By MIKE WHITNEY
Apart from the slaughter of 900 Palestinians and the vast destruction from 14 days of aerial bombardment, the Israeli invasion of Gaza has failed to achieve any of its strategic objectives. The Palestinian resistance is still intact, the rocket-fire has continued, and Hamas is stronger than ever. So, what has been gained? Hamas has withstood the ferocious Israeli assault without knuckling under or making any concessions. They've proved that they are the legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people and the standard bearers of the national liberation movement. Their place at the head of the government is now assured thanks to Israel's criminal blunder. In contrast, Mahmoud Abbas and the PA have ended up looking like cowards and quislings kowtowing to Tel Aviv.
For Israel, the military campaign has been a public relations disaster. Photos on the internet of bloodied and dismembered children rushed off to make-shift hospitals or wrapped in their funereal shrouds has generated unprecedented sympathy for the plight of Palestinians. Israel has come across as a bully. The establishment press has also suffered yet another blow to its credibility. This could be a tipping point for the corporate media. Arab news channels have come of age while more and more westerners are turning to independent media for their news.
Presently, Israel is looking for a way to wind down its rampage and withdraw its troops, but Hamas is not making that easy. On Saturday, Hamas chief Khalid Meshaal rejected UN Resolution 1860 which calls for a ceasefire and issued this statement:
“We want the immediate and complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza and the lifting of the unjust siege on Gaza that has led to the current situation. Our other request is the opening of all border crossings including the Rafah border crossing. We, with an open mind, will deal with any initiatives and decisions based on these three requests. Therefore, we will not accept any negotiations for a truce in the light of and under the pressure of a military campaign and siege.
“Let the military campaign stop, let the Israelis withdraw, and let the rights of our people be admitted to, let them recognize our rights to live without a siege and closed border crossings, just like other humans, then we are ready to discuss a truce, just like we did before. We will not accept a permanent truce, because it will take the right of resistance from the Palestinian people. The resistance is against occupation and military campaigns and therefore as long as occupation exists, resistance will too... We will also not accept the interference of international forces because international forces will come only to protect Israel's security and any international force imposed will be considered as occupiers.