Who Asks "Why?"
Every time there's a conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians, all we hear is 'why?' Why, as in, whose fault is this?
It's easier to affix blame if you can truncate the event. Pick a convenient start date, something recent. In this case we'll make it either the Israeli eviction of Arabs from Jerusalem or the scuffle that took place outside the mosque in response. If those don't work, let's go for Hamas launching unguided rockets into Israel. That's even better because it tags Hamas with the blame.
The nice thing about this approach is you can just keep using it. It goes on and on, just as it has for the past half-century since the '67 war. You can even date this whole mess to the beginning of the occupation of the Palestinian territories.
The Israelis are said to have called these periodic wars, "mowing the lawn." The idea is that, every now and then, you have to take these Arabs to the woodshed. And then you keep your powder dry until the next one. These periodic thrashings anchor Israel's arguments that the conditions aren't right for peace. Leave people to be born into captivity and live their lives and die in captivity as you appropriate their territory is a perfect formula for endless, periodic fighting.
Israel doesn't want a solution. It doesn't want a two-state solution. It doesn't want a one-state solution. It wants the Palestinian problem to go away and, until then, it wants to perpetuate today's Apartheid state. It has no intention of giving back land in the Occupied Territories it has taken as its own. That's not going to happen.
Stop asking "why."
John Feffer of Foreign Policy in Focus argues that, in the perennial conflicts between Israel and Hamas, there is always one winner - Benjamin Netanyahu.
Bibi is a political survivor. He is now Israel’s longest-serving prime minister. He has weathered social protests, a raft of corruption charges, and the persistent condemnation of international authorities for policies that trample the rights of Palestinians and military actions that have killed scores of civilians.
One major reason for his political longevity is the collapse of the Israeli left. The Labor Party has seen a catastrophic drop in its vote totals, and it now has only one more seat in the Knesset than the other left-wing party, Meretz (together the two parties have 13 seats, less than half of what Likud alone controls). To stave off the centrist parties, Netanyahu has at one point or another counted on the political support of actors further to his right, like the Religious Zionist Party and Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beitanu.
But it’s really been Hamas that has saved Bibi’s skin time and again. In 2009, Hamas served as a justification for steering the country into an even more hard right direction. In 2012, the Israeli government killed Hamas commander Ahmed Jabari, which precipitated the rocket attacks from Gaza that in turn served as the pretext for Operation Pillar of Defense.
This year, Netanyahu could count on Hamas again to launch rocket attacks in response to Israel’s eviction of Palestinians from East Jerusalem, itself part of a much wider effort to displace Palestinians in favor of Jewish settlers, as well as a police raid on al-Aqsa mosque during Ramadan prayers. The Palestinian Authority protested both actions. So did the Arab world, the international community, and demonstrators throughout the United States.
But it was Hamas, and its perennial quest to become the face of Palestinian resistance, that once again has served as the anvil for Bibi’s hammer. In the 1980s, Israeli hardliners helped create the organization to divide and weaken the Palestinian movement. Hamas has been a gift to hardliners ever since.
...As he promised in 2015, Netanyahu has moved the goalposts in Israel’s struggle with Palestinians to such a degree that the “two-state solution” has practically disappeared from the political agenda. With Israel blockading Gaza and whittling away at Palestinian territory in the West Bank, Palestinians have less and less of a state to stand in. The Palestinian Authority, led by Mahmoud Abbas for as long as Netanyahu has been prime minister, has been incapable of stopping Bibi. Abbas and his Fatah party have lost so much support among Palestinians that they had to postpone elections this year to avoid outright repudiation at the polls. Only Hamas, with a fanaticism equal to Netanyahu’s, has put up any significant resistance.
...Bibi dreams of annexing as much of the West Bank as he can, defeating Hamas militarily and politically, and reducing the Palestinian community to nothing more than a source of cheap labor for Israeli farms and factories. Nearly everything he has done geopolitically has been toward that end, like negotiating diplomatic recognition deals with Arab states (UAE, Morocco) and humoring Jared Kushner’s “deal of the century” of buying Palestinian sovereign aspirations with Gulf State largesse.