Gaza: Israeli Plan of Attack
By Jim Miles
ccun.org, January 2, 2009
I can only witness the tragedy of Gaza from the knowledge I
have gained from years of historical and foreign affairs reading, from
the personal contacts and information that are readily available on the
internet, and least significantly from the local evening news programs.
That is more than sufficient to provide me with the overall context and
the understanding of the language used in order to form a strong idea of
what is really happening in Gaza.
language used on the local news cast perhaps reveals more than is
intended if one is aware of the context of Gaza history. World
governments are described as reacting with “increasing alarm”.
Those alarmed governments from the west try to salve their complicity in
the Israeli atrocities, while the Arab governments are alarmed not so
much in support of the Palestinians or against the atrocities, but
because of their own insecurity against their own populations who tend
to support the Palestinian people. According to the news report
“Israeli politicians expressed sorrow” at the civilian casualties, no
more concerned about that reality than their U.S. supporters are about
all the deaths they caused in their invasions and occupations of Iraq
and Afghanistan. The Israeli “shock and awe” does not prove
anything about Israeli military prowess as some reporters speculate, but
does demonstrate that the Israeli state, again like its U.S. sponsor, is
willing to blast away with overwhelmingly superior military force at a
confined population weakened by its long imprisonment in an urban
The attacks are described as “punishing” or as a
“counter attack”, but in truth are well beyond punishment– which has
already been inflicted on the population over several decades of
occupation – and are totally inappropriate and beyond proportional and
into the realm of brutal aggressive war against a mainly civilian area.
All of which – occupation and aggressive warfare – goes against
international law, such as it is. As for a cease fire, the call
coming from the above alarmed governments, the chances according to the
news are “highly unlikely,” followed by the concluding statement that
“Israel’s war aims aren’t clear.”
overwhelming military force, including nuclear weapons if need be
(although that would be reserved for neighbouring Arab states rather
than an insurgency within their own territory), with the “alarmed” but
tamed and chained rhetoric from other countries, and once again Israel
will have its way with the Palestinian territory.
What is unheard also speaks volumes. While I
laud the U.S. for electing Barak Obama as the first black person as
President, I have to wonder what that signifies beyond the further
emancipation of the black people of the U.S. Obama’s foreign
policy objectives so far indicate no difference from those of the
administrations before him. Obama has said nothing effective about
the conflict and while I am aware he is technically not yet president,
the situation is such that silence in this case is damning. During
his election he said he would, “always stand up for Israel's right to
defend itself in the United Nations and around the world". There
has been nothing but silence from him about the current aggressions, a
silence that only reiterates his campaign statement. It
demonstrates that “change” and “hope” are only idle words tossed out for
mass consumption, while the real motives of the U.S. government remain
bound up in the compound interests of U.S. military control of the
Middle East and Israeli dominance of the region.
The situation in Gaza reminded me of another historical
occurrence of a similar nature. It is described as having
diseases, food rationing, “unemployment was a major problem,” and
“Smuggling was often the only source of subsistence.”
Another parallel evidenced as “Despite the grave hardships, life…was
rich with educational and cultural activities, conducted by its
underground organizations. Hospitals, public soup kitchens, orphanages,
refugee centers and recreation facilities were formed, as well as a
school system.” All those phrases fit into the situation in Gaza,
but they are from Wikipedia and describe the Warsaw ghetto.
Certainly this juxtaposition will immediately earn me the wrath of many
as being an incomparable situation, but unfortunately the two situations
are highly inter-related. They have the commonality of an ethnic
population confined in a small space and surrounded by a superior and
hostile military. The effects on the inhabitants of the ghettos
are similar – formation of civilian structures by special groups to
replace the lack of a good central government. They survive
economically by smuggling food and goods. Both groups, within the
Warsaw ghetto and within Gaza, are opposed by another ethnic group that
is looking for their ethnic cleansing. Both have a Jewish
connection, one as victim, the other as perpetrator, although Israeli
rhetoric would have it that they are still victims of occupied
One state…or two?
The comparison can
only be taken so far. Germany carried out an organized,
industrially efficient form of ethnic cleansing against the Jewish
people. In Israel/Palestine, time lines, media attention, reliance
on the U.S., the ongoing rhetoric of peace, and the limited but morally
powerful nature of international war crimes law have all slowed and
diluted the process. The historical record as drawn from many
Jewish sources and as recorded and reported by many historians and
witnesses (Pappe, Cook, Reinhart, Baroud, Abunimah, Tamimi, Eldar to
name a few) is the desire of the Jewish people to claim all of the land
from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River as Eretz Israel.
That same record also provides many sources indicating the need/desire
to cleanse the area of its indigenous Palestinian/Arab population.
Those same messages are still being heard today, some more strident than
others, but always there.
That knowledge comes up against the
ongoing argument about a one state or two state solution to the problem
of Israel/Palestine. Could it be that events in Gaza are but
another step towards Israel’s long stated solution – the removal of the
Palestinian people from land desired by the Israeli’s as their god given
covenant? It is certainly a complex step, intermixed with the
politics of Hamas and Fatah, with the occupation and daily repression of
the West Bank and its ongoing slow but certain confiscation of
Palestinian land and establishment of new Jewish settlements. The
answer on that line of thinking is that it is neither a one state
solution, nor a two state solution, but an ethnically cleansed state
solution governing the territory originally envisioned by the state
founders decades ago.
Is a humanitarian solution possible? Of course it is,
theoretically. Is it probable? Not under the current world
situation with the ongoing “war on terror” as an excuse for U.S.
atrocities throughout the Middle East and its many manipulations
extending through to India and Pakistan (another story with great
expectations yet to explode). There already exists a body of
common, civil, criminal, and international law that if applied could
find just solutions. The problem rests with the world’s powerful
military economies for whom “rule of law” is exhorted for others then
ignored whenever it does not serve their own purposes. Past
injustices will not all be corrected by the application of current law,
but moving forward requires the acceptance and application of a set of
humanitarian principles as set out in all levels of law, those that
There will always be historical memories
on both sides of the story that can deny a full and true reconciliation
(with the U.S. and its history of black slavery and then civil rights as
an example of the time lines and remaining prejudicial animosities).
The U.S. is not the only culprit, but it certainly is the main one, and
its manner of pursuing its war on terror will only create more hatred
and extremism towards both itself and Israel.
International law is well and good but ineffective - if the most
powerful nations of the world ignore it, what can anyone else do?
The U.S. remains solid with the Israeli right to occupy and control
Eretz Israel. I wish I were wrong, but the current Gaza war, given
the current global situation, will some day be relegated to another
footnoted battle against terrorists, soon to be dropped once again from
the main media newscasts as soon as the “shock and awe” of it wears off
and is no longer newsworthy.
Jim Miles is a Canadian educator and a regular
contributor/columnist of opinion pieces and book reviews for The
Palestine Chronicle. Miles’ work is also presented globally
through other alternative websites and news publications.
This site contains copyrighted material the
use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright
owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance
understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic,
democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this
constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for
in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C.
Section 107, the material on this site is
distributed without profit to those
who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information
for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of
your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the