|Written by Chris Floyd|
Here is a simple, stone cold fact. You cannot read or hear the truth about what is happening in Gaza from any corporate media in the United States. The only thing you will find there are regurgitations of Israeli spin, which are themselves only regurgitations of the kind of spin that American militarists have put on their own depredations -- for centuries now. Up and down the American media and political establishments, you will find nothing but bleatings about Israel being "forced" to launch its vicious blunderbuss attacks against heavily populated Gaza because of the "recent spate of Hamas bombings" since the end of a six-month ceasefire.
Long-term preparation, careful gathering of information, secret discussions, operational deception and the misleading of the public - all these stood behind the Israel Defense Forces "Cast Lead" operation against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, which began Saturday morning. he disinformation effort, according to defense officials, took Hamas by surprise and served to significantly increase the number of its casualties in the strike.
The story also notes that the recent racheting of tension was sparked, deliberately, by a heavy-handed Israeli incursion into Gaza:
The plan of action that was implemented in Operation Cast Lead remained only a blueprint until a month ago, when tensions soared after the IDF carried out an incursion into Gaza during the ceasefire to take out a tunnel which the army said was intended to facilitate an attack by Palestinian militants on IDF troops....
Not only did this deception lead Hamas to send its officials back to work -- it also meant that there was no general warning to the masses of civilians packed like sardines into Gaza's hellish confines. It meant that civilian casualties would be maximized -- especially when the initial assault was launched in the middle of the day, with thousands of schoolchildren out at their lesson.
As Glenn Greenwald notes, Israel's massive bombing of civilian areas -- even if couched in terms of "retaliation" for scattershot strikes on Israeli territory by a political faction -- constitutes "a clear violation of the Geneva Conventions." Greenwald also adroitly turns Barack Obama's campaign kowtowing to Israeli militarism on its head:
[Obama on the campaign trail]: "The first job of any nation state is to protect its citizens. And so I can assure you that if -- I don't even care if I was a politician -- if somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I'm going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing."
What is the ultimate context of this carnage? The fact that the Arab inhabitants of Palestine had their land taken away from them by force -- not in some ancient, historic era, but within the lifetime of many thousands of Palestinians still living. I hold no brief for Hamas; like the Angry Arab, whose coverage of the conflict has been relentless and penetrating, I don't care for any party based on religious extremism. But as Greenwald notes, every action taken by Hamas and other Palestinian resistance groups could be characterized as "retaliation" for the theft of their land, not to mention the war crime of collective punishment and genocidal blockades visited upon the Occupied Territories for years.
But there is not a single peep of this perspective from America's ruling class and its media courtiers. Of course, it is a bit much to expect a nation which itself was built on land theft, repression and slaughter to see anything wrong or "disproportionate" in Israel's treatment of the Palestinians. What else are you supposed to do when those dang heathen savages come around with their war parties and tomahawks, trying to get back the land that God Almighty has granted to good white folk?
Meanwhile, here's what Israel's "Manifest Destiny" looks like on the ground in Gaza. From the Maan News Agency (via the Angry Arab, as was the photo above):
Death shrouds the hallways of Gaza City's Ash-Shifa medical compound Saturday, its smell creeping in from all corners. mputated bodies are strewn throughout hallways because morgues in the city can no longer accommodate the dead. In one corner a man stands with his seven year old son in a cardboard box because the hospital ran out of sheets to cover the dead with. This is how he will carry him home and bury him. Another man stands dazed, in shock after watching his son Mohammed killed during his graduation ceremony at the de facto police headquarters. The father of one of Mohammed's classmates stood next to his son as he was decapitated. The man is still screaming.