Who Won the Gaza War?

by Yossi Schwartz, Internationalist Socialist League (RCIT-Section in Israel/Occupied Palestine), 8.8.2014, www.thecommunists.net and www.the-isleague.com

 

After almost a month of butchering, the Zionist propaganda line is that Israel won the war against Hamas. If the 1,900 Palestinians killed, 80% of whom were children, elderly, and non-combatant men and women, plus thousands of wounded, is to be the measure of victory, then Israel certainly won. If the number of destroyed homes, schools, mosques, and hospitals is used, then, once again, Israel won the war. And if the number of destroyed tunnels is taken as the measure of success, then Israel won the war. However, if the weakening of Hamas is the factor which determines who was the victor and who was the loser, then Hamas won the war.

 

Israel’s Goals

 

To answer the question of who exactly won the war, first it is necessary to establish what, exactly, were Israel’s goals in launching it.

In the Israeli press a few days ago (August 5) the following appeared:

"… serious questions were raised as to whether or not Israel had achieved the stated aims of the war by creating the kind of deterrence that would prevent Hamas from starting another war a year or two from now. Without question, Israel failed to reach the lofty objective of Gaza’s disarmament, and no one expects Hamas to voluntarily throw down its arms." (1)

On this same question, Britain’s The Guardian wrote on August 3:

For Israel, which stumbled into a war that it clearly didn't want to wage, the issue is not one of fighting or not fighting, but, rather, how aggressively they should do it. There are those, particularly the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who want nothing more than to end this war before it spirals even more out of control, fearful of the increasing diplomatic costs and the potential for a full-scale humanitarian crisis in Gaza. But there is another side, what JJ Goldberg of the Jewish daily Forward calls the "smash Hamas factions." These are the far-rightwing members of Netanyahu's governing coalition who want to see Israel continue its Gaza offensive until Hamas is defeated or at the very least incapable of waging any serious attack on Israeli civilian targets. As the far-right Naftali Bennett, the country's economy minister, put it last week: "Don't give in and don't stop until you achieve that goal… strike at Hamas mercilessly… until demilitarization, until a victory… until we finish the work."” (2)

Most Israelis clearly supported the position of Bennett, yet even the Zionist propaganda has to admit that Hamas’ popularity among the Palestinians is high, while that of the PA collaborator is low.

The Jewish Telegraph Agency, a Zionist organ, wrote the following:

Did Hamas lose?

Hamas certainly doesn’t come out of this victorious. Its operational capabilities took a heavy hit thanks to Israel’s bombardment, the discovery and destruction of dozens of tunnels running under the Israel-Gaza border, and the depletion of a big chunk of Hamas’ rocket caches.

But it’s hard to say exactly how much damage Hamas has suffered because so much of what the terrorist group does takes place underground — literally and figuratively. The true picture of Hamas’ capabilities may become clear only in the months and years to come.

Moreover, Hamas does not live by the gun alone. Its power depends in large part on popular support. In that measure, Hamas is likely to pick up points from Palestinians for standing up to Israel — in contrast to the Palestinian Authority, which cooperates with Israel on West” (3)

 

A Political Defeat for Israel

 

That the Israeli army, the fourth strongest army in the world, was able to kill and destroy so much is not surprising. Yet wars serve political aims and throughout history military victories which resulted in political defeats are not considered victories but defeats. In the 2006 war in Lebanon, Israel killed and destroyed just as much as during the last month, in the same barbaric fashion, yet politically Hezbollah was the victorious side and its victory was one of the reasons for the outbreak of the revolutionary movement in the region which toppled, among other leaders, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak. In the Algerian war of independence, France won the military battles with the FLN, yet France ultimately had to leave Algeria. In South Africa, the racist army of Apartheid was much stronger than the black guerrilla organization of the ANC- Umkhonto we Sizwe ("Spear of the Nation") yet the Apartheid regime lost.

None of these victories resulted in a socialist revolution and, thus, the imperialists have managed to stay in power, primarily due to the lack of a working class revolutionary leadership and the betrayal of the existing working class leadership. But this does not diminish the fact that the side supported by imperialism was, in each of these cases, temporarily defeated. Furthermore, as a general rule, the defeat of the imperialist side leads to greater confidence among the masses and to the outbreak of uprisings.

 

Israel is more isolated than ever

 

And today, Israel is more isolated than ever. The JTA had to admit this fact as well. It wrote:

Israel may have enjoyed broad support from foreign governments for its war against Hamas — notwithstanding the criticism this week from the U.S. State Department about a specific Israeli strike on a U.N. school in Gaza — but its public image among regular people probably bears some resemblance to the rubble in Gaza.

To watch the news of this war was to see image after image of human and structural destruction in Gaza. The virulently anti-Israel demonstrations around the world, some of which included anti-Semitic expressions, were a potent sign of how people were responding to the war".*

There are only two real questions: (1) Will the latest defeat of Israel reignite the revolutionary movement against the reactionary Arab regimes which, instead of assisting the Gazans, hoped for Israel’s victory? (2) Will a new intifada, some signs of which are already visible, break out?

 

Footnotes

(1) Ryan Jones: As Truce Holds, Doubts Whether Israel Met War Goals, August 05, 2014 http://www.israeltoday.co.il/NewsItem/tabid/178/nid/24822/Default.aspx

(2) Michael Cohen: Is the Arab-Israeli conflict going to be the war that never ends?The Guardian, August 03, 2014, http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/03/arab-israel-palestinians-gaza-conflict-may-never-end

(3) Uriel Heilman: Who won and who lost in the Gaza war? Jewish Telegraph Agency, August 5, 2014 http://www.jta.org/2014/08/05/news-opinion/israel-middle-east/who-won-and-who-lost-in-the-gaza-war

(4) Ibid

 

For more ISL and RCIT analyses and statements of the present war in Gaza see:

Joint Statement: Israel Starts Ground Offensive: Defend Gaza! Defeat Israel’s War! Support the Palestinian Resistance! For a Workers’ and Popular International Campaign to Boycott Israel! Down with the Regimes which Collaborate with Israel! For a Free, Red Palestine! Joint Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency, Internationalist Socialist League (RCIT-Section in Israel / Occupied Palestine), the Communist Left of Australia and the Editor of the Blog vansterparlan.v-blog.se (Sweden), 22.7.2014, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/joint-statement-defend-gaza/

RCIT and ISL: Palestine: Forward to the Third Intifada! Organize the Uprising in Workers, Peasant, and Youth Popular Committees! Revitalize the Arab Revolution! Smash the Imperialist Apartheid State Israel! 7.7.2014, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/victory-to-palestinian-uprising/

Gerard Stephens: Israel: While the Guns Roar, Exacerbated Political Intimidation of Israel’s Palestinian Citizens, 2.8.2014, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/report-antiwar-meeting-2-8-2014/

Michael Pröbsting: Ultra-Leftism and the Destruction of the Israeli State - A Reply to the Argentinean COR, 27.7.2014, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/reply-to-cor-on-israel/

Boris Hammerschlag: Israel: Report on antiwar rally in Tel Aviv on 26 July, 27.7.2014, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/report-antiwar-rally-26-7-2014/

Boris Hammerschlag: Fascists Attack Pro-Gaza Demonstration in Haifa, 21.7.2014, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/fascists-attack-pro-gaza-demo-in-haifa/

Yossi Schwartz: Down with Israel’s New War! 9.7.2014, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/israels-new-war/

Yossi Schwartz: Palestine: Masses Rise Up after the Killing by Burning Alive of Palestinian Youth, 6.7.2014, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/palestine-killing-of-palestinian-youth/

RKOB: Austria: Tens of Thousands march in Solidarity with Palestine, 21.7.2014, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/demo-for-palestine-20-7-2014/

RKOB: Austria: Rally in Solidarity with Gaza on 13.7.2014 http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/rally-for-palestine-13-7-2014/

RKOB: Austria: Rally in Solidarity with Gaza on 9.7.2014, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/rally-for-palestine-9-7-2014/

 

For more ISL and RCIT historical analyses of Israel as a Zionist apartheid state and the revolutionary program for the Palestinian liberation struggle in numerous documents and articles, see among others:

Internationalist Socialist League: Summary of the ISL-Program, February 2014, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/summary-of-isl-program/

Yossi Schwartz: Israel's War of 1948 and the Degeneration of the Fourth International, in: Revolutionary Communism, Special Issue on Palestine, No. 10, June 2013, www.thecommunists.net/theory/israel-s-war-of-1948-1

Yossi Schwartz: Israel’s Six-Day War of 1967. On the Character of the War, the Marxist Analysis and the Position of the Israeli Left, in: Revolutionary Communism, No. 12, July/August 2013, www.thecommunists.net/theory/israel-s-war-of-1967

Michael Pröbsting: On some Questions of the Zionist Oppression and the Permanent Revolution in Palestine, in: Revolutionary Communism, Special Issue on Palestine, No. 10, June 2013, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/permanent-revolution-in-palestine