July 31, 2014


12 Signs It's Time to Get Out of Gaza (William Saletan, 7/31/14, Salate)

2. You're killing too many civilians. Last time I checked, on a per-strike basis, Israel's rate of inflicting civilian casualties was lower than NATO's in the Kosovo war. But in just three weeks, Israel has launched so many strikes that its civilian casualty toll has eclipsed NATO's.

Even if you set aside mass-casualty incidents for which Israel has denied responsibility (sometimes with independent evidence), there are too many other cases in which its excuses don't begin to justify the death toll. On Wednesday, when the U.N. cited evidence that the Israel Defense Forces had killed 19 civilians in an artillery strike on a U.N. school, Israel said it was only shooting back at militants who had fired mortars "from the vicinity." On Thursday, an airstrike apparently injured 15 Gazans at a U.N. school during a strike on a nearby mosque (presumably targeted for housing military assets). Another 17 people died in a strike on a market on Wednesday. An Israeli military source told reporters that in two of these cases, terrorists "fired at IDF troops ... and our troops returned fire. It may be that one of our shells fell in the market." [...]

8. You're picking fights with everyone. First it was the U.N. Relief and Works Agency. Then it was the U.N. Security Council. Everyone who speaks up, no matter how carefully, about the pain Israel has inflicted in Gaza gets an insulting rebuke from Israel. As if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's face-to-face, on-camera lecture of President Obama three years ago wasn't enough, government sources have reportedly leaked to the Israeli press a cease-fire proposal from Secretary of State John Kerry and a fabricated transcript of an Obama-Netanyahu phone call, apparently in an attempt to embarrass Kerry and Obama. In the last week, Israeli columnists have derided Kerry in articles that implicitly channeled the contempt of Israeli officials. One article said that "very senior officials in Jerusalem" had called Kerry's proposal a "strategic terrorist attack." Israel's deputy transportation minister said it was as though "the United States is working in the service of Hamas."

This kind of escalation against anyone who doesn't affirm all your beliefs, including your friends, is mental illness. In foreign policy, the damage and self-destruction are that much greater. Now Kerry is wondering aloud whether he can take Netanyahu's stated support for a cease-fire "at face value," and the U.S. State Department is expressing dismay at the accusations from Israeli ingrates. The department's spokeswoman says, "It's simply not the way partners and allies treat each other." And Israel doesn't have any other genuine ally.

Posted by at July 31, 2014 4:51 PM

blog comments powered by Disqus