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The catastrophe inflicted on Gaza–and the costs to Israel’s standing

ActivismNews
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A building within the Gaza port is seen on fire after several strikes. (Photo: Getty Images)

A building within the Gaza port is seen on fire after several strikes. (Photo: Getty Images)

The statistics coming out of Gaza as Israel’s most recent bombardment of that hapless territory gradually winds down are on the scale of a natural disaster, but they capture the nature of a catastrophe methodically inflicted by one people on another.

In a month of indiscriminate bombardment, Israel has killed or injured almost twelve thousand people, including thousands of children.  It has severely damaged or destroyed the homes of some 17,000 families (over 100,000 people).  It has terrorized half a million people into flight from one corner of the tiny coastal enclave in which they are trapped to another, leaving them in urgent need of food assistance merely to survive.  Schools, clinics, refugee shelters, hospitals, ambulances, a university campus and Gaza’s only power plant have all come under Israeli fire, sometimes repeatedly. UN schools designed to accommodate 500 people as emergency shelters have been packed with up to 3,000.  The social infrastructure—already strained to its limits by years of siege—is close to breakdown.  Hospitals have run low on urgent supplies including water and fuel for emergency generators.  Morgues were filled; the broken bodies of Palestinian children ended up in ice-cream counters that—in a just world—would be those same children’s sources of delight.

Of the fatalities whose identity and status have been verified so far, 86 percent are civilians, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.  Of those tabulated in its most recent update, 226 are members of armed groups; 459 are children.

Despite the sheer scale of the catastrophe it has inflicted on Gaza, Israel failed to attain a single one of its ever-shifting array of declared objectives (which ranged, according to Israel’s whims, from stopping rocket fire to completely demilitarizing the Gaza Strip).

It is—as usual—a matter of elementary simplicity to dispense with those declared objectives and the mendacious protestations and justifications Israel has fabricated around them.  Gaza is not a sovereign state firing rockets across an international frontier: it is an occupied territory held under tight Israeli control.  Sealed off by land, sea and air, even its population registry remains in Israeli hands.  Internationally recognized as the occupying power in Gaza, Israel is legally accountable for the welfare of the population whose very capacity for life it has been obsessively reducing to ruins.  And in any case the sequence of events leading to this bombardment was triggered not by rockets from Gaza but by the recent Israeli crackdown in the West Bank, which culminated in the burning alive of a Palestinian teenager by Jewish fanatics—and, beyond that, five decades of grueling military occupation.

Israel’s repeated claim that it targets only rocket launchers or tunnels is belied by the scale and nature of the weapons it unloaded on Gaza.  Its 2000-pound aerial bombs take down entire buildings along with everyone in them (almost a thousand buildings have been severely damaged or destroyed in such air strikes).  Its 155mm howitzer shells have a margin of error of 300 yards and a lethal radius of up to 150 yards from the point of impact.  Each of the 120mm flechette shells its tank crews fire burst into a 100 by 300 yard shower of 5,000 metal darts carefully designed to shred human flesh.

Having sealed Gaza off from the outside world and blanketed almost half of the territory with warnings telling people to flee for their lives (to where?!), Israel has been indiscriminately firing all of these munitions into one of the most densely-inhabited parts of our planet.  Entire neighborhoods have been leveled; entire families have been entombed in the ruins of their homes.  The catastrophic result of Israel’s bombardment is no surprise.

No surprise—but also not exactly thought through either; more a matter of casual disregard.  For it’s not as though Israel has carried out this violence in pursuit of a strategic master plan (its endless prevarications over its objectives in Gaza are the clearest indicator of this).  Such gratuitous outbursts of violence (this episode is the third in six years) are, rather, what Israel falls back on in place of the strategic vision of which it is bereft.  It can indulge in these outbursts partly because, in the short run at least—endlessly coddled by the United States, where venal politicians are quick to parrot its self-justifications—it does not pay a significant price for doing so.

But Israel’s almost reflexive spasms of violence are also enabled by the double ideological vision that distorts its view of the world around it: on the one hand, utter disregard for the value of Palestinian life and sweeping contempt for the principles of justice and of self-determination that guide the Palestinian cause; and, on the other, an obsessive self-regard.  Hence the opinion polls that show barely 4% of Israeli Jews finding the scale of bombardment of Gaza excessive; hence the pathological Israeli use of the label “terrorist” to describe Palestinians; hence the frankly genocidal recent proposal by the deputy speaker of Israel’s parliament that Gaza be purged of its population, reduced to rubble, and then remade as an Israeli beach resort.

Just as Israel has failed to attain any of its declared objectives in Gaza, its limitless capacity for violence has also foundered on the collective Palestinian will to self-determination, which Israel has been trying—and failing—to vanquish for sixty years. But while Palestinian steadfastness may contain Israeli violence, it is insufficient on its own to actually end it.  Nonviolent international intervention in support of the Palestinian cause—especially in the growing campaign for BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions)—is absolutely essential as well.  Bypassing callow politicians and empowering ordinary people of good will, the BDS campaign is one of the few mechanisms that can exact a price from Israel for its oblivious disregard for international humanitarian law and its contempt for Palestinian rights.

For all of the sheer violence that Israel unleashed in Gaza, in fact, the indiscriminate scale of the bombing has actually seemed to accelerate BDS efforts around the world.  In terms of simple, crude, mindless violence, then, Israel may have “won” this round; in terms of the larger political struggle—which is in a sense what really matters—it has almost certainly lurched from one loss to another as the world reacts in disgust.  That won’t bring back the dead or help heal the wounded, but at least it will mean that the suffering in Gaza has not been—as Israel would have preferred—entirely gratuitous.

Saree
About Saree Makdisi

Saree Makdisi, a professor of English and comparative literature at UCLA, is the author of "Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation."

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69 Responses

  1. American
    American on August 15, 2014, 1:22 pm

    https://twitter.com/MaxBlumenthal

    Max [email protected]

    Israel used 60% of 4.8 million bullets, 43,000 artillery shells and 39,000 tank shells budgeted for assaulting Gaza:
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4558916,00.html
    >>>>>>>>>>

    A lot of that came from the US’s 1 billion weapon cache in Isr.

    • Kay24
      Kay24 on August 15, 2014, 1:59 pm

      The UN has called it unprecedented destruction. The artillery used by Israel on the people of Gaza this time was four times MORE than Cast Lead. The US leaders have been accused of being complicit in war crimes and genocide. What kind of message are our leaders sending to the rest of the world? An ugly one, that say we have no qualms in killing women and babies, in fact we hand over the ammunition and weapons, to their brutal killers. I simply dislike the fact that the creatures we vote for do this in our name. Damn them all.

      • Daniel Rich
        Daniel Rich on August 15, 2014, 8:39 pm

        @ American/Kay24,

        Let us not forget the fact that Obomber and cohorts kept supplying the Apartheid State’s killing machine with ample ammo, with the additional caution ‘not to cull kill too many rag towel people potential Hamas members.’

        ‘Weapon cache’ … that’s a novel way to describe ‘under the counter gunrunning’…

    • kalithea
      kalithea on August 15, 2014, 11:59 pm

      That’s probably as much artillery as the Nazis used to take half of Poland.

  2. John O
    John O on August 15, 2014, 1:27 pm

    Israel (or at least the politicians who run it) is in a bind. It wants whatever it wants 100% – no compromise, no concessions. Such objectives are impossible. And, as I learned when I was a union negotiator, if you insist on attaining 100%, you end up with 0%.

    • seafoid
      seafoid on August 16, 2014, 8:56 am

      A very good point. Israel has nothing to offer the Palestinians. And the cost of intransigence is the slow meltdown of civil society in israel. There is no such thing as à free occupation.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on August 16, 2014, 11:48 am

        There you are, Seafoid! I was missing you. But here you are! That’s good.

      • seafoid
        seafoid on August 16, 2014, 3:55 pm

        Back post hols ,Mooser. The most interesting thing I read over the break was that Lieberman told the Germans that Gaza was at high risk of a complete system breakdown in the near future, a massive humanitarian crisis engineered by Israel that it expects the Germans to pay for.

      • seafoid
        seafoid on August 16, 2014, 4:02 pm

        Will be interesting to see how Europe reacts to that. Not sure the papers will be able to hold the “our sons of bitches” line. Deliberately engineering death for innocents may not be media manageable by the old canard of screaming ‘antisemitism’.

      • Keith
        Keith on August 16, 2014, 7:11 pm

        SEAFOID- “…Lieberman told the Germans that Gaza was at high risk of a complete system breakdown in the near future, a massive humanitarian crisis engineered by Israel that it expects the Germans to pay for.”

        When the story does come out, it won’t be an honest accounting of a disaster “engineered by Israel.” Instead, the story will be that the disaster was caused by Hamas terrorism. Count on it.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on August 17, 2014, 4:46 pm

        “The most interesting thing I read over the break…”

        I’m supposed to read a book too. Of the nervous exhaustion and eyestrain evinced by and inevitably attendant upon such an activity I will say nothing. But I’ve been told the book is about the same length as “Candy” by Terry Southern. It’s being mailed to me in a plain brown wrapper.

  3. American
    American on August 15, 2014, 3:02 pm

    ”Dutch man, honored by Israel for saving Jewish child in Holocaust, returns his medal after relatives killed in Gaza”

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/world/.premium-1.610682

    • ritzl
      ritzl on August 15, 2014, 4:00 pm

      I actually started to well up when I read that, American. Incredibly stark and moving story. If ever there was a must read, that is it.

      • American
        American on August 15, 2014, 7:12 pm

        I got a lump in my throat reading that myself.

      • Citizen
        Citizen on August 16, 2014, 9:11 am

        I was just going to post the incident. You beat me to it, American. The Dutchman is 91 years old. Lost a big chunk of his extended family when IAF bombed the family home in Gaza. Wonder if this action by an Israel-awarded “Righteous Gentile” made the Israseli news.

      • sfia
        sfia on August 15, 2014, 10:47 pm

        A man standing up for justice…then and now! A dying creed perhaps? I wonder what vitriol the hasbarists will throw his and his families way as a response.

      • eljay
        eljay on August 16, 2014, 9:10 am

        >> sfia: A man standing up for justice…then and now! A dying creed perhaps? I wonder what vitriol the hasbarists will throw his and his families way as a response.

        Well said. I suspect that any Zio-supremacists who do chime in will have little more than scorn for this man.

    • Kay24
      Kay24 on August 15, 2014, 4:52 pm

      This wonderful man has dignity and principles. I admire him for making such a stand. It is very sad that he has lost so many family members after the brutal attack by the war criminal, Israel.
      I would say these days Israeli medals are worth nothing. They are tainted and represents blood and destruction.

      • AlGhorear
        AlGhorear on August 16, 2014, 1:06 am

        I would have been more impressed if he returned his medal a long time ago during one of Israel’s many previous massacres of Palestinians. Instead he waited until this latest slaughter when his own family members were killed.

      • annie
        annie on August 16, 2014, 3:15 am

        he got the medal in 2011 AlGhorear. not that long ago.

      • AlGhorear
        AlGhorear on August 16, 2014, 7:10 pm

        I’m sorry if it’s harsh, but if he accepted his medal in 2011, that was after Cast Lead, after the Nakba, after the 1st and 2nd Intifadas and concurrent with the continuous oppression and ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Knowing all of what Israel had done at the time he was given the medal, then why accept it in the first place? And then why give it back now? Did he expect special favors from Israel and then was shocked to learn that his family too could be a victim? When I read the story, I felt bad for him losing his family members and respected him for his act of conscience in returning the medal, but I also had to ask what took him so long to wake up to the nightmare Israel is and has been for a very long time.

      • just
        just on August 16, 2014, 7:38 pm

        I think you forget his family’s history…

        “Did he expect special favors from Israel and then was shocked to learn that his family too could be a victim?”

        Hardly. He lived through the Holocaust and his family shielded a child whose own family were victims. He is 91 and got the medal 3 years ago. Give the gentleman a break.

        I think that perhaps you might try to appreciate what he has done and lived rather than dissect it and deem it “not good enough”. jmo.

        he wrote:

        “After the horror of the holocaust my family strongly supported the Jewish people also with regard to their aspirations to build a national home. Over more than six decades I have however slowly come to realize that the Zionist project had from its beginning a racist element in it in aspiring to build a state exclusively for Jews. As a consequence, ethnic cleansing took place at the time of the establishment of your state and your state continues to suppress the Palestinian people on the West Bank and in Gaza who live under Israeli occupation since 1967. The actions of your state in Gaza these days have already resulted in serious accusations of war crimes and crimes against humanity…The only way out of the quagmire the Jewish people of Israel have gotten themselves into is by granting all living under the control of the State of Israel the same political rights and social and economic rights and opportunities.”

        http://mondoweiss.net/2014/08/holocaust-racist-quagmire.html

      • justicewillprevail
        justicewillprevail on August 16, 2014, 5:35 am

        Unbelievably harsh, AG.

      • Walid
        Walid on August 17, 2014, 12:20 am

        FWIW, AlGhorear is right. Coming right after Cast Lead, the man shouldn’t have accepted it in the first place, so no brownie points due.

      • Bumblebye
        Bumblebye on August 16, 2014, 9:03 pm

        Al, if he’d turned the medal down, we’d never have heard of him, there would not have been multiple MSM stories about what he’s done and, more importantly, WHY he’s done it! He has empowered others to speak out. He is being HEARD!

      • just
        just on August 16, 2014, 10:13 pm

        good points, Bumblebye.

    • kalithea
      kalithea on August 15, 2014, 11:29 pm

      While part of me believes he should have returned the medal long before this and been prescient enough, considering his tragic experience during the Holocaust, to NEVER support a supremacist ideology like Zionism which is what Israel which he in fact supported is founded upon; the other part of me believes that karma has a hand in this and that what happened even to his family in Gaza was meant to happen on behalf of the greater good! As cruel as this is – the world needs this kind of wake-up call and unfortunately, it is people like this man, who should never have to pay such a price, who are called upon to suffer the ultimate sacrifice to TEACH THE IGNORANTS OF THE WORLD A LESSON ONCE AND FOR ALL. I do not by any means fault this man considering the present tragedy he suffered at the hands of Zionists.

      Shame on Israel and anyone who supports Zionism and the inhumanity it breeds!

  4. justicewillprevail
    justicewillprevail on August 15, 2014, 3:07 pm

    Dan Glazebrook has a good summary of israel’s campaign against the Gazan economy:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/08/15/israels-real-target-is-not-hamas/

    Quite sickening when you add up the evidence of the factories targeted – the few remnants of the gazan economy destroyed systematically, as if even a miniscule amount of work and productivity for the impoverished people is not allowed by those grim israeli accountants of human misery. Count the calories, calculate the obliteration of any crumbs of economic life, destroy power and water – comrade, you must be due a medal from the state for this bureaucratic institutionalisation of the inflicting of misery. How proud you must be, such sadistic ingenuity!

    • Daniel Rich
      Daniel Rich on August 15, 2014, 8:44 pm

      @ jwp,

      Q: …comrade, you must be due a medal from the state for this bureaucratic institutionalisation of the inflicting of misery.

      R: I was told Stalin did not have ‘little helpers,’ but after witnessing the execution of this mindbogglingly calculated butchering of people and their livelihoods, I have serious doubts…

    • kalithea
      kalithea on August 16, 2014, 12:01 am

      How proud you must be, such sadistic ingenuity!

      Sadistic ingenuity – describes Zionism to a T.

  5. gracie fr
    gracie fr on August 15, 2014, 3:54 pm

    The evidence of atrocities is mounting. One of the defining horrors of this attack has beenthe targeting of family homes – close to 1,000 homes have been destroyed or severely damaged by Israeli airstrikes. Reporting on the issue, the Associated Press said that the Israeli military did not respond to repeated requests “to explain in detail why even one of [the homes] was targeted”. Earlier on in the operation, Israeli NGO B’Tselem noted how the Israel military itself had “acknowledged” conducting attacks that were “illegally aimed at homes that were not military targets”. A senior officer, commenting on the bombing of a senior al-Qassam Brigades figure’s house, said: “You call it a home, we call it a command centre and a military post for all intents and purposes”. As Israeli human rights lawyer Michael Sfard put it, the Israeli military’s “combat doctrine…redefines what constitutes a legitimate target for attack” so that it includes “houses belonging to Hamas commanders and operatives” (it should be noted homes have also been hit lacking even this ‘link’).
    https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/debate/13342-israels-atrocities-in-gaza-prompt-unprecedented-political-fallout

    • Citizen
      Citizen on August 16, 2014, 9:15 am

      Since nearly every family in Israel harbors at least one IDF soldier, I guess those HAMAS rockets are just “bombing military targets.”

    • Kathryn
      Kathryn on August 16, 2014, 11:28 am

      Re B’Tselem: Israel is now taking revenge on them for their coverage of human rights violations and their speaking out against the Israeli massacre:
      Top Israeli rights group blacklisted from national service program http://on.rt.com/nul2dh

  6. ritzl
    ritzl on August 15, 2014, 4:18 pm

    B-NET completely succeeded in achieving his objective. He kept his political coalition together and united popular sentiment behind him.

    The fact that he was willing to kill 459 children (yet again) to do that is just a numbers game, to him (and not even a consideration to others in the coalition). Palestinians are meat to 90% of Jewish Israelis. The world doesn’t care at the government level. Why not?

    The depth of socio/psychopathy required to do this repeatedly is limited only by an observer’s ability to perceive it fully.

  7. justicewillprevail
    justicewillprevail on August 15, 2014, 6:00 pm

    Superb letter from the descendants of Holocaust survivors to The Guardian:

    “As Jewish survivors and descendants of survivors and victims of the Nazi genocide we unequivocally condemn the massacre of Palestinians in Gaza and the ongoing occupation and colonization of historic Palestine. We further condemn the United States for providing Israel with the funding to carry out the attack, and Western states more generally for using their diplomatic muscle to protect Israel from condemnation. Genocide begins with the silence of the world.

    As Jewish survivors and descendants of survivors and victims of the Nazi genocide we unequivocally condemn the massacre of Palestinians in Gaza and the ongoing occupation and colonization of historic Palestine. We further condemn the United States for providing Israel with the funding to carry out the attack, and Western states more generally for using their diplomatic muscle to protect Israel from condemnation. Genocide begins with the silence of the world.
    We are alarmed by the extreme, racist dehumanization of Palestinians in Israeli society, which has reached a fever-pitch. In Israel, politicians and pundits in The Times of Israel and The Jerusalem Post have called openly for genocide of Palestinians and right-wing Israelis are adopting Neo-Nazi insignia.

    Furthermore, we are disgusted and outraged by Elie Wiesel’s abuse of our history in these pages to promote blatant falsehoods used to justify the unjustifiable: Israel’s wholesale effort to destroy Gaza and the murder of nearly 2,000 Palestinians, including many hundreds of children. Nothing can justify bombing UN shelters, homes, hospitals and universities. Nothing can justify depriving people of electricity and water.

    We must raise our collective voices and use our collective power to bring about an end to all forms of racism, including the ongoing genocide of Palestinian people. We call for an immediate end to the siege against and blockade of Gaza. We call for the full economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel. “Never again” must mean NEVER AGAIN FOR ANYONE!
    Signed,

    Over 300 Survivors and Descendants of Survivors of Victims of the Nazi Genocide Condemn Israel’s Assault on Gaza”

    http://ijsn.net/gaza/survivors-and-descendants-letter/

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/15/gaza-propaganda-machines

  8. American
    American on August 15, 2014, 7:11 pm

    vintage billmon

    https://twitter.com/billmon1/status/500360866328739840

    [email protected]

    ”The mindless repetition of talking points is the calling card of stupid authoritarian/totalitarian hacks everywhere. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/15/israel-btselem-service-aid-gaza-human-rights?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=*Morning%20Brief&utm_campaign=2014

    billmon‏@billmon1·4h
    Don’t know what’s creepier: “inciting against state” or robotic recitation of Hasbara talking point “most moral army”

  9. lonely rico
    lonely rico on August 15, 2014, 7:59 pm

    Thank you to Saree Makdisi.
    Thank you also jwp – I couldn’t read the article, and appreciate your summation.
    I am sending excerpts from your letter to the craven politicians in Canada,
    Stephen ‘step-an-fetchit’ Harper first off, who has forgotten the fundamental message of christianity which he falsely claims as his own.
    He disgusts me, and many others . . .
    I will not forgive, and I will never forget.

    BDS

  10. seafoid
    seafoid on August 15, 2014, 8:09 pm

    Jews are not yet capable of running a state. Sorry. Buying DC is a doddle but buying the loyalty of Gaza is beyond them. Just back from Cathar country. Serious 13th century dissent. The church had to change tack and understand the cause of the grievance. Zionism is too immature to understand how enduring power works.

    • just
      just on August 15, 2014, 8:26 pm

      So nice to see your name in lights again, seafoid!

    • bintbiba
      bintbiba on August 16, 2014, 6:29 am

      seafoid, missed you!!

      • Mooser
        Mooser on August 16, 2014, 11:50 am

        Ah, I see I wasn’t the only one.

    • Mooser
      Mooser on August 16, 2014, 12:01 pm

      “Jews are not yet capable of running a state.”

      Well, maybe not yet. But when you look at our birth-rate, the percentage of intermarriage, and the number of walk-aways, the conclusion is obvious: We will be ready, real soon!

  11. just
    just on August 15, 2014, 11:47 pm

    “My plea to the people of Israel: Liberate yourselves by liberating Palestine

    Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, in an exclusive article for Haaretz, calls for a global boycott of Israel and urges Israelis and Palestinians to look beyond their leaders for a sustainable solution to the crisis in the Holy Land.”

    http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.610687

    • ziusudra
      ziusudra on August 16, 2014, 2:39 am

      Greetings just,
      ….look beyond their leaders…
      Also the US & Europe.
      ziusudra
      PS They all pray & prey together.

  12. just
    just on August 16, 2014, 12:00 am

    “Major Israeli food exporters are facing an unprecedented wave of cancelations in orders from Europe as a result of Israel’s most recent massacre of Palestinians in Gaza.

    SuperValu, the biggest food distributor in Ireland, told the Irish media last week that it has withdrawn Israeli products from its shops.

    And Israeli media reports suggest that other major European retailers have taken similar decisions without announcing them publicly.”

    Israeli fruit and vegetable exporters have faced cancelations from Scandinavia, the UK, France, Belgium and Ireland.

    Retailers have become fearful of the rapidly growing consumer boycott of Israeli goods, according to an 11 August article in Hebrew business website The Marker.”

    more here: http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/michael-deas/irelands-biggest-food-retailer-drops-israeli-produce-european-boycotts-surge

  13. kalithea
    kalithea on August 16, 2014, 12:07 am

    Everyone take note. This piece is what I consider words NOT wasted as opposed to self-indulgent Jewish navel-gazing that goes on and on endlessly for years while so many suffer Zionism’s scourge. You’d think that Jews would have figured out BY NOW that Zionism is an evil legacy, but nooooh, the self-analysis goes on and on ad nauseum at the expense of justice.

    • gracie fr
      gracie fr on August 16, 2014, 6:29 am

      Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a letter to the Jewish communities thanking them for being “a source of great strength for the people of Israel” over the past two months. He acknowledged in the letter that “this has been a difficult period for Jews around the world, as many of you face increasingly virulent and sometimes violent manifestations of antisemitism”.

      While the most severe incidents have been in Europe, there has been violence and abuse in many countries around the world.

      In the US, where antisemitic incidents have been less prevalent, the Gaza crisis has played out mainly in the media and in various Jewish movements, where the largely liberal community has been thrashing out its dilemmas. In addition, some of the more prominent figures criticising Israel’s actions, such as comedian Jon Stewart, are Jewish.

      While there have been large rallies in support of Israel in many US cities, there have also been reports of pro-BDS Jewish groups attracting more members.

      Groups such as J Street have tried a middle path, expressing shock over the dead civilians in Gaza, supporting Secretary of State John Kerry’s faltering attempts to reach a ceasefire, while recognising Israel’s right to defend itself.

      This round of fighting seems to have left in its wake a divided and uncertain Jewish landscape in America.

      http://www.thejc.com/news/world-news/121467/diaspora-buckling-under-gaza-war-strain

      • Mooser
        Mooser on August 17, 2014, 12:21 pm

        “This round of fighting seems to have left in its wake a divided and uncertain Jewish landscape in America.”

        One can only hope so.

    • Mooser
      Mooser on August 16, 2014, 11:56 am

      “but nooooh, the self-analysis goes on and on ad nauseum”

      kalithea, I think I have a clue to that. It’s subjective, and I’m sure it’s only part of it, but it’s been apparent to me for a while: American Jews simply do not acknowledge the possibility of catastrophic failure in Zionism. Catastrophic failure is not what we do, and it doesn’t happen to us. So we have all day to discuss it, and when we come to our conclusions we will decide what we will do.
      The possibility that events will far outpace their ability to do anything about it is simply not something they consider possible.
      I think, I’m not sure, but I think that is where the complacency comes from. Got to admit, that kind of elite complacency is not what one would expect considering Jewish history, but hey, I guess we’ve come a long way, baby.

  14. wondering jew
    wondering jew on August 16, 2014, 12:37 am

    A number of comments about this latest war on Gaza:
    1. It seems to me that Bibi thought he might be able to get away with clamping down on Hamas on the West Bank without the Gazan Hamas reacting. This war was an unintended consequence of the crackdown on the West Bank Hamas.

    2. Granted that the siege of Gaza is a cause for the Palestinians to go to war and to fight to change the status quo. Still the situation is “infuriating”. “Why are they shooting those rockets at us, don’t they know that we can crush them?” That is the reaction of most Israel supporters. There is something illogical about the Hamas actions. Indeed many commentators have described the war, or Hamas’s role in egging Israel into the war, as a result of Hamas’s desperation.

    3. The lack of logic of the war (from Hamas’s part as perceived by Israel) is also a partial explanation for the reaction of Israelis to war protesters and leftists and Israeli Arabs (Palestinians). If a war is rational, then the reaction to the war might tend towards rationality. Since Hamas is perceived as being irrational (as in: they are willing to sacrifice the lives of hundreds, so that Israel will look bad, which has a type of rationality to it, but not the typical rationality of war), it is “natural” that the reaction to the irrational will also reflect irrationality.

    4. If there is an agreement reached by Hamas and Bibi, odds are pretty good that either Lieberman or Bennett or both will oppose the agreement. Yossi Verter, in Friday’s Haaretz deals with this looming possibility.

    5. Bibi does not wish to reach a peace on the West Bank, (not on the minimal terms of definition of independence as perceived by a dictionary or by the PLO) and as such he is willing to continue the occupation on the West Bank for the foreseeable future. In that context reaching an agreement with Hamas vis a vis Gaza, makes sense, in terms of dealing with the two issues: the West Bank and Gaza separately and thus a long cease fire in Gaza is something desirable, particularly since a true peace is not on the horizon.

    • Mooser
      Mooser on August 16, 2014, 11:59 am

      Yonah, it is not a “war”. It is a reprisal attack (using false pretexts) on territory already conquered and occupied. That is not a “war”, that is a war crime.

      I wouldn’t expect you to know the difference, but a lot of people around here do.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew on August 16, 2014, 10:13 pm

        mooser- I don’t understand.
        I am not a lawyer.
        Israel was occupying gaza with a total presence of their military. they removed most of their military presence from a complete occupation to a siege occupation. you are stating that the net effect of this is: the palestinians are allowed to shoot at israelis and israelis are not allowed to shoot back. if that’s what you say is the law, i’ll take your word for it. but i still don’t understand.

      • Citizen
        Citizen on August 17, 2014, 10:03 am

        @ yonah fredman
        Maybe Mr. Stroop can help you? http://history1900s.about.com/od/1940s/a/Warsaw-Ghetto-Uprising.htm

      • Mooser
        Mooser on August 17, 2014, 4:50 pm

        Thanks, Citizen.

    • annie
      annie on August 16, 2014, 9:00 pm

      yonah: A number of comments about your comment:

      1. It seems to me that Bibi thought he might be able to get away with clamping down on Hamas on the West Bank without the Gazan Hamas reacting. This war was an unintended consequence of the crackdown on the West Bank Hamas.

      yes, from israel’s standpoint it was was an unintended consequence of the crackdown on the West Bank/Hamas. israel/ netanyahu acts with impunity. they act as tho they can do anything w/out consequence. and they didn’t expect retribution. my point in ‘Israel is in a pickle’: http://mondoweiss.net/2014/07/israel-in-pickle.htmlread

      2. Granted that the siege of Gaza is a cause for the Palestinians to go to war and to fight to change the status quo. Still the situation is “infuriating”. “Why are they shooting those rockets at us, don’t they know that we can crush them?” That is the reaction of most Israel supporters. There is something illogical about the Hamas actions. Indeed many commentators have described the war, or Hamas’s role in egging Israel into the war, as a result of Hamas’s desperation.

      yes, i can see how it might seem infuriating. but it’s not illogical. hamas is not ‘egging israel into a war’. the ‘war’ is ever present for palestinians. when a truce offers no more than a surrender, which is continued occupation, it’s meaningless.

      and it would be helpful (perhaps) to stop describing this as “hamas” when in fact it represents the will of the palestinian people. i have not heard one palestinian say they want a ceasefire without the end of the siege.

      see: http://mondoweiss.net/2014/08/expelled-ghettoized-israel.html

      every person I meet, young or old, man or woman, refugee or long-time Gaza resident, displaced in the UN centers, scattered in hospitals, or still in their homes has one message to Palestinian negotiators in Cairo: This inhumane siege, the longest in history, has to end now and we are ready to pay the price to regain our dignity.

      so don’t drink the kool aide thinking this is because of hamas. it’s because of the people.

      Bibi ….is willing to continue the occupation on the West Bank for the foreseeable future.

      willing? of course he’s willing. you frame it as tho this is a compromise. his intent is to continue the occupation of course. the opposite of ending the siege, ending the occupation. it’s not the willingness for netanyahu to agree with himself that is sought, it is the willingness to accept palestinian terms.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew on August 16, 2014, 10:24 pm

        1. overuse of the “drink the kool-aid” phrase is a sign of laziness. nothing in my comment justifies your use of it. (my gist was regarding perception of the events rather than an objective perception of events.) and i fully believe that hamas is not on the same page as all 1.8 million gazan Palestinians. they all want the end of the siege, but some of them think that the leadership of hamas is profligate with the blood of the common people. they hate israel with a passion that is not comparable to anything. but they think hamas sucks.

        2. my language was rather laconic in describing bibi. i did not frame it as a compromise and if that was not clear to you, i apologize either for your reading comprehension laziness or for my laconic language. not everybody speaks with exclamation points like you do.

      • annie
        annie on August 17, 2014, 12:42 am

        1. overuse of the “drink the kool-aid” phrase is a sign of laziness.

        how bout brainwashed? it is what it is. palestinians didn’t start this mantra they they were stuck between hamas and israel, israel did.

        i fully believe that hamas is not on the same page as all 1.8 million gazan Palestinians. they all want the end of the siege, but some of them think that the leadership of hamas is profligate with the blood of the common people.

        “not on the same page”is a vague term. it could apply to anyone about anything. so let’s not move the goalposts ok? let’s stay on topic. you made a claim some palestinians (or palestinians living in gaza but lets reference them as one people, since they are) “think that the leadership of hamas is profligate with the blood of the common people.”

        so i offered you a link, source and quote to back up my assertion. where’s yours?

        i want to know where your ‘full belief’ implication, wrt to slaughter in gaza and the subsequent haggling over the ceasefire agreement comes from. and if i am mistaken in your implication please clarify.

        iow, where did your belief, that some palestinians think “the leadership of hamas is profligate with the blood of the common people”, come from?

        because wouldn’t it be a coincidence if israeli hasbarists and……some palestinians have something in common?

        the only hitch is there have been protests and demonstration in the WB and inside israel by palestinians w/israeli citizenship in support of gaza, and support of their conditions for the ceasefire. so where’s your “belief” from?

        link please. and if it’s to the story of the 20 collaborators/protestors…can you find at least one version with a source other than alleged anonymous palestinian official? seriously, there’s be tons of foreign journos there. one name, just one to have some personal connection/experience to relate…besides israeli hasbara source.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew on August 17, 2014, 2:04 am

        annie- when i was a kid watching westerns, the Injuns used to say, white man speak with forked tongue. but i would say that you speak with megaphone in your hand. your decibel level is such that travis bickel would never say, “r u talking to me,” because obviously you are talking to a larger audience and you are not talking to me, but using me to elucidate YOUR OWN POINT!!!!

        but i guess that’s cool, can’t expect a radio talk show host to focus on anything but the wide audience and not the individual caller. I will read your answer at my leisure, when i can modulate the sound and react.

        Until then here is something from today’s or yesterday’s or tomorrow’s washington post. this is the headline and if you google it, you’ll find it.

        “as war with israel shatters lives, more gazans question hamas decisions.”

      • Mooser
        Mooser on August 17, 2014, 12:24 pm

        Hey Annie, isn’t Yonah fun to talk to?

  15. gracie fr
    gracie fr on August 16, 2014, 6:13 am

    n a letter recently sent out by the Ministry of Agriculture to Israeli dairy and livestock producers, Israeli farmers were told to start separating out their products that come from beyond the Green Line ahead of the European Union’s boycott of dairy, poultry, eggs and meat that come from the West Bank and Golan Heights. The separated products will then not be sent to the European Union.

    The EU’s ban is designated for products from the West Bank and Golan Heights, but would technically include certain parts of Jerusalem, though no Israeli goods are produced there anymore.

    In accordance with instructions from the Foreign and Finance ministries, the letter goes on to state that farmers must present the ministry with a list of farms over the Green Line from which they receive raw materials that are combined with materials from multiple farms. This is being done in order to separate end products, such as powdered milk, that could include materials from both farms over the Green Line and farms within the EU’s definition of Israel.

    Currently, products sold in the European Union that come from over the Green Line carry a label, but are not banned outright.

    The European Union agreed to the Green Line poultry, egg, meat and dairy ban on February 17 of this year. The ban is supposed to go into effect on September 1.

    http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/Letter-to-farmers-Start-separating-your-West-Bank-and-Golan-Heights-products-371202

  16. Marnie
    Marnie on August 16, 2014, 10:47 am

    I didn’t read the article from Haaretz as I won’t pay for them and the title alone told me everything I needed to know. “Everyone talks about war songs, no one talks about lullabies. With many children finding it hard to sleep for fear of the alarm sirens, lullabies could be the answer. A lovely new album of old Jewish cradle songs does a splendid job.” By Ben Shalev. Ugh. To steal from Bradley Burston, there must be a special place in hell for this writer and his intended audience. Right down there with “does this war make me look fat?” from the Times of Israel. I want to believe that there are israelis who are disgusted and ashamed of all that has been done and continues to be done against the Palestinian people and don’t give a care about lullabies. It’s too disgusting and dreadful to always, always and incessantly play the victim, pimping their children for this cause. Stinks of desperation – do you feel sorry for us yet? Do you – you do don’t you? Hell no.

  17. msola
    msola on August 16, 2014, 11:24 am

    Saree,

    I have gone to the site of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and their latest figures do not match those in your article.

    They have total dead, 1975, of which 1417 civilians. That is 71.7 percent, not–as you write–86 percent. The difference between their overall total and total civilians is 1975 – 1417 = 558, which must be noncivilians, not 226, as you write.

    If these are not their latest figures, then where did you get yours? And if they are, why do yours not agree?

    It is very improtant to get these sttistics right if you are giong to use them in your argument.

  18. RobertB
    RobertB on August 16, 2014, 12:35 pm

    Ireland’s Biggest Food Retailer Drops Israeli Produce as European Boycotts Surge

    August 16, 2014

    “Major Israeli food exporters are facing an unprecedented wave of cancelations in orders from Europe as a result of Israel’s most recent massacre of Palestinians in Gaza.

    SuperValu, the biggest food distributor in Ireland, told the Irish media last week that it has withdrawn Israeli products from its shops.

    And Israeli media reports suggest that other major European retailers have taken similar decisions without announcing them publicly.

    Israeli fruit and vegetable exporters have faced cancelations from Scandinavia, the UK, France, Belgium and Ireland.

    Retailers have become fearful of the rapidly growing consumer boycott of Israeli goods, according to an 11 August article in Hebrew business website The Marker.

    A spokesperson for EDOM, a major Israeli fruit grower and exporter that has extensive operations in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, told The Marker:

    Importers from Europe are telling us that they can’t sell Israeli produce … One European buyer has told me that he had been blocked in several chains in Denmark and Sweden, and then in Belgium. Last weekend, he told me that mangoes which had been packaged in the Netherlands, as always, and shipped to Ireland, were returned, claiming that Israeli produce would not be accepted …”

    http://www.imemc.org/article/68859

    • ritzl
      ritzl on August 16, 2014, 4:11 pm

      Amazing country that Ireland. And the people too! :)

  19. Vera Gottlieb
    Vera Gottlieb on August 16, 2014, 3:51 pm

    Attacking defenseless people…what kind of a victory is that? Cowards!

  20. ritzl
    ritzl on August 16, 2014, 4:08 pm

    The UN has said this is the “last time” it will rebuild Gaza for Israel.

    United Nations [6 AUG 2014]: The United Nations is ready to help rebuild Gaza but for the last time, UN chief Ban Ki-moon warned today.

    http://www.ndtv.com/article/world/un-pledges-to-rebuild-gaza-for-the-last-time-571920

    If that’s even slightly more than just words, it would be a significant “cost” to Israel’s standing in the world, and maybe more significantly, to its ability to do this yet again in a few years. The UN may have just thrown a handful of rocks into the Gaza “lawn,” effect TBD.

    Apologies if someone has already posted this.

    • crone
      crone on August 16, 2014, 5:37 pm

      UN chief Ban Ki-moon is just moving his lips – means not a word of what he is saying. Otherwise, he would tell Israel it must pay the cost of rebuiding Gaza. This time. Now.

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