What is really happening in Gaza? The myth of Israel 'defending itself'
By Ali Abunimah / stopwar.org.uk

THIS MORNING Israel ended an effective truce with armed groups in Gaza, and carried out the extrajudicial execution of Ahmed al-Jabari, the commander of the military wing of Hamas.

Israeli attacks today killed at least seven people including two young girls in Gaza. Aside from the fact that it almost always violates truces and ceasefires, seeking escalation where instead there could be calm, what motives might Israel have?

Israel’s “Minister of Home Front Defense” [Avi Dichter] says Gaza must be “reformatted” as if it were a computer hard drive, just like Israel did in the West Bank in 2002 during a series of massacres it called “Operation Defensive Shield.”

Dichter is a former head of Israel’s Shin Betassassination organization, which claimed responsibility for killing of al-Jabari.

Israel’s Ynet reported in Hebrew that Dichter said in a closed meeting, in the course of his visit in the south under the escalation, that “there is no other choice, Israel must carry out a formatting action in Gaza, actually format the system and clean it out, the way we did in Judea & Samaria during Operation Defensive Shield.” Dichter added that it is only in this way that the military deterrence will return.

Israel credits these attacks with turning the Palestinian Authority (PA) into an even more obedient partner of the Israeli army in suppressing Palestinian resistance. In the 2000s, under the supervision of US general Keith Dayton, PA forces were re-made into a more effective Israeli proxy force to suppress any resistance, particularly from Hamas.

Ron Ben-Yishai, a Ynet columnist with close ties to the “security” establishment wrote that the attack on al-Jabari and other anticipated attacks “was planned a long time ago, but it was postponed due to the election campaign.” Ben-Yishai did not specify whether he was referring to the US election that saw President Barack Obama re-elected on 6 November, or the Israeli election scheduled for January.

The goal claims Ben-Yishai is to “restore [Israel’s] deterrence through a series of painful attacks on top military figures and assets belonging to all the terror organizations in Gaza, with an emphasis on Hamas.”

“Unprecedented damage”

Dichter’s call for “Defensive Shield”-like devastation and killing has been echoed in the Israeli press. Reuven Berko, a commentator in Israel Hayom wrote:

Israel must not serve as a capricious victim of one or the other organization of bearded persons. It must bomb the [Gaza] Strip and cause unprecedented damage to activists and infrastructure, without exposing its soldiers to direct contact. Gaza is a chronicle of sisyphic combat, which will be decided in deterrence founded on damages [described] by orders of magnitude, so each individual soldier should be spared. Since the alternative for the Hamas leadership is already ready in Gaza, only a very few of the old timers should be retained as a ‘focus of knowledge’, with [this knowledge] burnt into their consciousness, to retain the memory and the deterrence.

Effectively, Berko is calling for mass elimination existing leadership, and its replacement with one more pliant to Israel’s wishes.

Israeli targeting of civilians

As Ben-Yishai acknowledged, Israel’s escalation of attacks on Gaza began not – as Israeli propaganda usually claims – after Palestinians fired rockets toward civilian areas, but after Palestinian resistance fighters targeted and hit Israeli forces enforcing the siege and occupation of Gaza.

It was Israel that “retaliated” by shelling civilian areas killing and injuring dozens of civilians in recent days. Before today’s additional victims, Israel’s attacks had claimed a high toll on Gaza. Between 8 and 13 November, Israel killed 6 Palestinian civilians in Gaza, including three children and injured 52 others, including 12 children and 6 women, according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights.

As of 6 November – before the latest orgy of killing by Israel – 71 Palestinians had been killed by Israel in the Gaza Strip in 2012, and 291 injured, according to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. In the same period 19 Israelis had been injured by Palestinian fire from Gaza and none killed.

While today’s attacks are defined as “limited” and even “surgical” in Israeli terms, that is not how they are seen in Gaza.

“Gaza has been enduring Israeli policies of extermination and vandalism since 2006. We reiterate our condemnation of the international conspiracy of silence and Arab impotence in the face of these continuous Israeli crimes,” said the One Democratic State Group in a statement, also signed by the University Teachers Union and the Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel.

“We note that not a single action against Israel has been taken by any Arab country. Will the Arab Spring stand aside and watch while we are being butchered? Empty rhetoric will no longer be accepted. Words of condemnation have to be translated into action.”

The statement called for an escalation of global campaigns of boycott, divestment and sanctions and other forms of protest against Israel.


VIDEO: the timeline of what's really going on in Gaza.


4.3 · 2
What's Next
Load Comments
Trending Today
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into A Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 9,186 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Caitlin Moran's Posthumous Advice for Her Daughter
Caitlin Moran · 4,998 views today · My daughter is about to turn 13 and I’ve been smoking a lot recently, and so – in the wee small hours, when my lungs feel like there’s a small mouse inside them, scratching to...
This Homophobic Tumblr Post Transformed Into a Dystopian LGBTI Adventure Novel and It Is Amazing
Joe Morgan · 4,646 views today · Sometimes homophobes will try anything to come up with a reasonable argument for why homosexuality is wrong, but it turns out with a little bit of thought that debate is going...
The Image Hollywood Created of Africa
3 min · 4,344 views today · After viewing Mama Hope's video, "Alex Presents Commando," Gabriel, Benard, Brian and Derrik (the Kenyan men in this video) told us they wanted to make one that pokes fun at...
This Is the Worst Time for Society to Go on Psychopathic Autopilot
Frankie Boyle · 3,711 views today · From authoritarian power grabs to Andrew Neil’s nonsensical eulogy, the reaction to the Paris attacks proves that we haven’t learned from our past mistakes
The One Simple Truth about Our Existence That Everyone Needs to Know
3 min · 3,407 views today · If humanity came to understand this - everything would change. This is a clip from "UnVeiled & Lifted," which was released online for free by the film-makers in 2013. Watch...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 2,931 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 2,786 views today · Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the...
Why We Should Use 'Daesh' - Not 'Islamic State' or 'ISIS'
The Kurdish Project · 2,367 views today · In the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks, the world has woken up to the threat that the ‘self-proclaimed Islamic State’ poses to the Western world. Among other things, it...
Work Myths: Lies You've Been Told About Work
3 min · 2,239 views today · Lies you've been told about work. 1. “You are lucky to have a job” We hear it all the time. But there is nothing lucky about spending most of your waking hours doing whatever...
Paris Is Being Used to Justify Agendas That Had Nothing to Do With the Attack
Trevor Timm · 2,007 views today · The Paris attackers weren’t Syrian, and they didn’t use encryption, but the US government is still using the carnage to justify attempts to ban them both
HUMAN (2015)
382 min · 1,875 views today · What is it that makes us human? Is it that we love, that we fight? That we laugh? Cry? Our curiosity? The quest for discovery?  Driven by these questions, filmmaker and artist...
Can We Go to the Very Root of Violence and Be Free from It?
J. Krishnamurti · 1,779 views today · FEAR, PLEASURE, SORROW, thought and violence are all interrelated. Most of us take pleasure in violence, in disliking somebody, hating a particular race or group of people...
The Covert Origins of ISIS
21 min · 1,712 views today · Evidence exposing who put ISIS in power, and how it was done. Sources and full transcript. StormCloudsGathering on Facebook.
The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use To Change The World
Films For Action · 1,586 views today · A more beautiful, just and sustainable world is possible. Take this library and use it to inspire global change!
John Pilger: "There Is No War On Terror... There Is A War OF Terror."
3 min · 1,520 views today · John Pilger speaks frankly about the "War on Terror," saying that no such thing exists. "There is a war OF terror," he says, and it is primarily state-sponsored terror, and...
The Most Astounding Fact about the Universe
3 min · 1,489 views today · This is Neil Degrasse Tyson's response when asked to describe the most astounding fact about the universe. Background music is the cinematic orchestra - To build a home.
Forget Shorter Showers: Why Personal Change Does Not Equal Political Change (2015)
11 min · 1,439 views today · Would any sane person think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour workday; or that chopping...
We - Arundhati Roy (2006)
64 min · 1,234 views today · We is a fast-paced 64 minute documentary that covers the world politics of power, war, corporations, deception and exploitation. It visualizes the words of Arundhati Roy...
Western Ally Saudi Arabia Sentenced a Palestinian Poet to Death for Renouncing Islam
Ben Norton · 1,221 views today · Ashraf Fayadh was sentenced to death for apostasy, joining a long list of dissidents facing capital punishment
Load More
Like us on Facebook?