There seems to be nothing that exposes the impotence of the much vaunted international community more starkly than the meek tolerance of Israeli violence in the Palestinian territories and Lebanon. News outlets like the BBC are now reporting both that the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) are leafleting Gazans warning of an imminent invasion of ground forces, and, that all air attacks will end later today (technically these aren’t mutually exclusive claims). Either way, the recent Operation Pillar of Cloud has already seen the deaths of 110 Palestinians and 3 Israeli’s, following IDF incursions into Gaza at the start of November.
Conventionally, US (and many other) media begin their narrative on the 8th November with attacks on the IDF troops who were already in Gaza by the 8th November and much subsequent reporting has attempted to balance a long established pattern of limited Israeli casualties and hugely disproportionate Palestinian casualties (death rates which mirror their relative military capabilities). The apparent strategic clarity in globally communicating a pro-Israeli narrative reflects the strength of the pro-Israeli lobby in the US but is repeatedly held up as evidence of ‘western’ hypocrisy around the rest of the world. This peculiarity even persists on Irish radio – Newstalk FM repeatedly reported on Monday that Israeli deaths were due ‘to Hamas rockets’ whilst Gazans died ‘during violence’, inserting absolute clarity over responsibility for Israeli dead and a subtle question mark over who ultimately is responsible for the deaths of Palestinians. A minor point but one which seems to have been filtered by editorial policy.
And it is not like Israeli voices are particularly nuanced in their pronouncements, such as this from Gilad Sharon (son of Ariel) in last Sunday’s Jerusalem Post:
There is no justification for the State of Gaza being able to shoot at our towns with impunity. 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.
I am not sure how Sharon’s views are received by Israeli public opinion, but there has (worryingly) been relatively little notice taken of the comments in the west. Only a few weeks ago, it was reported that between 2007 and 2010 there were Israeli-imposed limits on food imported into Gaza based on calorie count, allowing Hamas to claim that it was:
…evidence that the Gaza blockade was planned and the target was not Hamas or the government, as the occupation always claimed. This blockade targeted all human beings …
These are the same Gazan Palestinians that democratically elected Hamas in 2006, only to have sanctions imposed (with the approval of the Quartet). Gaza was then inserted into what is apparently referred to in Israeli policy as ‘cutting the grass’, cyclical military operations that Roger Cohen suggests function with:
… policies that radicalize the situation, erode middle ground, demonstrate the impossibility of agreement, and so facilitate continued Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the expansion of settlements there and the steady eclipse of the idea of a two-state peace.
And the evidence for this? A straightforward table (see below) from @ramielashy showing the synchronicity of Israeli military campaigns and Israeli elections, prompting Gershom Gorenberg to reverse von Clauswitz: policy becomes an extension of war.