Sunday, July 13, 2014

Gaza - death toll from Israeli air raids 166 // Netanyahu's War: What Is It Good For? // Scholar David Shulman on the Gaza Bombings

Israeli strikes on Gaza killed a teenage boy and a woman on Sunday, medics said, raising the overall death toll to 165. According to emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra, one strike on the northern town of Jabaliya struck a house, killing a 14-year-old boy. Shortly afterwards, another strike killed a woman in the Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza, he said. Elsewhere, a man injured in an earlier strike died of his wounds, hiking the toll to 165, Qudra said. More than 1,000 people have been injured. The Israeli military said more than 800 rockets had been launched since its offensive began on Tuesday. Israel said it has carried out 1,320 attacks on militant targets, half against rocket launch sites, and the rest at command centres, rocket manufacturing installations, warehouses and smuggling tunnels.

The government of Benjamin Netanyahu has launched a new war on Palestinians in Gaza, a war whose purported justifications make George W. Bush's excuses for his illegal invasion of Iraq smell nice by comparison. So far, the United States, Netanyahu's chief enabler, has been unwilling to stop the carnage, as it could easily do, because Washington hasn't yet heard enough complaint from Americans not to use their tax dollars to kill children in Gaza.
Suppose that you believe that there are just wars and there are unjust wars, as many people do. Is Netanyahu's war on Hamas in Gaza a just war? A just war must have a just end, and the just end must be sufficiently good to more than compensate for all injustices caused by the war. The just end must not be reachable by peaceful means, and attempts to use peaceful means to achieve the just end must have been exhausted.
There is no plausible story that Netanyahu's war is a just war. As J.J. Goldbergrecounts in the Jewish Daily Forward, the justification for Netanyahu's war on Gaza given by the chief spokesman of the Israeli military on July 8 was this: "We have been instructed by the political echelon to hit Hamas hard." That is not a just war. There is no just goal offered that killing is supposed to bring about. Killing itself is the goal. As Goldberg and Max Blumenthal note, the racist revenge frenzy in the Israeli political system to which Netanyahu's military escalation is purportedly responding was deliberately manufactured by Netanyahu himself. As Goldberg documented in the Forward, this crisis was manufactured by Netanyahu for political ends...
The United States government has many levers on Netanyahu. Of course the U.S. gives Netanyahu billions of U.S. taxpayers' dollars a year, but while it would be politically difficult (to put it mildly) to cut off U.S. military aid -- the Obama administration could not bring itself to cut off military aid to the Egyptian military coup, even when clearly required to do so by U.S. law -- the administration has many other, more subtle levers on Netanyahu that it could deploy without giving AIPAC, the ADL and their allies a convenient target for counterattack. The administration could raise the volume of its public criticism of Netanyahu. The administration could let it be known that it might refrain from vetoing a U.N. resolution that condemned Netanyahu. The administration could "leak" that it is deepening efforts to engage Hamas politically, then issue a non-denial denial when these efforts are criticized. The administration knows full well that it has all these levers and more. All it lacks is sufficient public political pressure to use them to force an end to the killing.
From the past, we know how this ends. It ends with a new ceasefire. The key question is how many human beings will be killed and injured in the meantime. President Obama should use all his levers to stop the killing now.

Scholar David Shulman on the Gaza Bombings
Since the horrible murder of three Israeli teenagers, followed by the equally abominable revenge killing of the Palestinian boy from Shuafat, Israel has witnessed a wave of racist hatred on a scale perhaps not known before. Part of it has to do with the near-infinite opportunities of the internet: tens of thousands of virulent hate messages sent by ordinary Israelis have clogged the major sites; thousands of them call openly for revenge. I remember a time somewhat like this one, in the summer and autumn of 1982, the days of the first Lebanon War; the nadir came when a hate-filled nationalist threw a grenade into a Peace Now demonstration, killing my student, Emil Grunzweig. Some of the internet sites these days have called for the execution of leftists. Perhaps most striking of all is the utter shamelessness of this wave. Probably people used to have these same feelings but were not so ready, or eager, to state them in public. Decades of demagoguery and xenophobic incitement by the right, including, famously, by Netanyahu himself, have had an effect. The sluices are open.
The other innovation in the public sphere is the presence of Israeli lynch gangs prowling the streets of downtown Jerusalem. Sporadic outbursts of mob violence have been seen here before, but this time, after the killing of the teenagers, we saw organized Fascist groups attacking any Palestinians unlucky enough to be going home late at night, after work (the restaurants and pubs in Jerusalem employ many Palestinian workers). Ta’ayush kept small groups of volunteers in the city center for most nights last week and the week before with the aim of forestalling such attacks; there were cases when the police were called in to save Palestinians trapped by savage Jewish mobs. A particularly terrible case occurred when the Light Rail, the electric tram, was surrounded by rabble screaming “Death to Arabs!” A Palestinian Ph.D. student in Islamic studies at the University, a woman well known to my colleagues, was caught in the tram and witnessed passengers trying to shove another Palestinian woman, a young mother with her baby, out of the carriage, into the hands of the mob. Most of the passengers, as always in such cases, watched passively. Fortunately, the tram was eventually able to continue its journey, and the mother and child survived...

Also see: 

The Deir Yassin massacre of 1948

Chris Hedges: Imploding the myth of Israel

Israel Guilty of Apartheid, Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinians: UN Rapporteur

The Agony of Palestine

Christianity, Nazism and Anti-SemitismThe origins of the never-ending crisis in West Asia lie in the long history of Christian anti-Semitism. For centuries, the Catholic Church and its offshoots called for the punishment of Jews for their mythical role in the murder of Jesus Christ. The myth originated in Biblical gospels, and was perpetuated by Christianity's greatest intellects, including Saint Paul, Saint Aquinas, Martin Luther and Calvin, not to mention the Papacy.. Read more: