An Israeli on Failure in Gaza and the Way Out

Assaf Sharon, a philosophy professor at Tel Aviv University, has an article in the New York Review of Books concerning the recent violence in the Gaza Strip and the only realistic way to resolve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Below are extended selections from “Failure in Gaza”, which is available in full here:

“In Israel, endless controversy over Gaza has overlooked one question: How did we get here in the first place? Why, after a considerable period of relative calm, did Hamas resume rocket fire into Israel?”

“Before the current operation began, Hamas was at one of the lowest points in its history….In these circumstances, Hamas agreed last April to reconciliation with its political rival Fatah, based on Fatah’s terms. For example, the agreement called for a government of technocrats largely under the control of the Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas.”

“But Benjamin Netanyahu viewed the reconciliation as a threat rather than an opportunity….He saw the reconciliation with Hamas as an opportunity to criticize the Palestinian president…. As soon as the reconciliation was announced, Netanyahu launched a public offensive against Palestinian unity and demanded that the international community oppose it….”

“Netanyahu could have chosen a different path. He could have used the reconciliation to reinforce Abbas’s position and further destabilize Hamas. He could, in recognition of the agreement, have encouraged Egypt to open its border with Gaza in order to demonstrate to Gazans that the Palestinian Authority offered a better life than Hamas. Instead, Israel prevented the transfer of salaries to 43,000 Hamas officials in Gaza, sending a clear message that Israel would not treat Gaza any differently under the rule of moderate technocrats from the Palestinian Authority.”

“The abduction of three Israeli youths in the West Bank on June 12 gave Netanyahu another opportunity to undermine the reconciliation…. Despite the statement by … the Hamas political bureau chief, that the Hamas political leadership did not know of the plans to carry out the abduction, Netanyahu was quick to lay the blame on Hamas, declaring that Israel had ‘unequivocal proof’ that the organization was involved in the abduction.”

“As yet, Israeli authorities have produced no such proof and the involvement of the Hamas leadership in the kidnapping remains unclear. While the individuals suspected of having carried out the kidnapping are associated with Hamas, some of the evidence suggests that they may have been acting on their own initiative and not under the direction of Hamas’s central leadership. Regardless of this, Netanyahu’s response, apparently driven by the ill-advised aim of undermining Palestinian reconciliation, was reckless.”

“Determined to achieve by force what he failed to accomplish through diplomacy, Netanyahu not only blamed Hamas, but linked the abduction to Palestinian reconciliation, as if the two events were somehow causally related. ‘Sadly, this incident illustrates what we have been saying for months,’ he stated, ‘that the alliance with Hamas has extremely grave consequences’. Israeli security forces were in possession of evidence strongly indicating the teens were dead, but withheld this information from the public until July 1….”

“On the prime minister’s orders, IDF forces raided Hamas’s civil and welfare offices throughout the West Bank and arrested hundreds of Hamas leaders and operatives. These arrests did not help to locate the abductors or their captives. Among the arrested were fifty-eight Palestinians previously released as part of the deal to return the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who had been a captive of Hamas since 2006.”

“As part of this ill-conceived operation against Hamas, Israel also mounted air strikes on Hamas facilities in Gaza. Apparently, Hamas did not take an active part in firing rockets for more than two weeks, although it did not prevent other factions in Gaza from firing. Only on June 29 or 30 did Hamas restart the rocket bombardment of Israeli territory, which it had not engaged in since November 2012. Israel retaliated against Hamas in Gaza and a vicious cycle began. Netanyahu lost control over an escalation he had instigated. In his badly misjudged eagerness to blame Abbas and punish him for reconciling with Hamas, Netanyahu turned a vicious but local terrorist attack into a runaway crisis….”

….

“Israel’s conduct throughout the crisis has been based directly on Netanyahu’s philosophy of ‘conflict management’, whose underlying premise is that the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians cannot be solved, but can be effectively ‘managed’ for a very long period of time. This feeble, not to mention defeatist, assumption is not only wrong but also dangerous, trapping Israel in an illusion that is shattered time and again. ‘Control’ and ‘stability’ only exist between each inevitable round of violence. In fact, recurring rounds of violence are inherent to this approach.”

“’Conflict management’ means continued Israeli control over the Palestinians in Gaza and in the West Bank, with the inevitable reality of organizations and factions struggling to overthrow that control. Under the illusion that the conflict is being managed, opportunities for change provided by calm periods are squandered….” 

“So long as Hamas is willing to use terror against innocent Israeli civilians and so long as it refuses to recognize the State of Israel, it will not be a ‘partner’ for peace. But it could be partner to interest-based agreements requiring it to modify its behavior, as many academic and security experts claim. In fact, despite Netanyahu’s being the most vocal opponent of dialogue with Gazan terror organizations, it was he who reached two agreements with Hamas: the 2011 Shalit deal and the 2012 agreement that ended Operation Pillar of Defense…” 

“A long-term resolution with respect to Gaza requires changing its political predicament. The only sensible way of doing this is to establish a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, a state whose existence would be negotiated with the Palestine Liberation Organization under Abbas’s leadership. As part of a comprehensive political agreement, Hamas is very likely to agree to a long-term truce, as its representatives have repeatedly said.”

“In 1997, its founder and spiritual leader Ahmad Yassin suggested a thirty-year hudna (truce) with Israel. In 2006, one of its leaders, Mahmoud al-Zahar, proposed a ‘long-term hudna’. Earlier this year, Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a senior Hamas functionary in the West Bank, reiterated the organization’s willingness for a hudna and said the organization was willing to accept a peace agreement with Israel if a majority of Palestinians supported it. In 2010, in an interview with a Muslim Brotherhood daily circulated in Jordan, Hamas’s political leader Khaled Mashal expressed pragmatic views and willingness to reach an agreement with Israel. In late July, he [said] ‘We want peace without occupation, without settlements, without Judaization, without the siege’.”

“All these proposals were contingent on ending the Israeli occupation and establishing a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders. They received no response from Israel. Although a Palestinian state contradicts Netanyahu’s ideological commitments and conflicts with his own political interests, a state is clearly in Israel’s interest….”

“The historic conflict with the Palestinians will not be settled by a single agreement. Reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians—overcoming decades of bloodshed and hatred—will require a long process of acceptance and forgiveness spanning years and probably decades. The armed conflict, however, can certainly be ended. Israel has already ended armed conflicts with several neighboring countries: with some, like Egypt and Jordan, it achieved comprehensive peace agreements; with others, it agreed to other kinds of accords.”

“An agreement can be reached with the Palestinians, too: the terms are known and the price is fixed. Whether it is reached or not is a matter of political will on the part of Israeli and Palestinian leaders. Unfortunately, Israel’s current leadership will do anything to avoid this choice, to the detriment of both peoples.”

“The war in Gaza is, fundamentally, not about tunnels and not against rockets. It is a war over the status quo. Netanyahu’s ‘conflict management’ is a euphemism for maintaining a status quo of settlement and occupation, allowing no progress. The Israeli opposition must distance itself from this hopeless conception and other countries need to reject it. Both must be done forcefully and before violence erupts once more, and force becomes the only option—yet again.”

Israel and Gaza as Represented by Several Petitions and Two Emails

Seventy or so Israeli academics have signed a petition calling on their government to end its aggressive military strategy in Gaza. The text:

The signatories to this statement, all academics at Israeli universities, wish it to be known that they utterly deplore the aggressive military strategy being deployed by the Israeli government. The slaughter of large numbers of wholly innocent people is placing yet more barriers of blood in the way of the negotiated agreement which is the only alternative to the occupation and endless oppression of the Palestinian people. Israel must agree to an immediate cease-fire, and start negotiating in good faith for the end of the occupation and settlements, through a just peace agreement.

I’m not an Israeli or an academic, so I can’t sign it. I assume you can’t either. But that “We the People” site run by the White House has some relevant petitions, like these:

Push for a ceasefire in the Gaza/Palestine conflict and stop providing military aid to Israel with our tax dollars has about 6,500 signatures.

FREEZE ALL AID TO ISRAEL UNTIL IT COMPLIES WITH INTERNATIONAL LAW HUMAN RIGHTS! has more than 32,000.

The leading petition, however, is Condemn the Apartheid State of Israel for their Human Rights Violations against the Palestinian peoples, which has more than 127,000.

On the other side of the issue, the leader is support Israel unconditionally in whatever it needs to do to stop Hamas’ terrorism. It has the right to defend itself. It has 2,241 signatures. I doubt that the signers would agree that there is a distinction between what Israel needs to do and what Israel is doing. 

Meanwhile, back in Israel, Haaretz reports on a strange incident involving another Israeli academic:

Prof. Hanoch Sheinman [sent an email] to reassure his second-year law students that because the security situation had disrupted many students’ routines, there would be an additional date scheduled for his course’s final exam. Sheinman opened the email, however, by saying that he hoped the message “finds you in a safe place, and that you, your families and those dear to you are not among the hundreds of people that were killed, the thousands wounded, or the tens of thousands whose homes were destroyed or were forced to leave their homes during, or as a direct result of, the violent confrontation in the Gaza Strip and its environs.” Sheinman then proceeded to inform the students of the additional testing date.

 This is what happened next:

The dean of the law faculty, Prof. Shahar Lifshitz, … issued an urgent message to the students…. “I was shocked to learn of the email sent to you by Professor Sheinman,” Lifshitz wrote. “It was a hurtful letter, and since this morning we have been justifiably flooded with messages from students and family members, many of whom are involved during these very days in the battles in the south.”

Lifshitz added, “Both the content and the style of the letter contravene the values of the university and the law faculty. The faculty champions the values of pluralism, tolerance, and freedom of expression, but the inclusion of positions as were included in the administrative message sent by Prof. Sheinman to the students on a matter relating to exams does not fit into the framework of academic freedom or freedom of personal expression in any acceptable sense. This constitutes the inappropriate use of the power given to a lecturer to exploit the platform given to him as a law teacher to convey messages reflecting his positions, in a way that, as noted, seriously offended the students and their families.”

I can understand why some were offended by a reference to this conflict’s many victims, since more than 90% of the victims have been Palestinians. But I can’t understand at all why anyone would consider an expression of sympathy for those victims to be “hurtful” – unless it’s hurtful to remind people of what their government is doing in their name.

Trying to Understand Hamas, Part 2

The New York Times published an article on Sunday called “Despite Gains, Hamas Sees a Fight for Its Existence and Presses Ahead”. I read it in an effort to understand Hamas’ motivations, given the likelihood that attacking Israelis – justified or not – will always result in greater injury to Palestinians. The first Palestinian quoted is a professor of political science at a university in East Jersualem. He thinks Hamas is acting in order to achieve some concrete benefits for the Gaza Strip, most importantly an end to the trade and travel restrictions imposed by Israel. Presumably referring to Hamas’ relatively minor military achievements, the professor says:

All these achievements of Hamas, if they strike a deal without achieving something for the people of Gaza, they will lose everything and will bury themselves….It’s a very critical moment; Hamas is to be or not to be. If they don’t reach what they promised to reach, it will be like a balloon, just punctured.

Everyone seems to agree that Hamas’ overall position has weakened in recent years. In the words of the Times reporter:

Politically isolated after breaks with Syria, Iran and especially Egypt, and its effort at reconciling with the Palestinian factions that rule the West Bank having failed to bear fruit, Hamas has all but given up on governing Gaza to focus on the battlefield…In Gaza, where many see violence as the only language that works. 

Though weary of war, many Gazans see the so-called resistance as the only possible path to pressing Israel and Egypt to open border crossings, and to ending Israel’s “siege” on imports and exports and naval “blockade.” Hamas and its backers in Qatar and Turkey have also been calling for a seaport and airport in the coastal enclave.

Two other Palestinians are then quoted. According to a former Hamas official:

The only option left for us was to defend ourselves and to make Israel bleed the way that we have been bleeding all these years. It is not acceptable to go back to a situation where we are being squeezed to death and where the whole society is being paralyzed.

A plumber shopping for vegetables is said to echo the feelings of other residents that “life is so miserable” in Gaza that they are “willing to suffer the high costs of war” if it can bring change:

We want a cease-fire, of course, but it has to be based on the demands of the resistance. If they refuse to open the crossings, then we’ll all become martyrs, God willing.

Finally, a political analyst based in Jordan, is quoted:

When Israel started attacking the Gaza Strip, Hamas saw an opportunity not only to stand up to Israel but to seek to resolve … broader issues. This conflict for them is a struggle to lift the blockade of Gaza more than anything else.

Assuming the statements of the three Palestinians and the Jordanian analyst are representative of Hamas’ thinking, Hamas’ actions don’t seem so mysterious.

From all accounts, Gaza is a hellhole: almost 2 million people (13,000 per square mile) living in the desert, with 50% unemployment, heavy restrictions on travel, imports and exports, widespread malnutrition, a contaminated water supply and a spotty electrical system (made even worse today by Israel’s destruction of Gaza’s only power plant). Attacking the country they view as their tormentors may not be the best solution, but it doesn’t seem crazy either. (I recommended non-violent resistance in an earlier post, but I’m not sure how feasible that is for people in an enclave like Gaza.)

The Times article also quotes three Israelis, giving one of them the last word on the subject.

Prime Minister Netanyahu is quoted as calling for the demilitarization of Gaza, including enforcement of that demilitarization by international authorities (a view some in Hamas would consider unilateral disarmament). A former chief of Israeli military intelligence is skeptical: “This is their ideology, this is what they believe in; it’s the resistance. To ask Hamas to demilitarize Gaza is like asking a priest to convert to Judaism”. Or to ask a rabbi to convert to Islam? (By the way, this is the same former officer who wrote an op-ed column for the Times a couple days earlier calling for the destruction of Hamas: “Israel has every right to intensify its campaign until Hamas’s leaders agree to a cease-fire”. Or until they’re all dead?)

An Israeli political scientist is also quoted:

The way to understand the Hamas decision-making calculus is not by Western perspective but by their own perspective. Hamas, the leadership does not care so much about the civilian casualties; what he looks at is the military balance. They think they can gain more. They do not feel pressure as much as we perceive.

These last remarks are especially problematic. The speaker contrasts a “Western” perspective, presumably held by reasonable people like Israelis and Americans, according to which life is precious, with a foreign perspective that we probably shouldn’t even bother to understand. That’s the perspective that was frequently attributed to the American Indians, the Japanese in World War 2, and the Viet Cong. What it boils down to is the idea that our enemies are somehow less than human. That, of course, makes it more palatable to kill them in large numbers.

But in light of the massacre that’s occurring in the Gaza Strip (some 1200 Palestinians killed so far, mostly civilians, vs. 53 Israeli soldiers and 3 civilians), which side in this conflict is behaving as if life is precious? Not Israeli or Palestinian life, but human life in general?

It isn’t good enough to insist that “they started it”.

Update from the NY Times:

Israel’s aerial assaults on targets in Gaza broadened on Tuesday, with barrages that destroyed Hamas’s media offices, the home of a top leader and what Palestinians said was a devastating hit on the only electricity plant, plunging the enclave of 1.7 million into deeper deprivation with no power, running water or sewage treatment.

The shutdown of the power plant … threatened to turn the situation in Gaza into a major humanitarian crisis. The facility powers water and sewage systems as well as hospitals, and it had been Gaza’s main source of electricity in recent days after eight of 10 lines that run from Israel were damaged.

“Today there is no electricity in Gaza,” said Jamal Dardasawi of Gaza’s electricity distribution company, noting that the power supplied by Egypt is not even enough for the southern city of Rafah. Rafiq Maliha, director of Gaza’s power plant, said it would probably take “months or a year” to repair it. Mr. Maliha said the shells had hit the main fuel tank, the fuel-treatment facility and two turbines.

Trying to Understand Hamas, Part 1

It isn’t easy to understand what Hamas is trying to accomplish in this latest conflict. The rockets they launch toward Israel are quickly followed by destruction in Gaza. Don’t the leaders of Hamas care about the hundreds of Palestinian deaths, the thousands of injuries and the obliteration of entire neighborhoods in places like Gaza City?

28HAMAS-superJumbo

One way to attempt to understand Hamas’ actions is to consider how this latest round of violence started. The events below are taken from Wikipedia’s detailed timeline, except for two interesting additions, the first for June 11th and the second for June 30th.

6/11: It’s not part of the Wikipedia timeline, but a weekly report for June 10-16th from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs states on page 4:

On 11 June, the Israeli Air Force targeted an alleged member of an armed group riding on a motorcycle together with a ten-year old child, in the Beit Lahiya area. The man died instantly and the child, who sustained serious injuries, died three days later; two civilian bystanders were also injured. 

The last targeted killing in the Gaza Strip was reported in early March. Following this incident and through the rest of the week, Palestinian armed groups launched a number of rockets at southern Israel.

6/12: Three Israeli teenagers are kidnapped in the West Bank.

6/14: Israel sends troops and police officers into the West Bank to conduct searches and arrests.

6/15: The Israeli Prime Minister claims to know “for a fact” that Hamas was responsible for the kidnappings. Israel further restricts border crossings for both the West Bank and Gaza.

6/16: At least 150 Palestinians have been arrested. The Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) announces that many of the arrests are unrelated to the search for the kidnappers. Instead, they are meant to put pressure on Hamas.

Photograph of weapons said to have been found by the IDF after a search:

Palestinian_Weapons_Exposed_During_Operation_Brother’s_Keeper_(14256563989)

6/18: After six days, Israeli forces have made 240 arrests, searched 800 structures, put 300,000 Palestinians under curfew and restricted the movements of 600,000.

6/20: Palestinians commit sporadic violence in the West Bank. At least two Palestinians are killed by Israeli forces. Some 1000 buildings have been damaged during searches, mostly private dwellings.

6/22: Three more Palestinians are dead. The Palestinian Authority calls on the U.N. to intervene and stop what it calls “collective punishment”.

6/23: An Israeli officer states that the operation has been a success because it has crippled Hamas’ infrastructure, although no progress has been made in locating the three teenagers. Prime Minister Netanyahu again affirms that Hamas was clearly responsible for the kidnapping.

6/24: Photograph of a nursery said to have been taken after an IDF search:

Nursery_after_search_24_June_2014

6/26: “According to Israel figures, state detentions number 381, of whom 282 are affiliated to Hamas. The number of locations searched rose to 1,955, including 64 Hamas institutions. Palestinian figures state that 566 were detained, 6 were shot dead, and over 120 wounded; 2 elderly people died of heart attacks during Israeli operations, and over 1,200 homes were searched.”

6/30: According to the Times of Israel, but not mentioned in the Wikipedia timeline:

At least 16 rockets were fired at Israel Monday morning [on June 30], most of them hitting open areas in the Eshkol region, the army said. The security sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, assessed that Hamas had probably launched the barrage in revenge for an Israeli airstrike several hours earlier which killed one person and injured three more. A member of Hamas’s militant wing was killed in the attack, Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra said….

Hamas hasn’t fired rockets into Israel since Operation Pillar of Defense ended in November 2012, and has yet to take responsibility for this latest barrage.

Also 6/30: The bodies of the teenagers are found. That night, Israeli forces destroy the homes of two Palestinian suspects.

7/1: “Israeli jets and helicopters struck 34 locations in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip in response to over 20 rockets being fired at Israel from Gaza.” Another Palestinian is shot and killed.

7/2: A Palestinian teenager is abducted and killed. “Palestinians fired nine rockets into Israeli territory, three of which heavily damaged residential buildings”, but no casualties were reported.

7/3: “The Israeli Air Force conducted 15 air strikes in Gaza.”

7/8: Israel announces plans to call up 50,000 reserves as part of Operation Protective Edge. In the early morning, Israel strikes at 50 targets in Gaza, injuring 17. PM Netanyahu instructs the IDF to “take their gloves off” against Hamas and take any means necessary to restore peace to Israeli citizens.

“The Geneva-based nonprofit, nongovernmental human rights organization Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights, [reports that] the Israeli government has been accused of having stolen around $370,000 in cash and $2.5 million in property, in search of the abducted youths. In 387 incidents throughout the West Bank, the Israeli government has confiscated goods ranging from computers, cars, mobile phones and jewelry, taken from a wide variety of localities, including private homes, clinics, companies and universities, says the report. Spokespersons for the Israeli government say that goods were confiscated from sources that were using them to fund or support terrorism.

Note: On July 25th, a BBC journalist reported that Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld informed him that the killers of the three teenagers were “definitely” from a “lone cell”, affiliated with Hamas but not under Hamas’ direct leadership. Further, if the kidnapping had been ordered by Hamas’ ledership, the Israelis would have know about it in advance. Later, in seeking to explain his remarks, Rosenfeld reiterated that the suspects were affiliated with Hamas. 

So, given the extreme military imbalance, what moved Hamas to launch those rockets at Israel for the first time since 2012?

Considering the timeline above, one explanation that seems fairly reasonable is that the people in the Gaza Strip who control those rockets got very angry and decided to fight back, whatever the consequences might be. 

Tomorrow: a shorter part 2 regarding different perspectives, real and imagined.

Haaretz’s Correspondent for the Occupied Territories and Israel’s Prime Minister Each Have Something to Say

Amira Hass was born in Jerusalem in 1956 and has been covering Gaza and the West Bank for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz since 1993. She lived in Gaza for three years and has lived in the West Bank for the past seventeen.

Below is most of a recent article of hers. Her thesis is that “Israel’s attack on Gaza is revenge for the Palestinians’ refusal to accept occupation”. 

Quote: 

“There is method in madness, and the Israeli insanity, which refuses to grasp the extent of its revenge in Gaza, has very good reasons for being the way it is. The entire nation is the army, the army is the nation, and both are represented by a Jewish-democratic government and a loyal press. The four of them work together to stave off the great betrayal: the Palestinians’ refusal to recognize the normalcy of the situation.

The Palestinians are disobedient. They refuse to adapt….The insistent, steadfast demonstrations in West Bank villages have not even scratched the surface of the Israeli faith in the normalcy of our domination of another people. The boycott, divestment and sanctions movement did manage to confuse our ego a bit, but it is still not enough to make Israelis want to get the message. The Palestinian reconciliation government seemed to move us another step forward; it had the potential to embark on the path of rejecting the show of normalcy dictated by Israel, but too many forces within Fatah and Hamas did not support it.

Then it was the turn of Hamas’ rockets to disturb the occupier’s rest. Say what you will about it, but they succeeded in doing what the demonstrations, the boycott of Tapuzina orange drink and the concert cancellations did not….

Nation, army, government and press: You have eyes and ears, yet you will not see and you will not hear. You still hope that the Palestinian blood we have already shed and have yet to shed will win a long-term lull, which will bring us back to occupation as usual….

And boy, are you competent when you want to be. The armed Hamas operatives who emerged from the tunnel shaft on Kibbutz Nir Am on Monday were dressed as Israeli soldiers….“Finally, thanks to an aerial photograph taken by a drone, they were found to be Hamas operatives” because “they were carrying Kalashnikov rifles, which the Israeli army does not use”.

So the photographs taken by the drone can be very precise when its operators wish. It can discern whether there are children on the seashore or on the roof — children who, even for the legal acrobats in the Justice Ministry and the army, are not a justifiable target for our bombs. The drone can also discern that a rescue team has arrived to pull out wounded people, that families are fleeing their homes… But for some reason, the eye of the drone that can tell the difference between various makes of rifles cannot tell that this figure over here is a child, and that is a mother or a grandmother….

The Israeliness of the moment is like that drone. It chooses to see blearily. It clings closely to the good, comfortable life of a master nation, unwilling to allow its subjects to interfere with it. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon translated that into political language when he said, “We will not agree to recognize the reconciliation government, but other arrangements such as controlling crossing points is something we can accept. [Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud] Abbas will control the crossing points, but he will not control the Gaza Strip itself.”

That is the routine we are cultivating. Gaza and the West Bank are cut off. Hamas controls the Gaza Strip, but under conditions that we dictate, just as Fatah and the Palestinian Authority “rule” in their pockets in the West Bank, in accordance with our conditions. If the Palestinians need to be tamed at times, we will tame them with blood and with more blood. And peace be upon Israel.”

End quote.

Concurrently, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu brought up Nazi Germany, comparing Israel being bombarded by those troubling but generally ineffective Palestinian rockets to England’s suffering at the hands of the Germans in World War II. From Jerusalem Online:

PM Benyamin Netanyahu met British Foreign Affairs Minister Philip Hammond and compared Israel’s condition in these days to the condition in Britain in World War 2. “Israel’s condition is similar to Britain’s when it was bombed as well”, said Netanyahu, clarifying that Israel’s intention is to go forth with the operation: “There is no guarantee of a hundred percent success, however IDF has shown impressive achievements in the field and we are moving forward with this operation… We aim our fire at those who fire rockets at us”.

An estimated 40,000 people died in England during the Blitz. Since the latest hostilities began, three Israeli civilians have been killed by Hamas and fewer than 30 in the past 14 years. The Palestinian death toll just this month is now over 1,000, mostly civilians, with bodies still being recovered during the temporary cease-fire.

If we’re going to talk about the Nazis, a more apt comparison is to their infamous response to resistance movements in occupied countries. From Wikipedia:

The Kragujevac massacre was the murder of Serbian, Jewish and Roma men and boys in Serbia by German Wehrmacht soldiers on 20 and 21 October 1941. All males from the town between the ages of sixteen and sixty were assembled by German troops and [Serbian collaborators]  and the victims were selected from amongst them.

Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel had issued an order on 16 September 1941, applicable to all of occupied Europe, to kill 50 communists for every wounded German soldier and 100 for each German soldier killed.

The victims have become victimizers.

beit hanoun