UPDATE: Egypt has brokered what’s being called a ceasefire between Israel and Islamic Jihad, which has cost the lives of 32 Palestinians, with no cost whatsover to Israelis. It’s a so-called ceasefire because there is no such thing as far as Israel is concerned. It violates ceasefires at its pleasure. It agrees to ceasefires when it’s pummeled Gaza sufficiently to say it’s time to go home. Israel is like the “wicked” person in the Hebrew book of wisdom, Pirkey Avot: “what’s mine is mine; what’s yours is mine.” I can attack you at will. But if you so much as muss a hair on an Israeli head, we will pulverize you. That’s not a ceasefire. Not in any sense that the world recongizes it.
Islamic Jihad announced its account of the ceasefire it agreed to:
Under the agreement, Islamic Jihad demanded that Egypt makes efforts to release as soon as possible Khalil al-Awadeh who is on hunger strike in an Israeli prison and transfer him to a medical center for treatment, as well as its senior leader Bassam al-Saadi, who is also imprisoned at an Israeli jail.
The difference between IJ’s demanding that Egypt “make efforts” to release its leaders, and Israel actually doing it may be as wide as the Mississippi. It may happen or it may not. It depends on how much leverage the Egyptians have with Israel, and how much Israel is willing to accede to Egypt’s request. If I was a betting man I’d say the chances are slim–maybe not to “none.” But definitely not much more than “slim.” The only time Israel agrees to such deals is when there is pressure put upon it by a superior power (US, etc); or when it is in its interests to do so. Neither option seems in play now.
Israel’s Channel 13 reports that health minister Nitzan Horowitz berated PM Lapid during the cabinet meeting over his decision to go to war on Gaza without consulting the cabinet. This is a grave violation of Israeli protocol and terrible precedent which future governments will surely exploit. The IDF chief of staff responded that there was a concrete danger of a terror attack. No one conveniently knows whether this is true or not since the army has offered no proof for its claim. Lapid said that he had sought authorization from the cabinet’s legal advisor and she had approved it. Nice to ask someone who works for you to give you permission to do something illegal. And guess what, she approves!
Just before the alleged ceasefire, Israel wiped out the Al-Nabahin family (video) early today in an attack on the Al-Bureij refugee camp in Gaza. A father and his three children, their lives snuffed out by an Israel bomb. This is what Israel calls “self-defense.” A “pre-emptive attack.” A “precision strike.” “Striking the terrorist lair.” I call it a war crime. I will continue saying it every time, till there is no breath left in me.
The alleged IJ rocket video and Israel’s policy of obfuscation
A final word in this update on the video the IDF is circulating alleging that it shows an IJ rocket landing on the five Paletinian children murdered. There are several glaring problems with its claim: first, the video has no time stamp. It could have been filmed yesterday or 2014 or any time; second, we don’t know who fired the missle; third, we don’t know where it was fired from; fourth, we don’t know precisely where it landed; fifth, we don’t know if this particular rocket killed or injured anyone. About the only thing we can say for sure is that it is a video. Which isn’t saying much.
There is a calculated strategy here. Israel knows what it is doing is hated by almost all the world. It knows much of the world is digusted by the bloodshed Israel wreaks. But Israel also refuses to change its policy despite the horror it engenders. So it has several strategies to mitigate the damage. One of the most insidious is obfuscation. Has Israel wiped out an entire family? Killed babies and mothers? Murdered a beloeved journalist? An autistic child huddling in terror Border Police before they stand over him and kill him? The Israeli response: come up with an alternative narrative. It must do two things: it must throw the blame back on the victim. It must deflect blame from the real perpetrators. It must throw the dog off the scent. Israel does this almost every time it commits a heinous crime like murdering these children.
And the hasbara drones who promote this narrative here are accessories. They flog it. They post it as widely as possible, here and elsewhere. They help it penetrate into the pores of public discourse. It doesn’t matter if they persuade anyone. They only need to plant a seed of doubt and their work is done. That is one of the reasons I am so hard on them in the threads. I know what they’re doing. I know how they operate. I don’t want to give them even the slightest edge in this contest, in which their goal is distraction from the truth.
The goal is to force the public to consider two conflicting narratives. As long as it forces you to incorporate the the lie into your consideration of the event, that is enough to make most people tire of the whole process. It takes too much time and energy to examine such information in any depth. People would rather move on to the next item on their agenda. Israel is thus playing on the nature of human beings to give up when something becomes too complicated.
You know that old hasbara saying: “it’s complicated.” Well, it’s only complicated when you manufacture the complication. Otherwise, it isn’t complicated at all. My goal is to penetrate that complication. To expose it and lay out the much simpler truth. And boy does it butt-hurt those hasbarists. Rightly so.
Israel continues its history of brutal assault on Palestinians with an all-out attack on one of the primary resistance factions, Islamic Jihad. Last week, the IDF arrested the senior IJ commander in the West Bank, dragging the 62 year old man out of his home by his hair. It was odd that Israel then closed all the Gaza border crossings and warned Israelis not to travel anywhere on the outskirts of Gaza. Further, it warned that there could be rocket fire from Gaza. This seems disproportional considering that they’d merely arrested a single IJ official.
But the other shoe dropped yesterday, when Israel assassinated IJ commander, Tayseer al-Jabari. He was killed in his home:
Other Palestinian sources in Gaza noted that the residential building that was targeted, which is in the center of Gaza City, also houses offices of media and non-governmental organizations.
A five year old girl was killed in that attack:
The Hamas-run health ministry has reported 13 deaths from Israeli fire including a five-year-old girl, Alaa Kaddum. Her father carried her at her funeral, with a wound on her forehead and a pink bow in her hair.
Let the world remember that killing little girls is a war crime. Let Israel be judged for this and its many other crimes. And never, ever let Israel argue that this is justified because Palestinians want to kill them. The only reason they do, is that Israel has trampled on their rights. Because of this, they have every reason to resist. Resistance is legitimate as long as Israel continues massacring Palestinians. And no one, least of all Israel, has the right to complain that Palestinians refuse to give up the same rights other countries enjoy. Nor does it have the right to object that Palestinians use any means necessary to gain them.
Today, the IDF assassinated a second IJ official, Khaled Mansour. The IDF made the curious claim that “All top Islamic Jihad security officials in Gaza have been assassinated.’ There are surely more than two such militant leaders in Gaza. Not to mention that, as I’ve written here often, eliminating one or many such leaders has relatively little impact on the overall capabilities of the militant force. Every such insurgency has a cadre of leaders who move up as others are killed. And the supply of such individuals is refreshed by the blood of every Palestinian child murdered by Israel.
They say the definition of insanity is Insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” By this standard, Israel’s military strategy is insane. The endless murders and rivers of blood, both Israeli and Palestinian. But mostly Palestinian.
Israel is like Sisyphus rolling that boulder uphill. When it gets to the top and Israeli generals tell us they succeeded in eliminating the enemy and that Israelis can sleep in peace (rather than shelters), that boulder falls back down the hill and they start all over.
However, I’m not sure Israel does expect to eliminate Palestinian resistance (though it swears releatedly that it does). If your goal is to maintain the status quo, rather than offer any compromise, then this strategy works quite well and isn’t insane at all. Let’s call it the perpetural war strategy.
This assault only highlight the necessity of progress in the ICC investigation of Israel war crimes, including the 2014 Operation Protective Edge, which murdered 2,300 Palestinians. After an annoucement that it would commence one, we have heard almost nothing since. The longer this takes, the more added war crimes there will be. I am not a legal expert on the international laws of war. But if such Israeli assaults are themselves found to be war crimes (as they should), then for the criminal state to maintain a system that guarantees such repated war crimes, this too should be an added criminal offense. If you commit such a crime without any intent to stop doing so (despite febble claims to the contrary), and refuse to compromise in order to end this condition, then this should be added to the charge sheet.
Now the rockets are flying. Over
350 600 since yesterday. No major Israelis casualties. But 24 32 41 44 Gazans have been murdered including 6 15 children. It appears the fighting will not expand unless Hamas joins in. And it appears to be keeping its powder dry.
Israel claims that these IJ commanders were planning a major terror attack inside Israel. Of course, anyone can claim anything without offering any proof. As a result, we take all such claims by the IDF with an extra-large grain of salt.
I’m disgusted by the mainstream media whose headlines talk about “fighting,” “flare-up,” a “prep-emptive” strike, Israel “strikes after threats,” “Israel strikes after tensions rise.” Either through fear, pusillaneousness, or laziness, the world media is woeful at covering this conflict, especially during warfare. This is in no way a conflict between equals. It is a bloody one-sided massacre. I’m also disgusted by the media lens which portrays Israel as acting in self-defense; as responding to Palestinian rockets. They never offer the full context. The Palestinian resistance does not attack spontaneously with no precipitating offense. Israel Occupation is a first offense and justifies such a response to it. Besides this, the Occupation inflicts daily degradation, including murders on Palestinians. There doesn’t have to be a single precipitating event that brings a Palestinian response. Every day for Palestinians is one.
Israeli NGOs call for UN sanctions against Israel
Eitay Mack, Israel’s foremost human rights attorney, has published an anti-war statement on behalf of three Israeli NGOs demanding that the UNSC take immediate action against all parties to the current conflict. It also demands sanctions should be imposed on them:
Under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the UNSC should also impose sanctions, including travel bans and assets freeze on individuals and entities that are responsible for, or complicit in, or having engaged in, directly or indirectly, actions or policies that threaten the peace, security or stability in the area.
There are few, if any sanctions that can be imposed on Islamic Jihad, given the siege imposed by Israel, which is one of the most extreme sanctions possible. Therefore, the onus will fall on Israel. There must be an increasing promotion of, and movement for such an internatonal regime of sanctions along the same lines as Iran.
Some say that these attacks may be motivated by poltical jockeying between the hard right Likud Opposition and the soft-right governing coalition. Never underestimate how much Israeli aggression against Palestinians is motivated by pure political calculations. Dead Palestinians almost always translate into votes come Election Day. But the election won’t happen till November. So there won’t be much direct benefit to the current government. After writing the above, I saw this headline in today’s Haaretz: Israel Election: Pro-Netanyahu Bloc Loses Projected Majority in Polls After Gaza Fighting. I may have to take back what I wrote above about the current offensive having no political upside for November.
The utter cynicism of the Israeli assaults is highlighted by Egypt’s efforts prior to them to cool tempers in Gaza and restrain counter-attacks by Palestinians. In the midst of these efforts, Israel murdered the two Palestinian militant leaders. Now Egypt says it will continue its efforts. Remember what I said about doing the same thing over and expecting different results? The Egyptians are willing collaborators in Israel’s charade. Palestinians, as always, are the victims.