The countdown to conflict began not with the expiration of the ceasefire on December 19, but rather on November 4. With the world fixated on the drama of the US presidential election, Israel launched an unprovoked incursion into the Gaza Strip that left six Palestinians, all members of the Qassam Brigades, dead. Israel claimed that the army had successfully foiled an imminent attempt to provide Gilad Shalit, the Israeli corporal captured by Palestinian fighters in June 2006, with some company. But these claims were widely ridiculed by Israeli military correspondents. Greater credence was given to the view that this was a premeditated and purposeful raid intended to elicit a response from Hamas that would furnish a pretext to dismantle the ceasefire.Läs alltså hela.
Indeed, the period between November 4 and December 19 -- during which, again, all fatalities were Palestinian -- was characterized by growing escalation by both sides, including an unprecedented tightening of the blockade by Israel and Egypt. Poverty levels climbed further into the stratosphere, malnutrition skyrocketed and essential supplies of every sort ran out. Even before the latest emergency spurred UN agencies and the Red Cross to warn of imminent collapse, former UN human rights commissioner Mary Robinson had on a November 4 visit denounced international indifference to the “shocking violation of so many human rights” of Gaza’s population as “almost unbelievable.” “Their whole civilization has been destroyed,” she concluded. “I’m not exaggerating.”
A further indication of the nature of Israel’s methods was provided in press coverage of Israeli contingency planning for war with Hizballah, Syria or Hamas. On October 5, 2008, the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz cited Gadi Eisenkot, commander of the Israeli military’s northern sector, explaining the “Dahiya Doctrine,” named after the extensive destruction Israel inflicted on Beirut’s southern suburbs in 2006: “We will wield disproportionate power against every village from which shots are fired on Israel, and cause immense damage and destruction. From our perspective, these are military bases. This isn’t a suggestion. This is a plan that has already been authorized.” Similarly, Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai in February 2008 threatened Gaza with “a shoah” if Palestinians continued firing rockets across the boundary with Israel.
The Ha’aretz article additionally quoted a pre-publication copy of a report authored by Gabriel Siboni, a colonel in Israel’s reserves, calling for “a disproportionate strike at the heart of the enemy’s weak spot, in which efforts to hurt [rocket] launch capability are secondary. As soon as the conflict breaks out, the [air force and army] will have to operate in a rapid, determined, powerful and disproportionate way against the enemy’s actions.” What this might entail is suggested in a companion report by Giora Eiland, a former head of Israel’s National Security Council, which calls for the wholesale destruction of the military, government and civilian infrastructure of the enemy entity.
På svenska har Klas Sandberg skrivit en bakgrundsartikel som tar upp delvis samma ämnen men också pekar på Israels systematiska förstörelse av de ekonomiska utvecklingsmöjligheterna i Gaza, redan före det förödande angreppet. Läs!
Vill också rekommendera två bloggposter om Hamas:
- Gaza; peace n’ freedom diskuterar de missvisande standardfraserna om att Hamas ”vägrar erkänna Israels existens”.
- Här en genomgång av nyhetsbyrån Associated Press’ ännu mer missvisande standardfraser i rapporteringen om Hamas. Givetvis har det enorm betydelse hur en internationell nyhetsbyrå som AP formulerar sig i sin rapportering – särskilt när allt fler tidningar saknar egna utrikeskorrespondenter på plats.