Adam Horowitz writes:
Day two of the Israeli Gaza assault has begun. The final casualty figures from Day one include at least 230 Palestinians killed and over 800 injured, while one Israeli was killed and 6 injured.
More Israeli air force strikes have begun day two, although the preparations for an Israeli ground assault seem to be in the works. From Ha'aretz: "Hundreds of Israeli infantry and armored corps troops headed for the
Gaza border early Sunday in preparation for a possible ground invasion,
military officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity under army
And that's not the only offensive underway. The Israeli public relations campaign is in full effect. It seems that Defense Minister Ehud Barak has dusted off the play book from the 2006 Lebanon war in explaining why Israel can't accept a cease fire. Barak to Fox News: "For us to be asked to have a cease-fire with Hamas is like asking you
to have a cease-fire with al Qaeda. It's something we cannot really
accept." And more ominously Barak concluded, "Our intention is to totally change the rules of the game."
For its part, the Bush administration is only too happy to sing from the same song sheet. Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the National Security Council, got a bit more colorful in his condemnation of the Palestinians, "These people are nothing but thugs, so Israel is going to defend its people against terrorists like Hamas that indiscriminately kill their own people." Secretary Rice then took the baton and ran with it,
"The United States strongly condemns the repeated rocket and mortar
attacks against Israel and holds Hamas responsible for breaking the
cease-fire and for the renewal of violence in Gaza," Rice said in a
statement. "The cease-fire should be restored immediately. The United
States calls on all concerned to address the urgent humanitarian needs
of the innocent people of Gaza."
Having learned that it's bad p.r. to argue against a cease fire (See Lebanon, 2006), it seems the U.S. is now trying to get the world to believe that it is actually Hamas that is not observing the cease fire, and that it is Hamas that is actually to blame for over 230 dead Palestinians. Finally, Rice has the gall to express concern for the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people after helping put the siege in place that has caused a humanitarian disaster leading up to this invasion.
Sadly, this is not a new game at all, and Israel and the US are not changing the rules to anything. Instead they are undertaking yet another round of the murderous game they've been playing for the last eight years, and of course the Palestinians continue to be caught in the middle.