Posted 4 months ago on Aug. 6, 2014, 7:25 a.m. EST by flip
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AMY GOODMAN: Norm Finkelstein, do you think the ceasefire will hold? Do you think talks will take place?
NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Yeah, because at this point, basically what’s going to happen is it’s over. Obama said it’s over. The ground invasion had reached its limit. And now Netanyahu has the problem that he has to end the rocket—the projectile attacks on Israel. And the only way he can do that is he’s going to have to agree to some lifting of the blockade. So, at this point there’s nothing left that Netanyahu can do. He inflicted the death, the destruction—he mowed the lawn. And now what’s probably going to happen is they’re going to bring in the Palestinian Authority, there will be rebuilding of Gaza, they’ll attempt to disarm Hamas. And I think the finale, the last stage, the coup de grâce, is going to be that Kerry is going to dust off his peace initiative—namely, imposing on the Palestinians a surrender. With Hamas now neutered, Hamas disarmed, they’ll try to impose the Kerry peace initiative on the Palestinians. The Palestinian Authority will happily agree. And then there will be, again, a September 1993, a big peace agreement signed, and all the people will celebrate peace.
AARON MATÉ: But someone could say, "Well, that’s great. The blockade’s lifted, so people in Gaza stop suffering. We have peace, and the rocket attacks from Gaza are over."
NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Well, except for one thing: You didn’t have to kill 1,800 people. You didn’t have to level Gaza and reduce it to rubble to lift the blockade. The blockade is illegal. It’s immoral. Why did you have to wait ’til after to do what was demanded under international law before? ....................................
AMY GOODMAN: So, Norm, the ceasefire has been announced. It’s holding, well, just hours into it. And there is, if it holds, going to be negotiations taking place. Talk about what has happened.
NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Well, the first thing is to have clarity about why there is a ceasefire. The last time I was on the program, I mentioned that Prime Minister Netanyahu, he basically operates under two constraints: the international constraint—namely, there are limits to the kinds of death and destruction he can inflict on Gaza—and then there’s the domestic constraint, which is Israeli society doesn’t tolerate a large number of combatant deaths.
He launched the ground invasion for reasons which—no point in going into now—and inflicted massive death and destruction on Gaza, where the main enabler was, of course, President Obama. Each day he came out, he or one of his spokespersons, and said, "Israel has the right to defend itself." Each time he said that, it was the green light to Israel that it can continue with its terror bombing of Gaza. That went on for day after day after day, schools, mosques, hospitals targeted. But then you reached a limit. The limit was when Israel started to target the U.N. shelters—targeted one shelter, there was outrage; targeted a second shelter, there was outrage. And now the pressure began to build up in the United Nations. This is a United Nations—these are U.N. shelters. And the pressure began to build up. It reached a boiling point with the third shelter. And then Ban Ki-moon, the comatose secretary-general of the United Nations and a U.S. puppet, even he was finally forced to say something, saying these are criminal acts. Obama was now cornered. He was looking ridiculous in the world. It was a scandal. Even the U.N. secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, was now calling it a criminal act. So finally Obama, the State Department said "unacceptable," "deplorable." And frankly, it’s exactly what happened in 1999 in Timor: The limits had been reached, Clinton said to the Indonesian army, "Time to end the massacre." And exactly happened now: Obama signaled to Netanyahu the terror bombing has to stop. So, Obama—excuse me, Netanyahu had reached the limit of international tolerance, which basically means the United States.
And then there was the domestic issue. Israel had launched a ground invasion ostensibly to stop the so-called rocket attacks, but then it turned into something different: the tunnels. Now, the tunnels had nothing to do with Israel. That’s totally ridiculous. Israel claims there were 12 tunnels that had passed through its border. There were many more tunnels between Gaza and Egypt. The first thing Sisi did when he came into power in Egypt was seal the tunnels. Did he have to destroy all of Gaza to seal the tunnels? Israel couldn’t have done the same thing—seal the tunnels on its side of the border, exactly what Sisi did in Egypt? What did the Hamas have? It had spoons. It had shovels. You’re telling me that Israel didn’t have the earth-moving equipment to build a wall that went deeper than the tunnels? It had nothing to do with the tunnels entering Israel.
The problem was, the tunnels in Gaza, it turned out, they had created a fairly sophisticated network of tunnels, incidentally—I know we’re not allowed to make these comparisons—not unlike the bunkers that were built in the Warsaw Ghetto—primitive, but effective—and the Hamas fighters were able to come out of the tunnels, and they inflicted a significant number of casualties on Israel. During Operation Cast Lead in 2008, '09, 10 Israeli combatants were killed, of which four were from friendly fire. This time it was about 65. Now, during the Lebanon War in 2006, about 120 Israeli combatants were killed, but that was against the Hezbollah, which is a formidable guerrilla army. So, half and more were killed in Gaza this time. So, Israel's aim was not to destroy the tunnels going into Israel. That’s ridiculous. What they wanted to do was destroy the tunnel system inside Gaza, because now an effective—not very effective, but effective—guerrilla force had been created. And Israel, every few years, has to—or less than few years, has to mow the lawn in Gaza. And so, they wanted to make sure the next time they mow the lawn—........................AARON MATÉ: So now we have these talks. The call for Israel is for Hamas to disarm. Hamas’s goal has been for a lifting of the blockade of Gaza. And, of course, they’re being held in Egypt. What do you expect to play out in these talks?
NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Well, it’s pretty clear what’s going to happen. And as a matter of fact, already in mid-July I posted something on my website predicting what would happen, exactly what did happen. What’s going to happen now is, for domestic reasons, Netanyahu has to end the projectile attacks on Israel. Hamas says it won’t stop firing its projectiles, quote-unquote, "rockets," until and unless Israel lifts the blockade of Gaza. So what’s going to happen—and it’s exactly what I said, as I said, three weeks ago—what’s going to happen is they’re going to bring in the Palestinian Authority to control the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt, lift the blockade partially because of that crossing; then, on the Israeli side, they’re already talking about huge amounts of international donor aid to rebuild Gaza. It’s really a kind of weird conflict. I mean, there are so many weirdnesses about this conflict. Israel blows everything up. Nobody even talks about Israel paying reparations. It’s just taken as a matter of fact that the international community rebuilds after Israel destroys. It’s just a schnorrer state, "schnorrer" being the Yiddish for a sponger. We destroy, they pay. Nobody even discusses the possibility maybe Israel should pay reparations for its death and destruction in Gaza. In any case—
AMY GOODMAN: And, of course, Israel would say it was the thousands of Hamas rockets that were shot into Israel that they now feel that they have succeeded in preventing.
NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Look, there were no Hamas rockets fired into Israel. There were Hamas primitive projectiles fired into Israel. Anybody with a moment’s common sense knows it was impossible—and it’s already been documented by people like Mark Perry. Everyone with a moment’s common sense knows they couldn’t have been firing, quote-unquote, "rockets" into Israel, for an obvious reason. After July 2013 there was a coup in Egypt. The tunnels were sealed after 2013. On the Israeli side, there was a blockade. What could get into Gaza? No military equipment can get into Gaza. No ammunition can get into Gaza. They were firing—as somebody put it in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, they had a guidance system, what they were firing, said it was the equivalent of upgraded fireworks. Now, OK, you could say upgraded—it had no guidance system, but you could say, well, they had a payload, an explosive payload on the fireworks. Where is the evidence for it? Now, I—
AMY GOODMAN: In a moment we’re going to talk with physicist Ted Postol about the Iron Dome system and the rockets.
NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Yeah, look, I have a high regard for Theodore Postol. However, I don’t accept part of his analysis, because he says that what protected Israel from the Hamas projectiles was not Iron Dome, but, he says, a sophisticated bunker—a sophisticated shelter system and a warning system. But that doesn’t explain another fact: Then why hasn’t there been significant damage to civilian infrastructure? How many schools were destroyed by these rockets? How many hospitals were destroyed? How many government buildings? That can’t be explained by the civilian shelter system.