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Operation Solid Rock, Gaza Invasion, Begins

Bibi Netanyahu, desperate to distract the public from the serial ineptitude of his police force in preventing two appalling kidnap-murders, one of Israeli youths and another of a Palestinian, has begun Operation Solid Rock (Tzuk Eytan–could also be translated as “Mighty Cliff”).  The IDF is mangling the translation of the phrase by calling it “Operation Protective Edge.”  That isn’t even close to the Hebrew.  But who ever accused the IDF of being precise and accurate?

IDF PR flacks had a problem: they couldn’t call it “Solid Rock” in English since that conveys strength and aggression.  By calling it “Protective Edge” they successful conceal the aggression in a phrase that has defensive connotations, making it perfect for foreign consumption.  Hasbara at work!

It has flown 90 sorties in the past 24 hours.  At least nine Gazans are dead in the past two days.

gaza invasion

Israeli airstrike on Rafah, July 8th (Reuters)

Now, finally IDF soldiers, who’ve been posting to Facebook pictures of their bodies engraved with messages calling for revenge (for the murder of the three Israeli youths near Hebron) will get their wish.  They can slaughter (almost) all the Gazans they wish.

I’m tempted to call it Operation Falling Off a Cliff, for that is what these military adventures always turn into.  A military source has told my Israeli partner that “a ground invasion is inevitable,” but “it will be limited.”

Typically uncouth Israeli officials like to use such snappy phrases as “cutting the grass” or “the landlord’s gone mad” to describe these regular love letters from the IDF to Hamas.  These recall the hard-hearted Pharaoh of the Book of Exodus.  Remember that his hard-heart led to the liberation of the Israelites and the founding of their nation in their own land.

lieberman ends coalition cartoon

Lieberman jettisons Bibi’s sidecar on the way to Gaza war and the next election.

This assault will be compared to Operations Cast Lead and Pillar of Cloud, the first a massive invasion and the second a more limited operation.  I can’t believe either Bibi or the Israeli public has the stomach for another Cast Lead.  So this will likely be closer to Pillar of Cloud.  During that incursion “only” 150 Gazans were killed and no Israelis.  The casualty count will be similar this time.

All of these deaths are needless of course.  They’re testimony not just to Israel’s obduracy and rejectionism, but to the indifference of the international community which needs to come to its senses and intervene to stop the slow-mo decimation of peace, justice, and Palestinian sovereignty.

Israel is a garrison nation in a constant state of war with its neighbors.  Nothing and no one within Israel is capable of transforming the country into a peaceful country.  That’s why the rest of the world better do it before Israel lights the match and the entire region bursts into flame.

In a related matter, Avigdor Lieberman withdrew his party from its alliance with Netanyahu’s Likud.  The two parties will continue in the same ruling coalition, but Lieberman will now be free to voice his criticisms in a fiercer manner.  Not to mention he can position himself for a run for PM in the next elections unencumbered by a too-close relationship with Bibi.  Ynet speculates that the reason for the break up is Netanyahu’s less than fierce response to the Hebron kidnapping.  Lieberman wanted fireworks in Gaza.  All Bibi’s offered is a single sparkler that fizzled out quickly.  Undoubtedly, Operation Tzuk Eytan is a response to Lieberman’s criticism.  Much of what Bibi does including killing Gazans is dictated by trying to outmaneuver his political competitors and seeking political advantage.

Indeed, it appears Bibi has outmaneuvered his hawkish ministers once again.  During the past week, he’d been mercilessly attacked by Lieberman and Naftali Bennet for his wimpish response.  Now he gets to go on the offensive.  The PMO, in a statement aired on Israel Radio, assailed them for “behavior that was irresponsible, brat-like and wanton” in attacking security forces in their hour of need as they go forth to battle against Israel’s foes in Gaza.  Further, Bibi’s media messengers claim that such divisiveness only plays into the hands of the enemy, which hopes that the nation is divided and unable to deal decisively with Gaza.

There are one hundreds ways to refute this nonsense, but no need.  What’s important is to see how tactically brilliant, but strategically vacuous Netanyahu is.

{ 23 comments… add one }
  • Canuck July 8, 2014, 6:08 AM

    Please do correct me if I am mistaken, bus as I understand it, you believe that the only solution to end this cycle of violence is for Israel to go back to its 1967 borders, evacuate its settlements, share Jerusalem and grant Palestinian refugees the right of return and/or compensation. How that would manifest itself, in a one or two state solution, is I imagine, a question that would be answered on the negotiation table. My question then is, what is your advice to Hamas then? How would you have them conduct themselves under the current circumstances? It seems to me that if Netanyahu is motivated primarily by the desire to distract from his security services’ ineptitude, Hamas is playing into his hands by unleashing a barrage of rockets on Israeli civilians. Why would they willingly and openly play into his hands like that?

    • Baldur July 8, 2014, 10:12 AM

      I think the majority of all people are in agreement that Hamas pretty much always ends up playing into Netanyahu’s hands. It takes two to tango – even though one parts leads and the other follows, which is evident in the case of the occupation and the violent resistance.

    • Donald July 8, 2014, 11:54 AM

      I’m just guessing, but I suspect the internal politics of Hamas reward stupid saber-rattling behavior. They pride themselves on being the party that hasn’t sold out to the Israelis and I’m guessing that with that mindset the more idiotic militarists have a natural advantage. Violence looks tough and is therefore good, no matter how much harm it brings to own’s own society.

      Of course I’m thousands of miles away, but it seems to work that way with American rightwingers, so why not the Palestinian variety?

      And yes, the end result is that they play into the hands of Israeli militarists. Rightwing idiots all through history acquire power in their own societies thanks to the rightwing idiots in other societies. They are unconscious allies of each other.

      • Richard Silverstein July 8, 2014, 11:45 PM

        @ Donald: That’s actually false. Hamas, though a movement I support, is quite pragmatic politically. When you murder a Palestinian boy by making him drink gasoline & then lighting him on fire it tends to rile up Palestinians a bit. Hamas’ response to this is not “stupid saber rattling.” Abbas’ example for Palestinians was to serve as quisling. Hamas wanted to set a different example. One of resistance. Israel doesn’t offer anything to quislings. But it does respond to enemies when they resist. And this makes Hamas stronger even as they take a beating.

        • Canuck July 9, 2014, 1:14 AM

          So Hamas responds to the murder of the Palestinian boy by playing to their constituents’ anger and lobbing rockets at Israeli civilians not involved in the murder thus inviting the inevitable reprisal from Netanyahu and the IDF which will in turn result in the inevitable deaths of innocent Palestinian civilians. You consider this course of action pragmatic because it makes Hamas stronger; could you possibly explain how? I mean yes, obviously the people will rally in support of their government even as they bear the brunt of the Israeli attack, and as the civilian body count inevitably grows, Hamas will benefit from world sympathy… which may inevitably lead to a free Palestine I guess? Now, back to my original question, if you were advising Hamas, what would you tell them to do? I am assuming you do not support the indiscriminate firing of rockets into Israel civilian areas – but what then is the alternative? What does the middle ground between quisling and Hamas-style resistance look like?

        • sanych July 9, 2014, 8:42 AM

          Well, Richard, according to Jerusalem Post, the leaders of the terrorist organization you support are running for cover and begging for truce.

          • Richard Silverstein July 9, 2014, 3:03 PM

            according to Jerusalem Post

            You should’ve stopped right there. JP knows as much about Hamas as I know about nuclear physics.

        • Donald July 9, 2014, 8:50 AM

          To be clear, I put most of the blame for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the Israeli side–not just this latest outbreak, but the whole thing.

          I’m far from being an expert, but my impression is that Hamas has a range of views within it, some pragmatic and some not. During periods of intense Israeli violence, like now, it’s natural that the ones inclined to fire rockets will seem more persuasive. As Canuck said, Palestinians will be so enraged by Israeli brutality many or most will cheer the rockets. But rocket fire, so far as I can tell, as achieved nothing for the Gazans.

          It’s not that I think violence never works (however one defines “working”). Hezbollah drove Israel out of southern Lebanon, for instance. But Hamas rocket fire seems to do nothing except provide Israel with a propaganda tool that they exploit to win sympathy in the West. We’ve all heard countless references (some of them from Obama himself) to the “rain of rockets” that poor little Israel has to take from Gaza–we hear virtually nothing about the Gazan farmers and fishermen that Israel shoots at during “ceasefires”.

    • Andy July 8, 2014, 9:34 PM

      Maybe they’re not willingly and openly playing into his hands: maybe they’re just sick and f*cking tired of living under siege. One more time, folks: If Israel is not willing to lift the siege of Gaza, then it is not serious about stopping the rockets.

  • Elisabeth July 8, 2014, 6:36 AM

    I wonder about that too.
    But maybe it is just anger at the large number of recent assasinations by Israel. Maybe they hav just been sucessfully provoked.

    • ben July 8, 2014, 1:55 PM

      proverbial kicking the bees nest?

  • bluto July 8, 2014, 7:40 AM

    I think Sec Kerry just may be on a desperate mission to Tel Aviv to STOP the Israeli Civil War breaking out between Lieberman’s ‘Settler IDF’ and Yair Lapid/Livini/Diskin’s IDF

    Just as he did successfully in Sept 2012, Diskin appears to again be leading a ‘Israeli General’s Revolt’ against Netanyahu, with Diskin’s natural allies being Lapid (whom Hillary and Kerry have been courting as a successor when Bibi is toppled), and Livni and what else is left of ersatz Israel

    I think Mad King Bibi has instigated this 3rd Intifada to desperately try to cover this looming Israeli Civil War as his last desperate ploy to appease Bennett/Lieberman, but breaking news today that Lieberman HAS LEFT deal he had with Bibi if not soon the coalition itself, and Netanyahu’s government appears to be collapsing in the face of Diskin’s ‘Israeli General’s Revolt’ and INTENSE US and AIPAC pressure

    Israel is fracturing – which is a good thing – the One State was inevitable at this point and hopefully that happens QUICKLY so international forces can deal with the ‘Hilltop IDF’ or ‘Settler IDF’ of Bennett/Lieberman

    Here’s evidence of the civil- and IDF-crevasses splitting Israel apart:

    JPOST is reporting ‘Settler IDF’/’Ultra-Nationalist IDF’ are openly wearing ‘Ultra-Nationalist stickers’/’Kahane was Right’

    Shimon Pere’s urgent and desperate calls on Naftali Bennett and Yvet Lieberman to restrain the ultra-nationalist/IDF or ‘Settler IDF’ is falling on deaf ears…

    Yair Lapid (of Yesh Atid) is also in desperate confrontation with Netanyahu and Bennett – saying quote “Extreme right-wing forces are pushing us toward the delusional idea of annexation… but we will not allow this to happen. Yesh Atid will not only bolt from the government, it will bring it down.”

    This is the provoked 3rd Intifada meant to cover up the Israel Civil War – and it ain’t gonna work – Apartheid Israel is slamming into the ICC in 54 days like Diana into that concrete pylon in Paris

    Kerry’s trip will be way too late to be of any use – Israel has been playing a bluff all along, it can NEVER evacuate the 100,000’s of armed fanatic paramilitary Jewish settlers from Palestine, EVER.
    Bibi is GONE – his COLASSAL MISTAKE of actually putting Israeli units into MILITARY CONFRONTATION with US forces – without coordination or consultation – will go down in history as an almost unimaginable blunder – the US had to put up a NO FLY OUT OF ISRAEL-ZONE to stop this year’s Israeli attack on Iran. A historic, cataclysmic blunder

    Diskin was pivotal in STOPPING Mad King Bibi in Sept 2012, when Bibi tried to force Obama into a war with Iran and Obama stuffed him. Obama had help from Diskin at that time, and Diskin essentially led the ‘Israeli General’s Revolt against Bibi at that time. Obama and Kerry will undoubtedly be working with Dikskin, Lapid and Livni in the Post-Netanyahu Catastrophe, as Israel itself devolves into Civil War, and International forces eventually start protecting Palestine from Israel

    • YoMamma July 8, 2014, 12:27 PM

      While I may not agree with all of it, this is by far one of the most interesting conceptions of the events that are transpiring now. Something that I’ll have to continue to think about and weigh. A nice contribution, bluto.

      • ben July 8, 2014, 2:43 PM

        The one thing i always thought was that if there ever was a 3rd uprising it would not be just a Palestinian one but also include the settlers/radical elements of the IDF. One could argue that this all started with the hill top youth and then bloomed into the events that are taking fold coupled with the lack of law enforcement against perpetrators that only emboldened their stance.

        As Richard points out the settlers have the IDF on their side while the Pals have virtually no one with any muscle. The only good thing is violent uprisings are real bad for PR and since Israel has already dug itself soo deep this just might be the imputes that international community needs to actually gain some kahunas and do something about the situation.

        • Shlomo July 14, 2014, 7:08 PM

          > “this all started with the hill top youth”

          No. With the 2 Arab boys the IDF killed in cold blood.

          > “imputes that international community needs to actually gain some kahunas and do something about the situation.”



          Israel will only stop when (1) the world shuns it completely; (2) it…and/or Jews around the world…suffer significant pain; (3) America pulls the plug financially/diplomatically; or (4) the “war on terror” comes home to the USA for real.

  • Nimrod Cohen July 8, 2014, 12:11 PM

    Richard will you ever ….ever have something good to say about Israel ?? When will you b happy and content when Israel will fall and the dreams of a whole nation will shatter.?

    • Richard Silverstein July 8, 2014, 11:42 PM

      @ Nimrod Cohen: My wish is not for Israel to “fall” or have its dreams shattered. My wish is for Israel to be transformed into a nation that realizes the interests of its Jewish and non-Jewish citizens fully. That is not at all the same as Israel “falling” or being destroyed.

  • Yonatan July 8, 2014, 1:44 PM

    Some time ago you predicted such a move by Israel and gave it the name ‘Operation Punching Bag’. I think that is the best and most appropriate choice.

    • Richard Silverstein July 8, 2014, 11:41 PM

      @ Yonatan: Thanks for reminding me of that!

  • Oui July 8, 2014, 3:15 PM

    Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense of 2012 was ended through mediation of Egypt’s Morsi (Muslim Brotherhood), Erdogan of Turkey (MB) and Hillary Clinton (supporter MB). The Emir of Qatar, the great funder of Hamas in Gaza, lost out to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. No sympathy for Hamas in the present political game of the Middle East giving PM Netanyahu a free hand to act as he wishes. Obama has no political clout with Israel.

  • Markus July 8, 2014, 11:10 PM

    Operation Burning Children would be a more fitting name.

  • Shlomo July 14, 2014, 7:03 PM

    The world must force Israel back to the 1948 borders, not rewarding it with so much as an INCH of new territory.

    It had 65 years to play nice. Instead, it kept making trouble to steal ever more land.

    If things blow up and gas costs $10/gal, it won’t the Amish who are blamed for the crimes of the “Jewish State.”

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