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Israeli Invasion to Begin in “Coming Hours”

In a recent post, I published a State Department notice it was evacuating U.S. citizens from Gaza.  The message asked those wishing to leave to provide necessary contact information by the morning of July 11th (yesterday).  I predicted that meant an Israeli invasion would happen the next day (July 12th) or the following one.  True to form, Israel Radio aired this announcement minutes ago:

A senior military source says that the IDF will mount a significant military operation in the coming hours, after the [civilian] population is cleared from areas from which rockets are fired, mainly in northern Gaza.  Residents [to be cleared] will receive announcements, SMS messages, media bulletins and leaflets.  According to the military source, this type of operation is accepted under international law.  Israel did the same in the past in Lebanon and that experience proves a population may be cleared from an area exploited for the purposes of acts of terror.

To be clear, the news item announces a “significant [new] military operation.”  I’ve interpreted this (reasonably I think) as the expected ground invasion.  You often have to interpret such statements from Israeli military-intelligence sources using previous experience and understanding of sub-text.  A lot is communicated through hints and coded language.  AP has also confirmed the IDF was clearing northern Gaza in preparation for “stepping up its offensive.”

Further, the State Department announced an evacuation of U.S. embassy and consular staff from the Negev:

Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Continued Rockets; Move of Personnel out of Be’er Sheva

July 11, 2014

Due to ongoing hostilities and the continuing rocket attacks throughout Israel, U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv has relocated Embassy personnel assigned to Be’er Sheva north to Herzliya.  The Embassy and its annexes continue to operate at minimal staffing.  The Consular Section will continue to provide only emergency services.  Embassy personnel are not permitted to travel south of greater Tel Aviv without prior approval.  Embassy families living in Tel Aviv and greater Tel Aviv, such as Herzliya, are being advised to remain in close communication with one another.

The Embassy continues to closely monitor the security situation and advises U.S. citizens to visit the website of the Government of Israel’s Home Front Command for further emergency preparedness guidance.

Recent events underscore the importance of situational awareness. We remind you to be aware of your surroundings at all times, to moni

This is the moment so many of us have expected and dreaded.  It is the crossing of the Rubicon.  From here, Israel crosses over from a massive, punishing air assault to outright invasion.  The Obama administration and United Nations, which have stood by thus far impotently, must rouse themselves from moral torpor and act decisively.  Of course, they will wait until the killing becomes even more senseless than it already is.  If they act at all.

Here is the latest ineffectual pap from the State Department on the crisis:

Asked whether the US had taken a position on an Israeli invasion into Gaza, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki did not rule out a ground assault, instead replying that such an outcome was “no one’s preference.” She declared: “I would remind you who is at fault here, and that is Hamas.”

It is shameful for a U.S. diplomat to declare a people who has suffered 140 dead, the offenders in this crisis.  It is the equivalent of telling a rape victim her assault was her own fault.  The innocent civilians of Gaza (nearly 80% of the dead were civilians) are not to blame for anything.  Yet they suffer inordinately.  Not to recognize makes us willing accomplices to murder.

A few words about the argument offered in the military statement on behalf of the invasion.  Israel did not “clear” civilians from southern Lebanon.  Certainly not in the same systematic way it plans to do so in Gaza, where it will expell at least 100,000 people.  Even if it did so in Lebanon, perpetrating a violation of international law without being punished doesn’t justify doing so again.  Where will these 100,000 Gaza refugees go?  Will Israel provide them shelters or refuge?  This is a humanitarian crisis in the making.  There is no provision under international law for doing so under any circumstance.

Such a mass expulsion is a form of Nakba writ small.  A reminder of the expulsion of 1-million Palestinians from their homeland in 1948.  Now Israel can add a new moral stain to its human rights record.

An Israeli invasion is a vastly disproportionate response to the “problem” it purports to solve.  Such military adventurism reinforces the importance of BDS as a potent tool in the non-violent struggle for rights and justice for Palestine.  Israel may complain about “delegitimization.”  But as I’ve written before here, the only force delegitimizing Israel is Israel itself.

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{ 53 comments… add one }
  • wordsdontmatter July 12, 2014, 1:59 PM

    I accidentally discovered this yesterday, as I was predicting an invasion today, and out of curiosity looked up July 12th in history. Well, not being overly familiar with the exact details of the history of this at a granular level, I ‘discovered’ the nakba was on July 12th 1948. Strange things happen in history, but since this has been planned from the beginning, or at least ‘taking advantage of a tragedy’ as the sick saying goes in political circles, maybe they chose this day for ‘infamy’.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/July_12

    1948 – Arab–Israeli War: Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion orders the expulsion of Palestinians from the towns of Lod and Ramla.

    • Deïr Yassin July 13, 2014, 1:44 AM

      “I ‘discovered’ the nakba was on July 12th 1948. ”

      You clearly have no idea what the Nakba is. It started long before July 12th 1948, and it’s still ongoing.
      On July 12th 1948, the massacre in Lydda occurred (in fact it started the day before)., and the day after the Lydda-Ramleh expulsion started (cf. Lydda Death March), dozens of people were killed by the Haganah or died of thirst. George Habbash who lost his younger sister and had to bury her in their garden was in that March.
      http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1948_Palestinian_exodus_from_Lydda_and_Ramle#Massacre_in_Lydda

      The invasion of Libanon in 2006 started July 12th too.

  • Slevdi July 12, 2014, 2:40 PM

    I think you are misinterpreting the situation. The Israelis simply want to give the people of Gaza an opportunity to get out of the war zone before they come to any harm. Makes sense to me if you follow all the warnings via telephone and text they are giving before engaging in battles. I don’t see Hamas warning Israelis of incoming rockets. Israel seems to have the moral high ground here.

    • PHK July 12, 2014, 3:47 PM

      And you interpret it as such because Israel never has/ doesn’t constantly harm/kill/injure Palestinians, right? Oh yes, Israel and Morality…what a pair

    • Richard Silverstein July 12, 2014, 6:46 PM

      @ Slevdi: That is so kind of the IDF. Where do propose that these new refugees go? Where will they find shelter? Will you accept them into refugee camps in the Negev?

      If you make one more stupid comment like Israel, after murdering 150 Palestinians, has the high ground, I’m going to throw up and ban you for stupidity (not usually part of my comment rules, but for you I’ll make an exception).

      • Slevdi July 13, 2014, 12:15 AM

        They shouldn’t have to go anywhere, but if they stay and Hamas continue with a war they can’t win, then innocent civilians’ lives could be endangered. I certainly don’t want that!

        • Richard Silverstein July 13, 2014, 2:07 AM

          @ Slevki: Oh please, you certainly don’t give a shit whether Gazans die or not. You support Israel. You’re a hasbarist. Why should you care what happens to Palestinians?

          • Slevdi July 13, 2014, 2:35 AM

            I care what happens to Palestinians because I am human. I might not know many, but that is irrelevant to whether I value their lives or not. As an EU taxpayer, I am happily funding their well being to a certain extent.

            The people who do not seem value Palestinian lives are Hamas militants. Most soldiers want to keep their loved ones as far away from danger in a war as possible. Hamas call on all Gazans to make themselves targets by placing military posts next to their homes or inside their public buildings.

            I hope that the efficiency of the Iron Dome convinces Israelis that they do not need to fight, but that the Hamas rocket supply will quickly be depleted without causing deaths.

            I worry that Hamas are now sending rockets into the West Bank though, as the Palestinians there have no Iron Dome to protect them.

            As another aside, to be fair I insulted you first by calling shame. I apologise for that. Your insults to me make us even. Let’s call a cease fire on personal insults and discuss the issues instead? Yes?

    • bt July 13, 2014, 11:57 AM

      High Moral Ground?

      Let’s see: 3 dead Israelis. A few hundred dead Palestinian, BEFORE the Gaza Invasion. Seems disproportionate doesn’t it? Not my brand of morality.

      Gaza: Looks like a ghetto to me, the Jews ought to know better really. Looking not so moral.

      Building a state on someone else’s land: No Moral High Ground over there.

      Continuing to steal land on the West Bank, and then being forced to discipline the angry ‘natives’ and suggest that they just move to Jordan or something? Looking for high ground, not seeing it.

      Sooner or later, Israel is going to have to face up to what it has been doing, the US is the only real friend they have at this point, and if the media shield ever gets pierced, it’s over.

      The Palestinians may not be boy scouts, but if I was in their shoes, I’d probably be doing the same things. Remember ‘terrorism’ is a tool of the weak. Rather like when Menachem Begin was blowing up Englishmen trying to get his ‘new country’.

  • Slevdi July 12, 2014, 2:47 PM

    “It is shameful for a U.S. diplomat to declare a people who has suffered 140 dead, the offenders in this crisis.”

    I read that statement from Jen Psaki as blaming Hamas exclusively, not the people of Gaza as a whole. So the statement seems to be perfectly correct. Hamas are indeed the real enemy of the Gazan population.

    • Richard Silverstein July 12, 2014, 6:47 PM

      @ Slevdi: There is NO DIFFERENCE between Hamas and Gazans. Israeli leaders have said this repeatedly to justify their murder of civilians.

      • Slevdi July 13, 2014, 12:20 AM

        [comment deleted–we don’t need you to tell us what Israel thinks about Hamas. If you think you’re hasbara unlimited, think again.]

        • David July 13, 2014, 12:34 AM

          The “difference” he says. You know he can’t help himself. Even when he is trying to mollify international opinion he says things like that, drawing the distinction between “us” and “them” — his basic racist categories, the very thing that places him outside the ken again and again. He just can’t help himself. “They” are animals, we know from interviews from interviews with some Israelis. And “we”? We are the crown of creation, the elect, the chosen. This posturing fraud, this “Miliekowsky” is bad news indeed.

          • Slevdi July 13, 2014, 12:48 AM

            I hadn’t looked on it as a racist remark. Thank you for a different perspective.

        • Slevdi July 13, 2014, 1:42 AM

          I just noticed that Jen Psaki is a US diplomat not an Israeli leader. Are you saying the US leadership also equate Hamas and Gazans?

        • Slevdi July 13, 2014, 2:38 AM

          A bit too near the truth eh:-)

        • David July 13, 2014, 11:28 AM

          “Most soldiers want to keep their loved ones as far away from danger in a war as possible.” Where should Gazans go, to Paris? Perhaps to London? They are in a prison and cannot go anywhere.

    • Mary Hughes Thompson July 12, 2014, 11:20 PM

      So since the IDF is the military wing of Likud (or whatever combination of political parties was cobbled together to form the current government) I guess the IDF is the real enemy of the Israeli population.

      • Slevdi July 13, 2014, 12:25 AM

        Could you explain that a bit more please? I am unsure about how you get from Hamas using their population as cannon fodder to IDF being an enemy of Israelis by trying to protect them from unannounced indiscriminate rocket attack.

        • Richard Silverstein July 13, 2014, 2:05 AM

          how you get from Hamas using their population as cannon fodder to IDF being an enemy of Israelis by trying to protect them from unannounced indiscriminate rocket attack.

          Oh please, this is hasbara above & beyond the call. She never said anything about Hamas using its population as cannon fodder. Personally, I think that comment is obscene. Hamas isn’t using anyone. The people of Gaza support Hamas, mainly because Israel has forbidden them the chance to choose anyone else with its siege.

          This is a silly game you’re playing.

          I’m invoking a comment rule clause limiting you to 3 comments per day. Starting now. This is to ensure you don’t monopolize the comment threads.

          • Slevdi July 13, 2014, 2:40 AM

            Ok. I’ll stop. No more comments from me.

  • Slevdi July 12, 2014, 2:51 PM

    As an aside, I think many people will be offended by your analogy to rape. This trivialises the horrible personal crime that it is by using it to make a political point. Shame on you!

    • PHK July 12, 2014, 3:49 PM

      No we are not offended. Speak for yourself.

    • Daniel Rocha July 12, 2014, 5:18 PM

      You mean >50 years of oppression of a people by a thermonuclear power is trivializing rape? I rathe t think rape is an euphemism.

      • Slevdi July 12, 2014, 5:30 PM

        Silverstein was comparing a statement made by a politician with saying something to a rape victim, not the deaths of innocents. I reread his paragraph to make sure of this.

        • Richard Silverstein July 12, 2014, 8:45 PM

          @ Slevdi: If you don’t provide a link to what you’re referring to I don’t have any idea what the comment is.

          • Slevdi July 13, 2014, 12:28 AM

            Happy to. Your article these comments are attached to says this:

            “Here is the latest ineffectual pap from the State Department on the crisis:

            Asked whether the US had taken a position on an Israeli invasion into Gaza, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki did not rule out a ground assault, instead replying that such an outcome was “no one’s preference.” She declared: “I would remind you who is at fault here, and that is Hamas.”

            It is shameful for a U.S. diplomat to declare a people who has suffered 140 dead, the offenders in this crisis. It is the equivalent of telling a rape victim her assault was her own fault. The innocent civilians of Gaza (nearly 80% of the dead were civilians) are not to blame for anything. Yet they suffer inordinately. Not to recognize makes us willing accomplices to murder.”

    • Richard Silverstein July 12, 2014, 6:47 PM

      @ Slevdi: Yes, it is trivial to compare a rape to outright murder. They’re like…apples and apples.

      • Slevdi July 13, 2014, 12:05 AM

        Forgive me if I misunderstood your comparison. It reads like you compared what someone said to what someone else might say, not what the Israelis have done to rape.

    • Richard Silverstein July 12, 2014, 8:49 PM

      @ Slevdi: No, I think you, as a pro-Israel apologist are the only one offended & your sense of offense is entirely artificial & disingenuous. Rape is certainly a “horrible personal crime” as the rape of a people is an equally horrible crime.

      • Slevdi July 13, 2014, 12:32 AM

        It certainly looks like I am the only one of your readers who has taken offence so far. That doesn’t mean the analogy is a good one.

  • Imaginary Friend July 12, 2014, 3:23 PM

    I just returned from a ‘Free Palestine’ rally in Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco. Many of the speakers discussed a free Palestinian state going from ‘River to Sea’. Others openly led chants to “Eradicate the Israel Apartheid state”. Didn’t sound like a whole lot of interest from the podium for a two-state solution.

    • Richard Silverstein July 12, 2014, 6:50 PM

      @ Imaginary Friend: You think Palestinians after what’s happened in Gaza are going to sing Kumbaya and get all cuddly with Israelis and join them in the search for a two state solution?? Why should they? The truth is that far more Palestinians than Israelis are prepared to not just accept but actively enact a 2 state solution. Of course, the more bestial Israeli policy and behavior the less chance this will be possible. Right now, you have only one option left I’m afraid.

    • YoMamma July 13, 2014, 1:42 AM

      That’s funny, because I just attended a pro-Palestinian rally in Los Angeles here, where I live, and it was nothing of the sort that you’re talking about. I heard calls for “Free, Free Palestine! Long Live Palestine!” and “They say get back, we say fight back!” We had several members in our demonstration who were Jewish and who were in lock-step with their Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Hindu, agnostic/atheist partners. We had members who were caucasian, latino/chicano/hispanic, arabic/persian, african, and asian. There were no messages of hate or violence, simply messages of resistance – pretty much the American ideal of a diverse, responsible base coming together to protest against injustice together.

      • Peut-etre July 15, 2014, 1:09 PM

        [comment deleted: Smart-aleck anti-Palestinian hasbara will NOT be published here. Since all your comments today offended me, you’re moderated. Only future comments that respect the comment rules, which you MUST read, will be published. BTW, if you’re a first-time commenter and publishing 5-6 comments on your first day–that’s too many. Your limit is 3 comments per day]

  • Casey Cotton July 12, 2014, 4:33 PM

    Richard lacks shame, self-awareness, and empathy among other things

    • Richard Silverstein July 12, 2014, 6:51 PM

      @ Casey Cotton: Yes, I have no empathy for the outright slaughter of civilians. I would feel the same disgust if Hamas had the 4th most powerful army in the world and pummeled Israel as the IDF does Palestine. I’m guilty of hating the slaughter of innocents.

      As for having no shame: I think that’s misplaced and describes the IDF current assault on Gaza’s civilians to a ‘T.’ SHAME.

      • David July 12, 2014, 8:30 PM

        I sympathize with the friends and family of all fallen Jews in Israel….when and if there are any at all!! I understand that the air raid sirens are scary, so maybe some Israelis have trouble sleeping.

        • Daniel Rocha July 12, 2014, 9:39 PM

          Actually, more and more Israelis are not anymore affraid of rockets:

          http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/07/11/theater-of-war-photo-captures-israelis-watching-gaza-being-bombed/

          These in the photos are actually having fun with them, saying it’s better than watching the World Cup. They have all confidence in the Iron Dome.

          • David July 15, 2014, 10:45 AM

            Confidence in Iron Dome? With hits running maybe 5%? Even if this failed technology were effective, Hamas would simply launch more rockets. Iron Dome is pointless for this particular defense. And, besides, American taxpayers paid the billions for it, so whatever it does is just gratis for Israelis.

  • Arie Brand July 12, 2014, 4:54 PM

    It is abundantly clear by now that the pea shooters of Hamas do not require any advance warning. The absurd statements by this hasbarist about the moral ascendancy of an Israeli army of cold blooded murderers that is trying to cover its crimes with a rag of respectability brought to mind the statement by Michael and Osha Neumann that accompanied their request for the removal of their grandmother’s name from Yad Vashem:
    “I do not believe that the Jewish people, in whose name you have committed so many crimes with such outrageous complacency, can ever rid itself of the shame you have brought upon us. Nazi propaganda, for all its calumnies, never disgraced and corrupted the Jews; you have succeeded in this…you blacken our names not only by your acts, but by the lies, the coy evasions, the smirking arrogance and the infantile self-righteousness with which you embroider our history… You will never pay for your crimes and you will continue to preen yourself, to bask in your illusions of moral ascendancy.”

    • Slevdi July 13, 2014, 1:45 AM

      You raise an interesting conundrum. If the pea shooters are ineffective then what is the objective of using them?

  • poirefrais July 12, 2014, 7:50 PM

    I also attended a demonstration today.
    Amassing troops and letting things appear to be undecided, I think, is psychological and maneuver warfare, as this has been all along.
    The trauma, injuries and death toll keep mounting.
    Slaughtering so many innocent non combatants, human beings, ncluding children and babies.
    How does Obama-Kerry, etc, reconcile America financed the Israeli military and it’s assault on Gaza and unity gvernment?
    I do not know.

  • Linda J July 12, 2014, 10:42 PM

    Personally I do not recognize the so-called state of Israel any longer. It is now the Evil Colonizer of Palestine #ECOP. ECOP has killed over 100 people so far and 77% them are civilian according to humanitarian agencies on the ground. http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/ocha_opt_sitrep_11_07_2014.pdf
    We cannot keep funding the threshing machine currently ripping through humanity in Gaza. If this is how humanity behaves, bring on global warming and drown us all.

    • Steven July 13, 2014, 9:07 PM

      As sad as this is, it is meaningless. And you seem to have narsciscistic tendencies

      • Richard Silverstein July 14, 2014, 12:57 AM

        @ Steven: I usually wouldn’t even bother to publish this sort of garbage comment. But the idea that I am ‘narcissistic’ because I care about Palestinian suffering is beyond the pale. Heartless, cruel and…yes, narcissistic. I wanted other readers to get a sense of the hasbara brigade’s desperation.

  • Mary Hughes Thompson July 12, 2014, 11:28 PM

    There have already been several particularly savage attacks that resulted in the deaths of children and families. To me, this is beyond anything I have seen so far. How can anyone justify this? (I’m sure we’ll be hearing from someone who will try)

    Israeli occupation forces target a residential house in the eastern ‪#‎Gaza‬ Strip belongs to Taysir al-Batsh, killing 18 of his family members.

    6 children and 4 women among them

    1. Anas Alla’a al-Batsh, 10
    2. Qusai Isam al-Batsh, 12
    3. Manar Majed al-Batsh, 13
    4. Muhammad Isam al-Batsh, 17
    5. Ibrahim Majed al-Batsh18
    6. Yahyia Ala’a al-Batsh, 18
    7. Khaled Majed al-Batsh, 20
    8. Zakaria Ala’a al-Batsh, 20
    9. Mahmoud Majed al-Batsh, 22
    10. Marwa Majed al-Batsh, 25
    11. Jalal Majed al-Batsh, 26
    12. Ahmed Neman al-Batsh, 27
    13. Baha’a Majed al-Batsh, 28
    14. Nahed Naim al-Batsh, 41
    15. Amal Hassan al-Batsh, 49
    16. Aziza Yousef al-Batsh, 59
    17. Majed Subhi al-Batsh
    18. Qusai Ala’a al-Batsh

    http://ingaza.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/18-from-one-family-killed-in-gaza/

    • David July 13, 2014, 12:26 AM

      @Mary Adalah-New York has pdf with the names of these kids and all printed large with age and date of death. See http://www.endtheoccupation.org/downloads/GazaNames.pdf. Someone advises to print out the doc with adhesive backing for placement in key locations. I have the list, will print it out tomorrow and I know exactly what I will do next.

      This grief, coming as it does, on top of so much of it, accumulated for so long, and excused by such vile pretenses, places the Jewish State right into the abyss like other criminal states before it. Israel is morally bankrupt, kaput. It is right to loathe the lot of Jews who have assiduously pursued genocide and murder on such a level. We must do something to stop it. Civil disobedience. Maybe uncivil disobedience. And then, these criminals must be detained, tried and sentenced.

    • Blue Moon July 13, 2014, 5:39 AM

      More than half the names on the list are combatant aged.

  • blutopie July 13, 2014, 1:14 PM

    The FULL UNITED UN SECURITY COUNCIL is now EYEBALL TO EYEBALL with the ‘Settler IDF’ of Lieberman and Netanyahu

    The WHOLE WORLD is watching, in bright light, as the US Israeli Lobby and the Apartheid Israel state fizzle out into infamy. The American Diaspora will live with this FOREVER (see Peter Beinart’s ‘Burn Notice #2 to the Diaspora’ – to f/u ‘Burn Notice #1 to the Diaspora’ (the NYTimes Staff Editorial of 3.6.14 ‘Israel’s Choice’)

    The UN has set a RED LINE on Netanyahu – not one inch into Gaza – but Mad King Bibi of the Putative Rabbinic Hermit Kingdom has decided to BET THE FARM and BUCK a coming UNANIMOUS UN Sec Council Resolution, including CHAPTER 7, to protect Palestine from Israel, at long last

    PERFECT…..

    Netanyahu, Lieberman and Bennett have decided to ALL GO DOWN TOGETHER – Bibi has ordered a massive attack on the ‘Northern Gaza Concrentration Camp Wall’

    Now the UN SECURITY COUNCIL changes it’s demand into a RESOLUTION and the demise of Apartheid should be effectively less than 3 months, at that point.

    Bibi and Lieberman decided to save us time and energy – WE WON’T EVEN HAVE TO WAIT FOR THE ICC IN SEPT, NOW

    This is a ‘battle royale’ between Obama VERSUS AIPAC-Girl Hillary and the rest of the Israeli Lobby/Neocons for the heart and soul and blood and money of America – make no mistake about it

    Please support President Obama as AIPAC-Girl Hillary, AIPAC/Israeli Lobby and the Israelis are removed from power in the American political landscape.

    No more phone calls from Bibi, Francois!

    Is this why Obama has been smiling so much lately? – he finally has the Bibi Monkey off his back.

    Now the Big Kahuna is the monkey on Bibi’s back – COWABUNGA!

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