Ebrahim Moosa – Analysis | 23 July 2014/25 Ramadan 1435
Any time Uncle Sam, with all his machinery for warfare, is held to a draw by some rice eaters, he’s lost the battle. He had to sign a truce. America’s not supposed to sign a truce. She’s supposed to be bad. But she’s not bad any more. She’s bad as long as she can use her hydrogen bomb, but she can’t use hers for fear Russia might use hers. Russia can’t use hers, for fear that Sam might use his. So, both of them are weapon-less. They can’t use the weapon because each’s weapon nullifies the other’s. So the only place where action can take place is on the ground. And the white man can’t win another war fighting on the ground. Those days are over. The black man knows it, the brown man knows it, the red man knows it, and the yellow man knows it. So they engage him in guerrilla warfare. That’s not his style. You’ve got to have heart to be a guerrilla warrior, and he hasn’t got any heart.
Spoken in 1964, at a time of unprecedented losses for the American invading army in Vietnam, these sentiments of the fearless African-American freedom fighter Malik al Shabazz(Malcolm X), may just as well have been spoken today regarding Gaza, Afghanistan or other guerrilla conflict raging across the world.
Honing in on the besieged Palestinian enclave of Gaza and the conflict raging there presently, the overwhelmingly superior armed forces of Israel were initially quite smug about their military prowess exhibited quite dramatically in Gaza and above Israel.
Earning it the key bragging rights was the Iron Dome missile defense system, designed and developed by the Zionist State and funded by the United States to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. The system identifies and destroys Palestinian resistance projectiles before they land in Israeli territory and is considered one of the most effective anti-missile systems in the world.
According to the IDF, hundreds of Palestinian resistance rockets were intercepted in the first week of the conflict alone and the missile defence system had an overall success rate of 86%. The Israeli press reported earlier in the operation that the Iron Dome batteries were achieving a higher interception rate than they did during the Operation ‘Pillar of Defence’ in November 2012, which the IDF said was 84%, although higher figures had often been reported.
The interceptions obviously did not shield Israeli citizens from the terror and fear induced by concurrent code red sirens and frenzied sprints to bomb shelters. Nonetheless, the miniscule Israeli casualty toll at that stage still afforded the military establishment sufficient grounds for claiming it was “making progress” and “protecting Israeli citizens”.
On Thursday July 17 however, that honeymoon drew to a rude end.
“The prime minister and defence minister have instructed the IDF to begin a ground operation tonight in order to hit the terror tunnels from Gaza into Israel,” a statement from the Israeli military echelons read.
The operation, it outlined, would include “infantry, armoured corps, engineer corps, artillery and intelligence combined with aerial and naval support.”
Such an exhibition of military might would naturally seek to evoke awe in the hearts of those on its receiving end.
Not so in Gaza.
Israel “will pay dearly” for the assault. “Hamas is ready for a confrontation,” spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum said as news of the intended invasion broke.
Clearly emboldened by previous encounters with Israel and an appraisal of its own military tactics, the Palestinian resistance seemed ready for any eventuality in a conflict which itself did not seek.
And its bravado soon proved to be well founded.
Hours into the operation, Nahal Brigade soldier Eitan Barak, 20, became the first IDF soldier to be fall in combat.
Then, over the weekend, the military toll spiked considerably when thirteen Golani Brigade soldiers were killed in Gaza in barely 24 hours.
Seven soldiers from the 13th battalion of the Golani Brigade were killed Sunday in Gaza City when an anti-tank missile hit the armored personnel carrier (APC) they were in. Others were killed setting up positions inside houses they had taken over, according to Israeli sources.
It was the IDF’s highest one-day death toll since the 2006 Second Lebanon War against Hizbullah.
Eyewitnesses also said that Israeli forces had been forced to retreat from Beit Lahiya, early on in the operation, and had hardly dared to venture significantly into Gazan territory.
As if these reports were not grim enough for the military strategists, the resistance then dropped a bombshell.
Izzedeen Al Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, revealed that it managed to capture the Israeli soldier ‘Shaul Aaron’ in combat and brazenly announced his military number to the world, eliminating any doubts of his abduction.
“Psychologically, Hamas has already given the Palestinian people a victory,” Samer Saioudi, a lawyer in Gaza City, said. “People are celebrating because for over a week it was been nothing but misery in Gaza. They now feel like their side has accomplished something, and maybe this will make the war end.”
The resistance, which has engaged the Israeli military in fierce fighting across the Gaza since the ground invasion began, has also been quite forthcoming with multimedia ‘evidence’ of its military exploits against the invading army.
They have released numerous videos and images which purport to show captured Israeli weapons, direct hits on military vehicles and the aftermath of guerilla operations.
As per its latest communique, the resistance claims to have eliminated 52 Israeli soldiers since the inception of the invasion, including senior officers.
The Brigades add that its members were also able to destroy 36 military vehicles, target places 35 places where Israeli Forces had been barricaded in and snipe 11 soldiers.
Significantly, unlike Israel, the overwhelming majority of casualties inflicted by the resistance have been incurred on Israeli uniformed personnel.
“I’ve been to Shujaiyeh before, but I’ve never seen it – or Hamas – like this before,” an Israeli officer and veteran of Gaza operations told Haaretz. “Their equipment and tactics are just like Hezbollah. Missile traps and IEDs everywhere – and they stay and fight instead of melting away like in the past.”
Added another IDF officer: “It’s not a disaster, we can still handle them and we’ve killed many more of their fighters than they have ours but they are certainly one level above what I would have expected. You can see they have learned both from Hezbollah and from watching us.”
Whether it admits it or not, after almost a week on the ground, it is the resistance and not Israel that is dictating the terms of this conflict.
Israel continues its indiscriminate raids from the sky and Palestinian civilian life and infrastructure continue to bleed painfully. But militarily, the Zionist entities gains are negligible.
The shift to ground warfare pushes aside the huge advantage Israel had thanks to the Iron Dome system,” wrote Nahum Barnea on Ynet. “Antitank weapons, explosive devices, booby-trapped buildings – all the weapon systems Hamas has specialized in are now being used against IDF soldiers.”
Offering a reality check to Israelis, Barnea exposes the Israeli Achilles Heel: Having no endgame. “The forces which entered the Strip are mainly busy unearthing the tunnels leading to kibbutzim in the Gaza vicinity,” he writes. “This activity is highly important and life-saving. But within two or three days, the number of uncovered tunnels will drop and the forces will be stuck in one place.”
“The cabinet will face a cruel dilemma: Should the forces move forward, deep into Gaza, and risk losing many soldiers and a mass killing of Palestinian civilians, or pull out while being fired on and give Hamas the victory? “
With economic losses from the war exacting a heavy toll on the Israeli economy, Israel angered by flight bans to its airports, and its diplomats scurrying behind the scenes for a potential ceasefire broker, the latter seems a very real possibility.
Notes Barnea, “the Israeli government has many strategic commentators, but it has no exit strategy. The issue has been raised in the endless cabinet discussion but has yet to reach maturation and a direction has yet to be set. As I already said, Israel is not leading this affair, Hamas is.”
And from its vantage point, Hamas this time appears in no mood to settle for anything less than restoration of a host of common dignities for the Palestinians of Gaza and the West Bank.
Dear Children of Palestine:
I write this letter to you with a heavy heart and tears in my eyes….
Im sorry but my words will never be enough to make things right,but I wanted you to know that im sorry,my
apology will not offer you much comfort or assure you that things will get better,
I’m sorry that you didnot watch the world cup as you where to busy trying to stay alive,
I’m sorry that the beach that was once ur soccer field became your death bed,
I’m sorry that they mock your agony with posters and selfies,
I’m sorry that they tried to justify ur deaths with politics,
I’m sorry that they deprived you of ur childhood,
Im sorry that they feel no remorse as they shredd away ur innocent lives,
Im sorry that their leaders openly call for ur death and the world leaders sit idle,
I’m sorry that they hate you..but there are those that love you…me being one of them,
I’m sorry that the world only knows you as a statistic,
I’m sorry that they dont know ur name and that you had a life with dreams…
Im sorry it took tweets of celebrities to spark off global awareness of ur suffering…
Im sorry that ur life had to be paste on Facebook by people like myself who care just so we cud initiate
worldwide awareness of ur suffering and massacre. ..
I’m sorry that Muslim countries didn’t have the back bone to stand up to these Bullies…
I’m sorry that you would never know ur mother..or…father..or siblings..
Im sorry that they found you guilty of being born Palestinian and locked you away in the largest open air
prison in the world….
I’m sorry that ur Sahoor could be on earth but ur Iftaar in Jannah…
I’m sorry that food and water is so scarce. .as they want to starve you to death…
I’m sorry you had to burry ur best frend b4 u could learn to spell ur name…
I’m sorry the most that world leaders have offered you are empty words of condemnation in response to
attacks that left you paralyzed.
I’m sorry that you’ve grown so accustom to violence that gunshots no longer make you flinch …
I’m sorry your eyes hurt from doing your homework by candlelight because they cut the electricity…
I’m sorry you’re dehydrated because they cut and poisoned your water supply…
I’m sorry they burned you alive once with white phosphors and again when they forced gasoline down your
I’m sorry you can’t learn how to ride a bike because the streets are filled with the rubble of what use to
be your home…
I’m sorry you will never know the calm of a suburb because you live in a refugee camp, an outsider in your
I’m sorry you will never know the awkwardness of a first kiss, the magic of falling in love or the pain of
I’m sorry that the only rejection you have experienced is the world turning their back on you.
I’m sorry that after years of trying to conceive a child the world actually believes that your parents would
use you as a human shield…
I’m sorry that your father will not be able to give you away on your wedding day because he has been
imprisoned indefinitely with no charge and no trial
I’m sorry you will never travel the world because to them your passport doesn’t offer a legitimate place of
I’m sorry they’ve dictated almost every aspect of your life to make you miserable.
I’m sorry all of your baby pictures were destroyed when they bulldozed your home.
I’m sorry you will never get to experience the stress of exams or the joy of receiving a college diploma.
I’m sorry you can’t hear the chants of protesters in around the world demanding your freedom, demanding
your right to live…
I’m sorry you can’t see the Tweets and Facebook posts of love, solidarity, and remorse we have for you.
I’m sorry the world has been desensitized to murder, to genocide, to ethnic cleansing. I’m sorry you have
been vilified and you haven’t even learned how to hate.
I’m sorry you may not even live to read this letter…
I’m sorry you left this world before I got chance to know you.
I’m sorry that world is not listening, watching, or caring…
I’m sorry they lost their humanity. I’m sorry the human population has failed you. I’m sorry you don’t
know that we are not all like them.I’m truly, deeply sorry….
But do know that we love you and you are in our hearts and duas every day…
Love and tight hugs from me to you
Khatija Suleman — at Durban South Beach