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Posts tagged ‘Operation Cast Lead’

Immunity and impunity: Britain protects Tzipi Livni once again

Once again, Israeli opposition politician and war crimes suspect Tzipi Livni has been granted diplomatic immunity by the British government for a private visit to London.

Last week, Scotland Yard’s War Crimes Unit invited Tzipi Livni to a police interview under caution, in relation to her role in Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip in December 2008 (Operation Cast Lead). At the time, Livni was foreign minister, vice prime minister, and a member of the security cabinet.

The summons, described in Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz as “unprecedented”, was only “cancelled after diplomatic contacts between Israel and Britain, at the end of which Livni received immunity.” Read more

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Israel’s culture of impunity, the West’s culture of complicity

In March, I debated the motion ‘This House Believes Israel is a Rogue State’ at the Cambridge Union. Opening proceedings, I suggested that the opposition might well “concede” that “Israel is not perfect”, intentionally missing the point about Israel’s rights violations being systematic.

Revealingly, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews Vivian Wineman almost immediately did just that, telling the debating chamber: “We’re not arguing that Israel is perfect.”

Central to how Israel presents itself is the idea that while Israeli political leaders and military officials can and do make mistakes, there is a robust system of legal accountability that means such offenders are brought to book.

Last week has demonstrated how the reality is very different; that Israelis who commit atrocities against Palestinians benefit from a culture of impunity for civilian and soldier alike. Read more

IDF chief of staff hails 2008 Gaza strike as an “excellent operation”

This week marks three years since Israel launched Operation Cast Lead, the unprecedented attack on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip that killed hundreds of civilians and devastated the besieged territory in 22 days of airstrikes and ground assaults. Disturbingly, the Israeli military is marking the anniversary with praise for the massacre, and threats of a new one. Read more

‘Punish, humiliate, terrorise’

As the one year anniversary of Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip is marked, it is vital to re-examine Operation Cast Lead within the wider context of Israel’s approach to both Gaza and the Palestinians.

There is a danger that the scale of the devastation and the international protests which followed the war can deflect attention from the broader Israeli policies of collective punishment and deliberately-engineered socio-economic collapse.

The first important part of this context for both before – and since – Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip is the crippling blockade. Read more

Lies and Israel’s war crimes

This month marked six months since the “official” conclusion to Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip, “Operation Cast Lead.” From 27 December to 18 January, the might of the one of the world’s strongest militaries laid waste to a densely-packed territory of 1.4 million Palestinians without an escape route.

The parallel propaganda battle fought by Israel’s official and unofficial apologists continued after the ceasefire, in a desperate struggle to combat the repeated reports by human rights groups of breaches of international law. This article will look at some of the strategies of this campaign of disinformation, confusion, and lies — and the reality of Israel’s war crimes in the Gaza Strip. Very early on in Operation Cast Lead, the scale of Israel’s attack became apparent. In just the first six days the Israeli Air Force carried out more than 500 sorties against targets in the Gaza Strip. That amounted to an attack from the air roughly every 18 minutes — not counting hundreds of helicopter attacks, tank and navy shelling, and infantry raids. All of this on a territory similar in size to the US city of Seattle. Read more

Israel wanted a humanitarian crisis

The scale of Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip, and the almost daily reports of war crimes over the last three weeks, has drawn criticism from even longstanding friends and sympathisers. Despite the Israeli government’s long-planned and comprehensive PR campaign, hundreds of dead children is a hard sell. As a former Israeli government press adviser put it, in a wonderful bit of unintentional irony, “When you have a Palestinian kid facing an Israeli tank, how do you explain that the tank is actually David and the kid is Goliath?”

Despite a mass of evidence that includes Israel’s targets in Operation Cast Lead, public remarks by Israeli leaders over some time, and the ceasefire manoeuvring of this last weekend, much of the analysis offered by politicians or commentators has been disappointingly limited, and characterised by false assumptions, or misplaced emphases, about Israel’s motivations. Read more

This is not a balanced conflict

EVENTS in the Gaza Strip are so fast-moving that, when you read this, the statistics will be outdated. As a surgeon in Gaza City commented, there is simply “too much happening for the media to cover”. But, though it is difficult to convey the impact, it is possible to give an idea.

At the time of writing, about 900 Palestinians have been killed and more than 3500 injured: more than half of the casualties are civilians, and as many as one in four of the victims is a child. Despite its statements that it is aiming at only “terrorist” targets, the Israeli military has hit blocks of flats, refugee camps, passing cars, a market place, mosques, a university, clinics and ambulances, schools, harbours, and even a bird farm. The infrastructure of normal life has been obliterated in a territory the size of a decent-sized European city and already reeling from a siege and Israeli policies of isolation that go back about 20 years. Government minis­tries have been destroyed, and access to water, electricity, and basic foods has been severely affected. This week, Israel is being accused of war crimes in the Gaza Strip by agencies such as the United Nations, the Red Cross, and international and local human-rights groups. Read more

Israel’s targets in Gaza

In just the first six days of ‘Operation Cast Lead’, the Israeli Air Force carried out more than 500 sorties against targets in the Gaza Strip. That meant an attack from the air roughly every 18 minutes for almost a week – not counting hundreds of helicopter attacks, tank and navy shelling, and infantry raids. At the time of writing, the operation was into its 10th day.

That’s an intense number of attacks for a territory of similar size to the city of Seattle. Read more