Jeff Halper wrote this excellent post at Mondoweiss…

Israel’s message to the Palestinians: Submit, leave or die

The Kerry initiative may have ended with a whimper instead of a bang, but its impact on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was significant and fundamental nonetheless. The end of the political process, futile as it may have been, triggered the collapse of the status quo as we have known it for the past 47 years. It set in motion a series of events that will confront us with two stark alternatives regarding Israel and Palestine: either the permanent warehousing of an entire population or the emergence of a single democratic state.

Both the blatantly disproportionate response to the kidnapping and killing of the three Israeli boys and, as I write, the all-out air strikes on Gaza, have been cast by Israel as military operations: Operations Brothers’ Keeper and Operation Protective Edge. Neither had anything to do with the operations’ purported triggers, the search for the boys or rocket fire from Gaza. Palestinian cities supposedly enjoying extra-territorial status were invaded in Operation Brothers’ Keeper, more than 2000 homes were ransacked, some 700 people arrested. Who knows as yet the devastation wrought on Gaza – 100 dead in more than 1,100 air attacks so far, mostly civilians according to reports; deafening around-the-clock bombing of communities by American-supplied F-15 and artillery from the ground and sea that amounts to collective torture; Israel’s Foreign Minister calling for cutting off all electricity and water amidst threats to completely obliterate Gaza’s infrastructure; and the prospect of almost two million people being permanently imprisoned, reduced to bare existence just this side of starvation. {…}

Operations Brothers’ Keeper and Protective Edge represent the imposition of a regime of warehousing, of outright imprisonment of an entire people. The seemingly blind and atavistic destruction and hatred unleashed on the Palestinians over the past few weeks is not merely yet another “round of violence” in an interminable struggle. It is the declaration of a new political reality. The message is clear, unilateral and final: This country has been Judaized: it is now the Land of Israel in the process of being incorporated into the state of Israel. You Arabs (or “Palestinians” as you call yourselves) are not a people and have no national rights, certainly to our exclusively Jewish country. You are not a “side” to a “conflict.” Once and for all we must disabuse you of the notion that we are actually negotiating with you. We never have and never will. You are nothing but inmates in prison cells, and we hereby declare through our military and political actions that you have three options before you: You can submit as inmates are required to you, in which case we will allow you to remain in your enclave-cells. You can leave, as hundreds of thousands have done before you. Or, if you choose to resist, you will die.

As Tikun Olam’s Richard Silverstein just reported…

Israeli Invasion to Begin in “Coming Hours”

In a recent post, I published a State Department notice it was evacuating U.S. citizens from Gaza. The message asked those wishing to leave to provide necessary contact information by the morning of July 11th (yesterday). I predicted that meant an Israeli invasion would happen the next day (July 12th) or the following one. True to form, Israel Radio aired this announcement minutes ago:

A senior military source says that the IDF will mount a significant military operation in the coming hours, after the [civilian] population is cleared from areas from which rockets are fired, mainly in northern Gaza. Residents [to be cleared] will receive announcements, SMS messages, media bulletins and leaflets. According to the military source, this type of operation is accepted under international law. Israel did the same in the past in Lebanon and that experience proves a population may be cleared from an area exploited for the purposes of acts of terror.

To be clear, the news item announces a “significant [new] military operation.” I’ve interpreted this (reasonably I think) as the expected ground invasion. You often have to interpret such statements from Israeli military-intelligence sources using previous experience and understanding of sub-text. A lot is communicated through hints and coded language. AP has also confirmed the IDF was clearing northern Gaza in preparation for “stepping up its offensive.” {…}

This is the moment so many of us have expected and dreaded. It is the crossing of the Rubicon. From here, Israel crosses over from a massive, punishing air assault to outright invasion. The Obama administration and United Nations, which have stood by thus far impotently, must rouse themselves from moral torpor and act decisively. Of course, they will wait until the killing becomes even more senseless than it already is. If they act at all.

Here is the latest ineffectual pap from the State Department on the crisis:

Asked whether the US had taken a position on an Israeli invasion into Gaza, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki did not rule out a ground assault, instead replying that such an outcome was “no one’s preference.” She declared: “I would remind you who is at fault here, and that is Hamas.”

It is shameful for a U.S. diplomat to declare a people who has suffered 140 dead, the offenders in this crisis. It is the equivalent of telling a rape victim her assault was her own fault. The innocent civilians of Gaza (nearly 80% of the dead were civilians) are not to blame for anything. Yet they suffer inordinately. Not to recognize makes us willing accomplices to murder…

Sadly, it’s not just Foggy Bottom rooting for Bibi…

As the Swoop reported…

With regard to the conflict between Israel and Hamas the Administration is offering appeals for caution and offers to facilitate a cease fire, but there is clear resignation in the White House, Pentagon and in Congress that the fight will continue until sides have decided that they have had enough. Add in Ukraine and Iraq/Syria and Kerry’s agenda is a full and unappealing one. One complaint he has is that he has to carry it out against a background of vacant Ambassadorial and other senior posts where Senate confirmation has lagged because of political disagreements.

The esteemed Col. Lang weighed in today…

“A ground operation is looking more likely. This assessment is strengthened by the impression that Hamas has rejected various mediation efforts so far, and has relayed the message to whoever they speak to that currenty there is nothing to be discussed. The question of how deep Israel’s ground maneuver will go is still open, however. The numbers are interesting: In Operation Pillar of Defense, which didn’t see a ground operation in the end, some 75,000 IDF reservists were called up. This time the cabinet approved calling up 40,000 reservists, but the army has still not called up more than half that number. Those who were called up don’t belong to the reserve divisions that will be deployed in the Strip. They are mainly soldiers in different roles in the ‘Gaza envelope’ (logistics, intelligence and other non-combat roles) from regular divisions, the Home Front Command, and in infantry battalions that replaced regular battalions that were sent from the West Bank and the northern border to the south.” Haaretz

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I will be surprised if there is not a ground invasion and I would think that it is likely to begin when Shabat ends today. Hamas actually seems to be inviting an Israeli ground operation. That indicates to me that either Hamas will accept heavy civilian casualties as a political warfare burden for Israel or that they have prepared the ground for a close encounter with the IDF or maybe both things. pl

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“The overall impact is the opposite of what the United States has long sought in the Middle East — a strengthened hand for Abbas and marginalization for Hamas and other militant groups.

Bitter Abbas aides acknowledge that the president is fast losing relevance, but they say this is what Israel intended all along: hopeless negotiations followed by a fight that would elevate militant Palestinian elements at the expense of relative moderates. The timing, they say, is aimed at derailing a fragile Palestinian reconciliation deal that brought together the various factions, including Hamas, under Abbas’s leadership.washpost

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IMO the underlined text(bolded) is correct. This is all about disassembling the PA coalition in order to prevent effective peace negotiations. pl

William Cook wrote a great article today…

The Mindlessness of a Manifesto

“A liberal world order, like any world order, is something that is imposed, and as much as we in the West might wish it to be imposed by superior virtue, it is generally imposed by superior power” (“Superpowers Don’t Get to Retire: What Our Tired Country Still Owes the World,” Robert Kagan, Brookings Institute. May 26, 2014).

This sentence from Kagan’s Neo-Conservative Manifesto reads like so much flotsam in a cesspool of scattered feces. It emanates from a mindless, bloated root chakra that has abandoned all except instinctive self-survival. It is deficient in understanding and wisdom, a mind surviving in an isolated tribe, a being guided only by fear of everlasting victimhood. How does one read this flotsam?

We don’t need to read it, we are witnessing its last throes today in Gaza as the consequences of neo-conservative “superior power” unfurls before the world once again and the desperation of neo-conservative idiocy splashes over the screen for the world to witness.

What is it that we witness? Israel garbed in the armor of the American flag, fielding America’s weapons of mass destruction, protected by the investment of the American taxpayer in the “iron dome,” and marching with the impunity that comes from America’s veto of censure, reveals to the world two nations that willingly impose their “superior power” on a defenseless people displaying in the enormity of their invasion unleashed evil without compassion, without mercy, without sense, a mindless act of uncivil barbarity no different than that displayed by the Mongols or Visigoths of ancient days.

Kagan’s is a simple sentence, “A world order is imposed by superior power.” It does not advance by justice, it mocks justice; it does not consider morality, it laughs at morality; it does not reflect rights of people anywhere, just its rights; it is the rule of those who can and who do not care to care for any but self; it is ruled by a pathological fear engendered by victimhood because they know their own power rests on the destruction of others and hence on the fear that they will infect their victims with the same loathsome mentality that guides them. What is a “liberal” world order if its actions abandon all human capacity to seek justice in favor of “power,” to rule without inclusiveness of those ruled, to slaughter without civilized due process? What is it but barbarianism. Why consider “superior virtue” when it only obstructs conquest? Besides, whose “superior virtue” are we to follow? Why get embroiled in arguments; power alone is the determiner of virtue. It’s all so easy, so sensible at least to the few who impose their will. {…}

“Evil knows no morality; it savors no regard for the weak or oppressed; it admits no rights but those it imposes; it condemns those who dissent without regard for evidence or truth; it denies all wrongdoing since its actions alone determine right; it feels no shame; it accepts no blame; it pleads innocence, seeks to cloak itself in the victim’s stripes, and curses those who condemn its crimes.

As Haaretz summed it up today… Israel’s real purpose in Gaza operation? To kill Arabs

*gah*