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Gaza operation will be declared a success, until the next war

A man holds his one-year-old son, who died from his injuries following an Israeli air strike, Shifa Hospital, Gaza City, November 14, 2012. (photo: Anne Paq / Activestills)

No. Not again. This can’t be happening again. But there it is.

Once again, just like it was four years ago, it is winter. Reports on tension, violence, the regular exchange of rockets on southern Israeli towns, and assassinations and airstrikes on Gaza dominate the media once more. Calls for revenge and a more resilient response are commonly heard.

And then: a bigger attack. Something that Israel knows will drag both sides into using all they have, usually resulting in hundreds of dead and extreme destruction on the Palestinian side, and several killed and severe damage on the Israeli one. Last time, in December 2008, during Operation Cast Lead, some 1,400 Palestinians were killed by Israeli air strikes and invasions, as were 13 Israelis in combat and by rocket fire. Who knows how high the death toll of “Pillar of Defense” will be.

Last time there had been a short truce, violated by an Israeli attack which escalated the fighting. This time around, the Israeli assassination of Hamas military commander Ahmed Jabari comes in the midst of ongoing hostilities. Today, just like four years ago, reserve forces are being called up and tanks are getting ready to enter the Strip. Heavy bombardments are taking place all over Gaza, and reports are starting to come in regarding the dead – including two children – while the entire population in southern Israel is also seeking cover in shelters.

Please don’t let this be happening again.

And nobody ever really remembers the numbers, or the exact route that brought us to this point. Way back in 2008, everybody was saying how Israel had “patiently” been suffering rocket fire for eight years without a proper response. Nobody remembered the countless military operations that preceded Cast Lead, nor the 3,004 Palestinians (635 of them children) killed in Gaza by Israeli attacks between 2001 and 2008, a period during which 16 Israelis (including four children) were killed in Israel by Palestinian fire from the Gaza Strip. And now, nobody in mainstream media will remind us of the 271 Palestinians killed in Gaza by Israeli forces since Cast Lead, a period during which three Israelis were killed from Palestinian fire (all figures from B’Tselem). Not to mention the siege. Nobody remembers the siege. And no, negotiations, peace talks, or any kind of long-term cease fire are not even being considered.

Stop it, stop it now.

And yes, once again elections are right around the corner. “How do you explain the fact that both in Cast Lead and now, these things happen right before the elections?” asks the young reporter on Ynet. “Well, it’s because they (the Palestinians) had gone too far then, and they’ve gone too far now,” responds learned veteran military commentator Ron Ben-Yishay, while gracefully avoiding the idea that wars and attacks such as these might be a cynical tool in the hands of political leaders and candidates. War sits well with voters, especially if casualties and damages on our side can remain significantly lower than that on the other. Not that there’s any danger of Netanyahu not being re-elected anyway, but it never hurt to gain a couple more seats in Knesset for the ruling party and its allies. Not surprisingly, Lapid, Mofaz and Labor’s Yachimovich all hurried to enlist and support the troops in this “most justified” action of “self defense.”

And once again demonstrations will take place in Tel Aviv, and maybe Haifa and Jerusalem. Fifty on the first day, 200 the next. The first weekend might bring out a thousand or so, and if it goes on – ten or 15 thousand within three weeks. Maybe this time some ex-J14 activists will join the usual crowd. Arrests will be made. Several reports of police brutality will spread in social networks. Nobody will care much. The assault will run its course either way.

And in the end they’ll say we’ve “restored deterrence,” that “terrorist infrastructures” have been destroyed and it will take years to rebuild. The dead will not matter. Destruction will not matter. The Israeli south will once again be forgotten, abandoned to the cruelties of unemployment and economic instability so typical of the Israeli periphery under a neo-liberal government. The operation will be declared a success. Until the next time around.

Politicians line up behind Israeli assault on Gaza
IDF, Hamas exchange Twitter threats
The lesson Israel refuses to learn on Gaza

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    1. Danny

      Don’t forget to mention that the next Goldstone report will be once again heavily fought tooth and nail by Israel, and its new author will be the subject of intense Israeli pressure to pull his criticism of Israel and associated recommendations; perhaps this time, if the new Goldstone is not a Jew, the Mossad can be dispatched to “take care of him” (wink wink).
      One thing that HAS changed since the last massacre is that Israel’s man in Cairo has been replaced by Hamas’ man in Cairo. From the looks of it, he’s already asserting himself and recalling back his ambassador. Let’s hope it doesn’t stop there.

      Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        Cairo is of very little importance and influence to be even considered as a player.

        There is absolutely nothing what Egyptians could do on any semi-serious issue at all, let alone impose any kind of threat to anyone, except Gazans probably.

        Should they be stupid enough and go a step further indeed – say denounce the peace treaty – it would have grave effect on lives of Egyptians; but they won’t do a thing. Not for Palestinians for sure.

        Reply to Comment
    2. Jabo

      It is important to remember that Israel has a long record of exploiting pretexts to commence aggressive action. It is only later that the real causes of the aggression is determined. Consider the 1982 and 2006 invasions of Lebanon.

      “Israel invaded Lebanon on June 5, 1982, following an eleven-month cease-fire with the PLO, which Israel claimed had been broken by the attempted assassination of the Israeli ambassador to the United Kingdom Shlomo Argov…It made little difference to the Israelis that the assassination had been carried out by a renegade Palestinian group led by the infamous Sabri al-Banna…, a blood foe of the PLO. The invasion gave Ariel Sharon, then the Israeli defense minister, carte blanche to pursue his own dream of destroying the PLO as a political force in the region [thus consolidating Israel’s hold of the Occupied Palestinian Territory] and putting in place a pliant government in Beirut that would become the second Arab state, after Egypt, to enter into a formal peace agreement with Israel.

      “In leaked testimony to the Winograd Committee investigating Israel’s mismanagement of the summer 2006 Lebanon war, Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert admitted that the war had been carefully planned at least four months ahead of time…Facts such as that Hezbollah fired no rockets into Israel until after Israel’s savage aerial attacks…had begun, or that Israel had left unresolved for years the bitter issues of Lebanese prisoners of war and the occupation of the Shebaa Farms region, only generate more questions when one considers how easily negotiations could have defused growing tensions.” http://detailedpoliticalquizzes.wordpress.com/hezbollah-quiz/

      Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        Reading fairy-tales huh?

        p.s. Back in 1947 there were no “Palestinians”

        Reply to Comment
    3. Humans overall are not meant to remember aggregate deaths of oursiders nor, overlong, of insiders. Those who can/do remember suffer in some mysterious, damaged way–so say the forgetters.

      The battle for the future of Israel (not Palestine, people, but Israel) cannot be won through Gaza–only through Israel proper and the Bank. The complete lack of connection between Israel and Gaza makes interactive change nigh impossible. But not on the Bank, not among Arab Israeli citizens. There encounter will/can change the common world.

      An electorate willing to embrace the label of apartheid will not turn toward Gaza with anything but a hostile face. The first fight is, and always will be, within yourselves, where you live. You have to win that before you can face the terror of hostile, damaged outsider.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Aaron Gross

      I prefer Noam Sheizaf’s writings. He’s willing to see reality.

      Reply to Comment
      • Obsidian

        Noam served in the IDF for four years. Haggai was a conscientious objector.

        Reply to Comment
    5. XYZ

      I wish some “progressive” out there would explain to me why, if the HAMAS people are the good guys, why do they play into the hands of the bad Israelis by firing numerous rockets, both short-range and long-range indiscriminately into Israeli population centers, which happens to be a war crime? When they do this, Israel is able to get the Europeans and Americans to acquiesce to Israel military response. If they are the good guys and want peace and honor cease-fires, why don’t they say “we will NOT play into their hands and fire rockets at them. Then the whole world will see how peaceful and good we are”?

      Reply to Comment
      • TobyR

        @ XYZ
        “I wish some “progressive” out there would explain to me why, if the HAMAS people are the good guys, why do they play into the hands of the bad Israelis by firing numerous rockets,”

        For that you would first have to find ‘some progressive’ who considers Hamas the ‘good guys’. Good luck with that.

        Reply to Comment
      • XYZ

        Professor Judith Butler, a renown Jewish “progressive” and recent recipient of a prestigious German award for human rights and advocate of BDS against Israel has proclaimed both HAMAS and HIZBULLAH “progressive movements”.

        Reply to Comment
    6. Richard Witty

      Anyone know if the border between Gaza and Egypt is open, or closed?

      If open, then the use of the terms occupation or siege of Gaza is a falsehood, as the relationship is one of states or quasi-states only.

      If that is the case, then the action of firing rockets from the Gaza side of the border is either an errant or renegade action (maybe so with a couple rockets) or intended (more likely with the firing of 200).

      The sequence of firing of rockets this time mirrored in 2008, with first errant and renegade, then organized Islamic Jihad (first suppressed than accepted by Hamas, then organized Hamas.

      Hopefully, with the utter and total deterioration of Israeli relationships with the rest of the world, nearly ALL as a result of likud/Israel Beitanhu policies, actions, and communications, Israel will not HOW vulnerable it is with such immoderate leadership.

      Hopefully, military actions will cease long before the election and someone smart can make the point of likud/israel beitanhu’s vacuus approach.

      Who will speak for Israel now, even with the obvious action of war participated in by the Hamas government?

      Is Assad now Israel’s only ally in the region? (The only one not saying much.)

      Reply to Comment
    7. The Trespasser

      This operation is going to be much unlike previous one.

      By the end of the first day of Cast Lead almost 300 Palestinians were killed.

      IDF surely learned it’s lessons – the recipe is clear now:
      Decapitate and destroy “freedom-fighting” infrastructure.
      Repeat quarterly.

      Reply to Comment
      • Pillow

        I wish someone would bang hasbarist heads in a quarterly periods. Daily.

        Reply to Comment
    8. Obsidian

      ” Last time there had been a short truce, violated by an Israeli attack which escalate the fighting.”

      Haggai. Are you referring here to the lead up to Cast Lead? If you are, it was Hamas who violated that truce by building a kidnap tunnel that Israel discovered and destroyed.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Jack

      Pretty easy to declare victory fighting an occupied group of people.

      Reply to Comment
      • rsgengland

        The occupation is over
        A Hamas man leads in Cairo
        An Arab head of state visited Gaza a few weeks ago
        Hamas must pay for its deliberate terrorization of Israeli civilians .
        Deliberate attacks on civilians constitute a WAR CRIME .
        Hamas does commit WAR CRIMES

        Reply to Comment
    10. rinki

      not if the war cascades into more wars with other nations

      Reply to Comment