The remarks were made following the latest wave of Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, which have resulted in at least 25 deaths and injured 250 people.
Press TV has interviewed Mr. James Jatras, former US Senate policy analyst in Washington, about the politics behind the scenes of the latest Israeli attack campaign against occupied Gaza. What follows is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Press TV: As your position states, if we were to look at this and analyze it, what are we looking at, I mean aside from what has occurred? Is this something pre-planned with intentions that perhaps are going to involve the region or are we just looking at what Israel says in that, we’re reacting to rockets fired from the Gaza strip, and this is what we’re witnessing in terms of their raids on the Gaza strip?
Jatras: I think we do have to look at the big picture. Certainly of course you have the specific Israeli response to the rocket attacks and I think that needs to be looked at as a discreet occurrence, but I think you have to put it into a larger context.
Hamas is an arm of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. I don’t know why Hamas would fire these missiles into Israel without realizing – and of course they do realize that there will be an Israeli response.
Given the difference in the sophistication of the weaponry and how densely populated the Gaza Strip is, the human cost on the Palestinian side is going to be much greater than the effectiveness of targeting the Israelis.
So the question then is why do they do it? Why do they fire these missiles knowing what the response is going to be and I would say it so they can then point and say, look this is what the Israelis are doing.
But I think then you put that into the larger international context of the complete failure of American policy in this region. Not even on the specific question of a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, but also having helped to put in power the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt we now see for example on Israel’s border with Syria that US-supported jihadist groups are now taking control of the border area between Israel and Syria. How could that be a good thing for peace in the region?
So I would say yes we do have this horrendous standoff, this exchange of fire between the Israelis and the Palestinians of which predictably the Palestinians are getting the worst of it, but look at the big picture where things are also going from bad to worse.
Press TV: A rocket coming from Gaza has hit Tel Aviv. Is it a game changer? What can we expect now from Israel?
Jatras: I think more of the same and probably even harder. I understand what the gentlemen (referring to guest Adie Mormech) is saying, but if you put it into one of occupation and aggression and that the victims of occupation and aggression have an a-prior right to engage in military resistance, he wants to call it, without an expectation that that resistance will have consequences you’re going to get exactly the thing we see here.
Let’s be clear. When we talk about occupation or liberation or so forth, Hamas’s position is that the entire country of Palestine is occupied by the Israelis and that ‘resistance’ and that includes armed resistance, is justified until that entire liberation is accomplished. Obviously, that is not something that is going to be accepted in any way from the Israeli side.
Unfortunately like it or not for the past half century and more we have two peoples who claim the same parts of land in the Middle East and they don’t agree on what that solution should be and the Israelis have the upper hand.
If you are the weaker party militarily and you say well we have the right of resistance, we’re going to fire these missiles you cannot be surprised when it has horrendous consequences especially given the demographic realities in Gaza.
The other guest talked about in Gaza, he talked about the woman who was pregnant with twins – does he think the Israelis singled her out for killing on that basis? We saw the video on Ahmed al-Ja’abari … from that scope it looked like it was very well executed; other Israeli strikes aren’t as well executed.
But to take a simplistic point of view to say well we are the victims, we can resist and we can shoot missiles at you, but then we are very surprised and we will condemn you when you retaliate I think is not conducive to any kind of solution to the problem overall.
Press TV: The solution to the problem in some respects is focused on Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi, he has promised to take a hard line on Israel especially since he does have close ties with Gaza’s ruling Hamas government. What can we expect from Morsi in this case in terms of Egypt or helping more pro-active or does this need to be coordinated with for example the United States or perhaps with other Arab countries. How do you see it?
Jatras: It’s a very complicated question because I think Mr. Morsi is playing a very complicated game. If Morsi did not want Hamas to be firing these missiles, I don’t think these missiles would be firing. If Morsi is concerned about the economic situation in Gaza and the fact that the Israelis keep Gaza essentially in a state of embargo, why doesn’t he open up things on the Egyptian side?
I don’t think there’s that much care on the part of Mr. Morsi or the Muslim Brotherhood about the human cost to people in the Gaza Strip I think they’re using them as a pawn in a larger game with respect to the Israelis…
I don’t think that the Egyptian peace treaty with Israel is going to be with us for a very long time. Morsi has been quite ambiguous about his intentions in that regard and I think this is simply one card in a very long-term poker game that is designed to get to that ultimate outcome.
Press TV: And you don’t think that President Obama is going to step and at least put some efforts forward to prevent any damage in this Israeli-Egypt peace accord?
Jatras: I assume he will put some kind of steps forward and I expect them to be as utterly incompetent as everything else he has done in the region.
As I have said on this program on earlier occasions, one of the fundamental features of American policy that is accentuated under this administration is support for radical Sunni elements supported by Saudi Arabia. This is something that’s been with us ever since the Afghan war with the Soviet Union; it certainly was the key to our policy in Libya; and it is also the essence of our policy in Syria.
Now, we seem to be surprised just completely surprised that the Muslim Brotherhood whom we helped into power in Egypt at the expense of our former puppet Hosni Mubarak is playing a game that rebounds to the benefit of other… forces like Hamas.
I’m sure the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton, in her remaining days as secretary of state, will try to pull some kind of rabbit out of their hat and I think predictably it will only aggravate the situation.