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Gaza War! Hunh! What was it Good For?
by juan cole (reposted)
Sunday Jan 25th, 2009 10:10 AM
From a Sunday, January 25, 2009 entry on Informed Comment a blog run by Juan Cole

Gaza War! Hunh! What was it Good For?

According to UNICEF, their preliminary estimate of the damage done by the Israeli military to Gaza infrastructure is $1.9 billion. Note that this is Gaza infrastructure, not Hamas infrastructure.

So at least the war weakened Hamas's political control of Gaza, right? Not so much.

So then, the Israeli military boasted that it destroyed 60% of the tunnels whereby Gazans smuggle food, medicine and other goods into Gaza (the Israelis say they bring in explosives for rocket-making as well; but since rockets can be made from simple materials and petroleum products, and since the rockets are so primitive, they can't be bringing in very good explosives). So at least, the Israeli war on the people of Gaza permanently reduced the capacity of those tunnels, right? Naw, the Gazans are working Caterpillar backhoes to rebuild the tunnels, already!

If the goal was to stop the rockets, so the ceasefire last June stopped the rockets from Hamas for 4 months until Israel broke the truce. Negotiation had been proven to work. Henry Siegman has decided that the Israeli narrative of the lead-up to the Gaza War was just lies, which American media largely bought, hook, line and sinker. He outlines what really happened.

How unpopular Israel made itself in Europe with this war was still visible nearly a week after it ended, when 20,000 protesters marched in Paris on Saturday, still protesting the war.

On the other hand, if the ceasefire holds, I suppose that this weekend will witness the last big demonstrations. And then the US Congress will go back to giving the Israeli military $30 billion in arms, and Israeli colonization of the West Bank will proceed apace, and the statelessness and expropriation of the Palestinians will worsen. And those quotidian processes won't generate any headlines or massive protests, and they will proceed inexorably because no one is pressuring the US congress day to day except the Israel lobbies.

For Democratic congressional representatives, at least, there is now a web site where American voters can give campaign support to those who declined to jump through AIPAC's hoops and did not assent to a resolution, the purpose of which was to garner support for this dirty war.

A CNN poll found that 63% of Americans felt that Israel's war on Gaza was right. They say only 17% of Americans supported the Palestinians.

An earlier Rasmussen poll found that 44% of Americans supported the war and 41% opposed it. That may be an artifact of the way the question was asked. Americans like Israelis (and I am among them), so if you ask them if they support the Israelis or the Palestinians, you get a skewed answer. The question is whether this war was a good idea, or was prosecuted honorably. Moreover, there was a big difference among political parties, with only 45% of Democrats supporting the Gaza War. (I'll bet you a lot of the opposition to the war within the party came from Jewish American liberals).

CNN has a lot of gall, since their coverage was completely one-sided and helped produce the results found in the poll. I can remember that they had Michael Oren on in uniform, speaking for the Israeli army, a Sunday afternoon. But they had no Palestinian policeman from Gaza. And then Oren dishonestly published an op-ed in the LA Times without identifying himself as being active duty Israeli military. This is a guy who claims to tell us the balanced historical narrative of the 1967 war or of American-Muslim relations? CNN never agressively challenged the lies of Israeli spokesmen the way British journalists did. And, of course, American channels seldom interviewed journalists based inside Gaza.

No wonder millions of Americans went to Aljazeera English on the Web for the other side of the story. By the way, the argument that Aljazeera English is not carried by the satellite television companies in the US because of lack of interest is ridiculous. They carry stations in obscure languages for which the audience must be tiny. I get Aljazeera Arabic; would the English really be less watched? Aljazeera English was most likely kept off because the Bushies made threats behind the scenes. The Obama administration should open up the airwaves.

But anyway, even a 60-30 split in the US for Israel in a war strikes me as not such great news for Tel Aviv. Surely in 1967 it was almost 100 percent in favor. And Rasmussen was probably closer to the truth with 44/41, which is in American terms an absolute disaster for Israeli public relations.

I fear the Israeli public is going to elect that maniac Binyamin Netanyahu on Feb. 10, and that will be the complete end of any 2-state solution, and we just have to live with a horrific Apartheid for decades, which will cause more conflict and further poison much of the world against the United States. (The Right-Zionists have been complaining about me wanting to put America first. For that I don't apologize.)

posted by Juan Cole @ 1/25/2009 12:58:00 AM

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sarrabtonyMonday Jan 26th, 2009 9:22 AM

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