Israel’s Gaza Massacre Will Be a Watershed Event

by Jul 31, 2014Foreign Policy11 comments

Israel targets a UN-run school in Beit Lahiya with white phosphorous munitions during 'Operation Cast Lead', January 17, 2009 (Iyad El-Baba/UNRWA)

Historians will look back at this Gaza massacre and identify it as the beginning of the end of the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

I think we are witnessing a watershed event in the Middle East.

With US support, Israel weathered the political storm for its war crimes during its full-scale 22-day military assault against the civilian population and infrastructure of the Gaza Strip, Operation Cast Lead (Dec. 27, 2008 – Jan. 18, 2009), as well as its murderous assault on the humanitarian flotilla sailing for Gaza in May 2011.

Israel launched another murderous operation with US support in November 2012, but on a much more limited scale. Israel knew it was constrained in its behavior because this time, as a consequence of its barbarism during Cast Lead, the world was watching.

That lesson has been quickly forgot as we see Israel once more acting with total impunity on the assumption that it can weather the political backlash as it engages in war crimes against the people of Gaza.

I think that is a serious miscalculation on the part of the Israeli leadership. This time is different. Things will not turn out for them as they have hoped. They will as ever fail to crush the spirit of the Palestinian people. And its war crimes this time will not be without consequence.

The US has been warning Israel for many years that due to shifting public opinion and increasing isolation of Israel in the international community, it will not be able for much longer to sustain its support for Israeli crimes against the Palestinians to the full extent that it has for so long now.

The US has long warned Israel that while it will continue supporting it as much as political feasible, Israel’s occupation of Palestine is unsustainable.

The Netanyahu government, in its unparalleled arrogance, has refused to listen to those warnings. Israel will find the the US government, while not unwilling, will simply be unable to afford it the same protection against efforts to hold it accountable as it did after Cast Lead.

The mainstream media, too, will not be able this time to sustain the role it has in the past of reporting the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in effect to manufacture consent for the US’s policy of supporting Israel’s crimes.

It may yet be many years away, but I believe historians will look back at Israel’s current massacre in Gaza and identify it as a real turning point marking the beginning of the end of the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

So the Palestinian Authority under the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas is faced with a question: will it do what is necessary and join the statute of the International Criminal Court and file suit against Israel for war crimes?

Or will it become irrelevant?

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About Jeremy R. Hammond

About Jeremy R. Hammond

I am an independent journalist, political analyst, publisher and editor of Foreign Policy Journal, book author, and writing coach.

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  1. Vic

    We’ve been surprised by how the scale of this murderous rampage has broken through some of the buffering of US journalists on the mainstream news (not all of course, but ones like CBS and NBC, which usually are mouthpieces). They are doing real reporting one night, then the next night are trying to take some of it back, but it’s too late. I hope you are right about the turning point. I feel that way too. I don’t see how Israel can recover from this in the eyes of the world. To know that their leadership has “never been more popular” is pretty shocking.

    • Jeremy R. Hammond

      Yes, this media breakthrough you’ve observed is one of the major factors I had in mind writing this brief analysis. There is still plenty of slanted reporting, of course, but on the whole it really is of a different nature than the pure propaganda we saw during Operation Cast Lead. Even the White House has been forced to limit its political support for the operation and described an Israeli attack on a UN school “indefensible” (again, compare to Cast Lead where not war crime by Israel was too great for the Obama administration to be willing to support and defend it). I also do not see how Israel can recover from this in the eyes of the world.

      Thanks for your comment!

      • AEM

        I believe it all comes down to the current ceasefire/truce negotiations that will take place in Egypt shortly between Hamas and Israel. One thing Hamas has done differently during this Israeli attack was rejecting any notion of a ceasefire without lifting and/or changing the status quo of the siege that has been imposed upon them by Egypt and Israel. This is a deciding factor in gaining world empathy (as sad as that is) as Hamas could simply reject all talks and suffer more attacks in order to gain more sympathy to end the blockade of the Gaza Strip. In regards to the US’s position on the attacks against the UN schools, I think they had absolutely no other choice, and if you continued following up with any Obama statements, they were always followed up with the typical simpleminded “no country would ever tolerate missiles and terrorist tunnels” sayings.

      • Jeremy R. Hammond

        Exactly. The US had no other choice. It knew this time it couldn’t defend Israel’s attacks on UN schools the same way it did during Operation Cast Lead. I think that has major significance.

    • Jeremy R. Hammond

      The answer is, of course, I don’t. I condemn Hamas’s war crimes.

    • Jeremy R. Hammond

      A football field away from the UN building.

      Relevance to my post?

  2. Jeremy R. Hammond

    Barry, I’ve deleted the rest of your numerous comments. If you wish to compile a list of links about Hamas, get your own blog. If you wish to leave comments on my own, please make sure they are relevant to the post.

  3. Javed Mir

    –watershed event–

    It is nice to be optimistic under even the worst situations but I feel that that time is still awaited when an important change will happen so far as Palestinian dispute is concerned.


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