.
Censuring the weakest party - that unable to withstand the cruel scuffles and accusations of the ever-hasty media - is an attribute that has infected the ongoing Middle East conflict for decades. To illustrate, despite its vehement racism and palpable inhumanity, Palestinian parents, were, and are still being customarily accused of recruiting their own children for ?martyrdom? for the sake a cheap return: some funneled dollars provided by Arab governments or for the sake of merely blemishing Israel?s image. With the inimitable trickery of the charismatic, mostly US media, such utterances, possibly purported by an unknown right wing Israeli fanatic, rapidly transform themselves to define a critical stage, and serve as a satisfying rationalization offered, even championed by top officials on Capital Hill.
With that in mind, the proclamation of Palestinian factions ? already discredited and branded terrorist by Washington - disavowing the killing of the diplomats in Gaza, will gain no empathy.
Nevertheless, Palestinians very much could have been the perpetrators. They are fumed and anger often stipulates, even demands vengeance. To comprehend such a value, one must see this equation, not from an American newspaper editorial point of a view, utterly textual and out rightly judgmental, but from the tatters of a tent, pitched by a Palestinian refugee in Rafah, made homeless once again, purely for being a Palestinian that has the misfortune of dwelling next to an Israeli settlement that was built illegally in Gaza.
In ?a wave of destruction? ? as described by Amnesty International ? that extended from October 9 to 12, and yet was repeated again a few days later, 1240 Palestinians lost their homes. Amnesty, recalling similar practices in the last three years, branded the ?wanton destruction unlawful and constitutes a war crime.?
A resilient young Palestinian gives the victory sign, outside tents provided by the UN after his own makeshift shelter was destroyed by Israeli bulldozers.
Relief teams affiliated with the United Nations? agency, UNRWA, counted 114 ?refugee shelters? that were completely erased by Israeli army bulldozers, and 117 sustaining varying degrees of damage. UNRWA also disclosed that in Rafah alone, a small town under every definition, 7,532 individuals were made homeless as a result of similar Israeli raids in the past three years. While physical destruction, despite its severity is amendable, human life is not. 15 Palestinians, including several children were killed and scores more were wounded in the Israeli ?incursions?. The statistics are downright disconcerting in the latest ?war crime?, deemed inexcusable by many governments and rights groups across the globe, with the exception of the United States?, the self-proclaimed ?honest-broker?, who classified the onslaught under Israel?s right for ?self-defense?.
“This is part of defending themselves,” an anonymous senior official from the State Department told the Israeli daily, Haaretz. Earlier in the day, Richard Boucher, the department spokesman echoed the same sentiment, with the ominous addition of comparing the refugees to terrorists.
Lacking shelter, food and water, the Rafah refugees don?t lack good judgment. They are well informed, like most Palestinians about those supplying Israel with its vast assortment of weaponry, the bulldozers that routinely demolish their homes, down to the bulletproof vests that soldiers wear during their barbaric nightly raids on the weary civilians. The several billion dollars of annual US military ?aid? to Israel have systemically targeted the civilian infrastructure: factories, homes, schools, mosques and churches for many years, a fact that Palestinians, who have mourned at countless funeral processions, burying the victims of these weapons, know too well.
Palestinians are growing wary of such duplicity. They can know longer justify or tolerate the bizarre use of American vetoes at the UN Security Council, the last was on October 14, hours before the car explosion in Gaza. It was John Negroponte who thwarted an endeavor to bar Israel from completing its apartheid wall, which has already ingested much of the West Bank. Just recently, the US vetoed another draft resolution calling on Israel not to physically harm Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat. What is now being referenced as the ?Negroponte Doctrine? ?an automatic US veto of any ?anti-Israeli? resolution at the council- is a blank check for Ariel Sharon?s government to proceed with its anti-peace policy, with its boundless territorial objectives, fences, walls, illegal settlements and remorseless assassinations.
The last thing that Arial Sharon wants is a peace process. This would jeopardise his aim of destroying Palestine.
Yet the objectives of the right wing government of Israel entail more. There remains Gaza, although sliced up, riddled with settlements, military compounds and checkpoints, and degraded with untold poverty, still provides a somewhat safe haven for resistance factions that managed to adapt to the harshness of the bloody ?incursions? of Israel. Without forcing Gaza into submission, Israel remains partly ineffectual in obliging its detested peace ?vision? on the Palestinians. A large-scale invasion of Gaza however is apt to produce thousands of casualties, if not trigger a large-scale humanitarian catastrophe. To invade Gaza, Israel is in need of even a greater American commitment, a mandate, boundless enough that would provide a political shield for Sharon and his henchmen to overlay any damaging international outcry.
Because of this, and because of the Israeli attempt to instigate direct US involvement on the ground, the Israeli intelligence very much could have been the perpetrators of the killing of the three Americans in Gaza. While the style of Palestinian bombings are all but a mystery, death by remote control is the Israeli intelligence?s most ideal assassination method, used with profusion and precision during the current al-Aqsa Intifada.
Palestinian factions rarely if never, deny responsibility for their bombings, no matter how tactless they may appear. On several occasions, more than one faction claimed credit for the same attack, purportedly to perplex the Israeli army and defuse its responses. The utter denial of any connection with the attack on the US diplomats in Gaza ? which was made by all major Palestinian resistance groups with unambiguous wording ? is a noteworthy indicator that the Palestinian resistance might in fact be innocent of masterminding the deadly blast. The patent, albeit perpetual Israeli plot to get Palestinians in direct military strife with the United States ? one can hardly forget how Israeli intelligence ?leaked? information alleging that the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) was the group behind the September 11 attacks - is all too clear, even to the most radical elements in the Palestinian resistance. Palestinians groups have proved cunning enough not to lend Israel a helping hand.
The real culprits may never be caught, even if a few Palestinian youngsters with bruised faces ?confess? to carrying out the attack. Alas, it matters little who the real architect of the sophisticated bombing was. Israel and the US government?s verdicts are already out, and the PA, to distance itself from any blame, is ?hunting? for ?terrorists? among the refugees in Gaza, who, according to Arafat, ?not only committed a criminal act,? but have also ?betrayed the cause of their own people.?
In times like these, evidence, motives, truth and due process are purely ornamental vocabulary, and sadly, the least relevant of all.