One particular event cast a sickening pall over the entire year, and in doing so reminded us that our world became ever more violent and perverse in 2009. Although this event itself ended in January, its fallout continued and will be felt for years to come. I am referring, of course, to “Operation Cast Lead,” Israel’s attempted liquidation of the Gaza ghetto. The event is significant not only because it was premeditated slaughter, but also because it did incalculable damage to Israel’s propaganda industry.
This second conclusion might seem strange since the strategy of fabricating Arab aggression to justify disproportionate “retribution” on civilians–or just killing them for the sake of killing them–is standard Israeli policy, one that even predates the establishment of the zionist entity.
The most infamous example occurred in the village of Deir Yassin on April 9, 1948, when zionist forces gratuitously slaughtered 254 Palestinian to terrorize other Palestinians into fleeing their homes. The Haganah later drove sound trucks through Arab areas warning: “unless you leave your homes, the fate of Deir Yassin will be your fate.”
There have literally been scores of massacres and pogroms against Palestinians, Lebanese and other Arabs, and throughout it all the hasbara industry has weathered the outrage. In large part this has been due to the absence of the world wide web and the loyal dishonesty of North America’s zionist media filters.
In Lebanon, for example, the demonized image of paramilitary Hizbullah resistance fighters was invoked repeatedly to excuse a multitude of “defensive” crimes, including the two Qana massacres (1996, 2006). It is during the latter massacre that Israel actually proclaimed genocide as self-defence.
The policy is known as the “Dahiya Doctrine,” so named because Dahiya was a suburb of Beirut that was obliterated in the summer 2006. At the time, Dan Halutz, Israel’s chief of staff said the bombardment of Lebanon was designed to “turn back the clock 20 years.”
From this one application of gratuitous destruction, we come to this statement by Gadi Eisenkot, head of Israel’s northern command:
“What happened in the Dahiya quarter of Beirut in 2006 will happen in every village from which Israel is fired on. We will apply disproportionate force on it and cause great damage and destruction there. From our standpoint, these are not civilian villages; they are military bases. This is not a recommendation. This is a plan.” (my emphasis)
We can see how this embrace of mass murder as national policy applies equally to Cast Lead because Yoav Galant, Israel’s commanding officer in the south, virtually echoed Halutz: “[Our aim is to] send Gaza decades into the past.”
In Gaza, there was no Hizbullah. There was no resistance force. There was no force to attack. Not even the rusty boilerplate “Hamas started it” could be sustained, especially since the attack took six months of planning, and Minister of Genocide Ehud Barak even admitted that Hamas rockets had nothing to with the decision to attack.
The reason has everything to do with the Palestinian government’s willingness to extend its ceasefire for another six months, despite Israel’s crippling, illegal blockade of humanitarian aid. This peace offensive could not be allowed to gain traction, so Israel committed a crime against humanity.
What can one say in the face of such perversity? When white phosphorous bombs are deliberately dropped on a school run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency? How much outrage can one hurl at the bombing of hospitals or the sniping of children?
So “disproportionate” was Israel’s assault that 1,800 Israelis and Palestinians, including 500 Sderot residents, signed petition calling for end to Cast Lead. Boycott movements are gaining strength. Venezuela expelled the Israeli ambassador and Qatar broke off diplomatic relations. No amount of self-defence double-talk can excuse what Israel did,as if it ever could.
Because we live in such perverse times, Cast Lead also figured in more than one of my columns, and here are three of my favourites from the past year.