Friday, July 18, 2014
'New Yorker' Calls Israeli Ground Invasion of Gaza An Opportunistic "War Crime."
New Yorker contributor Bernard Avishai on the invasion of Gaza captures the political nuances but the bitter underlying truth as well. I am surprised that David Remnick would go with something this bold, at least this early. Maybe he feels like he has been too accommodating to cultural chauvinists and tribal moralists like Jeffrey Goldberg, and more recently, Ari Shavit. Shavit's book, My Promised Land, is a great example of a Zionist apologist attempting to square a bloody historical circle just by slapping a Star of David on it, as most egregiously illustrated in the chapter of the book that the New Yorker excerpted on the massacre at Lydda in 1948. Lydda was only one of the many war crimes committed by the Israeli Army, a part of the much larger, wholesale ethnic cleansing of Palentinians that allowed for the creation of the modern state of Israel when it was established, but which echo to this day in the Palestinian narrative of the Nakba.
“The difference between us is simple,” Netanyahu says. “We develop defensive systems against missiles in order to protect our civilians, and they use their civilians to protect their missiles.” That’s a good line, and even a true one. But it’s also true that the Israeli government knew the kidnapped teens were almost certainly dead when, in an alleged desperate effort to save them, it began a crackdown that resulted in hundreds of Hamas supporters being thrown in prison. More plausibly, it took this opportunity to crush Hamas as a political force. Netanyahu and Israeli military tacticians openly consider all homes of known Hamas officials or fighters to be part of Hamas “infrastructure.” Bombing these homes every few years—“mowing the lawn,” as one commander put it before earlier Gaza operations—demonstrates that Israel will not shrink from inflicting hundreds of random civilian casualties, through which it hopes to discredit Hamas. If you don’t think this is a war crime, talk to your Palestinian friends.