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Assault on Rafah. Netanyahu Only Wants to Eliminate the Idea of a Palestinian State

Alessandro Orsini analyzes Benjamin Netanyahu's strategy in Palestine. Orsini refutes the commonly held belief that Netanyahu's actions in Rafah are solely aimed at combating Hamas.

Alessandro Orsini analyzes Benjamin Netanyahu’s strategy in Palestine. Orsini refutes the commonly held belief that Netanyahu’s actions in Rafah are solely aimed at combating Hamas. Instead, he argues that Netanyahu’s real intent is to annihilate any possibility of a Palestinian state by reducing the Palestinian people to a state of basic survival, diverting their focus from political aspirations to immediate needs like food, water, and shelter. This approach involves the systematic destruction of vital infrastructure, thereby forcing Palestinians to prioritize basic survival over state-building efforts. Orsini criticizes both Western democracies and the European Union for their continued support of Israel, suggesting a contradiction between their human rights rhetoric and their actions.

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by Alessandro Orsini

Putin has ordered his soldiers to train in launching tactical nuclear warheads against Ukraine. This is his response to NATO’s threats to strike Russian territory with Storm Shadow missiles, a move supported by Guido Crosetto, the Italian Minister of Defense, and Rishi Sunak, the British Prime Minister, in their communications to Zelensky. If Putin strikes Ukraine with nuclear warheads in response to the Storm Shadows targeting Russian territory, Crosetto will have to take responsibility.

As for Palestine, Netanyahu’s intentions have been misunderstood and need clarification. Major Italian newspapers continually repeat that Netanyahu intends to enter Rafah to defeat Hamas. But this is false. To understand Netanyahu’s real purpose, we must turn to phenomenological sociology, which places the reality of everyday life — the “supreme reality” made of urgent practical needs — at the center of reflections on international security.

As I have explained elsewhere, the reality of everyday life is the reality that touches our skin: it’s the neighbor next door; the collapsed house; the soldiers in the streets (Alessandro Orsini, Sociological Theory: From Comte to Postcolonialism, Palgrave Macmillan). When Netanyahu has finished leveling the Gaza Strip, the Palestinians will be extremely poor, thirsty, and hungry. None of them will think about obtaining a state. Palestinians will think about securing what Marx identified as the foundations of human life and thus of history and society: food, water, shelter, and clothing. The more houses Israel destroys, the less Palestinians will worry about politics. What does this mean? It means that Palestinians will first and foremost seek food, water, shelter, and clothing. They will be plagued by practical problems, not political ones. It is no coincidence that Netanyahu is starving and dehydrating them. Netanyahu prevents Palestinians from having water and food. The issue of building a state is now the least of the Palestinians’ problems. Every time Italian politicians say, “Two peoples, two states,” Netanyahu destroys a hundred homes in Gaza. Every time the European Union says that Palestinians have the right to have a state, Netanyahu destroys hospitals, schools, and mosques. Netanyahu’s message is as follows: “Palestinians want a state? Fine, meanwhile, they should worry about getting food, water, clothing, and shelter.” Netanyahu can operate this way thanks to the support of the European Union, which has always refused to take punitive measures against Israel. Indeed, the European Union continues to supply weapons to Israel. If history were told based on written documents rather than rhetoric, everyone would see that Western democracies violate human rights more than dictatorships.

The historical documentation leaves no doubt about it. The crimes that Western democracies have perpetrated against humanity over the last thirty years far surpass those perpetrated by dictatorships. No dictatorship in the world matches Western democracies in violating international law and human rights, as evidenced by the Iraq war or the ethnic cleansing in Gaza, to mention just two cases. In conclusion, Netanyahu wants to enter Rafah not to destroy Hamas, but to annihilate the Palestinian people who must be deprived of the strength to ask for a state. How? By forcing them to focus on the reality of everyday life, the supreme reality that imposes itself on every man by virtue of its urgency and immediacy.

Il Fatto Quotidiano, May 7, 2024

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