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Gaza War: Day 9, 202 Palestinian Dead

Let’s talk about the faux ceasefire.  Really a fraudulent ceasefire.  Egypt’s ceasefire with no one.  My Israeli source, who was consulted as part of the negotiations, tells me that this was not, in reality, an Egyptian proposal.  It was, in fact, an Israeli proposal presented in the guise of an Egyptian proposal.  Israel wrote the ceasefire protocol.  The Egyptians rubber-stamped it and put it out under their letterhead as if it was their own.

Jodi Rudoren typically called the ceasefire “one-sided,” meaning Israel honored it and Hamas didn’t.  But it was “one-sided” in a way she hadn’t considered.  Only one-side prepared the ceasefire and essentially presented it to itself and accepted it.  The other side wasn’t consulted.

The contents of the ceasefire proposal were a fraud as well.  They promised and delivered nothing.  They only called for a cessation of hostilities on the part of Israel and Hamas.  The same document has been signed in the past only to see Israel violate it almost as soon as the ink was dry.  There were no provisions for easing the Israeli siege.  No provision to open the border with Egypt.  Most importantly, the ceasefire didn’t address any underlying issues between the parties.  It was a guarantor for resuming hostilities at the earliest possible opportunity: these wars have come at two-year intervals over the past six years.  The next one will be in 2016, if not sooner.

The reason Israel felt compelled to do this, as Haaretz reports, was that John Kerry phoned the Egyptians and Israelis and told them he was coming to Cairo for the ceasefire talks, when essentially, there were none.  Bibi could smell a trap.  He knew this visit by Kerry was meant to embarrass Israel and maneuver it into defending its unconscionable assault on Gaza’s civilian population.  So the ceasefire was a ploy to deflect a U.S. stratagem.  As usual, Bibi is very deft on political tactics, but clueless as to a strategy.

Haaretz also makes clear that neither Hamas’ military or political wings were consulted in preparation or negotiation over the plan.  So how the Hell do you make such a proposal without including one of the parties?  Well, you don’t unless the entire exercise is a charade.

idf gaza ground invasion

Israeli forces prepare for ground invasion

Returning to Egypt, General-President Sisi comes across as the buffoon here.  Puffed up and used by Israel for its own purposes.  Apparently, Sisi thought he could take up where Mubarak left off in serving as go-between when there is a war between Israel and Hamas.  He made one fatal error: at least Mubarak paid lip service to the Palestinian cause.  He allowed a trickle of people and goods to flow across the border into Gaza.  Sisi reviles Hamas as an alleged offshoot of his hated enemy, the Brotherhood.  That makes him persona non grata with Hamas.  Why would he have dreamed he could serve as an honest broker in this instance?

The problem for Bibi is that Hamas’ rejection has put him on the spot.  He now really has to crap or get off the pot regarding a ground invasion.  It appears the IDF wants Operation Protective Edge to be essentially a theatrical production in which it osentatiously briefs the media about the hundreds of targets struck.  All this is supposed to assure the Israeli public that its national army is really doing something concrete, when it’s doing almost nothing that will deter anyone for any length of time.

The IDF does not want to invade Gaza.  It remembers the punishing reception it received from Hezbollah in 2006.  It remembers the tongue-lashing it suffered at the hands of the Goldstone Report (till its main author recanted under pressure from the pro-Israel auto da fe).  Though the IDF isn’t a very effective fighting force, its leaders understand the implications of a ground invasion.  If you thought the air war was bloody, the next stage will see rivers of blood rushing through the alleys of Gaza.

In a way, Israel’s ploy is liable to blow up in its face.  It thought it had pulled one over on Kerry.  But the rejection of the ceasefire has applied much greater pressure on Israel to act.  When Israel acts it always overdoes it: too many dead, too many injured.  Lots of photos of martyred children, bombed mosques.  The coming days promise more of the same.

They’ve hinted at what’s to come with today’s destruction of the home of Mahmoud Zahar, the former foreign minister of Hamas’ Gaza government.  He is the highest level Hamas official to be so targeted.  This isn’t the first time Zahar’s home was attacked.  In 2003, Israel tried and failed to assassinate him.  Instead he was wounded and his son was martyred.

Eventually, Israel will target not just a home, but Zahar himself (again).  It’s almost guaranteed to happen.  Such an escalation will only lead to greater bitterness and make a real ceasefire impossible.  But will it produce any desired result?  Will it deter anyone or anything?  Have the assassinations of past Hamas or Hezbollah leaders weakened the militant groups?  Have they brought them “to their senses” from an Israeli perspective?  Nothing of the sort.  As I’ve written here a number of times, one of the definitions of insanity is doing something that’s failed many times before with the expectation it will succeed if you try just one more time.  Pretty much sums up Israel’s approach to Hamas.

Former Mossad chief, Ephraim Halevy, interviewed by CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, said Israel must talk with, and recognize Hamas.  He said that Sunni extremist groups like ISIS were far more formidable and radical potential enemies.  The problem is that none of the extremists running Israel’s government cares what an effete “leftist” like Halevy thinks.  He represents an old era when the Mossad preferred wits and strategem, rather than solely brute force to achieve objectives.

Today, the first Israeli fatality was reported.  A man who’d collected food parcels at his West Bank settlement and trucked them to the Erez Crossing to give to the troops, came under mortar attack and was killed.

{ 32 comments… add one }
  • Adriana July 16, 2014, 2:54 AM

    Thanks , now I understood why Hamas did not accept the truce. By the way, is it possible to any group affiliate to ISI start to be active in Gaza ?
    what Hamas think about them ?

  • Arie Brand July 16, 2014, 4:05 AM

    Perhaps Obama, who was known as a keen student of law in earlier days, should brush up on the subject:

    “On the fourth day of Israel’s most recent onslaught against Gaza’s Palestinian population, President Barack Obama declared, “No country on Earth would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders.” In an echo of Israeli officials, he sought to frame Israel’s aerial missile strikes against the 360-square kilometer Strip as the just use of armed force against a foreign country. Israel’s ability to frame its assault against territory it occupies as a right of self-defense turns international law on its head. 
    A state cannot simultaneously exercise control over territory it occupies and militarily attack that territory on the claim that it is “foreign” and poses an exogenous national security threat. In doing precisely that, Israel is asserting rights that may be consistent with colonial domination but simply do not exist under international law. 
    … examining what international law says with regard to an occupant’s right to use force is worthwhile in light of Israel’s deliberate attempts since 1967 to reinterpret and transform the laws applicable to occupied territory. These efforts have expanded significantly since the eruption of the Palestinian uprising in 2000, and if successful, Israel’s reinterpretation would cast the law as an instrument that protects colonial authority at the expense of the rights of civilian non-combatants.  

    Military occupation is a recognized status under international law and since 1967, the international community has designated the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as militarily occupied. ”

    • Shmuel July 16, 2014, 6:44 AM

      You forgot a tiny nearly insignificant matter that Israel since 2005 withdrew from Gaza thus no longer occupies it under international law. Thus it is free to defend itself from ‘foreign’ aggression, and does so.

      But of course Israel can do no right, and even when withdraws from occupied territories is still wrong in your eyes.

      • Richard Silverstein July 16, 2014, 1:41 PM

        @As you are a lawyer, I’m sure you’ll appreciate Arie’s terrific response to you. Also, in case you didn’t know, MANY commenters before you have raised that false argument. I like to avoid repetition to keep it fresh for me. So try a fresher argument next time. Meant partially tongue in cheek.

        • sanych July 16, 2014, 4:03 PM

          Wikipedia is not an authoritative source.

          • sanych July 16, 2014, 4:06 PM

            How is that for a new argument?

            And, BTW, fuck you Mr

          • Richard Silverstein July 17, 2014, 2:21 AM

            @ sanych: Right back atcha, Big Boy. Banned.

          • Richard Silverstein July 17, 2014, 6:55 PM

            @ sanych: And you’re even less authoritative. Wikipedia is far more authoritative than you.

      • Simple to refute July 16, 2014, 3:35 PM

        Shmuel: “You forgot a tiny nearly insignificant matter that Israel since 2005 withdrew from Gaza thus no longer occupies it under international law.”

        As a matter of law Shmuel really does need to re-read the original “disengagement” document that Sharon presented to the Knesset.

        In it he will find that Sharon stressed that the Israeli colonists were to be “withdrawn” from Gaza, but that the IDF was to be “deployed” from Gaza.

        Those two words make a huge difference, because the distinction that Sharon made (i.e. “withdrawn” = the settlers were leaving and not coming back, whereas “deployed” = soldiers were simply being moved to the periphery, and Sharon was free to REdeploy them back in whenever he wants) does actually demolish Shmuel’s argument.

        Think of it this way: a prison warden decides that he’s sick of dealing with all those unruly prisoners, so he orders all the prison guards to cease patrolling the prison yard; those guards are to move up into the guard towers, there to shoot any prisoner who approaches the prison wall.

        Q: Has that ceased to be “a prison”?
        A: No, it is still a prison.

        Q: Are the “prisoners” now “free”?
        A: No, they are still prisoners.

        Q: Have the “prison guards” quit their jobs?
        A: No, they are still guarding that prison.

        Q: Has that “prison warden” now become a hotel concierge?
        A: No, he is still the warden.

        Q: So what changed?
        A: he ONLY thing that changed is that this prison warden is guilty of a criminal abuse of the authority granted to him by the state.

        Sorta’ like Israel, when you really think about it.

  • Arie Brand July 16, 2014, 4:26 AM

    For an understanding of what is going on in Gaza we should keep in mind how extraordinarily small the area is. Gaza 360 square kms; Singapore 716 square kms; urban area of Sydney 1,788 square kms. It is for this reason that Israel’s accusation about Hamas “hiding amidst the civilian population” has always struck me as risible.

    • ben July 16, 2014, 8:52 PM

      @arie brand.

      So since Gaza is such a small place… so much so that any aymy operating in it has to be emmersed with civilians and that operating an army in civilian areas is also illegal because it’s unavoidable to have civilian casualties… should this not mean Gaza shoulf be demilitarized?

      If gaza is to be demilitarized there would have to be an international peace keeping force.. and honestly who will go in and convince hamas (politically or physically) to comply?

      If there is another cease fire or truce it will only act as a lull and lead to more future wars which means more pointless death because nothing will have changed.

      • Elisabeth July 17, 2014, 12:57 AM

        It does not seem to occur to you that ending the blockade would be an option.

        • ben July 17, 2014, 7:28 AM

          @liz would ending the blockade somehow make hamas non violent and accept the quartets damands to lift the blockade?

          • Elisabeth July 19, 2014, 2:15 PM

            Liz? Who’s Liz?

  • Adriana July 16, 2014, 5:55 AM

    posted in NYT today:
    Young Israelis Fight Hashtag Battle to Defend #IsraelUnderAttack – NYTimes.com

  • Arie Brand July 16, 2014, 7:40 AM

    Come back to planet earth, dear Shmuel, where Israelis cannot unilateral;y dictate “international law”

    From Wikipedia:
    Israel unilaterally disengaged from Gaza in September 2005, and declared itself no longer to be in occupation of the Strip. However, as it retains control of Gaza’s airspace and coastline, it continues to be designated as an occupying power in the Gaza Strip by the United Nations Security Council, the United Nations General Assembly[12] and some countries and various human rights organizations.[13

    And here is further elaboration:

    Under the “Disengagement” Plan, Gazans will still be subjected to the effective control of the Israeli military. Although Israel will supposedly remove its permanent military presence, Israeli forces will retain the ability and right to enter the Gaza Strip at will.[28] 
    Further, Israel will retain control over Gaza’s airspace, sea shore, and borders.[29]  Under the Plan, Israel will unilaterally control whether or not Gaza opens a seaport or an airport. Additionally, Israel will control all border crossings, including Gaza’s border with Egypt.[30]  And Israel will “continue its military activity along the Gaza Strip’s coastline.”[31]  Taken together, these powers mean that all goods and people entering or leaving Gaza will be subject to Israeli control.  
    Finally, Israel will prevent Gazans from engaging in international relations.[32]  Accordingly, if it enacts the “Disengagement” Plan as envisaged, Israel will effectively control Gaza—administratively and militarily.[33] Therefore, Israel will remain the Occupying Power of the Gaza Strip.
    B.   Israel Will Remain the Occupying Power of the Gaza Strip so long as Israel Retains
          the Ability to Exercise Authority over the Strip
    In The Hostages Case, the Nuremburg Tribunal expounded upon The Hague Regulations’ basic definition of occupation in order to ascertain when occupation ends.[34]  It held that “[t]he test for application of the legal regime of occupation is not whether the occupying power fails to exercise effective control over the territory, but whether it has the ability to exercise such power.”[35] In that case, the Tribunal had to decide whether Germany’s occupation of Greece and Yugoslavia had ended when Germany had ceded de facto control to non-German forces of certain territories. Even though Germany did not actually control those areas, the Tribunal held that Germany indeed remained the “occupying power”—both in Greece and Yugoslavia generally and in the territories to which it had ceded control—since it could have reentered and controlled those territories at will. 
    Similarly, Israel will retain ultimate authority oveo retain effective control over Gaza’s borders, air and sea space, overall security, and international relations.      
    r Gaza and to a much greater degree than Germany in The Hostages Case: The Israeli military expressly reserves itself the right to enter the Gaza Strip at will. Further, Israel will not just retain the ability to exercise control over Gaza, but it will also retain effective control over Gaza’s borders, air and sea space, overall security, and international relations.      

  • sanych July 16, 2014, 9:11 AM

    This article is a good example of putting a carriage in front of the horse.

    There must be truce before peace.

    There must be ceasefire before trice.

    Israel had stopped firing and offered Hamas to do the same, but Palestinians refuse. It should be obvious who is responsible for the continuation of violence.

    • Richard Silverstein July 16, 2014, 1:36 PM

      @Sanych: Afraid it’s you putting cart before horse. You can’t negotiate a ceasefire with one party alone as Israel has done. That’s fraud.

      • sanych July 16, 2014, 4:01 PM

        What is there to negotiate?

        One side stops firing and waits for another to do the same.

        If this is fraud, then the word has noeaning.

        • Richard Silverstein July 17, 2014, 6:56 PM

          @ sanych: Israeli policy is built on fraud. And you’re one of its proponents, which makes you one.

    • Simple to refute July 16, 2014, 3:47 PM

      A third-party broker can’t describe his call as a “ceasefire document” if it has been drafted in talks with only one of the two sides of an armed conflict.

      To claim that this amounts to “brokerage” is an abuse of the English language.

      It is what it is i.e. an Israeli diktat.

      That Israel drafted this “offer” and then got Egypt to “announce” it is nothing but theatre, since there is no actual need for Egypt to be involved: Netanyahu could just as easily have stood up and announced such an “offer” himself.

      Hamas has done it right: it has announced what it wants to see in any ceasefire, and it has directed that announcement toward the Egyptians. At which point the Egyptians are free to decide whether they want to do next e.g. attempt to sell those points to Netanyahu (good luck with that!) or simply tell the Palestinians that they are delusional.

      But that’s what a “broker” actually does i.e. he goes back ‘n’ forth between the two parties to arrive at a ceasefire that he **knows** the two sides can accept, and then that’s what he announces.

      But what a “broker” doesn’t do is simply put his name on the bottom of a document written in its entirety by Netanyahu, and then claim that it is “offering” that deal to both sides.

    • Mary Hughes Thompson July 16, 2014, 7:47 PM

      You could be the only one who thinks a ceasefire would end Israel’s killing of Palestinians in Gaza. Perhaps you recall an earlier ceasefire, signed by both parties on November 21, 2012. Israel violating it that same day, and just about every day following. Hamas didn’t respond to continued Israeli attacks for many months, until it became clear nobody was going to stop Israel terrorism.

      On November 21, 2013, one year after the ceasefire was signed, Israel committed violation number 281.


      Why on earth would Hamas sign any ceasefire with Israel, knowing Israel’s signatures and promises have long proven to be worthless?

  • JS July 16, 2014, 10:53 PM

    [comment deleted–comments which portray a fraudulent view of history and provide no support for their claims will not be published.]

  • SimoHurtta July 17, 2014, 2:32 AM

    Well Shmuel if Gaza is not a occupied area because Israel “left it”, then what is it in your Israeli “minds”? A independent country or part of Egypt? You must have a clear understanding of Gaza’s status. If it is an independent entity then aren’t Israeli actions against Gaza actions of war between two countries? Which makes murdering four small boys playing football in front of international media workers eating lunch what? A “mistake” or a war crime?

    Emptying the area of settlers and army doesn’t make the area like Gaza “independent”, not occupied or a separate free political entity. Equally we could say that Warsaw Ghetto was a “independent entity” even a independent state, because the German soldiers had left the area. The Judenrat “president” Adam Czerniaków lead the “country” (Warsaw Ghetto) with the Jewish collaboration authority (like PA ironic isn’t it) and the terrible Jewish terrorists lead by their Hamas type terrorist organizations attacked the defenseless citizens of Poland/Germany. Of course German Army, Wehrmacht, had to defend the new “German homeland” from the hundreds of bombs and rockets the Jewish terrorists rained on them. Any country would have done that and has the right to do so.

    If Germany would have won we would read the history written in this style. I am sure you Shmuel do not agree, but where is the essential difference? Saying, that the amount of corpses is not even near equal or that Nazis made the Jews “thinner” in Warsaw than Jews the Palestinians in Gaza, is not enough. The reality is that many of basic functions and aims of these both ghettos are/were much the same. In Gaza are 1.7 million people, in Warsaw Ghetto some 400,000. What happened in Warsaw is already a closed chapter of history. What happens in Gaza is still badly open and if nothing is done soon, it will end like Warsaw did. To a major final uprising and massive slaughter. What then?

    • Canuck July 18, 2014, 2:26 PM

      Aren’t these facile and nonsensical analogies a comment rule violation?

  • Sam July 19, 2014, 2:05 PM

    [comment deleted: this blog is not a rooting section for Israel and pro-Israel cheers and slogans do not constitute substantive comments. You are now moderated. Only comments that respect the comment rules will be published.]

  • phil July 26, 2014, 1:53 AM

    To understand what is going on in Gaza one only needs to read. ” The general’s son”. This is a up to date story of what has been going on there and what is still going on. There are many interviews with the author online. You can learn the truth , and please accept it. All the lying must stop.

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