When did the clock start in Gaza?

Phyllis Bennis is a Fellow and the Director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington DC. A much respected academic, she is a frequent commentator on US foreign affairs. She recently put the recent disproportionate attack on Gaza in perspective. Something that the misguided president Barack Obama has failed to do.Obama amazingly—and probably for political purposes – served up the boiler plate defense of Israel’s shocking behaviour.”Israel has the right to defend itself.” Full stop. End of discussion.

Bennis and others point out that Hamas and Israel had reached a ceasefire agreement

Then as is her want, and contrary to international law, Israel launched another targeted, extra-judicial assassination, similar to the cowardly US drone attacks in war zones.

On November 14, the Israeli government attacked Gaza, killing one of Hamas’s leader of  its military wing,  Ahmed Jaabari  who for years had also been the top negotiator with Israel for the prisoner exchange in which the Israeli soldier Ghalit was released in return for the release of over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.

This seems to be  an Israeli pattern. Hamas is nearing a long term negotiation with Israel—but Israeli  elections are coming. Time for the cynical Benyamin Netanyahu  to scare the hell out of the people and  vote for war again. Flatten whole neighbourhoods as Ariel Sharon’s son  has stated. Provoke Hamas into sending their pathetic rockets into Israel, sacrifice a few israeli citizens, the majority of whom  will then  readily accede to a short term and absolutely counter-productive massacre of huge numbers of innocents. At present the count is 95 Palestinian dead, mostly civilians, and 850 wounded—and in Israel, ever the innocent victim, 3 dead. It is ever thus.The ratio is always at least 50-1 with Israel’s killing machine of F-16s and gunship helicopters added to devastating missile attacks on a penned up, suffering people. The last war on Gaza resulted in 1400 Palestinian dead and 15 Israeli.

Make no mistake.Those 3 israeli citizens are “a universe unto themselves”: as former PM Levi Eshkol said about anyone killed in 1967 war. They are all someone’s father, sister, brother.

But contrary to Obama’s pusillanimous statement.This catastrophe did not begin with Hamas rockets.


Bennis’ wise statement which everyone needs to hear is when one wishes to understand who is responding to whom, pace Obama, it depends on when you start the clock.It is not as if that mighty war machine Hamas which has no tanks, helicopter gun ships, massive artillery and tanks all of a sudden decide on a whim to fire their notoriously unreliable rockets into Israel.

This line apparently succeeds in bamboozling intelligent people and much of the corporate media.They treat this catastrophe as 2 powerful sovereign states duking it out…and of course, it’s those Hamas rockets and all papers must show an equivalence in suffering.There is no equivalence.

The clock did not begin with those Palestinian rockets. It begins and remains with the drastic occupation of a constantly humiliated people who in desperation and with not much forethought respond in understandable fury at the world buying Israeli propaganda. Add to this political cowards like Obama and Canada’s PM Stephen Harper justifying such wanton slaughter.


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