Jonathan Cook – The Israel-US game plan for Gaza is staring us in the face

May 2, 2024 by Jonathan Cook – The Israel-US game plan for Gaza is staring us in the face

The western media is pretending the West’s efforts to secure a ceasefire are serious. But a different script has clearly been written in advance

Jonathan Cook is the author of three books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and a winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His website and blog can be found at

Cross-posted from Jonathan’s Blog

One does not need to be a fortune-teller to understand that the Israel-US game plan for Gaza runs something like this:

1. In public, Biden appears “tough” on Netanyahu, urging him not to “invade” Rafah and pressuring him to allow more “humanitarian aid” into Gaza.

2. But already the White House is preparing the ground to subvert its own messaging. It insists that Israel has offered an “extraordinarily generous” deal to Hamas – one that, Washington suggests, amounts to a ceasefire. It doesn’t. According to reports, the best Israel has offered is an undefined “period of sustained calm”. Even that promise can’t be trusted.

3. If Hamas accepts the “deal” and agrees to return some of the hostages, the bombing eases for a short while but the famine intensifies, justified by Israel’s determination for “total victory” against Hamas – something that is impossible to achieve. This will simply delay, for a matter of days or weeks, Israel’s move to step 5 below.

4. If, as seems more likely, Hamas rejects the “deal”, it will be painted as the intransigent party and blamed for seeking to continue the “war”. (Note: This was never a war. Only the West pretends either that you can be at war with a territory you’ve been occupying for decades, or that Hamas “started the war” with its October 7 attack when Israel has been blockading the enclave, creating despair and incremental malnutrition there, for 17 years.)

Last night US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken moved this script on by stating Hamas was “the only thing standing between the people of Gaza and a ceasefire… They have to decide and they have to decide quickly”.

5. The US will announce that Israel has devised a humanitarian plan that satisfies the conditions Biden laid down for an attack on Rafah to begin.

6. This will give the US, Europe and the region the pretext to stand back as Israel launches the long-awaited assault – an attack Biden has previously asserted would be a “red line”, leading to mass civilian casualties. All that will be forgotten.

7. As Middle East Eye reports, Israel is building a ring of checkpoints around Rafah. Netanyahu will suggest, falsely, that these guarantee its attack meets the conditions laid down in international humanitarian law. Women and children will be allowed out – if they can reach a checkpoint before Israel’s carpet bombing kills them along the way.

8. All men in Rafah, and any women and children who remain, will be treated as armed combatants. If they are not killed by the bombing or falling rubble, they will be either summarily executed or dragged off to Israel’s torture chambers. No one will mention that any Hamas fighters who were in Rafah were able to leave through the tunnels.

9. Rafah will be destroyed, leaving the entire strip in ruins, and the Israeli-induced famine will worsen. The West will throw up its hands, say Hamas brought this on Gaza, agonise over what to do, and press third countries – especially Arab countries – for a “humanitarian plan” that relocates the survivors out of Gaza.

10. The western media will continue describing Israel’s genocide in Gaza in purely humanitarian terms, as though this “disaster” was an act of God.

11. Under US pressure, the International Court of Justice, or World Court, will be in no hurry to issue a definitive ruling on whether South Africa’s case that Israel is committing a genocide – which it has already found “plausible” – is proved.

12. Whatever the World Court eventually decides, and it is almost impossible to imagine it won’t determine that Israel carried out a genocide, it will be too late. The western political and media class will have moved on, leaving it to the historians to decide what it all meant.

13. Meanwhile, Israel is already using the precedents it has created in Gaza, and its erosion of the long-established principles of international law, as the blueprint for the West Bank. Saying Hamas has not been completely routed in Gaza but is using this other Palestinian enclave as its base, Israel will gradually intensify the pressures on the West Bank with another blockade. Rinse and repeat.

That’s the likely plan. Our job is to do everything in our power to stop them making it a reality.