The Israeli army is one of the most powerful in the world, usually ranked around fourth in firepower. It can deploy a half a million troops with a panoply of state-of-the-art weaponry—from body armor, integrated electronic communications and control, and sniper rifles, to tanks, artillery, air power, drones, ships, and submarines—and, of course, an arsenal of nuclear weapons that have been in development over fifty years. It is backed by the most powerful armed force in the world, which continuously supplies it with whatever arms, cash, intelligence, and political and diplomatic support it needs—an effective guarantee of military (though not political) victory.
There are a few thousand militants armed with light infantry weapons and homemade rockets among the 1.8 million people in Gaza, one of the most densely-populated territories on earth. Those 1.8 million people have been locked into that territory by Israel (abetted by its Egyptian ally, and backed by its American patron), which controls the entry and exit of every person and particle, making Gaza what even British Prime Minister David Cameron (who helps to enable this policy) calls a “prison camp.” This siege has been Israel’s way of punishing the 1.8 million people of Gaza for, among other things, having freely and fairly elected leaders that Israel doesn’t like.
What we’ve been witnessing in Gaza for the past month is this Israeli-American war machine relentlessly pummeling those captive 1.8 million fish in a barrel people, and deliberately destroying their social infrastructure, on a scale that is almost unimaginable. The Israeli-American war machine has used all its modern weaponry to blow up homes, schools, hospitals, water and power plants—demolishing and depopulating whole neighborhoods, and killing any number of civilians and children (at least 380) that it pleases. When it’s the equivalent of gatling guns vs. arrows, when the civilian casualty rates are 4% on one “side” and 86% on the other, it’s not a war, it’s a massacre.
Self-defense? Puhlease. Rob Kall, of opednews.com, speaking of a previous Israeli massacre, gives a gruesomely apt image: “I told my son it would be like him throwing a balled up piece of paper at me and me coming back with a hammer smashing him in the head and face repeatedly.” Just like, if you’ve seen the picture I included in a previous post.
The arguments about Israel defending itself, doing its best to avoid civilian casualties, having the most moral army in the world, etc., would be risible if they weren’t so despicable. It’s important, for those who claim to care about such things, to point out that Israel’s intentional, deliberate, announced plan has always been to create as much suffering as possible for the 1.8 million people in Gaza. Further, its announced war strategy is that, faced with any resistance from any population it decides, in its moral wisdom, to target and/or subjugate, it will inflict disproportionate violence on the civilian infrastructure and whole population. Such a strategy is meant both to prove Israel’s will and capacity to force compliance, and to uphold the Israeli ethic is that it’s right and fitting to destroy an entire Arab neighborhood—civilians be damned—in order to protect, or revenge, the life of one Israeli soldier.
This is, for those who claim to care about such things, a policy of war crime. This policy rests on three indisputably criminal pillars, which I’ll describe briefly: diet, lawn-mowing, and Dahiya.
Diet: As one Israeli official proudly proclaimed, Israel is deliberately keeping the 1.8 million people of Gaza “on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.” As Noam Chomsky points out, Israel calculates, “precisely how many calories a day Gazans needed for bare survival, while also depriving them of medicines and other means of decent life.” This is the deliberate, sadistic, ongoing punishment of a whole population trapped in a ghetto. A crime.
Lawn-mowing: In addition to the ongoing siege and starvation of those 1.8 million people, every couple of years, Israel undertakes what it calls “mowing the lawn” in Gaza. As Chomsky says, this is “Israel’s cheery expression for its periodic exercises of shooting fish in a pond in what it calls a ‘war of defense.’” This is Israel’s periodic dis-maintenance, which ensures the Gaza polity will never be able to stand on its own two feet, and, Israel hopes, reminds the people of Gaza that resistance is futile. Another sadistic crime of collective punishment.
Dahiya: Named after the Dahiya neighborhood of Beirut, which Israel destroyed in one of their previous massacres in 2006. This strategy, which has been elevated to a general military doctrine, involves deliberately targeting and destroying a civilian neighborhood by air and artillery, rather than risking the precious lives of Israeli soldiers looking for armed adversaries. As an Israeli general laid it out:
What happened in the Dahiya quarter of Beirut in 2006 will happen in every village from which Israel is fired on. […] We will apply disproportionate force on it and cause great damage and destruction there. From our standpoint, these are not civilian villages, they are military bases. ….This is not a recommendation. This is a plan. And it has been approved.
The plan. Approved. Although you won’t hear that on CNN. It’s a war crime, announced in advance. For those who claim to care about such things.
We all know—Israel certainly does—that this is possible only because Israel is granted impunity for these war crimes by the United States government and media.
But, let’s leave the slaughter of thousands of civilians aside for a moment. The other tiny little thing we might notice, as the people of Detroit are being deprived of water, is that all of this deliberate destruction of civilian infrastructure and neighborhoods at Israel’s whim is only possible because Israel knows that the United States of America will pay for the destruction and (along with Europe) for the rebuilding—up to the point, of course, that Israel decides will not “make them [Gazans] die of hunger.” And the U.S. will pay again, for the next round, ad infinitum (unless we act with determination to stop it). Mow, rake, repeat.
What a deal! This is beyond impunity. Israel may be having a hard time bringing the Palestinians to heel, but it sure has the Americans well-tamed.
Notes and links
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