Profiting from Pain: The Financial Drivers of Israel’s War on Gaza

Genocide, colonial expansion, and the profit motives behind Israel's actions, all backed by the financial and military support of the world powers.

Zainab Amanullah
By Zainab Amanullah 8 Min Read
Profiting from Pain: The Financial Drivers of Israel's War on Gaza 1

Israel started the new year standing firm on its rhetoric of ethnic cleansing, without covering up its genocidal intentions. Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich reiterated calls for Palestinians in Gaza for another Nakba while making way for the Israeli settler who can ‘make the desert bloom.’ Reports that were later denied of Ex-PM Tony Blair acting as a mediator about the ‘voluntary resettlement’ of Gazans are making the rounds as well.

The new year started with the rebranding of ethnic cleansing. Forceful expulsion of the native population is being presented as an idea of free will or choice. When, in fact, Israel is strategically making the narrow strip of Gaza uninhabitable. Hunger, artillery shelling, ground invasion, death, unhygienic conditions, and diseases are rendering Gaza unlivable.

2023 — A YEAR OF WAKENING

The narrative that was pushed hard last year was about how everything started after October 7th. Stealing the rightful light from the escalated atrocities that were committed against the Palestinian people throughout the year.

Israel legalized 9 illegal settler outposts last year, which, according to Peace Now, is the single largest settlement announcement ever made. Settler violence was at its record high. There was an increase of 32% compared to 2022. A UN report in September 2023 stated, that 1000 Palestinians have been displaced in the Occupied West Bank due to settler violence.

All these incidences, combined with forceful searches and arrests, killings, and illegal detentions, made it seem as if the Israeli government was forcing a reaction out of the Hamas. And they did get lucky.

What Hamas did on October 7th, was in no way a linear attack. It was a reaction to being pushed down a path of no return. It was almost the last stand from them. It’s easier to look at the horrific action without understanding the reasoning behind it. It’s easier to disregard years of brutality, suffering, and helplessness and focus on a singular event. But what really happened on October 7th was something that gave Israel an excuse to declare open season in Gaza. It’s as if they almost planned the entire thing, pushing the Palestinians and betting on the reaction that they eventually got in the end.

AFTERMATH OF OCTOBER 7TH:

Where the Palestinian representatives and the entire world were focused on deescalating the situation, pushing forward for an immediate ceasefire and the safe return of the Israeli hostages, the Israeli government itself, with the help of the United States, was busy ethnically cleaning and orchestrating a genocide.

The intentions that the Israeli government had become crystal clear in the initial stages of the response that they gave. They weren’t interested in a solution; peace was never on their agenda. The green light that the US gave by repeating unverified news gave way to the mass killing of innocent Gazan civilians.

The United States played its part by blocking every single important UN resolution at the Security Council. Even the ones that pleaded for the safe return of Israeli hostages held by Hamas. 30 days into the genocide, it became quite clear from the war tactics employed by Israel that the only thing they were interested in was reclaiming the Gazan territories. Israel relegated the goal of ensuring hostage safety in favour of larger military and political gains in the occupied territory. The indiscriminate bombing of Gaza without any sound intelligence had put the hostages in deliberate harm.

Hamas officials claimed that Israeli bombings had killed 60 hostages since October 7th, later, IDF soldiers killed 3 hostages, mistaking them for Palestinians. Then people took to the street. In Tel Aviv, protestors gather to demand a dialogue for hostages return. Then the US pushes for a 14.5-billion-dollar military aid package for Israel to defend itself in the Senate and gets it approved.

The Israeli government, along with its staunch supporter, the United States, pursued genocide for its colonial intention of settler expansion and its allies’ capitalistic intention of plundering a native land of its resources. For the United States, its business as usual, but for the people of Palestine, it’s a matter of life and death.

THE FINANCIAL SIDE OF THE WAR:

No war is without its financial gains. In the case of the genocide unfolding in Gaza since October last year, this is exactly the case. The US-Israel collective dream of an energy cooperation agreement seems to be finally in its final stages. The Gaza Strip and the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territory sit on a sizeable reservoir of oil and natural gas, with an estimated 524 billion dollars in terms of distribution costs among different parties, according to UNCTAD.

After the Oslo accord, the Palestinian authority was given maritime jurisdiction. They ended up signing a deal with British Gas Groups and uncovered a large gas field, the Gaza Marine. The invasion of Gaza in 2008, was a step towards this goal. A backdoor deal was done and renegotiated with BGG when the military invasion was in its earlier phases. De facto control was established over Gaza’s offshore reserves. According to UNCTAD, from 2008–17, Palestinians lost 47.4 billion dollars in revenue leaked to Israel.

What’s happening now, is a more efficient and tailored plan to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians from the Gaza strip, creating a buffer zone that gives Israel unrestricted authority over drilling the gas reserves and recovering the oil. This benefits the US in terms of financial gains, and as it places its dummy toy in a strategic position in the Middle East, it tightens its losing grip over the region.

The other industry that has been profiting nonstop since the attack on October 7th is the military industry, notable for the five major weapon contractors that have been getting the pentagon’s one-third of all contracts, according to a Brown University study conducted in 2021. The stock prices of these companies have surged by 7 percent since Israel’s invasion of Gaza. The reason the superpower and the alleged upholder of peace haven’t raised their voices for a ceasefire is because it’s not profitable. In terms of financial gains, prolonging the war is the best strategy for shoring up profits. Ceasefire doesn’t align with the math of billions. The war continues because it’s bringing in money.

REOCCUPATION AND RESETTLEMENT:

Early in December, a construction firm from Israel, Hareyzahav, posted a picture of Israeli settlement on top of the razed Palestinian homes in Gaza on Instagram, captioning it,’ wake up, a beach house is not a dream.’ After displacing 80% of Palestinians in Gaza, the idea of settlers returning to re-occupy the native land was rekindled.

According to a leaked Israeli official document, the Israeli Ministry of Intelligence has recommended the forcible and permanent expulsion of the 2.2 million Gazan population to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. In it, it has been proposed as the ‘preferred course of action.’ The document, dated October 13th, presents a comprehensive plan for ethnically cleansing the native population while simultaneously urging the international community to garner support for this decision. According to it, the displacement will have several stages, starting with the evacuation of the south and the relentless bombing of the north. The second stage will comprise a ground invasion that will eventually lead to the occupation of the entire strip under the guise of ‘cleaning of the underground bunkers of Hamas fighter.’

Clear instructions have been provided in the document to expel the Gazan civilians, incorporating the belief that they have no right to return home. At the same time, emphasis has been placed on the crucial role of public camping in the Western world to promote the transfer plan in a way that’s acceptable, presenting it as a humanitarian necessity to win them over.

Israel recently approved the building of a major new settlement in occupied East Jerusalem, with more than 1,700 new homes for the settlers. This was done under the coverage of the on-going genocide in Gaza.

The genocide has given Israel the opportunity it has been seeking for a while now. While it’s strategy to expel the population from the Gaza strip is on its way, the government and settlers have accelerated their efforts to re-occupy and make new settler outposts and colonies in the rest of the occupied territories.

END GAME

Israel ending the game is quite clear; it was never about October 7th from the beginning. They cashed the opportunity that they tailored themselves. What we are witnessing is not just a genocide unfolding, it’s the ethnic cleansing of a native population all over again. The United States has successfully used its pawn in the Middle East’s elaborative game to destabilize the area. And the financial gains can be enormous for the private military companies profiting from it and the eventual oil-gas earnings the region can generate.

Israel underestimates public opinion around the globe. Their defeat has been losing control over their narrative. The US, no matter how strongly it thinks about financial gains, will be forced to bow down in front of massive public pressure. And once it does, Israel will be left all alone without the necessary backing to maintain a genocide. What’s appalling is that the entire genocidal campaign is being sustained on the US’s financial support, one wrong move from Israel and the apartheid regime can crumble. For the genocide to stop, human factors, no matter how unprofitable they are, must overpower the financial aspect. That is the only way forward.

The author is a dentist and activist.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in articles and blogs on Aware Pakistan are solely those of the authors and do not represent the official stance of the website. We are not liable for the accuracy of information provided by authors.

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