It really began yesterday with a massive Israeli air assault but it has continued throughout the day and night today.
The tragic murder of eight Israelis has brought out the full force of the Israeli military. While it goes without saying that Israel has a right to defend itself, this seems less like self defense at this point and more like bloody, wonton retribution. As of tonight, Israel has changed it’s story several times about who they believe to be responsible for the terror attacks late last week and yet they are stepping up their assault on Gaza. Unfortunately,the mainstream American and Israeli media have been far too quick to unquestioningly repeat Israel’s early claims of who was responsible.
Some journalists and commentators over at the Israeli blog +972 said the week before last that the only thing that could save Bibi Netanyahu from the political impact of the #j14 social protests which brought hundreds of thousands of people into the streets in Tel Aviv and throughout Israel, was a security crisis. Perhaps in hindsight this is significant or perhaps it’s a bit too conspiratorial, but here is an excerpt from the +972 post of August 8th:
All this time, Netanyahu is quietly trying to bring about a security crisis. The Israeli Air Force bombed Gaza a couple of times until the desired couple of flying pipe bombs flew out, but Hamas itself cracked down on the launchers. In the West Bank, the IDF is arresting people and carrying out raids deep in Area A. This weekend, an actor from the Freedom Theater in Jenin was arrested, and several hours later the theater itself was raided, as were villages in the Hebron area. Nothing will help Netanyahu more than an outburst of violence on the borders. In this he is aided by the same man foiling his dairy reform – race-baiter extraordinaire Foreign Minister Yvette Lieberman, supreme leader of the aforementioned Yisrael Beitenu party.
Lieberman has taken to warning of an impending bloodbath in September, ahead of the UN vote on recognizing the amorphous “Palestinian State.” According to Lieberman, the Palestinians are planning all sorts of devilry and violence. And the fact that the Palestinian Authority is calling on its people not to confront Israel in September? Or the fact that the IDF itself says it has no clue where Lieberman is getting his prognosis? Never mind! Fearless leader knows best. And if the Palestinians don’t rise up, we’ll push and prod and provoke them till they do.
Some photos from the assault on Gaza (yesterday and today) via the blog Occupied Palestine (warning: some are graphic)
How will the U.S. respond if this continues? The State Dept., White House and Quartet have already issued statements condemning the terror attack in Israel last week, which is of course appropriate because the attack should be denounced in the strongest terms, but what statement will they issue if the assault on Gaza turns into another Cast Lead? Will we just hear about Israel’s right to self defense? Will we hear anything about the death of Palestinian women and children? In other words, will the U.S. and Quartet respond to the deaths of innocent Palestinians in the same way they responded to the deaths of innocent Israelis? Or is there no such thing as an “innocent Palestinian?”