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Gaza Invasion: Day 2, 27 Palestinian Dead

This is the second day of Operation Protective Edge (“Solid Rock”). So far, 27 Palestinians have been killed, eight of them children, by massive Israeli air strikes. Two Israelis have been injured lightly. This is the first stage of what will eventually move to a ground invasion. That’s why 40,000 Israeli reservists have been called up.  Don’t believe media reports in which Netanyahu and Yaalon say Israel “may be forced” to invade. They are going to invade according to my Israeli source. Though the source assures that the invasion will have “limited objectives.” I suppose we’re supposed to be comforted by the fact that “limited objectives” means “only” 150 will die this time as opposed to 1,400 during Cast Lead.

Israel has the quaint idea that phoning the inmates besieged there telling them to abandon their homes because an attack is imminent is sufficient to avoid a war crimes charge.  This is nonsense. Your duty is not just to warn civilians to abandon their homes, but to avoid murdering them at all.  So if you warn them and they don’t do what you’ve ordered them to do, that doesn’t entitle you to dump their home on their heads as Israel did in killing 7 members of one family yesterday.  Instead of fleeing, the neighbors of this family acted as “shields” hoping to protect them, and offering to die with them if they couldn’t.  The Israeli air force gave them one of their wishes when it destroyed the home with many people inside.  A war crime on a par with the one that murdered Salah Shehadeh and 15 other innocent civilians who just happened to live in his apartment building when it was levelled by a 2,000 pound bomb.

Rockets launched from Gaza were intercepted over Tel Aviv and Jerusalemites heard air raid sirens and a rocket was intercepted over Ein Kerem. One landed in the West Bank settlement of Givat Zeev, very near Jerusalem.  I don’t believe that’s ever happened before. Certainly an escalation Israelis had feared.  Nurit Peled Elchanan wrote on Facebook:

Seems like they are bombarding the whole country. Sirens in Jerusalem and lots of Booming, airplanes above my house. Thought Jerusalem was safe…

In one bold stroke Bibi Netanyahu has changed the media narrative from kidnapping and murder, along with riots and beaten children; to Israel’s march into Gaza.  Nothing rallies a nation like a good war.  Watch to see how Israeli liberal Zionists respond.  You will see Meretz and Labor support the war, perhaps with a few caveats, but support nonetheless.  Then about a week or so into it, when it’s clear that the Palestinian bodies are piling up like cordwood and no one in Israel’s military or security apparatus can explain what the objectives are nor see that they’ve been achieved.  Then you’ll hear murmurings of criticism from the so-called Israeli political left.

I’m not of course talking about the real Israeli left, those who have abandoned hope that Israeli politics has the answer to any major social question affecting the nation: the NGOs, the solidarity groups.  All of these are the salt of the earth and the only thing worth saving in the current Likudist mess that is Israel.

Whenever Israel decides to “mow the grass” it sends its cyber-warriors once more into the social media breach, where they rally to the defense of poor Israel, only trying to protect its own from the terror of Hamas rockets.  If only those vicious Palestinians would stop firing missiles there could be peace.  It’s them, all their fault.

Which begs the question: if Israel invaded the West Bank after three teenagers were murdered, arresting 500, killing 7, and ransacking hundreds of homes just for the hell of it–after a Palestinian boy was murdered in equally, if not more brutal fashion, are the Palestinians not entitled to vent their rage?  Or is it only Israel that has that right?  If that’s so–and Israelis clearly believe it is, then they’ve turned the Middle East into a Hobbesian nightmare (a “war of all against all”).  Eventually, no one on either side will e left standing.

The name “Operation Protective Edge” has no relation to the original Hebrew name, Solid Rock (Tzuk Eytan).  The army’s hasbara department realized that “Solid Rock” just would not due for the foreign audience.  It connoted military strength, assertiveness and aggression.  Those are all qualities that appeal to Israelis, but don’t look so good to an international audience already predisposed to think the worst regarding Israeli militarism.  So it devised the more defensive-minded phrase “Protective Edge.”  “Protection” means defending; and it’s always good when Israel has an “edge” over its enemies.  Who can find fault with that, right?  Right.

This Haaretz column by Sefi Rachlevsky pretty much suits my view of today’s Israel: dark, cynical, bordering on hopelessness  It mirrors my own analysis that the right-wing ultra-nationalist lunatics have taken over the asylum that is Israel.  Here is the concluding paragraph:

Any talk of peace is meaningless and unimportant if a complete upheaval doesn’t take place in Israel – one that will get rid of the spirit of Netanyahu and his elite theological unit, the religion of Rabbi [Dov] Lior [one of the most exreme settler rabbis]. In the balance rests the dream of generations for an enlightened state, a dream that’s a moment away from being extinguished from within.

It’s a very incisive piece that’s well-informed and worth reading.

{ 32 comments… add one }
  • That's the rub, isn't it? July 8, 2014, 10:56 PM

    Richard, you are right on the money with this: …”and no one in Israel’s military or security apparatus can explain what the objectives are nor see that they’ve been achieved”.

    Netanyahu has unleashed the IDF on the Gaza Strip because he is outraged that Hamas refuses to be frightened.

    That’s pretty much it: Bibi believes that Israel has a **right** to drop bombs on the Gaza Strip, and he is **outraged** that Hamas then decides to retaliate when those bombs kill seven of their men.

    That’s not allowed. That lack of fear can not be allowed to stand.

    Israel is supposed to have a monopoly on dishing out death and, having dished it out, it expects the other side to meekly accept their lot.

    This is a war of spite, nothing more, nothing less.

    • Blue Moon July 9, 2014, 10:12 AM

      Didn’t Netanyahu extend a ceasefire offer to Hamas a few days ago?

      • That's the rub, isn't it? July 9, 2014, 8:21 PM

        “Didn’t Netanyahu extend a ceasefire offer to Hamas a few days ago?”

        Was that before or after he had the IDF kill seven Hamas men?

        It’s a bit rich to whack a brace of men and **then** say “well, let’s not be too hasty here!”

        Put the shoe on the other foot e.g. imagine if Hamas took out an IDF post, killing seven Israeli soldiers, and then Mashal extends the “offer of a ceasefire” to Netanyahu.

        Wouldn’t Netanyahu calmly explain to his opposite number that, no, wait a moment, he still hasn’t has his turn yet.

        These things are “tit-for-tat”, unless you are an Israeli, in which case it’s “tit-for-oh, be a sport, wadda’ say we call the whole thing off”

        • Mary Hughes Thompson July 9, 2014, 8:27 PM

          Hadn’t heard that. I know Hamas extended one to Israel.

    • chet380 July 9, 2014, 11:28 AM

      The “insects”, the “vermin”, the “untermenschen” must not, under any circumstances, be permitted to protest to the Zionist boot on their necks.

  • sam July 9, 2014, 12:30 AM

    I always read your articles.
    i like them because the more you attack Israel, the more angry you are, the better we (as Israelis) are doing…
    you seem to be very very angry now, which mean, that, obviously, we are doing something very good which is why its hurt you.

    keep on the “good work”, keep braking like a mad dog. and we keep doing what is right, and just and good for Israel, as we always did and always will do.


    from a “Self loving Jew”…

    • Richard Silverstein July 9, 2014, 3:07 PM

      @ sam: Sam’s infantile response reminds me of when I was 4 years old and my mother asked me to leave the playground. I was having so much fun I didn’t want to leave. SO when she asked again, I became stubborn and did exactly the opposite of what she wanted, just to spite her. For adults it’s called cutting off your nose to spite your face. Israel and Sam both look mighty foolish noseless.

    • That's the rub, isn't it? July 9, 2014, 8:35 PM

      “the better we (as Israelis) are doing”

      Here’s something to think about while you tally up the for-and-against casualty lists….

      Hamas’ tactic is fairly straightforward: they have (a) a stockpile of rockets and (b) a rough compass heading pointing to Sderot and points further.

      Whatever you think of the morality/legality of that tactic, one thing we can all agree on is that this target list is inexhaustible i.e. so long as Hamas still has rockets then it can keep shooting them in The General Direction Of Israel.

      Now compare that with Netanyahu, who has ordered the IDF to (a) take its precision weapons and (b) take out the houses of senior Hamas officials.

      Whatever you think regarding the morality/legality of that tactic, one thing we can all agree on is that the IDF will have reached the bottom of that target list in a matter of days, if it hasn’t already done so.

      What then, sam?

      Hamas will still be doin’ what it is doin’, and those rockets will still be flying.

      But what does the IDF do when it has flattened the last Hamas-occupied residence? Does it go back and bomb the rubble, just to show everyone who’s boss?

      This is a ludicrous response from Netanyahu to a “crisis” that he has engineered himself with his ludicrous response to the taking of those three “settler” kids, and all of it is in the service of his ludicrous hysteria about the prospect of the Palestinians forming a government of national unity.

      • Mary Hughes Thompson July 9, 2014, 8:38 PM

        Maybe that’s what Israel will do, Richard. It flattened the brand new Gaza airport years ago, but it always goes back and drops a few more whenever it’s in the mood for an invasion. Did it again this week. Waste of my tax money if you ask me.

  • poirefrais July 9, 2014, 12:38 AM

    Devastating, heartbreaking. These are civilians.
    America FINANCES THIS!!!???
    Operation xx does not sanitize what it is. unjust tyranny, using hamas to blame, or any old excuse.
    Who will stop this? Who will stop Netanyahu?
    Will the international community be silent, and the US administration, who are complicit? Shame!

    Thank you for reporting. Please keep on. many people rely on your posts to know what is really happening.

  • nessim dayan July 9, 2014, 4:02 AM

    can you please post the full haaretz column, it is not visible to most of us thanks

    • Donald July 9, 2014, 8:52 AM

      I think you can register for free and then read it, but am not sure. I did this once, but would have to dig around to find my password.

      • Eamon July 9, 2014, 9:28 AM

        Search the URL in Google, and then click on the little green arrow to the right of the URL in the search result and click cached.

    • Oui July 9, 2014, 9:56 AM

      Sefi Rachlevsky: Talk of peace is futile without regime change – Opinion …

      Read parts here:
      Democratic Underground

      • chet380 July 9, 2014, 11:38 AM

        OMG — what hope is there with these religious maniacs in place?

  • Robin July 9, 2014, 8:46 AM

    Hi Richard,
    In the past, you have commented on the efficacy of Iron Dome. Does this recent use (unfortunate that is has to be used) confirm or refute your earlier suggestions? Is there any comment from your sources?

    Thanks in advance!

  • Diane V. McLoughlin (@McLoughlinPost) July 9, 2014, 11:45 AM

    Jewish Voice for Peace has published a petition in the form of an open letter, entitled, ‘We Must Face the Root Causes of This Crisis’:
    Link: link to org.salsalabs.com
    The Letter states, in part, that:
    ‘Our unshakeable commitment to freedom and justice compels us to acknowledge that the crisis in Israel and Palestine has its root in the Israeli government’s commitment to occupation.’
    We must reaffirm that all Israelis and Palestinians deserve security, justice, and equality.’

  • Elisabeth July 9, 2014, 12:04 PM

    63 dead by now I read…

    • Richard Silverstein July 9, 2014, 2:57 PM

      @ Elisabeth: I’ll update the number of dead when I write my post for the day later tonight. Thanks.

  • Arie Brand July 9, 2014, 4:52 PM

    The headline on the BBC last night: “Israel under renewed Hamas attack”.

  • Mary Hughes Thompson July 9, 2014, 7:18 PM

    Apparently one family of 8 was slaughtered by accident. They left their home as ordered but “returned too soon” and the pilot couldn’t divert the bomb once he realized the family was home. So their fault. I’m sure the pilot will sleep soundly tonight.
    link to haaretz.com

  • KKND July 9, 2014, 10:30 PM

    “Bemilchamot Gam Yeladim Metim”

    • Richard Silverstein July 10, 2014, 1:57 AM

      @ KKND: No, only in Israeli wars against Arabs do Arab children die. Very few Israeli children die in any wars Israel wreaks on its neighbors.

      • leeor July 10, 2014, 5:25 AM

        [comment deleted: expressing your pejorative opinion that Hamas is this or that or does this or that is not permitted unless you can support your opinion with credible sources or facts. In fact your claim was a lie unsupported by any credible source. I also do not publish outlandish conspiratorial, pejorative comments about Israel when they are not supported by credible sources. That’s why such opinions have no weight & will not be published.]

        • leeor July 10, 2014, 2:38 PM

          @Richard: since you ask so nicely, here’s an interview with Hamas spokesperson – link to youtube.com

          Again, my post (before it was moderated for not aligning with the narrative around here) wasn’t claiming that bombing these houses is a good solution, it may very well be the last one Israel resorts to before entering a full scale ground operation, since all the other military targets are safely hidden beneath civilian houses, schools and mosques (I hope you don’t need a source for that, it’s easily found on the web).
          I’m just saying that if Hamas really wanted to minimize civilian casualties on their side, there are very simple steps it could do (and i’m not even suggesting that they stopped firing their rockets, god forbid you should take that basic “right” away from them). I’d start by suggesting that people stay away from targets that are about to be bombed, not gather there for a picnic. Of course that doesn’t reduce the Israeli responsibility for the bombing, but it would sure as hell save precious lives.

          • Mary Hughes Thompson July 10, 2014, 3:03 PM

            My reaction to this is admiration for these courageous people who are willing to risk their lives to protect their homes. I don’t know of any other state or country that thinks it’s OK to bomb a houseful of innocent people in order to assassinate a single indivdual, something Israel has been doing routinely or many years. It is not the responsibilty of the residents of the house to leave, especially when there is no safe place for them to go. So they are showing remarkable courage by metaphorically shaking their fists at IDF pilots dropping bombs, knowing full well that Israel cares little or nothing about the lives of Palestinian women & children and will likely drop the bomb anyway. My criticism is of Israel and the IDF which seeks to justify its war crimes by blaming the victims.

          • leeor July 11, 2014, 2:34 AM

            They’re risking their lives to protect the Hamas leadership (known to be hiding in bunkers under Hospitals and suchlike), quite courageous indeed, but entirely misguided. And that’s assuming they’re being courageous and not threatened to stand there – I have my doubts about that as well.
            But keep in mind this entire discussion is about the tendency of some to compare the body count on both sides, as if it somehow implies the moral high ground. Simply put – if Hamas did not force its civilian population to be involved in the fighting, casualties could be low on their side as well. They can’t commit war crimes, and then run to the media and cry that they’re being treated unfairly. I wish the Gazans had better leadership, one that actually cared about them.

          • Richard Silverstein July 11, 2014, 12:21 PM

            @ leeor:

            if Hamas did not force its civilian population to be involved in the fighting

            Gaza is one of the densest population centers in the world. Houses are right on top of each other. There is simply no way to separate fighters from civilians. Have you ever visited? Of course not. So what you’re saying is that you know nothing about Gaza, but have lots of advice about how its fighters should conduct field operations. I have a suggestion for you hasbarists: stop giving advice or telling Palestinians how they should do things & spend more time telling your own government to stop the senseless killing. You’re like the proverbial yente: you have advice for everyone but yourself. But no one needs your advice.

            They can’t commit war crimes, and then run to the media and cry that they’re being treated unfairly.

            Actually, let’s say it slightly differently: Israel can’t commit war crimes and then run to the media and cry they’re being delegitimized and treated unfairly when the world invokes sanctions & BDS on it.

            I wish Israel had better leadership, one that actually cared about all the future residents of Israel/Palestine. After all, if you keep this up all those Palestinians are going to be your future fellow citizens in a single state. You wouldn’t want them to harbor a grudge against you, would you?

          • leeor July 12, 2014, 2:58 AM

            @Richard, my criticism against the Israeli government is expressed through voting. I have never voted for Bibi (you may choose not to believe, you obviously labeled me as a Hasbarist already, as you do with anyone who doesn’t agree with you), and I think the Likud with its warmongering MPs is a blight on the face of the earth, but let’s be honest – my kind is becoming more and more scarce as the Palestinian continue lobbing rockets at us, kidnapping our people and waging war on us – even restricted to their crude and militarily ineffective methods as it is. I’m well aware of what’s going on in Gaza at the same time, if I didn’t care I wouldn’t visit this blog and others like it, but aside from hoping for minimal civilian casualties, i’m not going to oppose it – as long as we’re being fired at, Hamas is a fair target, and a coward one for hiding behind civilian human shields (either courageous or hopeless ones).
            Please don’t give me the “Gaza is small” excuse, you know very well that’s not the reason why they’re doing that – they’re not hiding in the outskirts but rather intentionally in the middle of the most densely populated area, and under hospitals – that’s not the behavior of a military force that’s meant to protect its civilians, but one that is using them for their purposes. And don’t give the example of the Kirya or similar camps in Israel – that’s not where we fire from, and that’s not where they’re firing at – you know that.

            I do believe that, in general, past Israeli governments have made quite substantial steps towards peace agreements (starting with the Oslo accord, and later on through various initiatives), almost publicly admitting to have agreed to withdrawal from most 67′ territories and swap major settlements with other lands, and were always met with refusal, first from Arafat, now from his heirs, as they’re either too weak to agree, or believe they can achieve more through struggle. The peace camp in Israel is wounded and bleeds every day more and more as the hostilities expand. You people around the world, pretending to help with initiatives like BDS and media covered flotillas, are actually quite an effective boost for Bibi and his friends, as you strengthen their basic claim that we can trust no one but ourselves and our military strength.

          • Richard Silverstein July 12, 2014, 6:34 PM

            @ leeor: Israeli electoral politics are meaningless. They offer no real approach to solving any social or political problem. It is a carnival of hate & racism. Saying you discharge your responsibility to express yourself by voting is like saying you discharge your responsibility to be Jewish by reading a single verse in a single book from the Torah.

            my kind is becoming more and more scarce as the Palestinian continue lobbing rockets at us

            Further evidence of your liberal Zionist blindness. Your kind are becoming more and more scarce because of your moral cowardice and your allowing the far right to take over the country. Anyone who believes by voting he’s done his best to make his country a decent place is deluded. Especially when things are so bad off in Israel. What the Palestinians are doing or not doing to Israel has no bearing on the bankruptcy & impotence of the liberal left in Israel. You’re looking for excuses in places you shouldn’t. You should be looking at yourself in the mirror.

            aside from hoping for minimal civilian casualties, i’m not going to oppose it

            Thanks for your candor. Your statement here personifies the utter uselessness of Israeli Jewish liberals.

            Hamas is a fair target, and a coward one for hiding behind civilian human shields

            You either don’t know anything about living conditions in Gaza or don’t care to know. There is no possibility with the dense conditions in Gaza of separating fighters from civilians. This is not a country with hundreds of square miles of territory fr which to fight. It’s a tiny enclave. Not to mention it’s an utter bald-faced lie to talk about Hamas using human shields when the only army in the region using them is the IDF. Read my blog post containing a picture of this atrocity.

            they’re not hiding in the outskirts

            Gaza has “outskirts?” What do you think, it’s Tel Aviv? Have you ever been to, or seen Gaza first hand. I sincerely doubt it.

            BTW, did Israelis complain when the Irgun & Palmach used synagogues to store weapons during the 48 War? Of course not. That makes you a hypocrite who doesn’t even know your own history? Again, read the story in an earlier blog post.

            past Israeli governments have made quite substantial steps towards peace agreements (starting with the Oslo accord, and later on through various initiatives), almost publicly admitting to have agreed to withdrawal from most 67′ territories

            Whoa, Israel “almost” made peace! That and a few bucks will get you a cappucino at Starbucks. Your delusions continue.

            always met with refusal, first from Arafat

            Nonsense, you never made a sincere reasonable offer. You never offered to return to 67 borders. You never offered to return any more than 90% of the Territories. That’s an offer that no Palestinian nationalist could accept, just as no Israel nationalist can accept a return of any major chunk of conquered Territory.

            The peace camp in Israel is wounded and bleeds every day more and more as the hostilities expand.

            Shooting and crying. Boo-hoo. We share your pain! Get real. Your predicament is your (collectively) own fault. Don’t ask for sympathy. You won’t get any.

            As for the peace activists helping Bibi, dream on. The peace movement will eventually lead to the demise of him and all who share his benighted views. The question is whether there will be an Israel around when the Israeli elites are cowed into suing for peace as South African whites did.

            If you “trust only yourselves” that is a sure path to the death of your nation. Your military strength cannot stand when the entire world will be against you and refuse to acquiesce in your nation’s ongoing crimes.

      • albie July 10, 2014, 11:19 AM

        [When I delete yr comment telling you it was off topic that doesn’t mean you publish it again. It means you read the comment rules and read that comments must be closely & directly related to the topic of the post. Yours wasn’t so don’t try that again or you’ll earn restricted commenting privileges.

  • albie July 10, 2014, 9:30 AM

    [Comment deleted: off topic. Comments must be directly related to post.]

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