Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! CounterPunch is entirely supported by our readers. Your donations pay for our small staff, tiny office, writers, designers, techies, bandwidth and servers. We don’t owe anything to advertisers, foundations, one-percenters or political parties. You are our only safety net. Please make a tax-deductible donation today.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

‘Operation Pillar of Defense’ – Was a Crime

by ADAM PARSONS

The conflict in Gaza may have come to an inauspicious end last night following a ceasefire agreement, but there is little reason to rejoice for the Palestinian people. Although a ground assault of the Gaza Strip was narrowly avoided, still well over 1,500 air strikes by F-16 fighter jets, Apache helicopters and drones have further devastated the impoverished territory, leaving more than 140 Palestinians dead – mostly civilians, including at least 34 children – while five Israelis also died.

The diplomatic efforts that led to relief from eight days of bombing, death and suffering are of course to be welcomed, but a tentative truce is far from a guarantee that a new cycle of violence will not erupt again soon. Still the same questions remain over Israel’s war of dispossession against the Palestinian people, its illegal occupation and colonisation of Palestinian land, and the ever-distant prospects of Palestinian statehood.

There were many disturbing parallels between the current round of violence and the previous three-week invasion of Gaza during the winter of 2008-9. Although the death toll this time was significantly less than the reported 1,284 Gazans and 13 Israeli’s killed during the war against Hamas four years ago, other memories of that fateful conflict were quickly revived over the past week.

There were the same obfuscations and counter-claims over the causes of the renewed upsurge in violence, in which Israel again played the decisive role – not least in its extra-judicial assassination of a Hamas military leader. There was the same plea from the Israeli government that it is merely defending itself, despite its illegal occupation of the Gaza Strip that is still recognised as such by the United Nations, and despite the incredible imbalance in bloodshed and military response between both sides. And there was the same impunity given to Israel’s actions by the Western powers, the same weak response from the United Nations, and the same distortions of truth and reality from the corporate media.

The true reality in plain English was that the latest siege of Gaza – jeeringly dubbed ‘Operation Pillar of Defense’ – was a crime against the Palestinian people, a cruel attack on a defenceless civilian society, and another flagrant violation of international humanitarian law. The now infamous quote of Israel’s interior minister, who pushed to “send Gaza back to the middle ages” and destroy its infrastructure, openly reflected Israel’s master plan to subject the entire population to severe forms of collective punishment, whether or not it is prohibited by Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Professor Richard Falk, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories, states that Israel has “tried to fool the world” into believing that it enacted a good faith withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. Israel in fact still retains absolute control over what goes in and leaves Gaza’s border, and maintains “an open season of a license to kill at will, with no accountability and no adverse consequences, backed without question by the US government”.

Herculean efforts to survive

The 1.6 million people of Gaza, one of the most crowded and impoverished places on earth, have now endured a blockade for six years that is suffocating its stateless residents both socially and economically. This has included, at times, a strict rationing of food in which Israeli authorities calculate how many calories would be needed to avert a full-blown humanitarian catastrophe. According to arecent NGO report, 10 percent of children under five in Gaza have stunted growth due to prolonged exposure to malnutrition. The unemployment rate in the coastal enclave stands at 58 percent among young people aged between 20 and 24, while 39 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. In the conclusion of the most recent UN Country Team report on the future of Gaza, it stated that residents will be forced to strengthen their “on-going Herculean efforts” to maintain essential services and ensure that Gaza is even a “liveable place” by 2020.

There can be no talk of freedom or justice for Palestine so long as Israel is given political immunity, financial assistance and diplomatic support by other Western states for its military campaigns of destruction. Israel’s actions are dependent on the billions of dollars that pour into its army’s coffers from US ‘foreign aid’, which in turn is spent on buying up arms from the US defence industry. The UK government and other EU member states also supply millions of pounds worth of arms to Israel that are inevitably deployed in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, while they reward Israel’s acts of aggression with economic trade preferences.

As fully 75,000 troops remain massed on Israel’s border, it is high time that the international community assumed responsibility for securing justice for the Palestinian people. The Israeli government will never lift its blockade, dismantle its illegal settlements or withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza so long as it is given impunity and held unaccountable for its longstanding war crimes. But where is the international voice of the men and women of goodwill throughout the world? Only the relatively few campaign groups and engaged individuals raise their voice above the fray, or stand in solidarity with the oppressed Palestinian families who seek only an end to the penury and repression that dominates their lives.

The Palestinian struggle for statehood and independence is now inextricably linked with its struggle for sustainable economic development and the securing of basic human rights. So there can be no peace between Israel and Palestine – and no security for Israeli civilians – until the needless poverty, inhumanity and economic injustice is addressed in the torn region. Now more than ever, the burden of responsibility for opposing Israeli’s atrocities rests with emergency mobilisation, global public outrage and a huge groundswell of popular support for the people of Palestine.

Adam Parsons is the editor at Share The World’s Resources. He can be contacted at adam(at)stwr.org.

Adam Parsons is the editor at Share The World’s Resources (STWR), www.sharing.org

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
September 30, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Henry Giroux
Thinking Dangerously in the Age of Normalized Ignorance
Stanley L. Cohen
Israel and Academic Freedom: a Closed Book
Paul Craig Roberts – Michael Hudson
Can Russia Learn From Brazil’s Fate? 
Andrew Levine
A Putrid Election: the Horserace as Farce
Mike Whitney
The Biggest Heist in Human History
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Sick Blue Line
Rob Urie
The Twilight of the Leisure Class
Vijay Prashad
In a Hall of Mirrors: Fear and Dislike at the Polls
Alexander Cockburn
The Man Who Built Clinton World
John Wight
Who Will Save Us From America?
Pepe Escobar
Afghanistan; It’s the Heroin, Stupid
W. T. Whitney
When Women’s Lives Don’t Matter
Julian Vigo
“Ooops, I Did It Again”: How the BBC Funnels Stories for Financial Gain
Howard Lisnoff
What was Missing From The Nation’s Interview with Bernie Sanders
Jeremy Brecher
Dakota Access Pipeline and the Future of American Labor
Binoy Kampmark
Pictures Left Incomplete: MH17 and the Joint Investigation Team
Andrew Kahn
Nader Gave Us Bush? Hillary Could Give Us Trump
Steve Horn
Obama Weakens Endangered Species Act
Dave Lindorff
US Propaganda Campaign to Demonize Russia in Full Gear over One-Sided Dutch/Aussie Report on Flight 17 Downing
John W. Whitehead
Uncomfortable Truths You Won’t Hear From the Presidential Candidates
Ramzy Baroud
Shimon Peres: Israel’s Nuclear Man
Brandon Jordan
The Battle for Mercosur
Murray Dobbin
A Globalization Wake-Up Call
Jesse Ventura
Corrupted Science: the DEA and Marijuana
Richard W. Behan
Installing a President by Force: Hillary Clinton and Our Moribund Democracy
Andrew Stewart
The Democratic Plot to Privatize Social Security
Daniel Borgstrom
On the Streets of Oakland, Expressing Solidarity with Charlotte
Marjorie Cohn
President Obama: ‘Patron’ of the Israeli Occupation
Norman Pollack
The “Self-Hating” Jew: A Critique
David Rosen
The Living Body & the Ecological Crisis
Joseph Natoli
Thoughtcrimes and Stupidspeak: Our Assault Against Words
Ron Jacobs
A Cycle of Death Underscored by Greed and a Lust for Power
Uri Avnery
Abu Mazen’s Balance Sheet
Kim Nicolini
Long Drive Home
Louisa Willcox
Tribes Make History with Signing of Grizzly Bear Treaty
Art Martin
The Matrix Around the Next Bend: Facebook, Augmented Reality and the Podification of the Populace
Andre Vltchek
Failures of the Western Left
Ishmael Reed
Millennialism or Extinctionism?
Frances Madeson
Why It’s Time to Create a Cabinet-Level Dept. of Native Affairs
Laura Finley
Presidential Debate Recommendations
José Negroni
Mass Firings on Broadway Lead Singers to Push Back
Leticia Cortez
Entering the Historical Dissonance Surrounding Desafinados
Robert J. Burrowes
Gandhi: ‘My Life is My Message’
Charles R. Larson
Queen Lear? Deborah Levy’s “Hot Milk”
David Yearsley
Bring on the Nibelungen: If Wagner Scored the Debates
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail
[i]
[i]
[i]
[i]