A Failed Propaganda

The Transition from Rockets to Tunnels....

Rana Bose

Till last week it was Rockets! Rockets! Rockets!... the shrill but coordinated orchestral manoeuvres... accompanied by Whine! Whine! Whine! Mock! Mock! Mock! And then Lie! Lie! Lie! Israel's PR machinery thought they had everyone convinced. The essence of everything that Hamas could be nailed down for, would be the "terrorist rockets." If you kept repeating Rockets! would get a shivering and yet frenzied audience-finger-wagging the whole world..Israel apologists were having a field day.... An easy win was around the corner! Soon the IDF would capture and kill the main Hamas leaders (or claim so anyway) and then agree to a ceasefire, (reluctantly). And so the whole Israel-West axis swung into turbo-mode with this game plan.

Now that did not pan out too well. Did it? Because 10 days into the flattening of Gaza by bunker busters, banned fragmentation, dum-dum style ordnance and the wanton killing of nearly 500 children banned flechette ammo, the rocket "counter-attack" was failing, it was totally apparent that the propaganda line had capsized on its nose... the rockets were a bloody useless irritant... nothing more. Hamas and others had launched thousands of rockets (The only ones that caused some stir were the ones that landed a few kilometres near Ben Gurion airport and that caused some nervousness for Israel's major GDP source—tourism).

Of course Israel boasted about its Iron Dome. One civilian had been killed by a rocket. A Bedouin Arab. Another civilian had been killed by a mortar and all the IDF soldiers had died in near hand-to-hand combat, lEDs and antitank ambush. Suffice it to say that the IDF had learnt a lesson with the Hezbollah. So they chose to think that they could walk over Gaza. Now here is one of the toughest armies in the world and 22 days into the War on Gaza, they can only destroy neighbourhoods (with entire families inside) with missiles and long distance shells. Surely they should have walked in and taken Gaza by now if they had the finesse and the chutzpah? But that is a separate issue.

So now it is TUNNELS! TUNNELS! TUNNELS! The new galvanizing symphony. They have now caught on. Finally, they have discovered the Tunnels, which have been there since the Blockade started. The tunnels were not built by Hamas alone... some 15,000 of them criss-crossing each other. Even smugglers built them. Some took orders and delivered furniture through the tunnels. That is how a tiny strip of land learnt to survive, with no airports, no ports and being landlocked. Some of the tunnels move cars, small trucks and bring in food, vegetables and everything else... But did all these foolish "sharers" on FB, including the dour military historians on CNN etc revisit their war manuals? Tunnels are today's upgrade on trench warfare. Trenches don't work in land combat any more. Because of the much faster movement of land vehicles and the long reach of shoulder fired weaponry. Americans learnt that in Vietnam. At the cost of 52,000 GIs. "VC terrorist" tunnel warfare decimated them. The people of Gaza and Hamas have simply made better tunnels, reinforced with concrete and steel, and it is now working as a guerilla weapon. The reason why they can't have a ceasefire is because tunnels are their nemesis. The Israelis don't know how to fight in tunnels. Their only hope is to flatten the cities above. But this time opinion has to be created about destroying tunnels by blowing up everything above it. So the cruel mindset is now on full gear. Meanwhile you can hear the steady drone-like whine of Tunnels! Tunnels! building up....

Vol. 47, No.7, Aug 24 - 30, 2014