Netanyahu’s right-wing government has unleashed a “unifying” genocidal war against every child, woman and man that comprise the 2.3 million population of Gaza.
“It should never have happened,” an elderly Holocaust survivor of a Nazi death camp told the New York Times. He was referring to the colossal failure on October 7th, of Israel’s touted high-tech military and intelligence operations that opened the door to Hamas’ attack on Israeli soldiers and civilians. In many parliamentary countries, the government ministers who are responsible for this kind of failure would have immediately been forced to resign. Not so with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s ministers.
Instead, Netanyahu’s coalition of extremists, who know that the Israeli people are enraged about their government’s failure to defend the border, has unleashed a “unifying” genocidal war against every child, woman and man that comprise the 2.3 million population of Gaza. “No electricity, no food, no fuel, no water. … We are fighting human animals and will act accordingly” was the opening genocidal war cry from defense minister Yoav Gallant to defend the onslaught that massive military forces are implementing against the long-illegally blockaded Gazan population.
Israeli leaders declare that there are Hamas fighters possibly in and under every building in Gaza. Israel has long made computer models using their unprecedented surveillance technology (see Antony Loewenstein’s interview in the November/December 2023 issue of the Capitol Hill Citizen). Nothing and no one is off limits for the Israeli bombing.
Keep in mind that Israel is an ultra-modern military superpower, with hundreds of thousands of fighters on land, air and sea, going after the few thousand Hamas fighters who have limited supplies of rifles, grenade launchers and anti-tank weapons. Moreover, all of Israel’s supplies are being replenished daily from the U.S. stockpiles in Israel and new shipments arriving by sea, compliments of President Biden. The invasion is a “piece of cake” an experienced U.S. government official told reporter Sy Hersh.
Contradictions abound. First, Netanyahu has always referred to Hamas as a “terrorist organization.” Yet he told his own Likud party for years that his “strategy” to block a two-state solution was to “support and fund Hamas.” (See, the October 22, 2023 article by prominent journalist Roger Cohen in the New York Times).
If Netanyahu believes dropping over 20,000 bombs and missiles on the civilian infrastructure of this tiny crowded enclave and its people, nearly half of whom are children, is so restrained, why has he kept Western and Israeli journalists out of Gaza, other than a few recently embedded reporters restricted to their seats in Israeli armored vehicles? Why has he ordered four nightmarish total telecommunications and electricity blackouts, with excruciating consequences, over the whole Gaza Strip for as long as 30 hours at a time?
None of this or international laws matter to the prime minister whose top priority is to keep his job, with his coalition parties, as long as the invasion continues. And before an outraged majority in Israel ousts him from power for not defending their country on October 7th from some two thousand urban guerrilla fighters on a homicide/suicide mission.
As the slaughter of defenseless babies, children, mothers, fathers and grandparents in Gaza continues to drive the death, injury and disease toll to higher numbers each day, the observant world wonders what the Israeli government, which regularly blocks humanitarian aid, intends to do with Gaza and its destitute, homeless, starving, wounded, sick, dying and abandoned civilian Palestinians.
After all, Gaza has only so many hospitals, clinics, schools, apartment buildings, homes, water mains, ambulances, bakeries, markets, electricity networks, solar panels, shelters, refugee camps, mosques, churches, and the clearly marked remaining United Nations’ facilities left, to bomb to smithereens. Endless American tax dollars are funding the carnage. Israel has also killed over 50 journalists, including some of their families, in the past seven weeks – a record.
Why will it take months to clear out the tunnels? Not so, say military experts in urban warfare. Flooding the tunnels with water, gas, napalm and robotic explosives are quick and lethal and would be deployed were it not for the Israeli hostages.
In addition to the reality that all Gazans are now hostages, over 7,000 Palestinians are languishing in Israeli jails without charges. Many are youngsters and women who were abducted over the years to extort information and to control their extended families in Gaza and the West Bank. What’s holding up an exchange, as Israel did twice before in 2004 and 2011? Again, the Netanyahu coalition stays in power by postponing the pending official inquiries into their October 7th collapse, that Israelis are awaiting.
Meanwhile, the hapless Joe Biden dittoheaded the previously hapless presidential pleas for a two-state solution. The dominant politicians in Israel have always sought “a Greater Israel” using the phrase “from the river to the sea,” meaning all of Palestine. Year after year Israel has stolen more and more land and water from the twenty-two percent left of original Palestine, inhabited by five million Palestinians under oppressive military occupation.
With Congress overwhelmingly in Israel’s pocket, Israeli politicians laugh at proposals for a two-state solution by U.S. presidents. Recall when Obama was president, Netanyahu went around him and addressed a joint session of Congress whose members exhausted themselves with standing ovations – a brazen insult to a U.S. president, unheard of in U.S. diplomatic history!
Day after day, the surviving Palestinian families are trapped in what is widely called “an open-air prison” being pulverized by Israel and its aggressive co-belligerent, the Biden regime. A regime in Washington that urges Netanyahu to comply with “the laws of war,” while enabling Israel with more weapons and UN vetoes to violate daily “the laws of war” and the Genocide Convention. (See our October 24, 2023 Letter to President Joe Biden and the Declarations from genocide scholars William Schabas and other expert historians).
Consider the plight of these innocent civilians, caught in the deadly crossfire of F-16s, helicopter gunships, and thousands of precision 155mm artillery shells. Whether huddled in their homes and schools or fleeing to nowhere under Israeli orders, the IDF is still bombing them.
Palestinians cannot escape their blockaded prison. They cannot surrender because the Israeli army does not want to be responsible for prisoners of war. They cannot bury their dead, so their families’ corpses pile up, rotting in the sun being eaten by stray dogs.
They cannot even find water to drink, since Israel has destroyed the water infrastructure – another of its many war crimes.
For years under Israel’s occupation law, collection of rainwater with rainwater harvesting cisterns has not been permitted. Rain is considered the property of the Israeli authorities and Palestinians have been forbidden to gather rainwater!
The Israeli armed forces will soon control the entire Gaza Strip. Under international law, Israel would become responsible for the protection of the civilian population as well as the essential conditions for Palestinian safety and survival. Will they at last abide by just one international law? Or will they establish obstructive checkpoints to restrict humanitarian charities trying to save lives while Israel continues to push the Gazans into the desert or neighboring countries?
The Israeli operation precisely fits the Genocide Convention’s definition by “intentionally creating conditions of life calculated to physically destroy a racial, religious, ethnic, or national group in whole or in part.” Netanyahu’s regime further incriminates itself by defining the targets for annihilation as being between 21st-century progress and “the barbaric fanaticism of the Middle Ages” and a “struggle between the children of light and the children of darkness.”
Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate and the author of “The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future” (2012). His new book is, “Wrecking America: How Trump’s Lies and Lawbreaking Betray All” (2020, co-authored with Mark Green).
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Originally published in CommonDreams.org