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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