Linda S Heard - There’s a photograph circulating in cyberspace of an official from the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), talking to Gaza’s Hamas chief Esmail Haniyah, superimposed with imaginary bubbled conversation that says it all. “We have formed a unity government, the world is supporting us and turning against Israel and the IMF [International Monetary Fund] is funding us. What should we do next,” the PNA official asks? “We should kill three innocent teenagers to wreck our own government and allow Israel to bomb the crap out of us,” Haniyah answers.

Who, with even minimal grey matter, can believe that it was in the interests of Hamas to trigger this Israeli onslaught on a densely populated strip of land that is home to 1.7 million encaged Palestinians, especially at a time when the new unity government had been blessed by the international community. It is evident that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has used the killing of the three teenaged colonists to foment a backlash from Israelis resulting in a wave of attacks on Palestinians and the emergence of Israeli gangs calling for “Death to Arabs” and worse. Israel’s arrest of more than 450 “suspects” and its demolition of homes were destined to incite a climate of hate, offering the Israeli government a pretext to screw-down a lid on hopes for a two-state solution.

Netanyahu did not need a crystal ball to know that Hamas would retaliate with rockets because the Palestinian people have always refused to be “good victims”. And, as happened in 2009 and 2012, Hamas played right into his hands. His usual propagandists, adviser to the prime minister Dore Gold and spokesman for the prime minister’s office Mark Regev, are doing the rounds of international news networks reading from the same playbook arguing “no country would permit terrorists to continue launching rockets on its population” and “we regret civilian deaths, but it’s all the fault of Hamas, which uses civilians as human shields”. A good excuse for shelling the Wafa hospital that has now been ring-fenced by courageous international activists.

The main thread of Israel’s carefully orchestrated message is this: Israel (with its iron dome, warning sirens, bunkers and the most powerful military in the region, armed and funded by the US) is the victim, a narrative that is being amplified by the mainstream western media in an attempt to show equivalence between the two sides. It is not working as successfully as hoped in this age of social media.

There is no equivalence between Israelis moaning that they cannot sleep because of the noise from rockets and interceptors and Gazans who have no sirens, no bomb shelters and nowhere to escape. More than 140 have been robbed of their lives to date, almost half women and children. Yet, Washington, London, Paris and Ottawa have thrown their so-called values in the garbage, patting Israel on the back with statements that Tel Aviv has the right to defend itself, never mind that there has only been one Israeli fatality and two injuries. The Obama administration, which says it will work towards a ceasefire, on the one hand, is rendering the United Nations Security Council impotent on the other. No surprise there!

So what is Israel’s endgame? That is as transparent as gossamer. Netanyahu does not want to give-up an inch of Occupied Territory, as evidenced by his policy of West Bank colony expansion. His engagement in peace talks have been nothing but flimflam to keep the international community off his back until Judea and Samaria is populated by Jews when a two-state solution will be officially dead in the water. Indeed, he is wasted no time in making that pronouncement.

“I think the Israeli people understand now what I always say: that there cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish control of the territory west of the River Jordan,” he told the Times of Israel. According to his reasoning, Israel withdrew from Gaza and got rocket attacks in return, so Israel can expect the same should parts of the West Bank be relinquished to form a Palestinian state. This is utterly duplicitous when the only Palestinian state under discussion is a demilitarised state with no control over its own borders or air space. He has made it crystal clear that although he has been talking with various international leaderships, he has no intention whatsoever of bowing to outside pressure on the grounds that Israel’s security comes first.

So there you have it! This chain of events that began with the killing of three teens, followed by the incineration of a 16-year-old Palestinian, is a set-up to destroy Palestinian unity and kill the idea of two states living side-by-side once and for all. And thanks to the complicity of Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Israel’s other western sycophants, it is well on its way to being successful. Netanyahu’s popularity is soaring at home, Israel’s contrived victim status has been reestablished and the dreams of Palestinians are being drowned in the blood of their children. There is no justice except the victor’s justice. And, sad to say, the only right is might in a cruel world mired in hypocrisy, double standards, mass hypnosis and Orwellian lies.–Gulf News