Cast Lead: Israel Attacks Gaza


Written by Shir Hever

Date published: June 2009

Source: Alternative Information Center

_____

The Israeli military attack on the Gaza Strip, lasting from December
27th 2008 to January 18th, 2009, caused massive devastation in the Gaza
Strip and threw the region into a state of confusion. The levels of
violence shocked and amazed people all over the world. Although the
Israeli army has been conducting ongoing operations against Palestinians
in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and also against
neighboring countries, this attack is of special importance and deserves
separate analysis. The attack was enabled by and embodies a change in
world reaction to Israel’s policy towards the Palestinians. The attack
further signified a break with several Israeli military and economic
policies towards the Palestinians, and at the same time was a
culmination of other Israeli policies. The aim of this paper is to
provide a general overview of the events of the attack, with an emphasis
on the attack’s context and the events that preceded it. The paper will
explore some of the economic aspects of the attack and will conclude
with several possible effects this attack may have on the Israeli
occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Some clarifications are in order before a discussion of the attack can
begin. First, this report was written with a certain level of urgency,
as the global protest movement that emerged during the attack
demonstrated the need to distribute facts about the attack at the
soonest opportunity, to counter the efforts by the Israeli government to
obfuscate the topic, conceal facts regarding the attack and discourage
debate. As this report was written in the first months following the
attack, most of its sources are newspaper articles. Such articles are
not always completely accurate, and this is compounded by the fact that
Israel severely limited journalists’ access to the Gaza Strip during the
attack. Israeli army officials did not disclose most of their own
information about the course of the attack, the reasons for it, and its
outcome. Because of this, some of the arguments presented here could be
disproved in light of new information that will be made available in the
future.

A special preference has been given to Israeli sources. Indeed, most of
the information for this publication is derived from Israeli sources,
and the reason for this is double. First, as this publication comes out
in English, it is an opportunity to give the international reader access
to information usually less accessible. Second, the fact that all this
information was available in Hebrew to Israeli readers is presented here
in order to clarify that Israelis cannot claim ignorance regarding the
attack on Gaza. The argument “we didn’t know” cannot be used as an
excuse by Israelis when confronted with these facts, as the facts were
published in the Israeli media. Second, the terminology used in this
report has been carefully selected. The name of the Israeli operation:
“Cast Lead” will not be used often, because it has been coined by one of
the warring sides only (the attacker). The Israeli government did not
declare war, and officially the attack was an Israeli “operation,”
though in the Israeli media it was called a “war.” Since this was not a
conflict between two standing armies, and as the fighting was mostly one
sided, the term “war” is inappropriate here, and the term “attack” will
be used instead. This is despite the fact that both the Israeli
authorities and the Hamas spokespeople endeavored to use the word “war” and thus convey that intensive two-sided fighting took place. For Israel, descriptions of intensive fighting help to justify its widespread use of force that ended up mostly harming unarmed and uninvolved civilians. For Hamas, the image of intensive fighting bolsters their public image as active and brave resisters of the occupation (Hass, 2009m). Although the comparison of force between the Israeli army and the Hamas party in the Gaza Strip is grossly mismatched, and the Hamas fighters were able to inflict only minimal damage on the invading Israeli troops, the aim of this paper is not to ignore the role of Palestinians who resist the Israeli occupation. The conflict is not one-sided, and the decision of Hamas not to surrender and to keep fighting against overwhelming odds had powerful repercussions.

[…]

To keep reading, click on Cast Lead: Israel Attacks Gaza, a report by Shir Hever published on June 2009 within The Economy of the Occupation Socioeconomic Bulletin.

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