The Inevitable

May 2024

After the Oct 7 Gaza breakout, I was taken aback to hear that Jake Sullivan had said publicly, a week or so prior to it, that the “Middle East”* was more stable than it had been for many years. How could he, with access to the best intelligence infrastructure in history, be so naive? Alternately (if he actually knew otherwise), how could he not realise that such a falsehood would soon bite back?

I live in South Africa, which for all its flaws still has signs of progress (even if splattered with regressive symptoms). One is that a few years ago we withdrew our ambassador from Israel. National TV and other news provided the context: the Great March of Return. Probably the greatest anti-violent (by which I mean, non-violent protesters deliberately exposing themselves to violence) campaign in history. At the time, I noted the words of an Israeli spokesperson who, when asked why protesters were being gunned down, answered “Because they’re too many to arrest.” The words of John Kennedy also came to mind: “Those who make peaceful change impossible, make violent change inevitable.” I mention all this because global social media discourse indicates that the March was not similarly highlighted everywhere.

Kennedy’s words returned with force on Oct 7; hence Sullivan’s absurd utterance gobsmacking me when I learned of it a day or two later. The only explanation I find plausible is that Sullivan shared the Zionist regime’s view of Palestinians as animals successfully cowed by ongoing " grass-mowing." This explanation also resolves the false dichotomy where on one hand, the regime is supposed to have been totally taken by surprise by the breakout, and on the other, is accused of having cynically engineered/enabled it. Cherry-pickers can support either, because evidence points both ways; what I think happened was that a form of “controlled opposition” (that was managed, rather than operated) got out of control - as humans do, when tormented sufficiently.

The above applies regardless of which permutation of narratives one chooses to describe the actual events of Oct 7: daring, brutality and sadism by Palestinians/disproportionate, panicking retaliation by Israelis (including deliberate sacrifice of fellow-Israelis). Hence I don’t dwell on details of those events, other than to conclude that the overriding objective of the guerillas (as opposed to the spontaneous rampagers following through gaps in the fences) was to take hostages to exchange for the thousands held without due process in Israeli jails. Of course, their organisations also had strategic (geopolitical) objectives, above all to shatter the delusions epitomised by Sullivan.

What makes all this worth blogging about is that it seems actually to be changing the global distribution of power. The linear application of hegemony has led to a non-linear phase-change, and I think the Great March of Return (on top of all that came before, and with the global reach of social media) set up that tipping point. Also, that it happens as the Ukraine proxy war approaches denouement isn’t coincidence; Hamas actually cited the global shortage of NATO-spec munitions as a relative advantage. The dramatic loss of Zionist PR-superiority within the hegemonic bloc countries has widened the gap between public opinion and the formal stance of the political classes; the latter have typically reacted reflexively, severely damaging their liberal veneer. Thus, we see an interruption in the "manufacture of consent."

The exciting thing about this rupture is that generally, a realisation that you have been misled in one realm causes you to be more skeptical in other realms; to mistrust the once-authoritative providers of information. This applies not only to spokespeople, but the channels themselves. Having learned online that the TV is untrustworthy, not only will you watch less TV, but when the talking heads from the TV pop up online, you'll view them critically.


A milder variety of inevitability can be seen, with the benefit of hindsight, in the ICC's arraignment of Israeli & Palestinian leaders. Had the court never bent its own rules (under pressure from NATO) to indict Putin, then it would still have the figleaf of jurisdiction to justify staying out of Gaza. The paperwork stands as follows: Russia is not a signatory of the Rome Statute, but Ukraine is, though it has never ratified it (i.e. brought it into force). Israel is not a signatory, but the Palestinian Authority is, though it is not yet accepted as a member state of the UN (it has observer status).

Canny legal minds in Africa and other parts of the world where the ICC previously occupied itself, lost no time in bringing these facts to its attention. The rest is history. But there's one more twist: It used to be assumed world-wide that while in office, heads of state enjoy immunity from prosecution in the courts of other countries. Thus, Omar el-Bashir travelled extensively after the ICC issued a warrant for his arrest. But during a visit to South Africa, a court there reviewed that matter and ruled that this immunity applied to national courts only; Bashir left before implementation was possible. Later, Putin converted a planned visit there to an online participation, to avoid embarrassment. So we can say that Netanyahu should no longer be able to travel to signatory countries. Alas, since the UN is in a non-signatory one, we will probably have to see more of his bombastic perfomances there.

After publishing this, I came across evidence that Sullivan's delusion was shared by some "experts" who consider him to have made serious strategic blunders. This video gives a dramatic example. I'm sure the prof has heard of the Great March, but it has been swept under the cognitive carpet by his ilk. Whereas, for some of us, its message was stark: we no longer fear death, if the only life available to us is that of Gaza.

Interestingly, Mearsheimer uses the exact word used above, to characterise the Israeli government's relationship with Hamas prior to Oct 7: "managed."