Must Read Articles on Israel’s Savage Attacks on Gaza - updated 11/26/12
Posted Nov 23, 2012

Must Read Articles on Israel’s Savage Attacks on Gaza

collected by Sheila Musaji

On November 21, 2012, a cease-fire was announced.  An end to the immediate violence is good, and every life saved on both sides is precious.  However, I cannot help but believe, that any such cease-fire is only temporary.  As long as there is not an agreed upon solution to the occupation, the settlements, the status of Jerusalem, an end to the blockade, and many other difficult decisions, then it is only a matter of time before the violence breaks out again.  This article collection will now be divided into sections - Before the Cease-fire and After the Cease-fire


DAY ONE - 11/22

The Israeli government does not seem very committed to the cease-fire.  Here are a few of the statements made about the cease-fire that make the Israeli government’s view clear:

  CBS News notes Netanyahu’s deliberate choice of words on Gaza cease-fire

In his reaction to the cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas faction in Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chose his words very carefully, deciding to position himself as reluctant about the truce that went into effect today.  An official announcement from Netanyahu’s office said that in his latest telephone conversation with President Obama, the prime minister “acceded to his recommendation to give the Egyptian cease-fire proposal a chance.”

The Jewish Press also reports that

Opposition leader and Kadima chairman MK Shaul Mofaz expressed opposition to the ceasefire on his Facebook page.    Mofaz wrote that “the ceasefire is a mistake and the next round with Hamas is waiting around the corner.” Mofaz also wrote that “in practice the military’s operational achievements did not translate into political success. You don’t settle with terrorism. There decision. And, unfortunately, a decisive victory has not been achieved and we did not recharge our deterrence. As the Chief of Staff during the Defensive Shield operation I stopped the suicide bombers. I know it’s possible. It’s possible to defeat terrorism.”

Netanyahu’s use of the word “acceded” makes it sound as if he is doing this reluctantly at best. 

Reuters reports Relief at Gaza ceasefire can’t mask its frailty

Palestinians and Israelis alike were relieved that their eight-day conflict had come to an end without a bloody invasion of the Gaza Strip. But on both sides there was a foreboding that their ceasefire might not last very long.  “We are sceptical,” said a senior Israeli government official, who declined to be named. “But the Egyptians and Americans have backed this deal, so if it falls apart they know that we would have a legitimate reason to go in hard.”

On the face of it, both Israel and the Islamist group Hamas, which rules Gaza, can draw positive conclusions at the end of a brutal clash that killed 162 Palestinians, including 37 children, and five Israelis.  ...  “No one is under the illusion that this is going to be an everlasting ceasefire. It is clear to everyone it will only be temporary,” said Michael Herzog, a former chief of staff at the Israeli ministry of defense.

Marco Vicenzino notes on CNN

This development must be seized upon to convert the recent crisis into an opportunity after years of inaction. A desperate injection of diplomatic energy is required. The alternative is renouncing responsibility and initiative to continuous unpredictability, and becoming its hostage. In an increasingly volatile region experiencing historic transformation and shifting alliances, the potential for simultaneous conflict on multiple fronts remains real.

Diminishing the threat, and its catastrophic consequences, through a credible process is critical to regional stability and international order.  The cease-fire alone simply marks the end of another chapter in the decades-old vicious cycle of violence between Israelis and Palestinians. Ideally, a next phase of negotiations should focus on a permanent end of hostilities. Although its duration would be unknown, it is best to commence sooner rather than later.

The regional status quo is simply unsustainable in the long-term. Time is of the essence. A continuing game of brinksmanship risks miscalculation and another descent into the abyss at any given moment. After all, there is no military solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conundrum.

The last time we went through this same process, back in January of 2009, Tariq Ramadan issued An Appeal For a Non-Violent Global Resistance Movement Against the Violent, Extremist Policy of the State of Israel.  I was one of the initial signatories to that appeal, and it saddens me to see that there is not a word that would need to be changed now, four years later.  Here is that appeal:

  The crisis in Gaza today underlines once more the horror—and the impasse—that the Palestinians face. We cannot simply wish a plague on both their houses; cannot hope for a negotiated settlement in the absence of direct, forceful outside involvement and intervention. To adopt a stance of false neutrality, to pretend to be powerless onlookers means letting events take their course; it means concluding, after every massacre, after every crisis, that the “peace process” has lead nowhere, that the situation grows more desperate with every passing day. A significant number of organizations around the world, and particularly in the West support the Palestinian cause. But these organizations are seemingly unable to agree on a common vision and strategies. In their discussions, they often confuse analysis of causes with the principles of resistance, or with the most effective methods of seeking support and the solutions to be put forward. In such circumstances, it is difficult to articulate a clear and coherent platform from which we can address the issues, engage in multi-dimensional action and build a solid united front. We must begin with a minimum program of principles we can all agree upon:

- The Israel-Palestine conflict is primarily a political one (even though it has a religious dimension that implies the obligation to respect religious freedom for all—Jews, Christians and Muslims—and freedom of conscience for all, irrespective of religious or non-religious persuasion.

- There is an oppressor (State of Israel) and oppressed population (the Palestinian people).
- The Palestinian resistance is, de facto, legitimate.
- The Palestinians have the right to their own state, and to full freedom within it.
- The equal dignity of the Palestinians requires full equality of rights and treatment, no matter the proposed solution.
- Palestinians expelled from their lands have a natural right of return.
- Our commitment is based on an unconditional and equal rejection of racism of any kind, be it anti-Jewish, anti-Arab, anti-Christian or anti-Muslim.

Based on these seven principles, we can build local, regional and national collectives and platforms. They can then determine the priorities and objectives of the local/global resistance movement. The examples of “collectives” or “coordinating committees” in England and France, and in certain regions (the United States, Europe) must now be expanded to all countries on all continents, especially considering that the ostensibly local Israel-Palestine conflict has a global impact on the political and economic realities of today’s world. These local, regional, national and international coordinating committees should pursue the following objectives:

Disseminate constantly updated and relevant information on the Middle East, in the form of websites, newsletters, lectures and teach-ins, videos, books, etc.; develop and sustain a citizen’s awareness of the issues, above and beyond moments of crisis and media coverage.

Determine appropriate non-violent, legal and global resistance strategies (boycotts and coordination of concrete action: demonstrations, appeals to political leaders, etc.) already developed by some organizations but lacking sufficient coordination and collaboration except in times of acute crisis.

Support and mobilize the economic solidarity movement for development and reconstruction projects (infrastructures, schools, etc.).

The most recent events in Gaza and the attitude of governments East and West make it clear that their widespread passivity and hypocrisy will rule out any solution to the conflict. It is as if the State of Israel, with the support of the United States and several European governments, has created an atmosphere of international intellectual terror: no one dares utter a word, speak the truth, or denounce the unacceptable. At the same time, the people of the world are far less gullible; increasingly large numbers of citizens are refusing to be brainwashed by the media, to be reduced to impotent spectators. These are the people who must be mobilized. Our task today is to state clearly our principles, to determine the most effective methods of resistance, and to coordinate our actions. Recent national experiences prove that this process can be generalized. We call upon those organizations with years of experience, as well as new structures and individuals, to view the creation of this global movement as imperative, and to build it by setting up broader-based, more effective local chapters and regional and national coordinating committees. We must reject both divisions and political manipulation: we must, instead, establish a platform of shared principles to shed light on our shared commitment; we must undertake actions that express the determination of our global resistance. Because we cannot stand idly by while the Palestinians are being humiliated, while their rights are being trampled, while they are victimized by atrocities, we are launching the Non-Violent Global Resistance Movement. We call upon public personalities (intellectuals, artists, etc.) to join the Movement; we appeal to activists and ordinary citizens around the world, to organizations committed to the defense of individual rights and dignity; we summon to our cause all those who refuse to tolerate the silent complicity of governments East and West, while in Palestine civilians are being slaughtered, or relegated to the new Bantustans that the Occupied Territories have become under Israel’s policy of colonization and apartheid.

Our only hope for success is a broad-based international mobilization.  Sign this Appeal, make it be known, be informed and keep people around you informed and aware. Join the already existing organisations, collectives and platforms or help creating new ones wherever you are. Multiply information activities and civil and political resistance around the world.

First Signatories:  Karen Amstrong (UK), Moazzam Beg (UK), Tariq Ramadan (UK), Michael Hudson (USA), Tariq Modood (UK), Michael Warschawski (JERUSALEM), Jean-Claude Meyer (France), Fareed Elshayyal (UK), Syed Faiyazuddin Ahmad (UK), Jeremy Henzell-Thomas (UK), Wilfried Mourad Hoffman (Germany), Roger Abdul Wahhab Boase (UK), Elfatih A.A/Salam, International Islamic University Malaysia (Malaysia), Ahmad Abuljobain (UK), Iftikhar H. Malik (UK), Sergio Yahni (Jerusalem), Lea Tsemel (Jerusalem), Nassar Ibrahim (Beit Sahour), Ahmad Jaradat (Hebron), Harfiyah Haleem (UK), Françoise Duthu (France), Umar Chapra (Pakistan/Saudi Arabia), Tahir Abbas (UK), Rafik Beekun (USA), Louay Safi (USA) , Sheila Musaji (USA), Bob Crane (USA), Jafar Siddiqui (USA), Muqtedar Khan ( USA), Charles Butterworth (US), Jocelyne Cesari (USA- France), Istishhad Mousa (Canada), Yahya Birt (UK), M Nasir (canada),Dr.Mario Liguori Presidente I.T.I. Istituto Tributario Italiano Centro Studi di diritto e tecnica tributaria (Italia), Tarik Ramdani (France), Remi maliz (France), Nadia BITTAME (France), Jeanne-Marie El Mejjad Marrakech (Maroc), Sadeekah Saban - CT (South Africa), Homera Ansari (India), Zineb RABI ANDALOUSSI (France), Shaheryar Akbar (Pakistan-USA), Gemma Slack (USA), Amjad Saleem (Sri Lanka), David Burrell (USA), Dr Serena Hussain, Loubna Youssef, PhD. Cairo University (Egypt, Claude Calame, le conseil scientifique d’Attac (France), André Tosel, Revue Contretemps (France)

ORGANIZATIONS :  European Muslim Network, Présence Musulmane Montréal, Présence Muslmane Toronto

None of the actual issues that led to the violence have been solved.  There has been no resolution to any of these problems between “Operation Cast Lead” and the “Pillar of Defense”. 

Richard Silverstein writes in Israeli-Arab Ceasefire # 6,432,821 “Israel and Hamas have announced a ceasefire that was midwived by Egypt and the U.S.  It will ostensibly end this round of fighting–until the next time.  And there will be a next time.  Of that you can be sure.  150 Gazans were killed in this garbage war.  Over 1,000 wounded.  Five Israelis were killed.  The ratio of Palestinians to Israelis killed was 30 to 1.  When next you hear an Israeli complain about their side not being accorded enough air time or a lack of balance or context, just remember this single statistic.”

He provides both the full text of the actual cease-fire agreement, and his take on what it actually means

Here’s the text of the ceasefire agreement:

Agreement of Understanding For a Ceasefire in the Gaza Strip

1. A. Israel should stop all hostilities in the Gaza Strip land, sea and air including incursions and targeting of individuals.

B. All Palestinian factions shall stop all hostilities from the Gaza Strip against Israel including rocket attacks and all attacks along the border.

C. Opening the crossings and facilitating the movements of people and transfer of goods and refraining from restricting residents’ free movements and targeting residents in border areas and procedures of implementation shall be dealt with after 24 hours from the start of the ceasefire.

D. Other matters as may be requested shall be addressed.

2: Implementation mechanisms:

A. Setting up the zero hour for the ceasefire understanding to enter into effect.

B. Egypt shall receive assurances from each party that the party commits to what was agreed upon.

C. Each party shall commit itself not to perform any acts that would breach this understanding. In case of any observations, Egypt as the sponsor of this understanding shall be informed to follow up.

Here is my (cynical) version of the ceasefire agreement signed by the parties:

1. Bibi has gotten what he needed–an election boost.

2. Hamas has gotten what it needed–striking body blows against the Zionist oppressor, further isolating and discrediting its mortal national enemy, Fatah.  The Iranian Fajr 5 rockets which reached Tel Aviv and environs, while mostly stopped by Iron Dome, served a useful purpose by reminding Israel that it was not invincible, and reminding Israel of what Iran can do to it if Iran is attacked by Israel.

3. Bibi avoids the worst pitfalls of an escalation–lots of Israeli body bags and a war extending into the election period–each of which would tend to weigh on the minds of the voters in ways that would be unpleasant and unproductive (for Likud).

4. Hamas gets to avoid the worst of an invasion in which there would be hundreds, if not thousands of civilian dead.  Stopping the war now allows them to keep much of their powder dry for a future war, of which one can be guaranteed.

If you review the real ceasefire document you’ll find nothing but bland, vague assurances of action accompanied by no concrete mechanisms for enforcement, as there was in the UN ceasefire that ended the 2006 Lebanon war.  The most hopeful clause, as far as Hamas is concerned, is the one concerning the end of Israel’s siege.  Here too the language is vague to the point of meaninglessness.  In 24 hours, some unspecified process should lead to further discussions which should lead to unspecified procedures that end the siege (or not).  Good luck with that.

This settles nothing, solves nothing.  It addresses no major issues and will lead to nothing positive.  But one positive thing that has come out of this indirectly is that if Obama ever gets his shit together and decides to implement a real peace process, then Egypt could be a real partner and interlocutor on behalf of the Palestinians.  It could both advocate for them and keep them in line at the point where the rubber meets the road.  The question is whether the U.S. can play the same role regarding Israel.  Certainly, with this government, the outlook is grim.  If Obama needed a reason not to get involved,that would be it.

Juan Cole has written Top Ten Steps that are Necessary for Lasting Gaza-Israel Peace (or, Good Luck!) in which he discusses in depth the following points:

1. The Israeli blockade on Gaza exports and non-military imports must be lifted altogether. 

2. Palestinians must be granted citizenship in a state. It is all the same to me if it is a Palestinian state or if they are given Israeli citizenship.

3. Egypt should broker a rapprochement between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Hamas. 

4. Egypt’s President Muhammad Morsi should put pressure on Hamas leaders to foreswear the use of terrorist tactics toward Israel. 

5. New elections for the Palestine Authority should be scheduled, perhaps overseen jointly by Israel and Egypt. The winner, even if it is Hamas, must be recognized as the legitimate government of the PA. 

6. Israel must return to a moratorium on its colonization of the Palestinian West Bank, so as to permit genuine peace talks to start back up. Settlements are the number one obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peace. Palestinians cannot be expected to negotiate over how much of the pie they get if the Israelis are digging into the pie and eating most of it while the negotiations are proceeding. 

7. Israel must cease expropriating the property of Palestinians in East Jerusalem and must recognize that the status of Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. 

8. Israel must cease demanding that people recognize it before negotiations begin.

9. Israel and the Palestinians, in the light of Hamas pledges of renouncing terror tactics and Israel’s moratorium on land theft, must return to the negotiating table for final status talks and the swift implementation of Oslo.

10. The United States should cease blocking United Nations Security Council resolutions critical of Israel. If the Israelis continue their illegal blockade of Gaza and their massive land theft from the Palestinians of the West Bank, the UNSC should place economic sanctions on Israel.

Sadly, based on history, I’m afraid that Juan Cole’s summation is correct.  He said: I’m not stupid or naive. I know that almost none of these 10 points is likely to be realized. All I’m saying is that these steps are would would be necessary for the achievement of peace. They won’t be taken, and therefore intermittent wars, bombings, attacks, and the blighting of human lives will continue.

DAY TWO 11/23

RT reports that “Israel and Palestine are momentarily at a ceasefire, but the potential reasoning behind the recess could have some real international implications. Israel’s Debka reports that the pause in fighting comes after the US promised to send troops to Sinai.  ...  Debka reports this week that Sinai will soon be occupied by US troops, who were promised by President Barack Obama to Israel’s leaders as a condition that a ceasefire be called. Once deployed, the Americans will intervene with the rumored arms trade orchestrated by Iranians, ideally cutting off supplies for Hamas while at the same time serving as a thorn in the side of Iran.”

The Middle East Media Center reports that “In a direct violation of the truce that was declared Thursday, Israeli soldiers shot and killed one Palestinians, and wounded 19 others after opening fire at them, near the border fence in Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Two more Palestinians died of wounds suffered during the war.    The army opened fire at Palestinian farmers while in their own lands close to the border fence killing Anwar Abdul-Hadi Qdeih, 21, and wounded at least 12 other Palestinians who were moved to the Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis; their injuries were described as moderate-to-severe.    The violation is the second since the truce was declared Thursday, as on Thursday evening, two Palestinians were injured when the army opened fire at residents celebrating the ceasefire deal, east of Khan Younis.”

ABC reports that “The Palestinians say the situation in Gaza is “extremely fragile” and Israel’s cease-fire violations and other illegal actions risk undermining the calm that was just restored.”

Philip Weiss reports that “Zbigniew Brzezinski gave a bravura performance, urgently calling on Obama to help impose a solution on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before it further radicalized Arab societies, endangering world security. Obama had “dropped” the matter in his first term, Brzezinski said, caving to Netanyahu.”

DAY 5 11/26

Richard Falk has written an important article Gaza Ceasefire: An Early Assessment “The Gaza Ceasefire, unlike a similar ceasefire achieved after Operation Cast Lead four years ago, is an event that has a likely significance far beyond ending the violence after eight days of murderous attacks. It is just possible that it will be looked back upon as a turning point in the long struggle between Israel and Palestine. Many have talked about ‘the fog of war,’ but it pales besides the ‘the fog of truce making,’ and in our media-infected air, the outcomes along with conjectures about the future are already being spun in all possible directions. Supporters of every position give their own spin, and then proclaim ‘victory.’ But as with the violent phases of the conflict, it is clarifying to distinguish the more persuasive contentions and interpretations from those that are less persuasive. What follows is one such attempt at such clarification.”


Gaza and the ethics of Jewish power, Marc H. Ellis

IDF Murders Gazan in First Major Ceasefire Violation, Richard Silverstein
Hundreds of Gazans were strolling through buffer zones which had formerly been their own farmland before Israel had peremptorily declared it an off-limits border zone.  They did this based on this clause in the ceasefire:  Opening the crossings and facilitating the movements of people and transfer of goods and refraining from restricting residents’ free movements and targeting residents in border areas and procedures of implementation shall be dealt with after 24 hours from the start of the ceasefire.

IDF reservists released after Gaza op: ‘We’ll be back’, Ilana Curiel,7340,L-4310719,00.html
Soldiers recruited during Operation Pillar of Defense disappointed that IDF ‘didn’t get to finish the job’

International law, the Gaza war, and Palestine’s state of exception, Mark LeVine & Lisa Hajjar

Israel warns of tougher operation if truce agreement violated
“We will take much tougher steps in the next round, with the understanding of the world,” Minister of Intelligence and Atomic Energy Dan Meridor said at a press conference in Jerusalem less than 24 hours after a fragile Egyptian-brokered ceasefire ended the worst cross-border hostilities in years.

Three Reasons Why the Israel-Gaza Ceasefire Won’t Last , John Judis




4 Points about the Israeli assault on Gaza, Omid Safi
The “official” narrative, spun by the Israeli military and taken up wholesale by US corporate media, portrays the Israeli attacks as a “response” or “retaliation” against earlier Palestinian rocket attacks.    Here are four facts that are being deliberately and willfully neglected in the current coverage of this Israeli assault:  1) The Israeli “response/retaliation” narrative is a myth.  2) Palestinian Civilian casualties are not covered.  3) Morally bankrupt response of American government.  4) This Israeli assault is hurting US standing in the Middle East.  It is imperative to consider these as a corrective to the campaign of media misinformation. TAM Editors note: includes timeline of current crisis.

5 Lies the Media Keeps Repeating About Gaza, Omar Baddar
As Israel continues to assault Gaza, the Palestinian death toll of the latest round of violence has crossed the 100 mark. Thus far, the American media has given Israeli officials and spokespersons a free pass to shape the narrative of this conflict with falsehoods. Here are the top 5 lies the media doesn’t challenge about the crisis in Gaza.  -  1. Israel Was Forced to Respond to Rockets to Defend Its Citizens.  2. Israel Tries to Avoid Civilian Casualties.  3. This Is About Security.  4. Hamas Is the Problem.  5. There is a Military Solution to this Conflict 11/20

5 Ways America Enables Israel’s Atrocities, Alex Kane
1. Green Lighting Military Operations.  2. Giving Israel Weaponry.  3. Diplomatic Protection.  4. The U.S. Political System.  5. U.S. Media Bias   11/21

10 Things You Need To Know About Gaza, Mehdi Hasan
2) (UN)FAIR FIGHT Remember: according to the Israeli human-rights group B’Tselem, in the last major conflict between Israel and Hamas - ‘Operation Cast Lead’ which kicked off in December 2008 - 762 Palestinian civilians were killed, including more than 300 children, compared to three (yes, three!) Israeli civilians.

Top 10 Myths about Israeli Attack on Gaza, Juan Cole
1.  Israeli hawks represent themselves as engaged in a ‘peace process’ with the Palestinians in which Hamas refuses to join.  In fact, Israel has refused to cease colonizing and stealing Palestinian land long enough to engage in fruitful negotiations with them.  Tel Aviv routinely announces new, unilateral house-building on the Palestinian West Bank.  There is no peace process.  It is an Israeli and American sham.  Talking about a peace process is giving cover to Israeli nationalists who are determined to grab everything the Palestinians have and reduce them to penniless refugees (again).  2.  Actions such as the assault on Gaza can achieve no genuine long-term strategic purpose.  They are being launched to ensure that Jewish-Israelis are the first to exploit key resources.  Rattling sabers at the Palestinians creates a pretext for further land-grabs and colonies on Palestinian land.  That is, the military action against the people of Gaza is a diversion tactic; the real goal is Greater Israel, an assertion of Israeli sovereignty over all the territory once held by the British Mandate of Palestine.

Top 10 Steps that are Necessary for Lasting Gaza-Israel Peace (or, Good Luck!), Juan Cole
I’m not stupid or naive. I know that almost none of these 10 points is likely to be realized. All I’m saying is that these steps are would would be necessary for the achievement of peace. They won’t be taken, and therefore intermittent wars, bombings, attacks, and the blighting of human lives will continue. The US will likely at some point suffer further for these failures, just as it did on 9/11, which was launched in part to punish Washington for its treatment of the Palestinians. Given how many of our liberties we lost with 9/11, you worry that another such large-scale attack will finish off the constitution altogether.  11/22

38 Aid agencies warn of humanitarian disaster in Gaza if conflict continues
Medics in Gaza already announced that they were running out of medical supplies. Intensifying violence is also hindering aid organizations to offer their help to people. — The World Health Organization says the shortage of medical supplies is critical  11/20

A message to Israel’s leaders: Don’t defend me – not like this, Michal Vasser
If you want to defend me – then please: Don’t send the Israel Defense Forces for us in order to “win.” Start thinking about the long term and not just about the next election. Try to negotiate until white smoke comes up through the chimney. Hold out a hand to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Stop with the “pinpoint assassinations” and look into the civilians’ eyes on the other side as well.  ...  If you are interested in stopping the hostile actions from the other side – open your ears and start listening. If we are important to you – please stop defending us by means of missiles, “pinpoints” and “aeronautical components.” Instead of Operation Pillar of Defense embark on Operation Hope for the Future. This is more complicated, you need more patience and it is less popular – but it is the only way out.

A Palestine That Israelis Can’t See: How Does an Unsustainable Situation Keep On Going?, Sam Bahour
The status quo in Palestine and Israel is unsustainable. Anyone involved in the reality on the ground in this part of the world knows this for a fact. As such, one can view the current Palestinian bid to the United Nations General Assembly for non-member state status as a last-ditch effort by the secular Palestinian leadership to save whatever may be remaining of the two-state paradigm as the basis to ending Israel’s 45 years of military occupation.    A significant driver of the current political paralysis is the stereotype, designed and propagated by Israelis, that Palestinians living on the other side of the separation barrier are violent and not deserving of freedom or independence. As such, most Israeli Jews do not see Palestinians as equal human beings, and thus any violent action against them becomes justified, no matter how cruel, illegal or in contradiction of Jewish values.  11/19

A Pillar Built on Sand, John Mearsheimer
So what is going on here? At the most basic level, Israel’s actions in Gaza are inextricably bound up with its efforts to create a Greater Israel that stretches from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Despite the endless palaver about a two-state solution, the Palestinians are not going to get their own state, not least because the Netanyahu government is firmly opposed to it. The prime minister and his political allies are deeply committed to making the Occupied Territories a permanent part of Israel. To pull this off, the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza will be forced to live in impoverished enclaves similar to the Bantustans in white-ruled South Africa. Israeli Jews understand this quite well: a recent survey found that 58 per cent of them believe Israel already practises apartheid against the Palestinians.

American Jewish Leaders Get Gaza Wrong, Sarah Posner

Analysis: Gaza & the Politics of ‘Greater Israel’
While Netanyahu publicly announced support for a Palestinian state on the West Bank, his government has threaten to end the Oslo Accords if the United Nations General Assembly granted Palestine with non-member observer state status. [5] A panel of Israeli jurists assembled by Netanyahu’s government to determine the legal status of the West Bank concluded that there is “no occupation” of Palestinian lands and that the continued construction of settlement outposts are entirely legal under Israeli law, despite critical international opinion. Netanyahu’s far right-conservative Likud party was established on the philosophy of Ze’ev Jabotinksy, who called for the establishment of a ‘Greater Israel,’ a concept embraced by Israeli historian Benzion Netanyahu, the father of today’s Prime Minister. Under his fathers influence, Benjamin Netanyahu was indoctrinated in the ideological foundations of Revisionist Zionism, which promote Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria (Palestine) and the full biblical land of Israel by contemporary Jews, an oil rich landmass extending from the banks of the Nile River in Egypt to the shores of the Euphrates.  “The Bible finds no worse image than this of the man from the desert. And why? Because he has no respect for any law. Because in the desert he can do as he pleases. The tendency towards conflict is in the essence of the Arab. He is an enemy by essence. His personality won’t allow him any compromise or agreement. It doesn’t matter what kind of resistance he will meet, what price he will pay. His existence is one of perpetual war. Israel’s must be the same. The two states solution doesn’t exist; there are no two people here. There is a Jewish people and an Arab population… there is no Palestinian people, so you don’t create a state for an imaginary nation… they only call themselves a people in order to fight the Jews.” [1] -Benzion Netanyahu

Another Superfluous War, Uri Avnery
Conflagrations along the Gaza Strip don’t start. They are just a continuous chain of events, each claimed to be a [or “in”] “retaliation” for the previous one. Action is followed by reaction, which is followed by retaliation, which is followed by …  This particular event “started” with the firing from Gaza of an anti-tank weapon at a partially armored jeep on the Israeli side of the border fence. It was described as retaliation for the killing of a boy in an air attack some days earlier. But probably the timing of the action was accidental – the opportunity just presented itself.

As the discourse shifts, ‘NYT’ stays rooted in the past (the 1800s to be exact), Nima Shirazi
An new editorial explicitly puts the blame for a hundred Palestinian deaths in Gaza on Hamas, rather than the bombs dropped and missiles fired by Israel.  Many canards are repeated - Hamas has a nihilistic ideology of “hate”, it cares not about the deaths of Palestinian in Gaza, it resorts to violence, it “took control of Gaza in 2007 - all without even a pretense of actual fact-checking.  No mention is made of Hamas winning a democratic election only to be blockaded and attacked.  Naturally, no mention whatsoever is made of Hamas’ primary role as a much-needed social service organization, the actual timeline of recent events, of the historical context of occupation and siege and ethnic cleansing and apartheid.  Unsurprisingly, the editors even throw in the requisite garbage about “the threat of Iran’s nuclear program” and Israel’s “right to defend itself.”  11/21

Assassinating The Chance For Calm, Gershon Baskin
I can only imagine that the assassination of Jaabari has bought us the entry card to Cast Lead II. This time, the experts say, “Let’s finish them off. Let’s do the job that we didn’t do last time. Let’s do a regime change.” Well, I ask: what then? Do we really want to reoccupy Gaza, because that will be the consequence of a regime change. I don’t believe that Netanyahu wants re-occupation. So if that is not what he wants, he must be aware that, on the morning after, we will still be living next to Gaza, which still be run by Hamas. They are not going away and the people of Gaza are not going away.    The assassination of Jaabari was a pre-emptive strike against the possibility of a long term ceasefire. Netanyahu has acted with extreme irresponsibility. He has endangered the people of Israel and struck a real blow against the few important more pragmatic elements within Hamas. He has given another victory to those who seek our destruction, rather than strengthen those who are seeking to find a possibility to live side-by-side, not in peace, but in quiet.

Blogging and Nothingness: Progressives Turn Their Gaze from Gaza, Chris Floyd 11/20—by-Chris-Floyd-121119-360.html

Bodies for Ballots, Yousef Munayyer
The Israeli spin machines are out in full force in the hopes of convincing Israelis and the rest of the world that the attacks on Gaza are in self-defense. But anyone following the situation closely and over time will tell you that cannot be the case.    For example, in 2011, the projectiles fired by the Israeli military into Gaza have been responsible for the death of 108 Palestinians, of which 15 where women or children, and the injury of 468 Palestinians, of which 143 where women or children. The methods by which these causalities were inflicted by Israeli projectiles breaks down as follows: 57 percent, or 310, were caused by Israeli aircraft missile fire; 28 percent, or 150, where from Israeli live ammunition; 11 percent, or 59, were from Israeli tank shells; while another 3 percent, or 18, were from Israeli mortar fire.    Through September 2012, Israeli weaponry caused 55 Palestinian deaths and 257 injuries. Among these 312 casualties, 61, or roughly 20 percent, were children and 28 were female. 209 of these casualties came as a result of Israeli Air Force missiles, 69 from live ammunition fire, and 18 from tank shells. It is important to note that these figures do not represent a totality of Israeli projectiles fired into Gaza but rather only Israeli projectiles fired into Gaza which cause casualties. The total number of Israeli projectiles fired into Gaza is bound to be significantly larger.    For context, consider this: more Palestinians were killed in Gaza yesterday than Israelis have been killed by projectile fire from Gaza in the past three years.

The ‘both-sides-are-awful’ dismissal of Gaza ignores the key role of the US government, Glenn Greenwald
The temptation to wash one’s hands of the whole conflict is understandable, but US support of Israel is a central force driving it all.  ...  For years now, US financial, military and diplomatic support of Israel has been the central enabling force driving this endless conflict. The bombs Israel drops on Gazans, and the planes they use to drop them, and the weapons they use to occupy the West Bank and protect settlements are paid for, in substantial part, by the US taxpayer, and those actions are shielded from recrimination by the UN veto power aggressively wielded in Israel’s favor by the US government.  11/21

Brain-dead on both sides, Stephen M. Walt
On the whole, this latest series of clashes reveals the utter lack of imagination and strategic foresight on both sides. It is a pointless exchange of violence that will not alter the basic strategic situation one iota. The fighting may enhance Netanyahu’s chances for reelection, but he was likely to win anyway. It may further enhance Hamas’ stature and underscore the impotence of the Palestinian Authority, but the latter’s growing irrelevance was already understood, if not openly acknowledged. But it brings neither side closer to achieving its core objectives. ...  The real result will be to move us still closer to the day when the conflict shifts from the present struggle between the powerful Israeli Goliath and a divided, stateless, and lightly armed Palestinian David, and into a movement for Palestinian civil and political rights within the Greater Israel that Netanyahu & Co. are determined to build. Ironically, and tragically, that’s an outcome that Hamas and Israel both oppose, which further underscores the brain-dead quality of their current behavior. I’ve opposed such a development in the past and advocated two states for two peoples instead, but the one-state outcome looks increasingly unavoidable. And in that context, even a prolonged, contentious campaign for civil and political rights wouldn’t be as pointless as what we are now witnessing.  11/19

Jimmy Carter: “Israelis’ Policy Is to Confiscate Palestinian Territory”. Elisabeth Braw
I think the big change is that the Israeli leaders have decided to abandon the two-state solution. Their policy now is to confiscate Palestinian territory, and they’ve announced publicly that it the Palestinians have to recognize not just Israel but Israel as a Jewish state, even though 20% of the Israeli community are non-Jews. Netanyahu has also decided that even the Jordan valley has to be under Israeli control. So, those factors indicate quite clearly that Netanyahu has decided that the two-state solution is not what he wants. He wants what is being called Greater Israel, Eretz Israel. That’s a new development, and I think everyone recognizes this.

Comparing Obama Administration Statements On Israel/Gaza, Samer Araabi
As was the case in 2009’s Operation Cast Lead, the new Israeli offensive into Gaza has been met with unequivocal support from senior US policymakers. Though President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and UN Ambassador Susan Rice have all expressed “regret” for the loss of Palestinian lives, and called on Israel to “minimize civilian casualties,” all levels of government continue to support the Gaza offensive.  The difference in rhetoric toward the two “sides” of the conflict is telling. Observe government condemnation of attacks on Israeli civilians, but a near-total silence on the death of dozens of Palestinian innocents. 11/20

Day three of Israeli Attack on Gaza: At least 28 killed, 290 injured in Gaza; Missile hits West Bank settlement; Israeli television reports 75,000 reservists being drafted, Alex Kane and Adam Horowitz
Day Four of Israeli Attack on Gaza: Death toll hits 46 in Gaza, 381 civilians wounded; Israel destroys Ismail Haniya’s office in Gaza City; Cairo hosting cease-fire talks
Day Five of Israeli Attack on Gaza: Death toll rises to 72, 520 civilians wounded; 4 children killed in Israeli strike; Tel-Aviv bound rocket shot down again
Day 6 of Israeli Attack on Gaza: Death toll rises to 115, over 900 injured; Media building targeted again; Cease-fire talks continue, Alex Kane
Day Seven of Israeli Attack on Gaza: Death toll rises to 141, over 900 injured; No ceasefire yet; Palestinian journalists killed
Day Eight of Israeli Attack on Gaza: Ceasefire agreement reached; Palestinian death toll climbs to 145

Demonization Is No Excuse, Hussein Ibish
If Samuel Johnson was right that patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel—religion, presumably, being the first—the lowest form of nationalistic pandering is also the simplest: demonization of the other and “the enemy.” The current conflict between Israel and militant groups in Gaza provides a choice array of the ugliness and cynicism of demonization, with demagogues on both sides clutching frantically at the opportunity to whip up fear and hatred. Words matter. Words shape attitudes. Attitudes define actions. And actions can kill.  11/21

Dissecting IDF propaganda: The numbers behind the rocket attacks, Phan Nguyen
Israeli spokespeople frequently remind the world that a million Israeli citizens are within range of Gaza rockets, twelve thousand of which have been fired into Israel in the last twelve years, inflicting thousands of injuries and several dead.  ...  If we borrow the IDF’s claim that more than 12,000 rockets have been fired into Israel in the last twelve years (which I dispute later), we get a kill rate of less than 0.217%. Thus in order to secure a single kill, we should expect to fire about 500 rockets. However, if the goal is to specifically kill Jews rather than foreign workers and Palestinian laborers, then it gets harder. Only 21 Jews have been killed by this method, bringing the kill rate down to 0.175%.    If this sounds disturbing or even anti-Semitic, note that I am just testing the argument of the current Israeli ambassador Michael Oren, who, during Operation Cast Lead, co-wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal claiming that the Gaza rockets and mortars were “more than a crude attempt to kill and terrorize civilians—they were expressions of a genocidal intent.”  ...  It can be argued that numbers ultimately don’t matter: One death is a death too many; one rocket is a rocket too many. But if that is the case, why do the IDF and related Israeli agencies need to inflate or fabricate numbers? Why has the numbers game been the cornerstone of Israeli rhetoric about rockets? TAM Editors note:  He includes excellent, sourced charts and detailed information about rocket attacks on Israel.  He notes glaring discrepancies in the date presented by Israel.

Don’t expect Obama to take on Israel, Jonathan Cook
Faced with a popular consensus in Israel and political backing in the US Congress for a hard line with the Palestinians, Obama is an unlikely champion of the peace process – and even of the Palestinians’ current lowly ambition to win observer status at the United Nations.

Rep. Keith Ellison Calls For Gaza Restraint, Joshua Hersh
Ellison’s complete statement:  I am deeply concerned about the latest outbreak of violence between Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza. I urge both sides to practice restraint and take immediate action to reduce hostilities. I have been to Sderot, Israel and the Gaza Strip, and conditions for ordinary people are horrific on both sides of the Gaza-Israel border. Israelis endure relentless rocket attacks fired at innocent Israeli citizens in violation of international law. At the same time, Gazans, 57% of whom are under 18, live in extreme isolation, limited access, and deprivation of nearly everything including food, building materials, and water. Combatants on both sides of the conflicts must begin to address the root causes of this conflict through a real peace process. Military escalation will not resolve this—just as the 2008-2009 conflict in Gaza did not end hostilities. I join Noam Shalit, the father of former Hamas prisoner and Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, in calling for talks between the parties to resolve this crisis. Talks in the past helped to secure the release of Gilad Shalit and thousands of Palestinian detainees. Dialogue and negotiation can help save lives now.  11/19

“Flatten” Gaza like Hiroshima and “mow” the population, Israeli public figures urge, Ali Abunimah
We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too.  There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing. Then they’d really call for a ceasefire.  Were this to happen, the images from Gaza might be unpleasant – but victory would be swift, and the lives of our soldiers and civilians spared.  Gilad Sharon (Ariel Sharon’s son).  11/19

Gaza abacus
Laying out the deaths and injuries to Palestinians and Israelis in the current conflict, day by day.  11/21

Gaza Ceasefire Consensus Developing, Richard Silverstein
Day 7: Palestinian death toll, 111 killed, 840 injured. The Palestine Committee for Human Rights has determined 60 of those killed were women or children or men over 50 (hence not participating in armed struggle).  Well over half of the dead whose identity is known were civilians.  11/20

Gaza Death Toll: 11 Palestinians Dead, 3 Israelis; Security Council Adjourns With No Action on Attack, Richard Silverstein
There were rockets launched against southern Israel.  But not by Hamas.  They were launched by Islamic Jihad, which is not the same (contrary to the wishes of Israel advocates like Rice to whom all Palestinians look the same).  In fact, Ahmed Jabari, as Aluf Benn notes in today’s Haaretz was Gaza’s chief enforcer/peacekeeper.  Haaretz’s editor calls him “Israel’s subcontractor.”  Jabari was the main military figure preventing even more rocket fire and escalation.  In fact, it might be argued that killing him will destabilize the region even further and so allow Bibi to distract Israelis from any non-security issue which the Opposition might’ve hoped to exploit in the election campaign.  Lest you object to my overly cynical approach, read my last post which documents the series of wars historically started by Israeli leaders in the run-up to elections.

Gaza-Israel Violence: The Fuller Story, Rabbi Arthur Waskow
There is a back history to the present and worsening violence between Israel and Gaza that has not been covered at all in the US media, which began to cover events in Gaza only when the Israeli government assassinated the head of the “military wing” of Hamas. (He might also be described as the Minister of Defense of the government of Gaza.)

Gaza: No Lessons Learned, James Zogby
The escalating violence between Israel and Gaza should remind us of old lessons that still need to be learned and new realities to which attention must now be paid.    First and foremost among the old lessons is the fact that the successive waves of violence that have characterized the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have produced nothing but more death and destruction, more suffering and insecurity, and more anger all around. Every attack or assault that was intended to “teach a lesson” or “exact revenge” only laid the predicate for the next attack. And so it has gone for decades. The lesson that should have been learned, and apparently has not been learned, is that just as violence will not end the occupation, neither will violence put an end to the resistance to the occupation.  ...  Since no one will win and everyone will lose, it might be assumed that sanity will prevail, and the current clashes will stop short of full-scale war. But given the record of the participants, that might be hoping for too much. With the Israelis threatening yet another “final” showdown; some Palestinian groups threatening “big surprises” yet to come; and the U.S. Congress giving its unconditional support to Israel, under-cutting the Administration’s more cautious support of the right of self-defense while urging restraint on all sides—it appears we may be “off to the races”—with no lessons learned and new realities ignored. God save us from our folly.

Gaza, Now, Adie Mormech
I’m writing this from near the Gaza seaport from where I can see smoke rising around me from the bombs that fall down on the Gaza Strip from the Israeli planes above. Words fail me. Despite the limits to life from Israel’s five-year siege on Gaza some kind of normality is attempted in Gaza. How could it be any other way when the majority of the population are children? Do families have any other option? (11-16)

Gaza vs. Israel: The legitimate and illegitimate use of violence in the Western discourse, Catherine Charrett

Gazans aspire to martyrdom and lead such limited lives they have less to lose than Israelis — NYT’s Rudoren, Philip Weiss
TAM Editors note:  excellent example of how the PR/propaganda machine works, using one specific example.  11/21

Hamas leader Jabari killed amid talks on long-term truce, Nir Hasson
Hours before Hamas strongman Ahmed Jabari was assassinated, he received the draft of a permanent truce agreement with Israel, which included mechanisms for maintaining the cease-fire in the case of a flare-up between Israel and the factions in the Gaza Strip. This, according to Israeli peace activist Gershon Baskin, who helped mediate between Israel and Hamas in the deal to release Gilad Shalit and has since then maintained a relationship with Hamas leaders.      Baskin told Haaretz on Thursday that senior officials in Israel knew about his contacts with Hamas and Egyptian intelligence aimed at formulating the permanent truce, but nevertheless approved the assassination.

How Israel shattered Gaza truce leading to escalating death and tragedy: a timeline, Ali Abunimah
Today, 3 Israelis were killed as a result of rocket fire from Gaza.    This came after Israel had killed 13 Palestinians, including 3 children and a woman, and injured 115, including 26 children and 25 women since yesterday, 14 November.    This will be presented by Israel – and sympathetic or careless world media – as another justification for Israel’s attacks on Gaza to stop rocket fire. But this narrative is false.    Where there was calm and an effective truce, Israel chose to shatter it, bringing about the current deadly escalation.     In general, Palestinians fired rockets, or attacked the Israeli army, as a response to Israeli attacks, seeking to avoid escalation and publicly embracing a truce. Take a look at the sequence.

Israel and Gaza: Enough is Enough, Rabbi Michael Lerner
Yes, there are steps that could be taken to guarantee a lasting cease-fire. Israel could offer to end the blockade of Gaza (which in any event has been ineffective in keeping Hamas from gaining long-range missile capabilities) and end all drone over flights in both the West Bank and Gaza and all targeted assassinations in exchange for Hamas agreeing to allow international monitors search all forms of entry to Gaza to prevent that military hardware from being imported and simultaneously agreeing to prevent all future bombardment of S’derot and any other Israeli targets and to punish those engaged in rogue actions of that sort (e.g. Islamic Jihad or whoever else tries to provoke war by shooting at Israel from Gaza).This same force should be policing West Bank settlers some of whom are committed to disrupting any peace process that might lead to a reduction in the West Bank settlements.  11/19

Israel continues deadly Gaza air raids - Eight more Palestinians killed as Israeli fighter jets hit Hamas government compounds, tunnels and power transformers.  (11-17) 

The Israel-Hamas Conflict, Explained, Dana Liebelson
regularly updated with current news 11/20

Israel hasn’t grown up since the last Gaza war, Gideon Levy
The Palestinians try three different approaches, weapons, diplomacy and nonviolent resistance, and Israel says no to all three.  ...  The time has come for diplomacy and for ending the occupation, the time for bombing is over.  11/21

Israel Names Its New War After Biblical Story About God Terrorizing Egyptians, John Cook

Israel-Palestine: What is the US National Interest?, Ralph Nader  11/21

Israel rejects truce and escalates fighting in Gaza with assassination of Hamas leader; 10 killed, 90 wounded in Israeli attacks, Alex Kane & Adam Horowitz

Israel ‘Spies’ Killed In Gaza: Moussa Abu Marzouk, Hamas Leader Decries Killing Of Alleged Spies
Hamas’s deputy leader has condemned the “unlawful” killing of six Palestinians in the Gaza Strip who were suspected of giving information to Israel. “Punishing collaborators and especially those involved in the killing of our leaders must only be carried out in accordance with the law and through the legal procedures. The way those collaborators were killed and the images after their death were completely unacceptable.  Those who did it should be punished and it must not be repeated.” Abu Marzouk said.  11/21

Israeli-Arab Ceasefire # 6,432,821,  Richard Silverstein
Israel and Hamas have announced a ceasefire that was midwived by Egypt and the U.S.  It will ostensibly end this round of fighting–until the next time.  And there will be a next time.  Of that you can be sure.  150 Gazans were killed in this garbage war.  Over 1,000 wounded.  Five Israelis were killed.  The ratio of Palestinians to Israelis killed was 30 to 1.  When next you hear an Israeli complain about their side not being accorded enough air time or a lack of balance or context, just remember this single statistic.  11/22
Israeli Ground Invasion of Gaza Imminent, Richard Silverstein
In my ongoing effort to deconstruct the lies and myths of the Israeli propaganda machine, it’s been common to hear Ahmed Jabari, the assassinated leader of Hamas’ military wing, spoken of as Gaza’s Osama bin Laden. It’s a great sound byte, punchy, visceral, dramatic. But as usual with these things, if you spend a few seconds contemplating the parallel, it’s entirely inapt. Jabari and bin Laden have only one thing in common: both were Muslims. Aside from that, little or nothing. Jabari stood for Islamism in the context of Palestine. He was a Palestinian nationalist, unlike bin Laden who dreamed of a world caliphate. Jabari believed in the gun, but only as a tool, not as a permanent strategy. He was, in fact willing to negotiate with Israel when it suited his purposes, which is how the Gilad Shalit deal was reached.    A much more apt analogy is between Jabari and Israeli pre-state military heroes like Rabin, Sharon, Begin, Shamir or Avraham Stern. They too were radical in their demands. Truculent and willing to kill both the enemy (Arab and British) and their own fellow Jews if it advanced the cause of Jewish-Israeli nationalism. You hear few Israelis concede that if they look closely in the mirror they see Palestinians as reflections of themselves, their own national aspirations, and violent guerrilla past. 

Israeli minister vows Palestinian ‘holocaust’: uses term “shoah”, Tim Butcher
Palestinian activists routinely claim to be suffering a “shoah” at the hands of Israel, but the Jewish state normally denies any moral equivalence between the suffering of Palestinians today and European jewry under the Nazis.  Matan Vilnai, deputy defence minister, broke that taboo when he used the term “shoah” during interview on Army Radio. “The more qassam fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, they (the Palestinians) will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah because we will use all our might to defend ourselves,” he said.  11/19

Israel’s Gamble in Gaza: The Perils of Operation Pillar of Defense, Daniel Byman

Israel’s medievalism, Michael Marder
In one of the most brazen and, at the same time, frank declarations to date, the Israeli Minister of the Interior, Eli Yishai stated regarding the war currently being waged on the Gaza Strip: “The goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages. Only then will Israel be calm for forty years.” With these words, he revealed much more than the subtext behind the official reasons for the invasion, namely restoring Israel’s “deterrence capabilities” and destroying Hamas missile launchers. He also shed light on Binyamin Netanyahu’s vision of peace not as a relation among equals but as the calm of the defeated, the vision consistent with the use of war to bolster the Prime Minister’s domestic image as a tough, military leader in a run-up to his likely re-election in January 2013.  11/22

Israel’s ‘right to self-defense’ - a tremendous propaganda victory, Amira Hass[]
By supporting Israel’s offensive on Gaza, Western leaders have given the Israelis carte blanche to do what they’re best at: Wallow in their sense of victimhood and ignore Palestinian suffering.  11/21

Israel’s scorched earth policy in Gaza could prove fatal, Muhammad Abdul Bari
The US and other western governments have failed to publicly criticise Israel for its iron-fist policy on Palestine.  11/21

It’s Palestinians who have the right to defend themselves, Seamus Milne
In fact, an examination of the sequence of events over the last month shows that Israel played the decisive role in the military escalation: from its attack on a Khartoum arms factory reportedly supplying arms to Hamas and the killing of 15 Palestinian fighters in late October, to the shooting of a mentally disabled Palestinian in early November, the killing of a 13 year-old in an Israeli incursion and, crucially, the assassination of the Hamas commander Ahmed Jabari last Wednesday during negotiations over a temporary truce.  ...  to portray Israel as some kind of victim with every right to “defend itself” from attack from “outside its borders” is a grotesque inversion of reality. Israel has after all been in illegal occupation of both the West Bank and Gaza, where most of the population are the families of refugees who were driven out of what is now Israel in 1948, for the past 45 years.    Despite Israel’s withdrawal of settlements and bases in 2005, the Gaza Strip remains occupied, both effectively and legally – and is recognised as such by the UN. Israel is in control of Gaza’s land and sea borders, territorial waters and natural resources, airspace, power supply and telecommunications. It has blockaded the strip since Hamas took over in 2006-7, preventing the movement of people, materials, and food supplies in and out of the territory – even calculating the 2,279 calories per person that would keep Gazans on an exemplary “diet”. And it continues to invade the strip at will.    So Gazans are an occupied people and have the right to resist, including by armed force (though not to target civilians), while Israel is an occupying power that has an obligation to withdraw – not a right to defend territories it controls or is colonising by dint of military power.  11/21

Jerusalem: “Wash This Blood from Our Hands and Hatred from Our Souls”, Richard Silverstein
I wanted to focus in particular on Steve Earle’s fine, fine song, Jerusalem (here‘s an early 2003 acoustic version).  Though it deals with the Holy City, the lyrics are broad enough to take in the whole of this vicious, crazy conflict and to refract some rays of hope and light despite all that nastiness.  TAM Editors note:  He provides all of the lyrics in text form in the article

Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP): It is unseemly for Operation ‘Pillar of Defense’ to invoke biblical passage from Exodus when Israel is dominant military power in the region, Adam Horowitz

The latest Gaza catastrophe, Richard Falk
The media double standards in the West on the new and tragic Israeli escalation of violence directed at Gaza were epitomised by an absurdly partisan New York Times front page headline: “Rockets Target Jerusalem; Israel girds for Gaza Invasion” (NYT, Nov 16, 2012). Decoded somewhat, the message is this: Hamas is the aggressor, and Israel when and if it launches a ground attack on Gaza must expect itself to be further attacked by rockets. This is a stunningly Orwellian re-phrasing of reality.  The true situation is, of course, quite the opposite: Namely, that the defenseless population of Gaza can be assumed now to be acutely fearful of an all out imminent Israeli assault, while it is also true, without minimising the reality of a threat, that some rockets fired from Gaza fell harmlessly (although with admittedly menacing implications) on the outskirts of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. There is such a gross disproportion in the capacity of the two sides to inflict damage and suffering due to Israeli total military dominance as to make perverse this reversal of concerns to what might befall Israeli society if the attack on Gaza further intensifies. 11/20

The light doesn’t get much greener than this: Obama admin gives Israel the go ahead to escalate in Gaza, Paul Mutter 11/19

List of Palestinian victims of Israel’s assault on Gaza

Living By The Sword, Daniel Levy
To be clear, this was an escalation of choice by Israel’s leadership (and it could become yet another war of choice). As the timeline of events over the last week makes clear, the killing of a Palestinian minor on November 8 during an IDF incursion into Gaza initiated a round of escalation which was already drawing to a close on November 11 and 12, leading to formal reports from a number of Israeli, Palestinian and international sources that a new truce was in place on November 13. Israel then assassinated Hamas’s military chief Ahmed al-Jabari on November 14.  ...  However, it takes two to de-escalate and if Netanyahu, as senior Israeli officials have suggested, insists on bringing Hamas to its knees to beg for a ceasefire, then all bets are off. This means that any ceasefire also requires pressure on Israel—a commodity which tends to be in preciously short supply.  ...  In other words, every time Israel prioritises military solutions over political solutions, views the Palestinians through the framework of occupation rather than human dignity, and strengthens an ethnocratic Israel over a democratic Israel, it is generating greater problems for its own future. By continuing to shut its eyes in the face of this reality the West is certainly doing neither Israelis nor Palestinians any favors. It is also fatally undermining its own ability to successfully navigate, build relationships and promote its own interests in a rapidly changing Middle East by ignoring Gaza and Palestinian disenfranchisement.

“May your children die, you dogs”: As Gaza burns, Israelis bay for blood in streets of Tel Aviv, Ali Abunimah

Media: Covering This Gaza War, Sherine Tadros
There is a general problem with media when it comes to the Arab-Israeli conflict. The need to sanitize events so as not to be controversial and upset the wrong people, the lack of humanizing the conflict for fear that it will make you look sympathetic or worse empathetic to the Palestinians, which could be career suicide. But not being bold and telling it how it is ultimately is a disservice to the truth and to journalism.  11/22

My people, who say yes to death, Yuval Ben-Ami
A survey conducted in Gaza this September showed that a majority of its residents would prefer Fatah to Hamas if elections were held. Early this month President Mahmoud Abbas spoke again of a two state solution and even hinted at compromising on the right of return.
What could Israel do in light of this but start a war? Israel can’t deal with peace. It has become a war machine, and I’m not referring only to its over-militant decision makers and those who take their orders. Decades of media bias and dogmatic education managed to turn its citizens into a blinded mob that always support violence: today’s Haaretz poll shows 84 percent back the current offensive. A foreign television crew with which I work interviewed passersby today on the situation in Gaza. “We know they die by the score there,” one Tel Aviv resident told the camera, “It’s not that we don’t know. We just don’t care.”  11/21

Obama Weaves Web of Deceit on Gaza War, Ira Chernus
When Barack Obama finally spoke out publicly about the Israeli assault on Gaza, at a press conference, he wove an astonishingly thick web of deception and distortion.    I’m no Obama-basher. But when I see him bashing and trashing the truth so blatantly, I have to speak out. I have to express my pain, because I know that his misleading words will increase the risks to my loved ones and fellow Jews in Israel and the much greater risks to the victims of Israeli aggression in Gaza.  11/20

Obama’s kill list policy compels US support for Israeli attacks on Gaza, Glenn Greenwald
The US was once part of the international consensus against extra-judicial assassinations. Now it is a leader in that tactic.

Pope Benedict on Wednesday urged Israeli and Palestinian leaders to make “courageous decisions” to end the Gaza conflict, saying it risked spilling over into the rest of the Middle East.  He told pilgrims and tourists at his weekly general audience in St Peter’s Square that he backed efforts to negotiate a ceasefire.  “I appeal to the authorities on both sides to take courageous decisions in favour of peace and bring an end to a conflict with negative repercussions on the entire Middle East, which is already tormented by too many conflicts and so in need of peace and reconciliation,” the pontiff said.  “I feel the need to once again say that hate and violence are not solutions to problems. I also encourage the efforts of those working for a truce and to promote negotiations,” he said.

The Public Relations policy – ‘civilizing’ the operation, Anshel Pfeffer
The National Information Directorate in the Prime Minister’s Office, the Information Ministry, the Foreign Ministry’s press operation, IDF Spokesman Unit and a long list of governmental and private volunteers are working together to mold the public perception of the operation in Israel and around the world.  ...  Emphasizing the Civilian Side of the Operation – while the bombing videos are being distributed, the PR strategists are trying to deflect the world’s gaze from Israel’s military might towards the suffering of Israel’s citizens from the Palestinian missiles. This attempt to “civilize” the conflict began in the days before the operation when Prime Minister Netanyahu made two consecutive visits to the towns of the south with full media attendance.  TAM Editor’s note:  That there is a serious PR/propaganda effort underway is made more clear by a statement made by the arch-Zionist, Daniel Pipes on his site: “The old Arab-Israeli wars were military clashes, the recent ones are political clashes. The wars of 1948-49, 1967, and 1973 were life-and-death struggles for the Jewish state. But the wars of 2006, 2008-09, and now 2012 are media events in which Israeli victory on the military battlefield is foreordained and the struggle is to win public opinion. Opeds have replaced bullets, social media have replaced tanks. Will Israel prevail in arguing that its enemy initiated offensive action? Or will those enemies, Hamas or Hezbollah, convince observers that Israel is an illegitimate regime whose recourse to force is criminal? The war must be fought primarily as a media event.”

Puppet State America, Paul Craig Roberts
In the past few days we have witnessed, yet again, the “American superpower” groveling at Netanyahu’s feet. When Netanyahu decided to again murder the Palestinian women and children of Gaza, to further destroy what remains of the social infrastructure of the Gaza Ghetto, and to declare Israeli war crimes and Israeli crimes against humanity to be merely the exercise of “self-defense,” the US Senate, the US House of Representatives, the White House, and the US media all promptly declared their support for Netanyahu’s crimes.  11/20

Reuters live blog on the Gaza conflict

Stop pretending Israel’s massacre in Gaza is part of an even battle with Hamas and the Palestinians, Mark Steel
On one side you’ve got three generations of a family wiped out. On the other, a woman’s got to ring Autoglass. And we act like this is battle whose fate is in the balance.  11/21

Stop pretending the US is an uninvolved, helpless party in the Israeli assault on Gaza, Glenn Greenwald
The Obama administration’s unstinting financial, military and diplomatic support for Israel is a key enabling force in the conflict.  11/19

The story behind the photo: BBC Journalist’s 11-month-old son killed in Gaza strikes, Max Fisher

‘Washington Post’ prints false narrative of how Gaza escalation started, Alex Kane

US gives ‘full backing’ to Israel while urging de-escalation of Gaza violence, Chris McGreal
Israeli ambassador Michael Oren says US supports its ‘self-defence’ as Palestinian delegation accuses Washington of bias

The US Senate On Gaza, Lara Friedman 11/20

The US Senate On Gaza: 2009 vs. 2012, Samer Araabi
I’ve created a mash-up of the two senate resolutions, S.RES. 10 drafted in 2009, and S.RES. 599 which passed unanimously last Friday. Red indicates language from 2009 that was removed, and bold indicates added language that is new to the 2012 resolution. 11/20

What if powerful Palestinians were bombing weak Israelis?, Stephen M. Walt
“Imagine that Egypt, Jordan, and Syria had won the Six Day War, leading to a massive exodus of Jews from the territory of Israel. Imagine that the victorious Arab states had eventually decided to permit the Palestinians to establish a state of their own on the territory of the former Jewish state. (That’s unlikely, of course, but this is a thought experiment). Imagine that a million or so Jews had ended up as stateless refugees confined to that narrow enclave known as the Gaza Strip. Then imagine that a group of hardline Orthodox Jews took over control of that territory and organized a resistance movement. They also steadfastly refused to recognize the new Palestinian state, arguing that its creation was illegal and that their expulsion from Israel was unjust. Imagine that they obtained backing from sympathizers around the world and that they began to smuggle weapons into the territory. Then imagine that they started firing at Palestinian towns and villages and refused to stop despite continued reprisals and civilian casualties.    Here’s the question: would the United States be denouncing those Jews in Gaza as ‘terrorists’ and encouraging the Palestinian state to use overwhelming force against them?    Here’s another: would the United States have even allowed such a situation to arise and persist in the first place?”    And please: The issue is not about whether Israel has the right to defend itself. Of course it does. But what it doesn’t have is the right to use disproportionate force in order to maintain an unjustified and illegal occupation and the subjugation of millions of Palestinians, which is the taproot from which these events spring.

What’s New in the Gaza-Israel Battle, Rami G. Khouri
The first and most important thing to say about the rekindled killing across the Israel-Gaza border is its sheer futility and waste. Neither side has the ability to completely wipe out the other, for that is what would be required to end this conflict for good. That will not happen, as both sides have proven over the past 35 years or so, since Hamas’ emergence in Palestine. Yet they are willing and able to keep fighting, despite the tremendous cost to their people.    More killing and destruction will not resolve this conflict, but a lack of a fair and negotiated resolution also means that more killing and destruction are inevitable. We should note three important new dimensions of the conflict on the Arab side, about the constantly improving technical capabilities of Palestinian resistance groups, the emergence of more radical Islamist groups over time in Gaza and around the region, and the impact of public opinion and the new, legitimate, governments in power in some Arab states. All three together suggest that a shift in the strategic balance of power may be underway in the Middle East, with huge implications.  11/19

When the Smoke Clears in Gaza, Yousef Munayyer
Since the bombing began, both sides have asked how this ends. If the answer is something other than with a repetition in a few more years—a perpetual state of war—Israelis must wrestle with the question of their own identity. No, that question is not the clichéd one: Does Israel have a right to exist? Rather, the more imperative question is: Is the way in which Israel exists—as an occupier, a colonizer, and ultimately, as an apartheid state—right? Is there another solution, involving a single, democratic state?  11/21

Who Started the Israel-Gaza Conflict?, Robert Wright
So in Israel the question was how to respond to aggression from Gaza, and in Gaza the question was how to respond to aggression from Israel. And each side considered its own use of force—what the other side called provocation—a response to provocation. (includes timeline)

Why America is losing support in the Middle East—and how to get it back, Omid Safi
Let’s not mince words.  This was no “war.”  This was a frontal assault on 1.7 million Palestinian civilians held captive and in bondage by Israel.  This was not a war between states, not a war between armies, but the sheer arrogance of the Israeli hardline knowing that as long as they have the United States behind them, they can murder civilians and no power on Earth would dare to stop them.  This was Israel bombing schools, homes, hospitals, and mosques, killing 162 Palestinians—almost all civilians, including many children.  This was HAMAS firing their pathetic rockets into Israeli territories, causing three Israeli fatalities.  This was a bloodbath.  11/21

Why Gaza?: Because it’s all about politics, Justin Raimondo
The concept of a “Greater Israel” is not some aberration: it lies at the center of the original Zionist push for a Jewish state, giving geopolitical expression to the religious basis of Israel’s national myth. Recall the theme song of the Israeli propaganda movie “Exodus”:  “This land is mine,God gave this land to me!”  If God gave it to them, then that’s it: there’s no more argument. The only argument is how to implement God’s will — which is what Netanyahu and his fellow war criminals think they are doing, in Gaza, in the West Bank, and throughout the region.  ...  What is happening in Gaza today is a prison riot — and the prisoners aren’t going to stop rioting until they have broken out of their long lockdown. America holds the key to their freedom, and the only way we’re going to wrest it out of Washington’s hands is to hold our leaders accountable for the war crimes of our allies — in this case, an ally that has enormous political clout in Washington. That means a long fight: it means a campaign to effect fundamental change in American foreign policy — which is precisely the battle we have taken up here at  11/21

Why Gaza must suffer again, Jonathan Cook
...  the deeper function of such media coverage in relation to Gaza, given the media’s assumption that Israeli bombs are simply a reaction to Hamas terror, is to redirect the audience’s anger exclusively towards Hamas. In this way, Hamas is made implicitly responsible for the suffering of both Israelis and Palestinians.  11/19 (propaganda)

Will Arabs turn out for Gaza?, Marc Lynch
The coming days will, among many other things, offer some of the first real evidence about the strategic effects of the Arab uprisings.  It is important to recognize how limited the response of the Arab public and leaders has been thus far.  But it’s also important to recognize how quickly this could change, and how unsurprising this would be should it happen.  The Arab uprisings have introduced far greater unpredictability and complexity into everyone’s calculations, raising the potential payoff to dramatic political gestures and decreasing the confidence of rulers that they can safely ignore public demands.  All of those ready to confidently dismiss the possibility of such rapid developments should go back first to read what they wrote about Tunisia in December 2010, Egypt in January 2011, or Syria in February 2011.  All the more reason for all parties to push hard for a ceasefire now, so that it isn’t put to a test.  11/19

World Health Organization Report:  Gaza in 2020: A liveable place?
Without remedial action now, Gaza’s problems in water and electricity, education and health will only get worse over the coming years, the top United Nations official for humanitarian and development aid in the occupied Palestinian territory, Maxwell Gaylard, warned today. “Gaza will have half a million more people by 2020 while its economy will grow only slowly. In consequence, the people of Gaza will have an even harder time getting enough drinking water and electricity, or sending their children to school.”  11/20


Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee:  Take Action to support Gaza

Arab American Institute Statement Condemning Violence Against Civilians

Fellowship of Reconciliation statement on Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense: Ceasefire Now!

Coalition of U.S. Muslim and Arab-American Organizations Urge President to Demand Restoration of Gaza Ceasefire Broken by Israel 


MPAC expresses grave concern about Gaza


PETITION:  Stop the Israel/Gaza violence!

Petition to President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: Denounce Israel’s threats of a ground invasion in Gaza

Letter to President Obama to condition U.S. aid to Israel on compliance with the law which states that it cannot be used to violate the rights of Palestinians.

Letter in Support of Church Leaders’ Call to Investigate Israel’s Violations of U.S. Law

Send a letter to your representatives telling them No tax dollars for bombing civilians

SEE ALSO - Older articles about background of this dispute

AAI Statement on DNC Platform Amendment on Jerusalem

All Israel, No Palestinians

Apartheid in the Holy Land, Desmond Tutu

Broken UN Resolutions

Jimmy Carter: Israel has dropped the two-state solution for a ‘Greater Israel’, Allison Deger

Jimmy Carter Says Middle East Peace Is ‘Vanishing’ During Jerusalem Speech

Christian Religious leaders ask Congress to condition Israel military aid on human rights compliance

Civilian deaths: Incompetence Or Indifference?, Emily Hauser

The death of the Israel-Palestine two-state solution brings fresh hope, Rachel Shabi

Defining ‘Jewish state’: For many, term has different meanings, Glenn Kessler

DNC Platform amended to state Jerusalem is the capital of Israel? (status of Jerusalem), Sheila Musaji

The Galilee First: Equal rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel is essential for peace and reconciliation, Sam Bahour

Gaza’s Holocaust, Uri Avnery

The ‘honest broker’ comes clean: Obama admits the US is ‘more attentive’ to Israel than Palestinians, Adam Horowitz

HUDNA (truce)
- Hudna:  A Long-Range Islamic Strategy for Conflict Resolution, Dr. Robert D. Crane
- Preparing the Way for Hudna, Irfan Husain
- Hudna:  Those Who Live by the Sword Shall Die by It, Dr. Robert D. Crane
- Hudna: An Islamic Strategy in the Offing?, Dr. Robert D. Crane
- Hudna:  A Rationale and Platform for Peaceful Engagement, Dr. Robert D. Crane
- The War Between Israel and the Neo-Cons:  Can Muslims Save the Jews?, Dr. Robert D. Crane
- Peace through Justice:  A Strategy of Hudna to Eliminate the Iranian Nuclear Bomb, Dr. Robert D. Crane
- Hudna or Apocalypse: A Tipping Point for Palestine?, Dr. Robert D. Crane 
- Hamas and Hudna: Keys to Peace in the Holy Land, Dr. Robert D. Crane

In Jerusalem, Carter Derides Netanyahu and Obama

International attention must be paid to the Palestinian nonviolent movement, Mustafa Barghouthi

Israel: The Nation that has violated more UN resolutions than all other countries in the Mid East put together

Israel-Palestine Conflict: Death Toll (with charts, history, timeline)

Israeli Apartheid topic of serious discussion in Israel, Sheila Musaji

Israelis favour discrimination against Arabs - poll

Israeli poll finds majority in favour of ‘apartheid’ policies, Harriet Sherwood

Israel’s Grand Design: Leaders Crave Area from Egypt to Iraq (Greater Israel), John Mitchell Henshaw

Justice requires action to stop subjugation of Palestinians, Desmond Tutu

The meaning of Gaza’s ‘shoah’ :: Israel plots another Palestinian exodus, by Jonathan Cook

More On Savage Israel—An Analysis, Lawrence Davidson—A-by-Lawrence-Davidson-121027-785.html

Netanyahu visits Gilo to defend Jerusalem construction

The new Israeli apartheid: Poll reveals widespread Jewish support for policy of discrimination against Arab minority

Nonviolent resistance in Palestine, Patrick O’Connor 

PALESTINE - ISRAEL - TAM article collection
Muslim Voices Promoting Islamic Non Violent Solutions - TAM article collection

Palestine - An Appeal For a Non-Violent Global Resistance Movement, Tariq Ramadan 

Palestinian Nonviolence: Would It Work?, by Marty Jezer

The Palestinian Reconciliation Agreement Should Be Supported, James Zogby

Palestine’s Hidden History of Nonviolence, Yousuf Munayyer

Timeline: Palestine since 1915: A review of important events in Palestine since World War I 
Timeline: Israeli Palestinian conflict since 1948

Palestinians need an honest broker, Rashid Khalidi

The perilous encounter between modern nationalism and ancient history, Hussein Ibish

Rogue State: Israeli Violations of U.N. Security Council Resolutions

Romney’s Vision: A Greater Israel, Ali Gharib

Romney on Jerusalem: A World of Hurt for America, Juan Cole

Shoah or Holocaust, It’s Still a Catastrophe, Sheila Musaji

Should the Palestinians Recognize Israel As a Jewish State?, Hussein Ibish

Survey reveals anti-Arab attitudes in Israel,  Gabe Fisher

Survey of Israeli Racism: 58% of Jews Label Their State ‘Apartheid’, Richard Silverstein

U.N. PDF on Status of Jerusalem

The Triumph and Tragedy of Greater Israel, Henry Siegman

Desmond Tutu to Haaretz: Arabs paying the price of the Holocaust

VIDEO:  Israel and Palestine, an animated introduction - 6 minute overview of the entire conflict

Waiting for Obama, S Abdallah Schleifer

Who will save Israel from itself, Mark LeVine

Why Israel can’t be a ‘Jewish State’, Sari Nusseibeh

Why Palestinians can’t recognize a ‘Jewish state’, Hassan Jabareen

Why the Palestinians can’t recognize the Jewish State, Ahmad Samih Khalidi

World Council of Churches documents on status of Jerusalem

Type PALESTINE into the TAM search engine and 590 articles will come up about the background of this crisis.  Type in JERUSALEM or GAZA and many more articles will come up.

The Image source for the Gaza peace logo is SFP