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Analysis: The implicit goals of renewed Israeli aggression
Published Monday 23/06/2014 (updated) 28/06/2014 20:09
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Israeli forces raid Ramallah Sunday morning (MaanImages)

Nasser Lahham is the editor-in-chief of Ma'an News Agency.

Several major news outlets have in the last week repeated numerous times what the Israeli government has announced as goals of the ongoing military operation across the West Bank.

The Israelis claim that the major operation is meant to achieve three goals: finding the abductees and abductors, weakening Hamas, and thwarting the Palestinian national consensus government.

I do not believe these announced Israeli goals, but instead think that the Netanyahu government has taken advantage of the disappearance of three teenage settlers in still-unclear circumstances to implement a major political, military, and media campaign whose targets cannot clearly be understood now.

However, based on what the Israeli forces have done so far in the West Bank, we can deduce a number of clear, but as-of-yet unannounced, goals behind the ongoing crackdown.

One important goal is to weaken the Palestinian Authority so as to ensure that a Palestinian state cannot emerge. Israel will not, however, allow a full collapse of the PA -- because Israel still needs it for more services.

Israel is also seeking to instigate a major crisis in order to use it as a pretext to open a channel for contact with Egypt and its newly elected president Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi. The leader pointedly did not invite any Israeli official to his elaborate inauguration ceremony, and Israeli officials hope to re-affirm their somewhat unclear friendship with Egypt.

The Israeli government has used the kidnapping as an excuse to redeploy troops along the Jordan River as well, citing security reasons and preemptive procedures to prevent the transfer of the three abductees to Jordan, as well as to protect the borders against possible infiltration of fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.

Furthermore, the kidnapping of three settlers has served as a good tool for Israel to use against the growing international boycott and divestment campaign against settlement products. It is an appropriate occasion to draw the world's attention and sympathy to the settlers by showing them as victims, despite the fact that they live on stolen Palestinian lands.

Another clear goal of the ongoing Israeli military operation has been to affect the perceptions of the new generation of Palestinians who have grown up in the decade since the end of the major military operations of the Second Intifada, and to foil UN recognition of Palestinian statehood. In other words, each Palestinian child knows now that it is Israel who controls the West Bank refugee camps, and not the PA security forces.

Weakening Hamas in the West Bank and keeping Hamas' control in Gaza is another goal of the Israeli campaign, which also seeks to maintain Fatah control in the West Bank. These dual moves, which the unity government had potentially unsettled, work to prolong a status quo that works for Israel.

The campaign is also providing Israel a cover to continue the crippling siege imposed on the Gaza Strip in order to prevent any stability, quiet, construction, and future planning.

Finally, the campaign shows that Israel wants to isolate the West Bank cities from each other in order to maintain the decentralization and isolation of Palestinians and to justify direct contact between the Israeli Civil Administration and individual Palestinian municipal councils under the pretext of offering services to residents.

These goals, as of yet not announced explicitly by Israeli forces, are being fulfilled on the ground as we speak.
1 ) @ Mr Lahham / Reality
23/06/2014 20:24
Most of your claims about Israel are just speculation, and are probably Not of any real importance, and you have forgotten one important Israeli goal (2)too, where surely:
-1- Israel's goal is to prevent the kidnapped teens from being transferred beyond it's reach, so that they can be eventually recovered, and also
-2- Israel's goal is to deter future abductions, by making this search
extremely costly & unpleasant for Palestinians, & particularly for militants !!

2 ) geoff / UK
23/06/2014 20:29
The Fatah Facebook page featured a cartoon of three rats dangling from a line, while Fatah activists instructed shopkeepers in the vicinity of the abduction to destroy their CCTV footage. Sweets were handed out on the streets (a traditional gesture of celebration) and many children have been photographed, smiling, with three fingers held high.

3 ) alan johnson / England
23/06/2014 20:33
Of course, Israel has to compromise and divide the land, making possible a Palestinian state. But if the Palestinians are treated as children, never held accountable for encouraging a culture of hate, then they will never make their own excruciating compromises for peace, and leaders like Abbas will always be isolated. And without those compromises – in a Middle East departing further from the norms of human behaviour by the day – Israel will not take risks for peace. Nor should it.

4 ) Outlier / USA
24/06/2014 01:01
Mr. Lahham, if you want to write an editorial, write an editorial. Your opinion is not an "analysis."

5 ) jv / Canada
24/06/2014 04:06
Well written article. You left out one item however. Stir up enough trouble that Netanyahu can go to the polls again. His coalition is crumbling and every time he needs to face election he starts a mini war so he can look like the saviour of Israel. Israelis are stupid enoght to not figure out the connection and naive enough to buy it.

6 ) JoeFattal / USA
24/06/2014 04:49
I agree with the analysis totaly. As soon as the unity was signed I expected all hell will break loose, and it did. But using what. Three settlers that conveniently went missing. Now Netanyahu is blaming Hamas, where, but in the West Bank not in Gaza. If Hamas took them they would have taking them in Gaza, but miraculously Gaza was spared of that violent search. Why, because Israel wants Hamas to be in control of Gaza and remain their foe, and Fattah in the West Bank. Simple as that.

7 ) Bemused / New Zealand
24/06/2014 08:28
And who is 'enabling' them? Abbas, and the PA security forces. Perhaps it is not just Israel that is behind this 'strategy' but also the PA - after all, the first question one should always ask is "Who benefits?" - and clearly the PA is a big winner in the removal of Hamas from the political scene while everyone blames Israel. Perhaps there will be TWO intifadas - one against Abbas and his traitorous project, and one against the Israeli occupation.

8 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
24/06/2014 10:30
The implicit goals of renewed Palestinian war crimes - the illegal abduction and probably murder of civilian children. The goals are clear - sabotage any peace process, destroy any Israeli public support for dialog with the Palestinians - solidify the Palestinian society in the eyes of the Israeli public as the enemy of peace whose goal is to destroy Israel and replace it with an Islamic banana republic that is a welfare child of Iran and Qatar.

9 ) ian / australia
24/06/2014 10:50
So where are they? Home playing video games? A five-star hotel? A settlement? Whisked away to the US after their part in an elaborate Mossad op? Down a well? Jordan? Gaza? Never existed? Who knows? Or cares. Certainly not Bibi. Because it saved his bacon (so to speak), hauled his chestnuts out of the fire, like manna from Heaven, when everything was going horribly wrong, the pristine window, the casus belli, to deliver the death blow to the nascent unity government and assert and entrench

10 ) ian / australia
24/06/2014 10:51
(contd.) Jewish power in occupied Palestine.

11 ) Julie / USA
24/06/2014 12:08
@Nasser Laham - and of course izrael has a gag order prohibiting the publishing of any details regarding the teens' disappearance (which is still an ALLEGED kidnapping). have you read the text of the gag order? izrael is hiding everything: http://mondoweiss.net/2014/06/maintains-missing-manipulation.html

12 ) Carol Scheller / Switzerland
24/06/2014 13:54
Sounds like the incident is entirely to Israel's advantage. Food for thought ...

13 ) Fanny / USA
24/06/2014 18:36
@12 '' Food for thought ...''. I hope you enjoy indigestion.

14 ) Tibi / Tubas
24/06/2014 22:53
[1] Whether the new unity PA is aware or unaware of who snatched the Israeli teens, it is responsible for all crimes committed from the West Bank's Areas A & B, for punishing the "snatchers", and releasing their Israeli teen victims, and [2] The new unity PA's unwillingness to punish the Arab "snatchers", and release the Israeli teen victims, entitles Israel to continue searching for them, both how it chooses, and with international support !!

15 ) Colin Wright / USA
25/06/2014 10:44
'....victims, despite the fact that they live on stolen Palestinian lands...' That's pretty much the Zionist position in general, isn't it?

16 ) Colin Wright / USA
25/06/2014 10:49
To Brian #8: 'The implicit goals of renewed Palestinian war crimes - the illegal abduction and probably murder of civilian children...' You must be kind of an embarrassment to your fellow Zionists, Brain. In only the last week, Israel has seized and killed far more 'children' than the Palestinians have in all of the past year. Just go through the articles right here and count.

17 ) Colin Wright / USA
25/06/2014 10:58
To Carol Scheller #12: 'Sounds like the incident is entirely to Israel's advantage. Food for thought ...' These events do tend to occur at remarkably serendipitous times for Israel. This one's not as obvious as some -- but I for one would not be excessively surprised to learn the three amigos are off vacationing in Barbadoes or something. Not that the Palestinians shouldn't do everything they can to drive the settlers off their land, of course.

18 ) Mel / USA
25/06/2014 19:31
Bravo Nasser!Israel never needed excuses to terrorize non-Jews in their homes(desired by Zionism)as long as D.C.turned away. But,D.C.is sick of Zionism,is in quiet diplo-talks with Iran & knows radical Israelis a unsustainable liability to US/UK/EU FR/PR economy &integrity,after 1/2 a century of patronage.Israel's not the'shining(Jewish)beacon of post Holocaust freedoms &democracy,just a neo-Nazi brute in bigotted sewage.Any new?Gilad Shalit scenario is a'blessed'excuse for Bibi to slash&burn!

19 ) Ari / Finland
28/06/2014 01:48
Qui Bono ? Not the new Palestinian government.. http://www.richardsilverstein.com/2014/06/21/source-israeli-teenage-kidnap-victims-likely-dead/
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