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.