Israeli Cruelty Reached A Point Of No Return In The 2008-09 Gaza War


line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-weight:bold”>This scene took place on Saturday, January 17, 2009, on Day No. 21 of the Israel Defense Forces assault on the Gaza Strip known as Operation Cast Lead. It was the penultimate day of the operation. The place: a corridor in the Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, outside Tel Aviv. The occasion: A press conference with Dr. Ezzeldeen Abu al-Aish, a Gaza Strip physician who once worked at Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva, and who the previous day had lost his three daughters and his niece when an IDF shell hit their family home in the Jabalya refugee camp, near Gaza City.

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-weight:bold”>Levana Stern, who introduced herself to al-Aish in the hospital as the mother of three paratroopers who were in Gaza at the time, was incapable of sharing the bereavement of this Palestinian enemy, did not identify even for a moment with his pain, did not comprehend his heartache. Decades of brainwashing and the fanning of incitement and hatred had apparently had their effect on her, and burst forth in a single moment: “Who knows what he had inside his house,” she declared, standing before a man who was seen by some to be practically an Israeli, who had just lost the people most precious to him, whose world had collapsed upon him.

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-weight:bold”>For the world, as well, Cast Lead constituted a point of no return. It was the moment from which global public opinion could no longer tolerate Israel’s disproportionately wild behavior. For Israeli society, that operation in Gaza, which cannot be called a war − because one cannot really call what went on there “warfare,” in the strictest sense − planted the seeds of all of the rotten fruit that sprang up in society in its wake.

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-weight:bold”>Song of inspiration

150%;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-weight:bold”>‏ line-height:150%;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-weight:bold”>‏ line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-weight:bold”>No matter how you put it, it was a brutal, nearly unrestrained attack on a poor, helpless, besieged population that had nowhere to flee, save the sea, and on armed Palestinian groups, with meager equipment and primitive weaponry. In its cruelty, it was unlike any other in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-weight:bold”>Yes, there have been crueler military actions, more wicked army operations. But there was never anything like Cast Lead.

Last autumn’s Operation Pillar of Defense, with its relative moderation, showed that a certain lesson was in fact learned. Nonetheless, the seeds of apathy and evil that were sown that winter between Gaza and Rafah are still blossoming here, and are spreading like weeds.

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