In commemoration of what happened in Gaza two years ago today, as Operation Cast Lead was launched in unprecedented ferocity at about 11:30 am on 27 December 2008.
This should never happen again — but, many already feel another operation is in the air…
Haaretz is reporting that Israel’s Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai just said, yesterday, during a tour of some of the Israeli communities around the Gaza perimeter where projectiles fired from Gaza have hit recently, that “Gaza is like an abscess, a problematic boil”. This is reported here.
The IDF Chief of Staff Gaby Ashkenazi said in Tel Aviv today that “Two years after Operation Cast Lead, the situation in the Gaza Strip is different and calmer. Yet, sadly, from time to time, rockets and mortar shells are fired at the Israeli home front … The IDF holds the Hamas terrorist organization solely responsible for any terrorist activity emanating from the Gaza Strip. We hope that the security situation in the south does not deteriorate, however the IDF is preparing for any scenario”. This was reported in the Jerusalem Post here
On 21 December, the JPost’s Yaakov Katz reported that “IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.- Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi called the situation in Gaza “fragile and explosive.” Sources in the Southern Command told The Jerusalem Post that Hamas would likely prevent rocket fire deep into the Israeli home front, but continue targeting towns and IDF positions along the border. ‘We have no guarantee that the situation won’t deteriorate if a rocket causes a large number of casualties’, Ashkenazi said during one of his final briefings to the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. Ashkenazi also revealed that two weeks ago an advanced Russian-made Kornet anti-tank missile – one of the most sophisticated in the world – hit an Israeli Merkava tank and succeeded in penetrating its hull. As a result, the IDF has decided to deploy Battalion 9 of the 401st Armored Brigade along the Gaza border, since its tanks are equipped with the new Trophy active-protection anti-tank missile defense system … Ashkenazi said that a total of 60 Palestinian terrorists [sic] had been killed inside the Gaza Strip over the past few months in 112 Israeli attacks … Ashkenazi said the man calling the shots in Gaza was not Ismail Haniyah, the Hamas prime minister, but Ahmed Jabari, commander of Hamas’s military wing. ‘We see Hamas as the responsible party in the Gaza Strip, and therefore even if it is not Hamas that fires into Israel, the IDF’s attacks are carried out against Hamas’, said Israel’s top soldier. Although Ashkenazi told MKs that the Iron Dome counterrocket defense system would become operational in the coming year, he cautioned against exaggerated hopes regarding the coverage it provides. ‘It is not perfect’, said the IDF chief”. This report is posted here.
Among the very first casualties on the opening day of Operation Cast Lead, two years ago today, were some 100 – 250 persons [estimates vary] at a Police graduation ceremony in Gaza City. Israel still maintains that these graduates, unarmed but in uniform, were a legitimate target — though this position appears to be in direct contradiction to principles laid out in the Fourth Geneva Conventions.
[Last year, it was not possible to commemorate the first anniversary of the launch of such ferocious destruction either properly or appropriately, because of the shocking news of an IDF operation in and around Nablus early that morning, in which three Palestinians who were suspected of shooting a Jewish settler from the nearby settlement of Shavrei Shimron were themselves summarily killed in pre-dawn raids by Israeli soldiers, as we reported at the time, here.]
This is a commemorative reposting of the Gaza Song, which we first posted last May, in the hours before the Israeli Naval assault at sea on the Freedom Flotilla, which resulted in the deaths of 9 men on board the Mavi Marmara (this large passenger ship returned to Turkey only yesterday, after detention in Israel and then extensive repairs in a “Mediterranean port”).
The Gaza Song was written and is performed by Los Angeles musician Michael Heart — he released the song in February 2009, just after Israel’s unprecedented 22-day Operation Cast Lead which broke out two years ago today [27 December 2008] and lasted 22 days, until just hours before the inauguration ceremony for U.S. President Barack Obama on 18 January 2009.
Israeli lawyer Michael Sfard, who has just filed a case based on behalf of some 500 Gazan victims killed during Operation Cast Lead — because the two year statue of limitations for filing civil claims was about to expire — wrote this in an article published a year ago [on the first anniversary of Operation Cast Lead] on the Coteret website: “Looking back, Operation Cast Lead was a turning point in the way Israeli society expresses its values. There, in besieged Gaza Strip, we exposed ourselves to a crystal-clear, shameless, and unmasked truth that we had thus far avoided by using repression and self-deceit methods that became more complex and clever with every war and operation we waged. Like that macho man who grew tired of pretending he was politically correct and angrily yelled at his wife to go back to the kitchen, we came out of the closet. We are who we are and we are proud of it! For three weeks, during Operation Cast Lead, we sent fighter jets to drop bombs on one of the world’s most densely populated areas. We aimed our guns at clearly civilian targets. We used [white?] phosphorous bombs. We deliberately and systematically demolished thousands of private houses and public buildings, and all the while we maintained a tight siege on the Gaza Strip, preventing civilians who wanted to from fleeing the war zone. We did not erect a temporary refugee camp for them. We did not create a humanitarian no-mans’-land corridor for them. We did not spare hospitals, food repositories, or even UN aid agencies’ buildings. At the same time, we did not express fake regret. We did not argue we made tragic mistakes. We did not even take wounded children to Israeli hospitals”…