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Cutting the grass in the theatre of war

By Junaid Cheema - posted Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Hamas has done it again! Firing rockets and provoking the wrath of a superior military.

"Israel has the right to defend itself!" shout the popular headlines. The story always starts with Palestinian provocation and ends with a justified "precision guided Israeli response", despite the Palestinian use of "children as human shields".

Do we dare ask?


Does that sum it up? Well yes, provided we stay clear of any real of facts. Just a quick glance at the conflict timeline reveals a very different story. There have been continuous casualties nearly every month since the turn of the millennium with a heavily lopsided ratio. So how is provocation possible, if there is no real cessation in violence? Nearly a thousand civilians killed and countless injured. So what is meant by a "precision guided response" unless the target is civilians? UNICEF recently reported that there is no safe place for children in Gaza. So what is meant by 'human shields' when there is nowhere to hide? Can we dare ask these questions and can we dare ask why this seems to happen every few years?

The Sderot Cinema

The Israelis call this cycle of violence "cutting the grass". Far from tranquil images of mowing on a beautiful day, "cutting the grass" means something very different for the Palestinians. To understand let's look at a scene from the Sderot Cinema. In the city Sderot, local Israelis pulled up chairs at hill tops to watch the bombing of Gaza. The spectators took happy snaps, shared popcorn and cheered; as the Israeli Military cut the grass - dealing death on Gaza. Less like "cutting the grass" the Sderot Cinema seems closer to the Roman Coliseum of the past.

The Neo-Coliseum

Roman emperors would deflect internal tensions by orchestrating cyclical blood spectacles to boost state popularity. A starved exhausted barbarian from the enemy tribe, would be chained, surrounded, publicly tortured and then killed for the pleasure of a cheering crowd. The barbarian would be given an inferior weapon providing the illusion of fair fight, but the result would be inevitable; the emperor's forces would always win with minimal if any casualties.

This pattern of manufacturing war to deflect internal tensions is so transparent that even Israeli patriots indirectly acknowledge this. Lior Akerman former brigadier-general slipped the true intent of this cyclical violence, admitting that all these operations start with the same rhetoric promising a fatal blow to Hamas but never achieve it, what they do achieve is a unified feeling of victimization and a break from the day to day state problems and government corruption.


Powered by ex-military Israel's political machine has re-invented the pre-medieval blood ritual of the Roman Coliseum, ingeniously; 'cherry picking' provocations in an environment of continuous conflict to justify war games in its Neo-Coliseum (Gaza). Like a hammer needs a nail, a soldier needs an enemy. For at least the time being Hamas is the perfect enemy with a loud bark but toothless bite beyond its borders. The accuracy and the impact of Hamas's rockets is self-evident with one managing to knock out the power supply to Gaza, another hitting a tree managing to knock down a few leaves and forcing a cat to re-treat.

A greater threat?

While the billion dollar investment in latest Iron Dome system, backed by hundreds of millions from the US has almost neutralized the danger of Hama's ineffectual rockets, a more deadly threat lurks on Israeli streets. Just in the last year Israeli traffic fatalities, claimed far more lives than Hamas rocket fire has in the entire history of the conflict. A focus on improving road conditions would save countless more Israeli lives, but the cyclical burning of Gaza achieves far more votes. Prime Minister Netanyahu knows all too well the studies that prove rocket fire helps win elections.The last ritual slaughter of the Palestinians conveniently happened before the 2013 elections, remember?

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About the Author

Junaid Cheema is an IT Executive, writer and community worker. He has written a number of articles for political journals introducing new paradigms provoking thought and passion. Junaid also volunteers his time on the board of a Victorian based not for profit, promoting foster care for disadvantaged children.

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