Skip to content

To Summarize the Israeli/Gaza War

2014 July 27
by Ian Welsh

1) The causus-belli, the kidnapping and death of three Israeli teenagers was false.  This has now been admitted by Israeli officials. There was never a scrap of proof, only supposition.

2) Bibi said Hamas did it, and started a war based on that, for vengeance.

3) Ooops.

4) Except that we all know it was just a pretext.  Doing it based on a lie just rubs that in.

5) Hamas has been fighting better than last time, inflicting enough Israeli casualties to matter.

6) Israel has been deliberately leveling large parts of Gaza.  The damage is much worse than Cast Lead.  Most refugees will have no home to go back to.

7) Israel wants truces now, but by and large it’s Hamas who is refusing them.

8) Why?

9) Because the status-quo ante is unacceptable. Gaza was under siege, unable to bring in most goods, food, water and so on and most residents could not leave, even for life-saving medical care.

10) Hamas’s condition for the end of the war is substantially “life the siege”.  If the siege is not lifted, the parts of Gaza which have been flattened cannot be rebuilt, because the equipment needed cannot enter Gaza.

11) Israel can inflict as much collective punishment (a war crime) as it likes on the Gazans, but it can’t make Hamas stop fighting, or shooting missiles.

12) Israel also wants, as part of a condition for peace, for Hamas to let it keep hunting down the tunnels. In other words, it wants Hamas to allow Israel to destroy its ability to fight back even a little.

Israel has a problem.  It takes two to make peace, and Hamas won’t.  Israel could re-occupty Gaza, of course, but that leaves them with occupation troops in Gaza indefinitely, and while they’ll eventually root out Hamas, they’ll take significant casualties doing so.  Plus, then, they have to run Gaza rather than just try to starve it into submission.

Though I know of no polling, I have seen more than one interview where non Hamas Gazans have supported Hamas continuing the war until the Israelis lift the siege.  The general consensus seems to be that living in Gaza is death already.

The larger problem is simple enough.  Israel is an apartheid state which wants to pretend it doesn’t rule its Bantustans while at the same time slowly strangling them to death, and in the case of the West Bank, continuing to settle them.

This is an unsustainable position.  Israel needs to either become a secular state with equal citizenship for all residents regardless of religion or ethnicity; or the logic of situation will require them to remove the Palestinians once and for all.

As a bleeding ulcer, Israel does not work.  More and more diaspora Jews are turning away from it.  At some point the foreign aid it requires to exist will go away.

Israel was always a profoundly ill-considered venture: the idea of giving Jews a homeland by pushing current residents out, in many cases literally, of their homes, could only be an ongoing war crime and this is no longer the great colonial era, where genocide to create settler states is acceptable (nor is there a great plague to target only Palestinians and wipe out 90% of their population, as with the Native Americans.)

Israel is a state which, as currently constituted can only continue to exist by engaging in regular and ongoing war crimes and crimes against humanity.  Its right to exist is irrelevant, its ability to exist is the question.  Israel will either engage in as great a crime as was used to justify its existence after World War II, or it will become a secular state.  The two state solution is dead.

33 Responses
  1. Holden Pattern permalink
    July 27, 2014

    The Gowachin want to pretend that they’re somehow not responsible for what happens on the far side of the God Wall in Chu. Sorry, no.

  2. JustPlainDave permalink
    July 27, 2014

    What’s the evidence for the assertion that the damage is worse than Cast Lead?

  3. Ian Welsh permalink
    July 27, 2014

    Q. Schtick has had his comments deleted. If you find my blog infuriating, can’t stand my writing style, and hate the most insightful commenters, please find a blog more congenial to your tastes.


    For the first time since the IOF invaded, Al Mezan gained access to the invaded areas. Our staff confirmed the reports of extensive destruction in property, to the extent of which is unprecedented in the Gaza Strip. The destruction is larger in scale than that inflicted during the 2008/9 Israeli Operation Cast Lead. The areas of Al Shejai’ya and Al Tiffah in Gaza City, and Az-Zanna and Al Qarara in Khan Younis have the appearance of being hit by a powerful earthquake. Thousands of houses were destroyed there.

  4. Celsius 233 permalink
    July 27, 2014

    Israel is, for all practical purposes, committing genocide in increments.
    With U.S. support, it can’t be stopped.

  5. Ian Welsh permalink
    July 27, 2014

    I wouldn’t call it genocide.

    Not yet. Hopefully not ever.

    It has, however, repeatedly ethnic cleansed and engaged in a variety of other war crimes.

  6. Q. Shtik permalink
    July 27, 2014

    My comment immediately above will have been deleted by Ian before you get to read it even though it is 100% on topic and has nothing to do with my pet peeves regarding grammar, etc.

  7. Q. Shtik permalink
    July 27, 2014

    Buh bye.

  8. Celsius 233 permalink
    July 27, 2014

    Ian Welsh
    July 27, 2014
    I wouldn’t call it genocide.
    Not yet. Hopefully not ever.
    Yes, hopefully not ever, but…
    Isn’t genocide the *attempt* and not the result? All evidence points to the fact that Palestinians will never be allowed secure land, food, shelter, education, freedom of movement, etc…
    And the death toll is out of all reason, especially women and children. They are the future of any population. This is a pattern, IMO, when one looks carefully at Israel’s history.

  9. July 27, 2014

    Q. Shtik

    Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.

  10. JustPlainDave permalink
    July 27, 2014

    I’m not so sure about that reporting. The UN overheads based on collection of two days ago for NE Gaza show awfully similar patterns to Cast Lead and their analysts are reporting broadly similar numbers of structures destroyed and damaged. We may be looking at something that is more intense, but also somewhat more spatially limited. Until they release comprehensive overheads covering the whole area, it’s impossible to be sure.

  11. markfromireland permalink
    July 27, 2014

    @ Celsius 233 July 27, 2014

    Convention on Genocide:

    Article 1
    The Contracting Parties confirm that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish.

    Article 2
    In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

    (a) Killing members of the group;
    (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
    (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
    (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
    (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

    Article 3
    The following acts shall be punishable:

    (a) Genocide;
    (b) Conspiracy to commit genocide;
    (c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;
    (d) Attempt to commit genocide;
    (e) Complicity in genocide.

    Article 4
    Persons committing genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in Article 3 shall be punished, whether they are constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals.

    I would say that they’re so close to it as to make no effective difference. You could make plenty of legal arguments against that however.


  12. Celsius 233 permalink
    July 28, 2014

    @ mfi,
    “I would say that they’re so close to it as to make no effective difference. You could make plenty of legal arguments against that however.”
    Thanks for that; basically my point, close enough. It goes hand in hand with an Apartheid Israel.
    It seems axiomatic that we eventually become the enemy we fight…

  13. markfromireland permalink
    July 28, 2014

    @ Celsius 233 July 28, 2014

    They’re a settler state. One thing common to all such states has been the attempt to completely subjugate – if not eliminate, the original population.


  14. July 28, 2014

    I’ve pointed out on my own blog that Hamas has little incentive to surrender. They’re dead irregardless if the siege is not lifted, so why would they stop now? Besides, landing a few missiles near the Tel Aviv airport has inflicted serious economic harm on Israel, since air carrier insurance doesn’t cover acts of war and thus no air carrier will fly into a war zone unless Israel’s government personally insures those half-billion-dollar aircraft — and Israel’s government is so dysfunctional that doing so hasn’t happened yet. If Hamas can keep landing an occasional missile near the airport, sooner or later Israel is going to run out of cash. Hamas is gambling that the longer they wait, the more economic pain they cause, the better the deal they can get.

    But what has surprised me is that Israel itself seems to have little desire for a truce, which baffles me for many of the same reasons you mentioned. The only way they can squash Hamas entirely is to completely re-occupy Gaza and they really don’t want to do that because a) it would require total mobilization of the entire IDF to do that, which basically brings the entire Israeli economy to a halt since that’s every swinging dick in Israel, and b) it would make them unarguably an occupying power, which means that they’re then responsible for housing, feeding, and providing medical care to the Palestinians in Gaza, and the mere thought of being responsible for the well-being of the Palestinians sends them into hyperventilation well familiar to Southerners who remember whites hyperventilating over the thought of whites having to attend school with Negros back in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

    So the tunnels. Israel has ground-penetrating radar. They know where the tunnels are. They can blow them up with bunker buster bombs any time they feel like it, as often as required. So that’s not the reason why Israel is not particularly interested in a cease fire. Then there’s the notion of ethnic cleansing. Well, it wouldn’t be the first time, but when Israel ethnically cleansed Haifa and Jaffa, they let the Palestinians escape via boats. This time they’re firing on any boats that try to escape Gaza.

    So I continue to be baffled about why Israel is continuing their current strategy. Genocide would be one reason, I suppose, a re-enactment of the Warsaw Ghetto with the Palestinian playing the part of the Jews and the Israelis playing the part of the Nazis, but they could do that with bombs, they wouldn’t have to send troops in to do that.

    All in all, there seems no rational reason for Israel to be pursuing its current strategy, which leaves only irrational reasons…

  15. July 28, 2014

    “irrational reasons”

    Yes. Israel has policymakers who are rational, but they’ve long been overridden by a political order dominated by settler ideologues. So as the contradictions heighten, Israeli policy becomes more incoherent.

  16. markfromireland permalink
    July 28, 2014

    It is entirely possible to behave rationally in order to reach irrational goals.

    In other words you have goal X which is irrational. Tuchmanian folly is a prime example. But your behaviour in pursuit of that goal is both rational and logical.


  17. Celsius 233 permalink
    July 28, 2014

    I just listened to the Ratner Report @ TRNN and he accused the Israelis of *incremental genocide*. Micheal Ratner is one of Julian Assange’s lawyers.

    The segment is quite an indictment of many crimes committed by Israel. Ratner has credibility.

  18. July 28, 2014

    many crimes committed by Israel

    Yes. This is what Israel does.

    Israelis may rationalize the crimes of their state and some of their people by pointing to the crimes of others, but that doesn’t make their actions any less criminal.

    The periodic partial extermination campaigns conducted by Israel against what they consider to be their subject peoples in the Palestinian territories as well as Lebanon and Syria seem to be more like sport, exercise and entertainment than purposeful military campaigns, largely because so little changes as a consequence of them, and cyclic repetition is all but foregone. The current extermination campaign is a near-duplicate of Cast Lead.

    Despite the rhetoric out of Israel and some of the Arab states, the main actors in this stalemate seem content with the game and continuing it indefinitely. But the Palestinian players are not cooperating. Not this time.

    Yes, it’s true that Hamas fighters are somewhat better organized and prepared, so they are able to inflict occasional casualties on the Israelis, unlike in previous encounters wherein Hamas were simply pathetic and the Israelis took to shooting fleeing families in the streets because there was no one else around to kill.

    The destruction and extermination being wrought by Israel is perhaps more inclusive this time around, but the Gaza inmates are also fighting back more effectively. The Israeli propaganda machine is apparently on automatic pilot and its operators can’t seem to recognize that the Palestinians have developed a sophisticated propaganda enterprise of their own — one that is running rings around the Israeli one. It’s not merely a matter of showing all the dead babies, so many of them simply ripped to pieces by Israeli targeted strikes, it is also a matter of the full-throated demands being made over and over again by a surprisingly unified Palestinian people that Israel desist from its crimes, lift the siege, and become what it could be.

    It’s a powerful message that seems to be penetrating consciousness even in Israel and around the world.

    Netanyahu’s lies are being exposed in almost real time. The fabricated rationale for this extermination campaign fell to pieces some time ago. The point of the exercise — apart from killing and destruction for its own sake — seems lost. Leveling whole neighborhoods and destroying everything that might be of use to a civil society has nothing to do with “tunnels” or “rockets”. It’s merely murder. Crime.

    Such crimes committed for their own sake are madness. Madness on such a scale cannot be sustained. Every previous imperial-colonial-settler society has discovered that; Palestinians are demanding that Israelis come to their senses. It may not work this time, but the seeds have been planted.

  19. July 28, 2014

    The two state solution is dead.

    So too is the one state solution. It’s clear Palestinians and Israelis aren’t ever going to peacefully coexist in that small space, and it’s clear the Palestinians will disproportionately suffer more than the Israelis as a result of this seemingly intractable, eternal conflict. Pursuant to that, my plan will help alleviate the immediate and gruesome disproportionate suffering of the Palestinians and ultimately end the conflict. You can get on board with it or you can “resist” it and condemn the Palestinians to an eternal existence of hopelessness and desperate suffering.

    It’s Time We Have That Talk

  20. Celsius 233 permalink
    July 28, 2014

    Cold N. Holefield
    July 28, 2014
    Gods be good, I thought we were shut of you…
    Please go away, please…

  21. The Tragically Flip permalink
    July 28, 2014

    I’m now wondering when the “ulcer” as Ian calls it ruptures into full scale armed militia led mass ethnic cleansing in the West Bank. The Settlers take acre after acre, eventually the Palestinians will have to fight, having no useful/arable land left to live on.

    My guess is the settlers armed groups do the majority of the dirty work, and the IDF “peacekeeps” by mostly looking the other way while they do so, and prevent the Palestinians from mounting any kind of effective defence.

    It’s the only end-game I can see on the current trajectory of ongoing land theft. Of course when it happens it will appear to stupid people that the Palestinians “started it” because they will choose some particular moment to fight back in a concerted way.

  22. The Tragically Flip permalink
    July 28, 2014

    I also think the rockets reaching Tel Aviv’s airport and causing a temporary halt to international air travel to Israel was a significant event. If the Palestinians can routinely render Israel a no-fly zone to civilian aircraft, they will have a pretty damn effective form of asymmetric warfare.

    Rockets fired randomly into civilian towns/cities do very little damage. Rockets that cancel dozens of flights whether they hit anything or not, now that’s pain Israel will feel.

  23. markfromireland permalink
    July 28, 2014

    @ The Tragically Flip July 28, 2014 I used to know somebody (now retired) who was responsible for developing the American tourist market for Bord Fáilte Eireann the then name for the Irish National Tourism Development Authority. She and her colleagues used to say that one bomb in Belfast meant at least 50 cancellations by American tourists of holidays in the Republic. You’re right but it’s not enough in and of itself if they were also to start hitting some of the tourist resorts they’d be causing real pain.


  24. Amnon Portugaly permalink
    July 29, 2014

    This is a most bigoted, dogmatic, biased article. I am not going to exonerate Israel of its policy towards the Palestinian people and itself, but a one sided diatribe aimed at Israel wouldn’t do.

    A black flag is hovering on this article, a downplay of the significance of Hamas. While Welsh expose, and rightly so, the plight of the Palestinians people in Gaza, he ignores the big elephant in the room – the role of Hamas in this terrible situation.

    Let me remind you, that Hamas is firing rockets and mortar bombs at Israeli cities since 2001. The people of Sderot, Ashkelon, Beersheba and Ashdod in Israel, live under the threat of rockets and mortar bombs from Gaza, and their children sleep in shelters since 2001. They are under attack from Gaza, and they don’t know for how long or when it will end.

    During the last two weeks, Hamas launched over two thousand rockets on Israel, aiming at towns and cities, at schools, hotels, hospitals, and other civilian targets. Without ‘Iron Dome’ defense system, without warning system and bomb shelters, Israel death toll would have been in the hundreds even thousands.

    They have a lot of bomb shelters in Gaza. Gaza is chockfull with tunnels and bunkers, from smuggling tunnels to rocket launching tunnels to military tunnels. However these tunnels and bunkers are exclusively used to shelter the leaders and troops and rockets of Hamas and not for ordinary citizens of Gaza.

    The blame is on Gaza ‘elected’ leaders, the Hamas. Hamas choose to spend all its treasures on offensive weapons. From trying to import rockets from Iran and Syria, to building homemade rockets, to digging military tunnels below the border with Israel and Egypt, etc. they did not invest in infrastructure, neither in shelters or warning systems.

    Gaza Strip has been under siege since 2007, for excellent reasons, as otherwise Hamas would have succeed in importing all kinds of modern rockets and missiles, not to mention other kind of weapons, turning Gaza into a formidable fully equipped terrorist state. This is the reason that the people of Gaza are ‘imprisoned’ with nowhere to run.

    It is interesting that Welsh entire diatribe is aimed at Israel. Egypt, which has a border with Gaza, is not at the picture. Try: The people of Gaza cannot leave or enter without Egypt’s permission. Egypt open and close its border with Gaza at will.
    Israel, even now, as we speak, allows food, medicines and essential items to pass into Gaza on a daily basis.

  25. July 29, 2014

    Iron Dome was a farce. Gazan rockets would hardly have hit anything anyway. The cynical attempt to turn responsibility for the conflict onto the insurgency against Israel’s control of the area instead of the controlling power, Israel itself, has to stop.

  26. July 29, 2014

    If Israel refuses to lift the siege, isn’t it kind of a stretch to say Hamas are the ones refusing a truce? The rejection is mutual: Hamas could have a truce if they surrendered and rolled over (maybe, until the next time Israel invades) but they won’t do it; Israel could have a truce if they’d allow Gazans adequate access to the basic needs of a civilized society but they won’t do it.

  27. Lando permalink
    July 29, 2014

    I agree, stop the diaspora and urge Israel to become a secular, plural state. That is the only hope of a sustainable long-term solution. Everything else is problematic. That land is unique and could sustain all peoples as a spiritual and cultural tourist attraction for centuries if they could get its act together. The Zionist fantasy is silly. Once they drop this fantasy then they will have the moral high ground to take on the Muslim fundamentalists and their intolerance. It’s incremental but this is the sustainable path.

  28. The Tragically Flip permalink
    July 30, 2014

    Rockets which kill fewer people than food poisoning, construction accidents & car fires cannot be any kind of moral justification to bomb a civilian city.

    Only moral imbeciles could pretend to argue this.

  29. July 30, 2014 this is something that you will want to read, though you will have to decide what, if anything, you want to do the it.

  30. Formerly T-Bear permalink
    August 1, 2014

    @ stirling #63675 30 July 2014

    Is it possible you copy a snippet from your cited site that gives an idea of what you’re referring? There is no way in this universe that I shall ever knowingly visit that creatures cheeto-dust infested dens. At the moment (1 August 2014), the creature is over at Moon of Alabama in full furry defending, of course, zionist rights to murder innocents to defend themselves or some such pile of immoral shite. Thanks.

  31. Albion permalink
    August 2, 2014

    “As a bleeding ulcer, Israel does not work. More and more diaspora Jews are turning away from it. At some point the foreign aid it requires to exist will go away.”

    Ian, this is a point frequently overlooked in this tragic situation.
    I think it is one that Australia should be very concerned about as they will no doubt all want to come here. The thought of all those bellicose, arrogant Jews living in Oz is not appealing.

    A better solution would be for a new Jewish homeland to be established in USA, Arizona perhaps? They would be close to their support base and amongst like-minded people.

    I suppose they would start picking on Latinos then? Need a nuclear armed Mexico perhaps?

  32. Formerly T-Bear permalink
    August 2, 2014

    @ Albion

    Give the zionists Texas, call the geographical centre Jerusalem, that’ll keep the zionists away from the border areas, make whatever petroleum reserves an acceptance gift to keep the creatures happy. There isn’t much else in Texas of much value anymore anyway (that would be missed or be incapable of duplication elsewhere).

  33. Jason Bonham permalink
    August 4, 2014

    The current situation in Gaza is the saddest irony in our time. The abused become the abusers. It makes me wonder if in 100 years future Palestinians will find a group of people to abuse to their death.

    They say antisemitism is on the rise in Europe. Given how few Jewish individuals have spoken against the horror, I am un-surprised. This type of action divides people everywhere and its only going to get worse.

Comments are closed.