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Four notes on the upcoming war in Gaza, “Scorching Summer”

Who turned down the ceasefire: In a couple of months, when the operation takes a turn for the worse – either when some soldiers get hit by an IED (improvised explosive device), or when an IDF missile will miss its target, as usual, blowing up a Gazan kindergarten – we’ll have to remember: Hamas asked for a ceasefire last night. In response, the IDF continued its attacks on the Gaza Strip. As far as its leaders are concerned, the Palestinians haven’t shed enough blood. The new chief of staff, Benny Gantz, after all, must demonstrate that he is as virile as the former one.

Now, if there was any achievable goal to “Scorching Summer”, turning down the ceasefire offer would make sense. Since there isn’t any – despite all its bloviating, the Israeli government won’t bring down the Hamas regime and will not re-conquer the Strip, that’s the last thing on its mind – all we’ll see is pointless bloodletting. To show the vengeance-demanding population that we can still hurt them more, much more. The use of violence to intimidate – around here this is called “deterrence” – is, especially when used against civilians, generally considered to be terrorism.

A war crime: The son of a bitch who aimed an anti-tank missile at a school bus, and then pulled the trigger, is a war criminal. Since, as Judge Richard Goldstone found recently to his surprise that Hamas does not cleave to the laws of war, any reasonable act by Israel to kill him – no, Gantz, I do not consider taking out a whole apartment building to be “reasonable” – would be welcome. Mad dogs ought to be put down.

The son of a bitch who aimed a rocket from a chopper at a Palestinian ambulance (Hebrew), and then pulled the trigger, is a war criminal. Despite what Goldstone may think, Israel will not indict him, and should anyone try to do so, it will wail this is “lawfare” – that oh so useful idiom intended to make a judicial act look like a terrorist one.

Goldstone: During the past week, Richard Goldstone managed to become hateful to both sides. On the one hand, he wrote a rather problematic article, where he praised Israel as being better than Hamas. On the other, after official Israel went mad with glee, he had to make a public statement that he stands behind his report, and that it is still valid.

Given the amount of Schadenfreude expressed by the government, however, it is perfectly possible that in 50 years we’ll find out that Goldstone’s hesitation, his yes and no momemnt, was one of the elements promoting this operation.

The War Mongers: Make no mistake: This operation was not hastily put together yesterday. The Hamas gunmen who fired the rocket at the bus just gave the IDF and Ehud Barak the excuse they were looking for. If it didn’t happen yesterday, it would have happened in a week’s time. If the Hamas had failed to provide the IDF with an excuse, the IDF would have twisted its arm so it would. It has been escalating the Gaza front for a month now.

This little war is good for everyone, except the civilians who’ll have to pay the price. It’s good for Netanyahu, distracting the public from his and the Lady’s latest flight scandal. It’s good for Barak – he becomes a person of importance again, and, who knows, maybe public support for him will rise so much it may actually reach a positive figure. It’s good for the IDF, because it always likes risk-free wars – and it stopped considering risks to civilians as a factor a long time ago; at the most, it is an excuse to use even more force. For months, it refused to deploy the Iron Dome batteries, which it praised to high heaven yesterday; defending civilians was simply not all that important.

And the war is good, oh so good, to Hamas. Now it has the chance to change its image: it is no longer an anachronistic, oppressive force, putting down demonstrators demanding reform and a unity government. It no longer has to fear suffering the same divisions suffered by the mother movement – the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood – after the revolution there. Instead of becoming hated as an occupying regime, it can now wave the bloody shirt of “resistance”. Suddenly this organization, even though it may be scum, is once again the group fighting Israel on behalf of the common Gazan. Firing Qassam rockets, not to mention firing anti-tanks rockets at a school bus, is definitely easier than attempting to provide over a million people with a decent living.

And since the war is good for so many, there’s a good chance it’ll continue.

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    COMMENTS

    1. It’s also good for the PA.
      like anything that will keep the arab revolt outside palestine.
      and don’t forget to follow the money.
      http://fb.me/Oy0voBrO

      Reply to Comment
    2. Ori

      what??? the attack on the school bus was at 15:30. so you think its reasonable to shoot at a school bus 15:30 and then at 23:00 ask for cease fire without looking ridiculous/shameless ??? and you accept this as genuine???

      Reply to Comment
    3. max

      1. “If the Hamas had failed to provide the IDF with an excuse, the IDF would have twisted its arm so it would”
      In other words: I don’t need facts, my prejudice is enough
      2. “The son of a bitch who aimed a rocket from a chopper at a Palestinian ambulance (Hebrew)”
      Funny, nothing like your claim in your source, but – again – why stick to the facts?
      Pathetic. Lies. As you wrote: Schadenfreude.

      Reply to Comment
    4. All of this is devastatingly spot on. Except the part about Hamas providing for a million and a half people — that needs a little bit of a caveat. We all know they’ve been less than stellar as a governing body. But let’s not forget that they were never given any chance whatsoever. How the hell are you supposed to provide for anyone when you’re living under a strangulating siege?

      I’m no fan of Hamas at all, but they gave so many indications before January 2006 that they were ready to moderate. But after they were voted in with a 44.5% plurality, the world slapped sanctions and siege on the entire Palestinian people (a people under occupation for Christ’s sake!) and the Bush Administration tried to help Fatah take over Gaza by force of arms (which obviously backfired).

      http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/04/gaza200804

      Hamas could obviously be doing better with the hand they were dealt. But let’s not forget they were dealt and are being dealt virtually no chance whatsoever, and no incentive to improve. Their failure is in large part our (America and Israel’s) failure.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Yair

      Yossi – despite my efforts, I couldn’t find any online references to cases of Gazan kindergartens being hit by IDF missiles. I would appreciate if you or anyone else can provide links to some of these cases.

      Reply to Comment
    6. aristeides

      Ori – someone has to stop the firing first. Someone has to be the first to step up and break the cycle of retaliation.

      If Israel cared about peace, it wouldn’t count the minutes on the clock.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Ori

      aristeides – you missed the point. i quote from the article: “we’ll have to remember: Hamas asked for a ceasefire last night”. 7 hours after a deadly attack on civilians suddenly cease fire. like kids playing hide and seek. how can you twist this to say that israel doesnt care about peace (separate discussion. might be true). the one instance Israel was right to retaliate. (btw – how can it accomplish something the writer claims is “would be welcome. Mad dogs ought to be put down” if it will accept this pathetic cease fire thing?)

      Reply to Comment
    8. Re: “The son of a bitch who aimed a rocket from a chopper at a Palestinian ambulance (Hebrew), and then pulled the trigger, is a war criminal.”

      I followed the link to the Hebrew article sited and found no referrence to this incident. What gives??

      Reply to Comment
    9. Y’all (Max and Sydney) need to learn how to read – all the way to the end of an article: עוד דווח כי באחת התקיפות נפגע אמבולנס פלסטיני.

      Reply to Comment
    10. max

      Rechavia Berman, and the way you read “עוד דווח כי באחת התקיפות נפגע אמבולנס פלסטיני” is the same as “[The son of a bitch] who aimed a rocket from a chopper at a Palestinian ambulance (Hebrew)”?
      You may need a better translation program 🙂

      Reply to Comment
    11. Danny

      Hamas are no angels, to be sure. But if I were given the choice of either shaking Binyamin Netanyahu’s hand or Ismail Hanniyeh’s, I would opt for the latter’s. I consider Hamas to have more integrity than the Israeli government, and when they say something they mean what they say, even if it’s not the nicest thing in the world. Israel’s government, on the other hand, are nothing but a bunch of power-mad ignoramuses with a few borderline retards thrown in the mix (the hapless Eli Yishai with his recent inept dealings with Goldstone comes to mind). Yes, Hamas are not the nicest people in the world. But they are the only thing that makes Israel take notice of the Palestinian people. If not for Hamas, Israel would simply ignore the Palestinians and pretend they were part of scenery. Hamas keeps Israel honest, and for that they deserve some credit.

      Reply to Comment
    12. 1. “If the Hamas had failed to provide the IDF with an excuse, the IDF would have twisted its arm so it would”
      In other words: I don’t need facts, my prejudice is enough

      Prejudice? I’d call it experience. We’ve been through this several times before.

      2. “The son of a bitch who aimed a rocket from a chopper at a Palestinian ambulance (Hebrew)”
      Funny, nothing like your claim in your source, but – again – why stick to the facts?
      Pathetic. Lies. As you wrote: Schadenfreude.

      Learn to read. It will greatly improve your life.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Rechavia Berman, and the way you read “עוד דווח כי באחת התקיפות נפגע אמבולנס פלסטיני” is the same as “[The son of a bitch] who aimed a rocket from a chopper at a Palestinian ambulance (Hebrew)”?
      You may need a better translation program 🙂

      You think that missile aimed itself?

      Reply to Comment
    14. max

      Yossi, why missile? How do you know it was a direct hit?
      How do you know so much more than is written?
      It’s this “logic”, which leads you to accusations of intentional murder that I refer to as prejudice.
      You may call it a leap of faith.

      Reply to Comment
    15. Elijah

      Is this a joke? Am I taking crazy pills? Does Yossi thinks we’re all dumb?
      A few things:
      1) Yossi – as you can tell, some of your readers do know Hebrew. Some of us even speak fluent Hebrew. That link does not say what you wrote it says. Kind of like the difference between “A man was hit by a car” and “A man was murder by a sadistic lunatic who chased him with a car and ran him over. And then shifted to reverse and ran him over again.”
      2) That story can be found quite easily on Palestinian news blogs with a simple Google search. With the direct hit of an ambulance by a chopper and all. Strangely enough though, even Al-Jazeera didn’t aired that story. But than again, say what you will about Al Jazeera – they have what is known as “journalistic standards”. Maybe you should have some too.
      3) And that brings me to another subject. Yossi, you say you have experience. Let me ask you this – didn’t ever experienced a false report from a Palestinian news source? The “massacre of Jenin” in 2002 maybe? The morning that started the 2006 war in Lebanon when most of the Arab news blogs stated that Israel attacked Lebanon out of the blue and the brave Hezbollah attacked Israel back, killed and captured Israeli soldiers? Click on the link, it’s a good one: http://212.179.113.235/mahsom/article.php?id=3260
      What about the fairy tale about a disgruntled Thai worker murdering a family in Itamar? (I know you remember THAT, you actually wrote that we shouldn’t dismiss that possibility)
      What I’m trying to say is this – in the same way you don’t take for grunted everything that the IDF spokesman says, try to have some healthy skepticism about news from the Hamas spokesman. You know, journalistic standards and all that.

      Reply to Comment
    16. Yossi – as you can tell, some of your readers do know Hebrew. Some of us even speak fluent Hebrew. That link does not say what you wrote it says

      It says that an ambulance has been hit by an Israeli attack. I did not see a denial by the IDF. The item was published on the website of Israel’s Channel 2.

      It’s rather hard to hit an ambulance by artillery fire. It’s also hard to hit it by accident – it’s rather well marked. The IDF denies using drones to carry out air attacks, so that leaves us with either helicopters or fighters. The IDF admitted using helicopters, so that’s what I went with. If you’re trying to wing it on a technicality and say the hit was carried out by a drone or a fighter, fine by me – the person who fired the missile from the drone or the fighter is just as much a war criminal as the helicopter pilot I thought fired it.

      Strangely enough though, even Al-Jazeera didn’t aired that story. But than again, say what you will about Al Jazeera – they have what is known as “journalistic standards”. Maybe you should have some too.

      Are you saying Channel 2’s standards are lower than Al Jazeera? Tell it to them, then.

      Reply to Comment
    17. max

      Yossi, your excuses are getting very lame… “It’s rather hard to hit an ambulance by artillery fire” – ???? Can you repeat this?

      Reply to Comment
    18. Elijah

      The fact that you don’t see a difference between what you wrote and what the link says is nothing short of amazing. For the love of god, the link says “Further more, it was reported that a Palestinian ambulance was hit in one of the strikes”. THIS IS IT. If you can’t see the difference between that and saying that it’s a fact that an ambulance was hit, and furthermore- that the ambulance was the target of the missile… I got nothing else to say. Let any reasonable reader judge for himself.
      I have nothing against Channel 2’s standards in this case because, again, they wrote- “IT WAS REPORTED…”. That is true. It was reported by Hamas and some Palestinian news blogs. One option is to say- if it was reported by Hamas than it MUST be true. Hamas does not lie about that kind of stuff. Another option, a weirder one perhaps, is to ask – why can’t we find that story on CNN? why can’t we find it on Al Jazeera? (I’m not even talking about YOUR story, the one about a missile aimed at an ambulance, but just the one about an ambulance being damaged) Don’t we have enough experience with lies told by Hamas and other terrorist organizations that we should at the very least wait until we have some other kind of confirmation before accept it as a fact? If you were writing this blog in the summer of 2006 you’d be writing about how Israel invaded Lebanon on one sunny morning and the Hezbollah retaliated by killing and kidnapping Israeli soldiers? After all, it was reported!
      Why do you find it so easy to fully believe just about anything the Hamas would say even when you’re fully aware (or should be fully aware) of its past lies?
      And just to make it clear, I’m not trying to wing anything on technicality. If an ambulance was aimed at, I don’t care what aimed at it. Please don’t argue with words that I never said.

      Reply to Comment
    19. directrob

      “Richard Goldstone found recently to his surprise …” if you mean during his initial investigation you have a point otherwise …
      http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/10232009/watch.html

      “Mad dogs ought to be put down”
      If the “mad dogs” in question are human beings I disagree. This is how this escalation of violence started in the first place. They have to be arrested and if found guilty in a real court thrown in jail. (how is this shooting worse than killing non combatants at the buffer zone and in Gaza).

      In the mean time lets hope the war mongers can be reigned in.

      Reply to Comment
    20. aristeides

      Ori – how is it ever right to retaliate?

      Retaliation only kills people, often more innocent people. How is this right?

      Retaliation only breeds more retaliation. After more innocent Gazans are killed in the Israeli retaliation (as they already have been), Hamas will say, Now we are right to retaliate. Recall that the school bus attack was a RETALIATION. Then, when Hamas retaliates and another innocent Israeli is killed, this will be a death that accepting a ceasefire would have prevented.

      It’s very obvious that it means more to Israel to have the last kill than to make peace, and this means only more killing.

      Reply to Comment
    21. Danny

      DIRECTROB – thank you for posting that link to the video of the Goldstone interview. I am now convinced more than ever that this man was coerced by Israel to retract his report and have it nullified. His statements in this interview are absolutely damning and leave no doubt as to what happened in Gaza.

      Reply to Comment
    22. Richard Witty

      All wars are good only for opportunists.

      I criticize the left for adding heat to the fire, rather than reducing heat.

      The hatchet job on Goldstone for being disloyal to the “movement”, for learning, for changing his perspective, is appalling to me.

      There is no accurate assessment of the war that does not prominently include Hamas’ very opportunistic and bad judgments over an extended period. To the extent that the radical left (American, European, solidarity, and Israeli) speaks only of Israeli responsibility, they are grossly negligent.

      Hamas is very difficult to deal with. Noone with moral convictions, with solid military credentials, with effective diplomatic skills, has been successful at reconciling with them in any substantive way.

      Olmert, not a man with military or diplomatic credentials (who knows about his morality), acted in desparation, egged on by opportunists.

      It is more tragic than criminal.

      And, the tragedy continues, by upping the heat, upping the pressure in the cooker, apologizing for escalation everywhere.

      The left apologizing for Hamas targeting a school bus. The right apologizing for 1-ton bombs on apartments.

      Reply to Comment
    23. directrob

      Danny,
      The point of the link was that Goldstone always claimed that the rockets at southern Israel where a war crime, not just recently.
      .
      As far as “coerced to retract” is concerned. It seems that it did not work:
      Goldstone AP: “… but as presently advised I have no reason to believe any part of the report needs to be reconsidered at this time.”

      Reply to Comment
    24. Sylvia

      “the upcoming war in Gaza, “scorching summer”

      “Now, if there was any achievable goal to “Scorching Summer”,”

      I can’t find any credible source for that. Can you provide a credible source to your assertion that there was such an operation called “scorching summer”?

      Reply to Comment
    25. Sylvia

      Yossi Gurvitz: “Scorching Summer”?
      I repeat my question: Can you provide a credible source to your assertion that there was such an operation called “scorching summer”?

      Reply to Comment
    26. Dannecker

      If you dont want the Palestinians to shoot at you, get off their land

      Reply to Comment
    27. Elan Miller

      “The son of a bitch who aimed a rocket from a chopper at a Palestinian ambulance (Hebrew), and then pulled the trigger, is a war criminal”

      Interesting. Your source indicates no reason to be sure either way that the ambulance was hit on intentionally. Nice job on the moral equivalency. IDF conduct is not even comparable to Hamas/Fatah’s

      Reply to Comment
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