Israel Intends to Make Gaza Uninhabitable by Cutting Power Permanently

It is striking to see how politicians, pundits, the press, and even key figures discuss the obvious trajectory of what Israel is doing to Gaza and its population. “Humanitarian crisis” winds up being inadequate since it averts attention from the deliberate steps Israel is taking to make living in Gaza untenable. “Genocide” is more apt but without describing the clear program Israel is launching, it can be depicted as overwrought.

Israel will reduce Gaza to a place where it is impossible to live, at least until if and when Israel decides to decides to repossess it bit by bit and rebuild. It is indifferent to the question of whether neighboring countries will relent in the face of escalating starvation, dehydration, and disease and take Palestinians in. It just wants them dispatched by whatever means necessary.

Israel plans first to reduce Gaza to rubble, as anyone could see when it started bombing apartment buildings on an indiscriminate basis. The excuse is it needs to do that as a preliminary to a ground operation to rout Hamas from the underground tunnels that survive the bombing campaign. Note military experts such as Scott Ritter have said that any clearing operation in Gaza would be a dangerous and high-casualty enterprise even for a military with the right equipment and equipment, and the IDF is not that. More important, Ritter and others have argued that the destruction of the buildings is likely to make any effort to wipe out the Hamas forces in Gaza more difficult.

So one has to question the military justification, particularly since there are also commentators who are arguing that the Israeli government is now in an internal debate over the invasion plan, given its high risks and certain high costs. Or this may be a function of poor planning:

The pretext is that Israel needs to be Doing Something and needs more time to prepare, not just because the ground operation hasn’t been sorted out, but also because Iran cleared its throat and said it would intervene in that event. And the Arab world + Iran is largely sitting on its hands as the building destruction proceeds apace.1

The latest Seymour Hersh article describes the current Israel plan, which again could be inferred from actions and other statements. But Hersh usefully gets on the record the malignant intent, per the boldfaced section:

Netanyahu’s attitude, as assessed by the intelligence analysts, I was told, amounts to a determination “to wipe out Hamas.” One knowledgeable official told me that “Gaza City is in the process of being turned into Hiroshima with no nuclear weapons used.” At some point, he said, American-made bombs in the Israeli arsenal, including those known as “bunker busters,” may be targeted on the underground tunnel systems where Hamas manufactured the weapons and conducted planning for the horrific attacks in southern Israel on October 7.

If you have any doubts, see the additional detail today from the BBC, in Israel aims to cut Gaza ties after war with Hamas:

Israel has suggested that the long-term aim of its military campaign in Gaza is to sever all links with the territory.

Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said that once Hamas had been defeated, Israel would end its “responsibility for life in the Gaza Strip”.

Before the conflict, Israel supplied Gaza with most of its energy needs and monitored imports into the territory….

On Friday, Mr Gallant told a parliamentary committee that the first stage of the campaign was meant to destroy Hamas’s infrastructure, according to a statement from his office.

Israeli forces, he added, would then launch “operations at lower intensity” to eliminate “pockets of resistance”.

The third phase, he said, “will require the removal of Israel’s responsibility for life in the Gaza Strip, and the establishment of a new security reality for the citizens of Israel”.

Although Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, the UN regards the strip – along with the West Bank and East Jerusalem – as occupied land and considers Israel responsible for the basic needs of its population.

In other words, the elimination of Hamas from Gaza is the fig leaf for clearing Gaza of all Palestinians permanently. It would be impossible to resume water supplies or operate a hospital with no electricity. It’s been obvious this is the plan. The Israelis are now making it official. So why are officials and pundits mincing words?


1 Or they may just be starting to escalate:

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  1. bob

    Israel is at war with the terrorist organization. How would you conduct a war when the terrorists embed themselves among the civilian population.

    1. Michael Fiorillo

      Coming as it seems from the press office of the Israeli military or Netanyahu government, your comment transacts at a 100% discount. In the future, either add something useful to the discussion, or remain silent and try to educate yourself.

    2. Candide

      Formulating and spreading excuses for endless war is “our” highest achievement.

      An early example is the monstrous, self exculpatory quote from Golda Meir or her speechwriter:

      “”We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children.”

    3. The Rev Kev

      Let’s flip that particular thought, shall we?

      ‘Palestine is at war with a terrorist Country. How would you conduct a war when the terrorists embed themselves among the civilian population.’

      Having a country that attacks and bombs countries on their borders on a regular basis is not the action of a normal country. Sorry but it is the truth. Israel would do far better for itself by not having adopted the Dalek School of Military Thought. Instead of coming to an accommodation with its neighbours, they have instead financed future enemies like Hezbollah and Hamas to kill the negotiating process and are now paying the price so I guess you can thank people like Netanyahu for that piece of brilliance. Israel is really isolating themselves and only having the Collective West back them up on the world stage will not cut it, especially when Israel’s actions will undercut those Collective West themselves. To be brutal about it, Israel has become their past persecutors.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        i wrote this in a hurry, almost 10 years ago, during the last Palestinian Uprising.

        walk a mile, and all.
        and the usual rejoinder is that there’s no such thing as a Palestinian…that this was the homeland of the Jews.
        but this is, at best ahistorical(as many, here have pointed out)…and it is ahistorical even from the Torah: Moses and the Habiru were invaders, after all.
        says so right there in the Old Testament.

        and, for the frelling record…my 1/4 Czech ancestors were most likely Bohemian Jews, who converted(or were forced to) to Catholicism at some distant point…my granpa on that side is rolling in his grave as i type that,lol…but from our family name(Hebrew for “Cooper”, recognised all over eastern europe as Jewish), to certain physiological quirks(thankfully, i didnt get the nose, and favor the Choctaw side in my appearance)…it seems pretty obvious to me, from my geneological perusals….
        i have much sympathy for the historical lot of the Jewish People,as well as much respect for the culture(4-5k years) and religion(wrestling with God)… but damn, man!…try not to become what you suffered under.

        1. Kouros

          Isn’t it a bit of a stretch to claim ~ 4-5K years of culture? Even the Chinese have problems stretching it that far!

            1. Karl

              The oldest evidence of homo outside Africa is Neanderthal about 150-200K years old, found in a cave in modern day Israel. Maybe one of a tribe that was pushed out by another tribe; who then got pushed out by another tribe; who then…. Fast forward to today. The current occupants are saying “We were here first! This land was given to us by GOD!”

              All the world laughs and cries over this folly except one clueless superpower. And so it goes….

      2. elissa3

        they have instead financed future enemies like Hezbollah and Hamas

        Hamas, probably, if indirectly. Not Hezbollah though. They are very different entities.

      3. SB

        Dalit School of Military Thought fort a laugh out of me.

        You wrote that Israel has become their past persecutors. Too true with the governments they’ve had. I remembered when I realized that Jews were building ghettos for other peoples. So, ironic and maddeningly tragic. I think of the innocent victims on both sides and how the people that peruse brute force, racism, and injustice set the course for even more unending bloodshed. I know that there are people on both sides that step out of this cycle and seek peace and justice. They are the light in all this madness and I hope their numbers continue to grow, their power, and voice.

    4. timbers

      “How would you conduct a war when the terrorists embed themselves among the civilian population.”?

      That’s the easy part. Reportedly, Israel and the US created Hamas and wanted it to be a terrorist organization to use as a shiny object to deflect from efforts to create a state called Palestine, and worked to keep it well funded by pressuring rich Arab states like Qatar to fund it.

      And it worked. Notice how to average Joe watching MSM, Hamas has blurred for all practical purposes into Hamas = Palestinians.

      Here’s the easy part:

      Terminate funding of Hamas and allow Palestinians in Gaze access to food water freedom. Create a Palestinian state and return her lands Israel stole from her, because having a peaceful prosperous stable functioning state at your borders is the best way to eliminate terrorists and for Israel to reap the bountifull mutual benefits of living side by side to a prosperous nation and her people.

      See. Easy. Very easy. Problem is, Israel is run by greedy old men just like USA is who think only of themselves and want to plunder where ever they can.

      1. Karl

        The State of Israel — the land — is now an idol. More golden to Jews today than the calf of old. God warned about that in the first commandment she dictated to Moses. Oh well.

    5. Polar Socialist

      That is exactly why one doesn’t wage war against terrorism, it will always fail. And actually fits the description of a crime against humanity.

      Terrorism is a crime, so to protect oneself one uses police action and the judicial system while simultaneously removing the underlying incentives to terrorism.

      Or, if one insists on fighting a war, then one must provide the other side with a) state b) army and c) economy capable of sustaining a and b.

    6. NN Cassandra

      I guess they should bomb the civilians, claim it’s fault of the terrorists, and announce mission accomplished. So far nobody tried that one before, right?

    7. Mikel

      I’ve always noticed how much of the “terrorism” never permanently disrupts the lives of those in power or even the systems of power – wherever it may take place.

    8. Carolinian

      Hamas is also at war with a terrorist organization. Can’t handle the truth? “Terrorism” becomes a buzz word when the stance is “it’s ok when we do it.” Israel has always been fighting a PR war above all.

      1. Don

        For many, it seems to be a technological distinction and a matter of scale: killing a population with glide bombs and white phosphorus and tank shells and cruise missiles and by cutting off water and electricity is defending oneself; killing with a knife or an IED or a hand-made, larger version of a bottle rocket or a pointed stick or a slingshot rock is terrorism.

    9. hk

      So were the Germans at Warsaw in 1944–or, at least that’s what they said, while doing things almost as bad as what IDF is doing now.

      1. Travis Bickle

        The parallels with the collective Jewish past really do run quite deep, as you and other posters have alluded. There’s a temptation to cite irony as some sort of summation, but that rather misses the point, where what you see in Israeli behavior is consistent with far deeper and more dangerous pathologies.

        As to the parallels with the German occupiers of France in WW II, a 10:1 reprisal ratio was their formal policy when the resistance (ie, terrorists) killed or injured their people. It was done formally, typically in the public square with more/less randomly chosen citizens to better intimidate the locals. In contrast, with Israel disproportionate retaliation (a war crime BTW) has been a formally enunciated, never repudiated, and consistently applied policy since 1948. So, it’s not quite the same, sine it happens…spontaneously?

        Not to get off-topic, but having studied the situation and patterns of Israeli behavior involved, the fate towards which Israel is pushing the Palestinians, is simply OUT, to wherever. To where, they could care less, obviously. But their neighbors have no responsibility for them, so Israel is going to expect Uncle Sucker to press the Palestinians on Egypt and Jordan principally. IF that doesn’t work, Israel would expect the US to resettle them someplace in the US.

        Given the hold Israel has on US politics, except for in its details the Final Solution they planned is pretty obvious. Its more a matter of PR planning. Whoops! I went and did again. Guess I’m just an antisemite.

        1. hk

          Fwiw, I was deliberately avoiding the Jewish linkage, thus 1944 (the Warsaw Uprising by the AK, the Polish Home Army) rather than 1943. I did think that Hamas has more in common with the AK, too.

    10. Lex

      Well I would have started by implementing international agreements and integrating the non-“terrorist” parts of the population into civil and political society, thereby reducing or eliminating support for the “terrorists” so they could be managed by law enforcement.

      What I wouldn’t do is indiscriminate repression and bombing of civilian areas because history has taught most of us (but maybe not you) that these actions create more “terrorists”. When you kill a teenaged boy’s mother, do you expect that he’ll submit to you or take up arms against you? The only way that indiscriminate repression and violence against civilians results in something like “victory” is via genocide or ethnic cleansing. And the nation that takes that route has no claim to being civilized.

      1. James P.

        Everybody is coming forward with what they wouldn’t do. But those with a proposal of what they would do right now are few. I’m still looking for someone who thinks they have a solution to this problem. Both sides hate and fear each other and the total elimination of the other. So what would you do under those circumstances, right now and right there?

        1. Vicky Cookies

          That might be too broad a brush. Polling among Palestinians has shown limited support for Hamas’ stance vis a vis Israel, and, just as not all Palestinians are Hamas, not all Israelis are the IDF or settlers.

          As regards a state solution, Israel has always had the option of complying with international law, but I won’t hold my breath. Airstrikes need to stop, any plans for a ground invasion must be scrapped, and vital supplies must be ensured safe entry by the ending of the blockade before this can be seriously discussed.

          Patrick Lawrence just penned a piece recalling that Edward Said wrote an op-ed in the New York Times, of all places, in (i believe) the 90’s, proposing a secular one-state solution. I think that, as the UN carved the land up and handed it out in ’48, if U.S. intransigence, or influence, were to recede, it could be done again, with truth and reconciliation commissions like have been implemented in South Africa, Northern Ireland, Columbia, etc.

          Because settlers have gobbled up so much of the west bank, a separate, contiguous Palestinian state is probably impossible, as was intended. With the current Israeli government holding on to power through the fear of war, once military operations are over (hopefully immediately), there may be some space for serious discussion about what form justice, or something approaching it, could take. I’ll keep asking myself the question you posed, and hopefully, those with a bit more say will do the same.

        2. clarky90

          Re; “So what would you do under those circumstances, right now and right there?”

          Renounce the “Building of the Third Temple” on the Jerusalem Temple Mount. The re-construction of the Jewish Temple would require the destruction of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

          “…The altar itself weighs some four-and-a-half tons, and the ramp another two tons……..

          …Organizers intended that a sheep was to be slaughtered during the dedication ceremony, and the various rituals, including burning some of its limbs and innards on the altar, was to be performed…..”

          “…..This gives meaning to our lives and to the life of the world, and to justice and to truth and to peace. This is the prophecy: ‘Their offerings and sacrifices shall be acceptable upon My altar…..”

          More info..

        3. Darius

          The problem has always been that one side, Israel, wants something that the Palestinians have. Their land and homes. Not much you can do about greed and entitlement. I blame the Americans. Israel would have figured out long ago how to live with its neighbors if Uncle Sugar wasn’t constantly showering it with resources. Israel is like the teenager whose family buys him a Corvette. When he totals it, they just buy him a new one. Especially under Bibi.

    11. Revenant

      Forget the example of Britain and the IRA: there was a US-funded nation state actor with territorial integrity to cooperate with in that case.

      The precedent for dealing with terrorists is same way Britain dealt with Irgun and Haganah: let them form a state and have sovereign agency.

      1. Vicky Cookies

        Interesting. I’m reminded of the Einstein-Freud correspondence “Why War?”, in which Freud explains that ‘right’ evolved from ‘might’.

        One wonders, if Native Americans had successfully resisted English settler-colonialism, by whatever means, and the terms of the treaties signed by the English been enforced, what our world, and the narrative world of the Anglosphere, would look like today.

        Sinn Feín, representing NI, is entrenched now in British politics; an anti-colonial, secular nationalist party. What, outside of race, is the difference explaining the comparative tolerance for Irish? A national struggle against settler-conialism, alternalty framed in ethno-religious or political terms. Several explanations come to mind, but I’m curious what you think.

        1. Revenant

          I think the factors regarding the Troubles and to some extent the early events of Partition, were:

          – in the US: a well organised lobby group

          – in the Commonwealth: sympathy with a fellow subject of the Crown (possibly misplaced given the enthusiastic participation of the (Anglo-)Irish in Empire: a lot of East India administrators were Scots-Irish families that sprawl across the Beaufort Channel between lowland Scotland and Ulster, my wife’s family among them)

          – in the rest of Britain: a long history of fellow feeling. There was a great intermarriage of the English, Welsh, Scots and Irish, particularly at the top of society. Parts of Ireland had been English since the Normans, long before parts of Wales or any of Scotland. By the 18th century, London and Dublin were more like each other than they were like their provinces, which in turn were quite foreign to each other (from Donegal to Dover, from a Gaelic-speaking hardscrabble windswept subsistence on potatoes and sheep at the edge of the Atlantic to the garden of England within sight of Calais and preserving aspects of the Danelaw).

          – in the eyes of God: the Troubles were never really about religion, that was just a convenient “othering”, they were about political self-determination and about socioeconomic discrimination. Only the mad Paisleyite wing ever denounced Catholicism as aberrant and even then their violence was for souls and not soil. The Troubles would have been very different if the Protestants had claimed a mandate from God to occupy the 32 Counties of Eretz Ireland and had plans to raze Cro Patrick or the Rock of Cashel and build a temple….

          The British-Irish question is closer to Russia and the Ukraine than to Israel and Palestine.
          If the Jews would marry the Arabs like the English/British married the Irish (the insult levelled at Bristol: the sons of Welsh whores and Irish navvies), it would all be over peacefully….

          So back to the disingenuous question about how Israel should deal with terrorists, the disingenuous answer is the same way the British/UN dealt with Jewish terrorists (Irgun and Haganah) by giving them a nation and making one its Prime Minister….

          (The same also happened in Ireland at Partition ironically. The subsequent resolution of the Troubles is less in point because the USA supported Ireland, unlike Palestine, and MI6 had a near-total compromise of the IRA and Loyalist movements, unlike Mossad).

        1. Jabura Basaidai

          was wondering why he hadn’t piped up at all the responses to his initial comment – i imagine he’ll find his way back in somehow with deceit – but thank you Yves –

    12. Kouros

      Israel is an occupying force and one that has also imprisoned the population of Gaza. There is no stipulation for the rights of the “occupiers” in the international law and the UN Charter. Only obligations.

      Also, so far God has not provided any testimony that indeed, it is Its wish that Israel controls all that land, at the expense of the existing population.

      The permanent cry of “right of self defense” just normalizes the occupation.

      The question is, why Israelis continue to kill and disposes and imprison Palestinians in the (what has been left of West Bank) despite the fact that there is no Hamas?

      Hamas is an organization that fights against an occupier, same way as French Resistance, or Soviet Partisans, or Afghani Taliban, or any other resistence force opposing an invader.

    13. ISL

      obviously to fight as the Nazi’s did for the Warsaw ghetto uprising. Of course the Nazi’s lost in the end. Karma is a bi*ch.

    14. Victor Sciamarelli

      To Bob-The “How” question you raised is legitimate because, imo, int’l law is more concerned with “how” a war is conducted rather than the reason “why” the parties started the fight.
      Hamas is a political organization and a militia. Like Israel, the Palestinians have a right to defend themselves as does every individual and every nation. As people living in occupied territory they also have a right to resist the occupiers. However, if Hamas wants to pick up the torch of resistance, it’s my understanding, they are required to comply with int’l law.
      For example, taking civilian hostages and killing civilians is a war crime in which Hamas is guilty. Still, I don’t think Hamas fits the FBI definition of int’l or domestic terrorists.
      Nonetheless, if we conducted an independent investigation, I think Israel would be found the major violator of human rights far in excess of anything the Palestinians have done. Israel and the US signed the Geneva Conventions and they have responsibilities
      As an occupied territory, Hamas does not have military forts, bases, airports, training facilities or anything else; Israel would not tolerate that for a second. Thus, by definition they are part of the civilian infrastructure. Israel is completely aware of this and int’l law requires distinguishing between civilian and military targets. Israel would like us to believe they are attacking Hamas but they are attacking civilians which is a major war crime.
      Furthermore, cutting off water, food, electricity, forced relocations, or forced displacements, annexation, settlements, are illegal and, again, major war crimes which Israel is committing daily; not the Palestinians.
      If you want to solve the problem, the US must insist on a fundamental change of policy between Israel and Palestinians, the occupation must end, apartheid must end, and the two-state solution implemented. It is impossible that Palestinians can be expected to live in subjugation in perpetuity.

    15. Karl

      Consider extreme risks for Israel of a ground war in Gaza.

      Consider that Israel has been “training” the inhabitants of Gaza in urban warfare since the 2014 Gaza war, and therefore have become a very resilient, agile and motivated fighting mass. Hence the strong resistance of the ADF to a ground invasion of Gaza. My guess is the Israeli population is worried about heightened terrorism in Israel as a result of the invasion, and is applying immense pressure as well for peace.

      I think Netanyahu knows these military and political risks well and is bluffing. For the bluff to work, he has to engage in a very convincing “shock and awe” PR campaign, including shutting off power and water, all to calculated to cause Gazans to flee in panic to the Sinai despite the border closure. Mission Accomplished — ethnic cleansing of Gaza. This prize is the big payoff justifying such huge risks. For Palestinians in Gaza, they have nothing to lose.

      Other risks: what if Hamas convinces hundreds of thousands of its followers to flee East into Israel? What if Hezbollah and the West Bank get involved? What if Egypt, Syria and Iran consider genocide against Palestinians a justification for war against Israel? What if Joe Biden, seeing the latest CBS-YouGov poll showing a clear majority of Americans disapproving U.S. getting militarily involved in this conflict, says to Israel, “uh, gee, I think the jig is up Bibi….”

      Lots of risks for Netanyahu to ponder. If he isn’t bluffing, I think he’ll blink, and decide against invasion. Politically, he’s probably done. Over-reach has consequences.

      1. Ashburn

        Speaking of Netanyahu bluffing, a recent piece by Simplicious on his Substack made a very interesting argument that Israel’s vaunted Iron Dome missile defense is largely an elaborate hoax.

        With Hezbollah ready to launch its thousands of missiles, Netanyahu may be doing some hard thinking about the consequences of a Gaza ground invasion.

    16. Altandmain

      Had the Israeli government spent the past few decades treating the Palestinians humanely, this would never have happened.

      As far as how it was caused, terror is created because people have no choice. The Israeli government is trying to steal their land and ethnically cleanse the Gaza strip, if not outright engage in genocide.

      There have been successful counterinsurgencies. The UK vs the IRA during the troubles. Another may be the Russians versus Chechen rebels. Note that the Russians were very careful to rebuild the area. Today the Chechen people are quite loyal to Russia and were enthusiastic in the Special Military Operation.

    17. Mr. Woo

      Identify the individual terrorists, arrest them and then try to convict them through some kind of judicial process?

      Haha. I jest. Bomb the civilian population. The only way to prevent the use of human shields is to kill all the humans.

    18. Jason

      Start by helping to show that the other part of the Palestinian territories that doesn’t have the terrorist group can become a viable state of its own. That requires, for a start, ejecting all the Israeli settlers. And then ending the occupation there.

  2. flora

    another para from Hersh’s article

    Under the Israeli plans, there would be no need for a massive ground invasion, but I was told by the official that Israeli troops would be needed for hunting down those Hamas members underground who choose to surrender. The orders, the official said, would be “shoot on sight.” Surrender would not be an option. The official told me that the Hamas soldiers who would emerge from the tunnels desperate for food were seen by the Israelis as starving rats who would be met with poisoned food. The fate of the nearly two hundred hostages, most of them Israeli but known also to include a few Americans, was left unsaid.

    Israel is bombing Christian churches in Gaza.

    Thanks for this post.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I have heard about no negotiation between Netanyahu and Hamas for the release of those hostages. What I have seen is Netanyahu’s supporters attacking the families of those hostages because it might limit the Israeli response. Had the very dark thought today that Netahyahu had better not learn of the location of those two hundred odd hostages in Gaza as I would not put it past him to have them bombed to make his job simpler.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      I didn’t quote that section because even though that was what Hersh was told, I see this as a labeling exercise or self delusion.

      The Israelis are apparently telling themselves that they will starve Hamas out and they’ll be able to pick off isolated Hamas solders as they eventually surface. But it still takes a systematic large scale ground force operation to do that, particularly since if the tunnel system is still pretty intact (and it’s not as if bunker busters are a new development; the question is whether Hamas was able to build enough hardened bunkers deep enough for them not to wind up destroyed or balkanized). It would seem doubtful that the US and Israel have enough to hit all of Gaza deep enough, particularly since some experts argue that destroying the buildings blunts the effectiveness of the bunker busters.

      Keep in mind also that the tunnels extend to Egypt. Israel is also assuming no Hamas resupply. That is an open question.

    3. Mikel

      I don’t hold much hope for any hostages.
      And plans that depend on imagined concern about the lives of everyday people (o sustained outrage over their deaths) are misguided.
      There was recently a major reminder about how much countries really give a rat’s ass about the lives of their citizens.

        1. hk

          Given how Israel seems almost cavalier about killing the hostages themselves, that would be the wiser strategy for Hamas–it’ll actually make them look saner and more humane compared to the Israeli leadership.

          1. Travis Bickle

            Releasing those 2 really was clever. There is a deeper PR game playing out here, with Israel and its lawyer going up against pretty much the rest of the world.

            This overall post gets at what certainly seems to br the larger Israeli strategy, but letting a couple hostages (Americans!) go, pushes back on US/Israeli self-righteousness, and complicates their evident planning.

            It seems that a lot of Hamas atrocities were unplanned/spontaneous “wilding” by non-member civilians who just joined in. Hamas may not have expected things to go so well in terms of Israel casualties or hostages harvested.

            If true, and even if not quite, I get the sense Hamas is at this point improvising. Slowing down the Israels must now be part of Hamas’ response, as is Israel’s apparent determination to fumigate and depopulate Gaza in its entirety (a plan likely having been in the offing for some time).

      1. TimH

        There was recently a major reminder about how much countries really give a rat’s ass about the lives of their citizens.

        Smedley D. Butler:

        War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small ‘inside’ group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.

    4. Louis Fyne

      rading between the lines….Obvious we don’t know the position of Hersch’s source, but that person’s position is delusionally simplistic.

      A. Enter Gaza. B. Shoot those Hamas, C. Leave.

      wow, why didn’t I think of that.

      1. ambrit

        From what I have read over the years, Point ‘C’ really is “Stay and build kibbitzim on the graves of the Palestinians.” Israel has form in this. See the ethnic cleansing campaign of Arabs in Palestine circa 1948.

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          i went and watched some of the video of Gaza this morning(one must bear witness, no?)…and it crossed my mind a vision of those fancy bulldozers pushing all that rubble and bodies and graves into the sea….and hiring some chinese or abu dabian firm to make more land from it and israel putting a park and memorial to how much they have suffered there.
          but i’m terminally cynical and a pootin lover, too.

          1. Jabura Basaidai

            AtH you a pootin lover too – i don’t feel lonely any more – folks i’ve known since childhood are dropping like flies believing the propaganda – sometimes it feels like i’m alone, naked on an existential ice flow in the artic – wasting my vote if not for the Husk and getting Drumpf elected – antisemitic if not behind Israel – or over-reacting to world events because, be real, they don’t really affect me in real time – why point fingers at the MIC – go along to get along – what’s wrong with you, they ask?

    5. ChrisRUEcon

      > Israel is bombing Christian churches in Gaza.

      Waiting for the outrage from America’s “Christians” …

      (not holding my breath, though)

      1. redleg

        Some of the US Christians, including many in powerful positions in the US government, want this to escalate to a full nuclear war, particularly if it involves Russia and the Megiddo valley. That’s the Armageddon prophecy. To them it means the second coming and The Rapture, in their minds a good thing. If (when) you hear cheering instead of condemnation, that’s why.

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          yah…its even worse,lol.
          there are some “christians”(Hagee is one) who make a practice of breeding cattle…so they are always sure to have a perfect red bull on hand(gives you wings!) to sacrifice on the Temple Mount at the appointed time.
          (per: Revelations)
          and there’s a lot more weird behavior of that sort afoot…strange Jewish sects growing rams so as to have the perfect Shofar, etc.
          and the common denominator with all these folks longing for the end of the frelling world…near as i can tell…is that they have it pretty dern good in this one!
          healthcare, wealth, big families, etc.

  3. JCC

    Leveling the world’s largest concentration camp in this manner is slowly, but surely, turning Israel into a pariah State.

  4. JohnA

    It has been clear from the very start in 1948 that the plan has been to gradually force the local population out of the entire ‘greater Israel’ or substitute whatever alleged biblical name for specific areas. The West Bank is almost completely settler country with the odd Palestinian hold out bantustan, ditto Jerusalem.
    Gaza is prime Mediterranean waterfront real estate, with the added bonus of gas fields offshore. Now the push to force the population to take refuge in Egypt, give them tents and prevent them ever from returning. Any housing still standing will be taken over, and the rest of the rubble cleared to make way for homes with swimming pools, shopping malls and other facilities for Israeli citizens only.
    Whipping up fears among Jewish populations in the rest of the world is a two-for in that this will encourage them to relocate to safe haven Israel and bring new settlers to this latest part of territory promised by their god.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Was just thinking today that it will probably be the ultra-Orthodox who will end up with that Gazan land to build their settlements – after the Israeli army has paid in blood for taking it. But guess what? Typically most of the ultra-Orthodox refuse to serve in the military which means that secular Israelis have to and will do nearly all the fighting. So if it all works out that the Gazans disappear and the ultra-Orthodox take over all that land, will those very same secular Israeli veterans be welcomed in those ultra-Orthodox settlements afterwards?

    2. nycTerrierist

      Equating Zionism with Judaism is a recipe for disaster, inevitable blowback
      against all Jews, and a vicious cycle of hate and fear that is taking us all to the brink

      As a secular Jew I say ‘not in my name’ — we can’t say this often enough

      Wiser voices say ‘never again’ means never again for (ital) anyone

      1. Carolinian

        Yes many saw that including, eventually, Einstein who started out as a Zionist supporter.

        Einstein was big on “thought experiments” and leaving aside the question of whether the Israelis are acting like Nazis perhaps we should ask them if they are capable of acting like Nazis. And the answer of course is “yes” because Americans are also capable of that (and have done) as well as everyone else. “Exceptionalism” is anti human or at least anti humanist and denies the scientific reality–the truth–that when we are born we are all so very much alike. Culture–nurture–changes that of course but doesn’t change the reality.

        Israel could have made peace decades ago, despite what they claim. It’s only exceptionalism that is standing in the way. At some point rational needs to conquer the irrational or we all go.

      2. nippersdad

        That was always the fatal flaw of that Holocaust Museum definition of anti-semitism. People who otherwise had no opinion of Jews per se can now look on the acts of Zionists as something related to the religion, and not as a colonialist settler operation. Outlawing things like the BDS movement and censoring the media will only compound that.

        If the members of the AIPAC caucus in Congress thought they were doing something smart, they should be seeing the downsides right about now, and there will be no going back. They identified themselves with a literal horror show, and now they will get to deal with the blowback.

        1. Carolinian

          But will there be blowback–at least in Europe and the US? I think our frog is just about fully boiled at this point.

          However there may be a blowback in Israel itself and you have to wonder why people who claim to be smart and who are smart put up with a thug like Netanyahu. The future of the country may be little more than tech bros and religious fundamentalists.

          Ultimately power usually ends up defeating itself due to the mantra too much is never enough. That goes for here too of course.

      3. danpaco

        I have this exact argument with my very mildly practising jewish GF on an almost daily basis. You could also add equating Israeli politics and policy to Judaism as well, with any criticism being labeled as anti-semitic really does shut down any dialogue. Feature not a bug? Also being told I couldn’t understand since I’m not Jewish also shuts it down.
        I spent a formative year living in Israel during the period of the Oslo Accord being signed. I’m beginning to realize how much of an outlier and special that period was. A real sense of optimism and reconciliation was in the air.
        Its been a difficult couple of weeks.

        1. c_heale

          I think this works the other way round. I think a logical response to the, “You don’t understand because you’re not Jewish.” would be, “You don’t understand because you’re not non-Jewish.”

          However a better answer would be, “That’s true but you and I are only humans”. Neither of us are special.

    3. Jason Boxman

      Gaza is prime Mediterranean waterfront real estate, with the added bonus of gas fields offshore.

      Yep. This occurred to me a few days after all this started; this is a fantastic opportunity to finally expel the entire population of Gaza in some fashion or another. If the humanitarian crisis is severe enough, there will be no choice except to resettle everyone elsewhere, somehow. Even under that scenario, forcing out a few million people is going to be a heavy lift.

      As Rhambo once said, never let a good crisis go to waste.

      1. nippersdad

        So Europe exported its’ “Jewish Problem” (their words circa 1930’s, not mine) to Palestine. How fun would it be for Israel to now export its’ “Palestinian problem” to Germany? What part of Mittel Europe will become the new Palestinian state? Ukraine?

        Ukronazis vs. Hezbollah/Hamas/AQ/Isis…..Who wins while Russia laughs its’ ass off over the collective wests self imposed problems?

        Bonus points in that they can also export all of those Muslim refugees from their other wars now overrunning Europe to the new Palestinian state.

        1. Travis Bickle

          This is the “final solution” to the Palestinian problem now shaping up, and Israel is likely already shaping its argument for the US to carry the load for them. If not to Egypt or Jordan, Israel will expect/pressure the US to resettle them here. It’s where the momentum of events leads.

    4. Travis Bickle

      Of course you’re right JohnA. There has, however, been an awful lot of dust-kicking and PR expended over the years to maintain the illusion of those peace-loving Israelis. So, progress has been erratic since 1948, depending on what could be gotten away with at the moment, and how many settlers were available for occupation. Rising Palestinian population versus that of the Israelis is a factor; how beholding to the Israel Lobby any given US administration happens to be. There’s been far more to the drama, but what is going on here has always been pretty obvious for anyone who takes the time to look at it.

    5. Lysias

      Israel isn’t looking like much of a safe haven at the moment.

      I wonder how many Israelis have already left Israel during this crisis.

  5. furnace

    “More important, Ritter and others have argued that the destruction of the buildings is likely to make any effort to wipe out the Hamas forces in Gaza.” I think something got cut out of the sentence. Maybe it’s missing a word or two in the end?

  6. Lexx

    Hamas won’t leave (they’ll die as martyrs) and there’s no bottom to Israel’s pathology. I have my fingers crossed they’ll use conventional warfare to wipe each other out. We’ll then watch movies for another 80 years in memory of this object lesson on human stupidity, only the Jews will be playing the German’s role. Best case scenario… or they go nuclear.

    1. flora

      a quibble: the fanatical Zionists jews in Isr. will be playing the German’s role, not all jews, no even most jews. The first jewish person I ever met, when I expressed some approval of Zionism, (having read way too many Leon Uris books, like Exodus and Mila18) , told me bluntly that Zionism was a right-wing facs*t ideology. I was shocked. I had much to learn. My fear is not only for the Palestinians but for the jewish people worldwide who will be held accountable for this abomination though they have no part in it and actively work against it. / my 2 cents

      1. Allison

        Not all Germans played the Nazi role, but fierce propaganda from the “Allied” powers in conjunction with the Zionists (many of whom were embedded within the Allied countries propaganda networks) made it seem that way. And that endures to this day.

        I still hear “the good Germans” uttered disparagingly against the entire population of Germany. We don’t hear about “the good Jews” who have been actively supporting Zionism and Israel, or simply remained hush-hush about the whole thing.

        I am not saying I want to hear about “the good Jews.” I am merely making the point that it is another of the oh so many blaring double standards when it comes to this issue.

        1. nippersdad

          One did not hear about “Good Germans” until after the Nuremburg tribunals. All things come in their appointed time, and we are not there yet. You will know it is coming when the AIPAC caucus in Congress is tarred, feathered and run off on a rail for having destroyed that which they spent so much time building up.

      2. Amfortas the Hippie

        due to happenstance and where i’ve spent my life, i’ve only known a handful of Jews…mostly secular.
        out of 5 or 6, 2 of them were Zionists…as well as rich a$$holes,lol.
        another was the guy who owned Katz’ Deli, but i only knew him enough to say Hi.
        the others were apolitical, and i didn’t know them well enough to talk about israel, etc.

        i’ve known, on the other hand, quite a lot of Palestinians and Lebanese.
        the nearest beer store to my last apartment in Huntsville, TX when i was in college was run by 2 PLO guys…gave me my first Koran, and came over for grilled chicken and beer a few times.
        when we moved to austin, they hooked us up with their kinfolks, who owned several
        beer stores in South Austin….and i admired them…much like i admire the numerous Mohados i know…plow everything into the family bidness, and hive off new stores/enterprises as the kids get trained up, or cousins immigrate…apartments and houses serving as warehouses so they could buy in bulk…etc.
        both ethnic groups remind me of my grandparents’ ways and methods.
        and neither are anything like the cartoon villain version we’ve been spoonfed for so long.

        similarly to the large Lebanese/Palestinian/Iraqi/Afghan/Pakistanian/Somalian communities that surround the medical center area of san antonio…i spent a lot of time during Tam’s cancer adventure chewing the fat with them, in the many little cafes all around there.
        not savages, at all.
        unlike many of the “good christians” i have known in my time.

        1. flora

          Yes, the first Jewish person I ever met also became a good friend as we worked together with others on local town issues. Several years after meeting my friend for the first time, I made the remark, thinking I understood everything about the Isr situation. Clearly, I did not understand everything.

      3. Lexx

        If I had my druthers I’d gather up all of Hamas and the Zionists, drop them on a deserted island with all the guns they can use and let them shoot it out. Which ever tribal member is left standing (like ‘The Highlander’…there can be only one), their people get to be God’s chosen and live in the promised land.

        The Holy Land becomes a historic site open to everyone preserved by the international community, with no exclusive claim by any tribe should we live long enough and only until we (The Nones) decide we have no further use for it, then it’s dismantled and moved into museums.

        There were no good Germans during the war. No one’s hands were clean, just varying degrees of dirty.

        1. flora

          Again I must quibble: I agree with most of your comment except the last bit. Look up The White Rose, look up the Rev. Niemöller. There were others. Perhaps not many, but there were others.

            1. JBird4049

              The problem with blanket condemnations is that they are usually wrong.

              In Nazi Germany, if you did not want you and your family (because of the use of collective punishment) to disappear into the night and the fog, you stayed quiet. After all, the first prison or concentration camps were for often middle or upper class political dissidents, who often peaceful and law abiding, and IIRC, the first one was in Berlin.

              In the American South, from the Antebellum to the Civil Rights Movement, it was a multi racial, multi class fight against slavery, racism, and Jim Crow. They mostly lost because the movement(s) were lethally extirpated. The lucky ones survived either by hiding becoming very quiet if they stayed or by running for their lives. White or Black, it did not matter.

              Life today is no more complicated and confusing than the past ever was. Or yesterday was just as bewildering as today is.

              1. Ron Rutter

                My boss years ago (in Canada) was a german who was active in a resistance movement in Germany during the war. They were mostly young people from an organization not unlike the boy scouts. He self published a book about their struggles.

        2. Lysias

          By that logic, there aren’t many good Americans at the moment.

          I was stationed in Berlin during my military service 1970-2. I knew a fair number of working-class Berliners then. Decent people, I thought.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Sorry, this is the cognitive bias called “halo effect” in action, of needing to see people as all good or all bad.

            A book on the workers (at Dachau? or Auschwitz?) found they were lovely people save the gassing the Jews part, attentive to their families, etc. Due to the state of search, I can’t find it but it got a fair # of reviews at the time of publication. The concentration camps were apparently considered to be an attractive posting.

            1. JBird4049

              There is also the warping of the mind by the authorities to get people to do things that they would never do otherwise. The dehumanization of the other is the start. The Jews and the Palestinians are doing this right now. This is followed with justifications for increasingly evil acts, step by step, until genocide is the obvious “solution.”

              A nice book on some of it is Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland by Christopher R. Browning.

              There is also the changes caused by circumstance. Really, by what the people around you are doing. I have read of Japanese soldiers of the Second World War and Americans from Vietnam going a bit insane, sometimes decades later, after their war; the horror of the acts that they and all their comrades committed became overwhelming. Then there are all the people who did not obviously go insane, but who often drank themselves to death. Then there are the larger number who did fine, but just did not talk about the war. Sometimes just being a witness to the acts was enough to make one insane even if you done nothing yourself.

              However, before and after the war, these men would be called decent people with many of them being moral, family men, but who still committed great evil.

  7. Eoin Fitzpatrick

    The western allies condemn Russia and rightly so for it’s invasion of Ukraine. The UN, amnesty international, along with western allies condemned the war crimes commited by Russia, such as cutting off water and electricity to areas. In the first year of Russia invasion, 468 children’s lives have been lost, according to Red Cross. In the first week of Israel war on terror over 700 Palestian children’s lives have been lost. Also the west bank which as far as anyone is aware, is not occupied by Hamas soldiers and yet over 80 civilians have lost their lives.

    1. ambrit

      Mixed message?
      The Donetsk and Luhansk are ethnically Russian regions. The “official” Ukrainian Government began a modern pogrom against the Russians there in 2014. It can be argued that the Russian “intervention” truly is a humanitarian intervention. I think that the same logic will be employed to gin up support for the Arab League’s “intervention” against the State of Israel. If some American aircraft carriers get in the way. Tough t—ies.
      We live in interesting times.

    2. hk

      I wonder how many of the 468 were killed by Ukrainians. They were much more eager to shell civilians, theoretically “their own people” who were resisting tyranny, on whose behalf Russia claimed to intervene (more rightly than wrongly).

    3. nippersdad

      What the Western allies did was to confirm that there are rules for the inside of their little “garden” that do not apply to those they have unilaterally decided live outside of it, and jungle world has been watching. That is why the “rules based order” so touted by the West is now looked upon with disdain. Russia followed the rules as they were written, and they were hypocritically ignored in favor of a war NATO had wanted to start since the Ukrainian color revolution in ’04.

  8. Mikel

    Another elephant in the room…the rabid religious fundamentalism at play in Israel and Palestine.
    Whether being used as a front by opportunist or in other ways, it’s going to be the death of us all.

  9. marcel

    I know I’ve heard/read about Israeli settlers rampaging through Al-Aqsa mosque during Sukkot.
    But now I can hardly find any reference to it, and the two I’ve found are in Al-Jazeera and The New Arab, perhaps not the ‘best’ references, nor any statement that no such thing happened [there are a lot more references to a similar incident in April of this year].
    Connecting with the rave party being moved close to Gaza (apparently with tanks stationed nearby), and the removal of 3/4 of the soldiers, this stinks as a provocation.
    I’d say the US trapped Israel to provoke Hamas, so Israel could do the genocide it is doing (the current actions of Israel are blatant war crimes and crimes against humanity. As there is intent – as proven by official statements – this counts as genocide in international law. Not that anyone is going to trial in this life) and get of rid of Hamas.
    The US idea then would have been that the cruelty being visited upon Gaza would trigger Hezbollah and/or Iran getting involved, which would give the US the excuse to launch a bigger war with Iran.
    Which explains why there are 2 carrier groups, A10 Warthogs and Special Ops soldiers being brought in.
    But Iran & Hizbollah are carefully avoiding that trap, and now Israel doesn’t know what to do, as only bad choices remain.
    Perhaps this is all wrong, because the idea looks so blatantly stupid on its face, but it does make the pieces fit.

    1. Candide

      After reading the Rand study about “Extending Russia” it is clear that the think tank pawns and high ranking military and civilian pawns of the arms industry have such traps in mind. We miss a lot and end up with just hot air arguments afterward if we don’t back off and look at the scene as a crime investigator does.

      1. c_heale

        I think this is unlikely. Biden is a warmonger. If he had wanted to just use a war to win an election, he would have started one near the end of his first term not at the beginning.

        In fact there are clear parallels between him and Netanyahu, both so deeply corrupt that war us seen as just as extension of their business dealings.

        Trump is quite different in this regard, in that he sees peace as essential to his business dealings.

  10. Freethinker

    A few weeks ago, ~ 120000 Armenians were ethnically cleansed from the region they had occupied for over 200 years by one of their enemies the Azeris, massively helped by their cousins the Turks, another neighbouring lethal enemy. They were surrounded & pounded with bombs after being starved for months as well as anything possible cut off, like medicine or other essentials. Once tenderised by days of indiscriminate bombing in what had effectively changed from homeland to concentration camp when blockaded, they were allowed to flee to the Armenian mainland.

    The international response was muted, even though the Armenians had suffered an equally bad holocaust to the Israelis, committed by the same Turks, who to this day deny it even happened, as well as never missing an opportunity to compound that particular crime. The Azeris have oil & used it to buy top tech weaponry from their other ally, Israel. A cynic might think a lesson learned from this latest atrocity against Armenians was that the exact same thing could be done to Gaza with impunity as they’re also powerless.

    1. hk

      The pieces in N-K remain very murky to me.

      1. The entire situation unraveled when Pashinian gave up Armenian claim to N-K. That was the single decisive event that made nothing tenable when Azerbaijan asserted its sovereignty over the territory that Armenia itself recognized.

      2. Given the situation, Azerbaijan did not need to exert much violence–the fighting lasted a day and N-K gave up the hopeless fight. The damages done were minimal up to this point. I hope we can agree up to this point.

      3. There seems to be very little reliable information coming out wrt what has been going on since Azerbaijani takeover. There are lurid talks coming out of Armenian sources. Azerbaijanis dent that they are forcing out Armenians. Or, in other words, it’s exactly what you would expect and the whole thing has been seemingly memory holed in the West, replaced by others deemed “more relevant.”. I get the sense that nobody really cares about N-K. I’d be inclined to think that Pashinian screwed up royally to bring this about, but I’ll confess that I have no idea even where to look for “reliable” info.

      1. Polar Socialist

        The estimated population of Artsakh in 2021 was 120,000, and as of two days ago Armenia has registered 105,000 refugees from Artsakh. Given that something like 600,000 Armenians from Artsakh are living in other CIS countries, it’s quite possible that the majority of the “missing” 15,000 ended up somewhere else than in Armenia. In other words, pretty much everybody has left.

        But as you say, it’s hard to find anything about the N-K itself. It seems that Azerbaijan calls it “liberated areas” and the the Western Azerbaijan Community (apparently a term used for Azeris expelled from Amenia) will invoke “the right to return”.

    2. Victor Moses

      Freethinker – this is entirely false. No one was ethnically cleansed. To do that you have to commit clear violent acts against the civilian population in order to force them to flee. The last ‘war’ was a 24 hour one when Artasakh forces surrendered. 90% of the Armenian population left en masse even before the Azeris got to Stepanakert. The Azeris have stated repeatedly people can stay in their ancestral homeland. Even if you don’t believe the Azeris there was no prima face case to flee. Some 10% of Armenian remain – have you any documentary evidence of violence or intimidation against them? My sense is that the Armenians fled because they assumed the violence their forces committed against the Azeris in the area some 30 years ago would be visited on them.

  11. Louis Fyne

    …And the Arab world + Iran is largely sitting on its hands as the building destruction proceeds apace.1.?

    Iran and the Arabs don’t have to force anyone’s hands….they have the most escalation/de-escalation options. And Israel has rhetorically trapped itself to a corner.

    The supply and production of Iron Dome missiles is not infinite. To be cynical, Hezbollah probanly has a rough idea of the number of interceptors.

    Next big juncture is how Hezbollah reacts when Iron Dome footage clearly shows that the IDF is rationing its missiles.

    for mere skirmishes, Hezbollah is already putting up stout resistance tnis week in the north.

    “The Flood” (deluge, storm) is on horizon.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I read today that the US is shipping back the two Iron Dome systems that they bought from the Israelis. I would guess that what the Israelis really want is the missiles that they sold the US with those systems as they must be coming up short. One system was in Guam I think and the other in Europe. Don’t know if the US will eventually get reimbursed the $373 Million that they paid for them though.

    2. Actions speak louder than words

      I am following The Cradle telegram channel. A lot of protests around the arab world but hardly any real action to stop the Israeli terrorists.
      The arsrb world has virtue signalled for a long time about the Palestines but has not made any efforr to stop the landgrab aind open-air concentration camp.
      Is anything different now?

    3. hk

      More important is that everyone knows that different ME states have different long term agendas: Iran, Hizbullah, and Syria, among others, are not too fond of Hamas and other Sunni militants since they were literally fighting them not long ago. Gulf states have always treated the Palestinian question as nuisance, etc.

      One thing about Israeli brutality and Western diplomatic malpractice is that they are bringing the Muslim states together despite their differences in their public, diplomatic stances. But the real question is what their next steps are: overt confrontation with israel, let alone US, will be costly. None of them will jump in unless things really blow up. I would expect only meaured and careful escalation (only Hizbullah is in position to do anything “serious” here, and they are not going to too much risk for Hamas.). FWIW, Netanyahu is playing a fairly smart hand, to not have gone “too overboard too fast” (although it is fair to ask if they have the capabilty to do anything more extreme anyways) but the problem for Israel is that the “normal” towards Gaza has already been so brutal that any escalation on their part was going to be extremely inhumane regardless.

      If someone could mediate successfully (Russia and China are the only countries with enough credibility on both sides to do this), almost everyone would be happy, including most Israeli leaders (for all his flaws, Netanyahu is smart: he knows his situation, I should think). What they really need is a good cover while they climb down. Ironically, the only people who would be unhappy are Biden and his homicidal gang who want to stir up situations where foreigners are killing each other in droves so that they can moralize for political brownie points.

      1. tegnost

        Is it possible that the gambit was for israel to be the mad dog rattling sabers and blowing sh!+ up and biden would come in and rally the arab world for a mediated solution with some palestinians being shuffled around the arab world for an incremental gain allowing for more settlement intrusion into the occupied territories (everyone loves increments for the little people). The problem is the arabs didn’t go along, and now it’s a chocolate mess. Never underestimate how daft our smart people are/can be…

        1. hk

          Worse for Netanyahu, perhaps, Biden isn’t playing along. He practically sounds as deranged as any Israeli minister.

        2. Lysias

          Biden had an easy way out: just don’t veto the Brazilian humanitarian pause resolution. He didn’t take it.

      2. flora

        B and the Dem estab in general, relying on idpol for votes for years, and demonizing Western culture in higher education, and instructing the young to “de-colonize” their minds, have created a younger cohort that have de-colonized their minds. Look at the latest polling numbers.
        How does the Dem estab put that genie back in the bottle? / my two cents

  12. Louis Fyne

    Israel is doctrinally trapped…it needs to win a quick shock-awe victory given the structure of its military-economy,small population, and the fleeting nature of war support in a western democracy.

    Everyone else in the Mideast can/will fight a war of attrition whether low-intensity or high

  13. Lex

    The last Stephens tweet is the most important aspect of the entire situation. Netanyahu has backed Israel into a corner it probably can’t get out of in any way that could be construed as a victory. The Plan A as it’s described by Hersh and others isn’t a plan, it’s a collection of hopes and best case scenarios. It won’t withstand failures or setbacks, nor does it look like Israel can actually sustain the military necessities of a longish war even if Hezbollah remains active at its current involvement.

    The two state solution is unworkable, but there’s clearly an international consensus forming that it must be implemented. Even the Canadians brought it up in Cairo. Being forced into that would be catastrophic for Netanyahu and the whole Israeli right wing. It would be catastrophic for Biden as well but differently.

    Biden should have plenty of his own worries. The last tweet probably isn’t being considered enough in the WH. Everyone has serious escalation potential agains the US in the region and there’s little Biden can do about it without withdrawing those forces from Syria and Iraq, which he can’t do without looking weak. He made them prime targets with the full throated support of Israeli actions in Gaza, vetoing the UNSC resolution, etc.

      1. Allison

        It’s not the best analogy from a wider-lens standpoint.

        Israel may indeed do what Uganda did, but the underlying historical situations are completely different. As the first paragraph of the Wikipedia article you linked makes clear:

        “At the time, South Asians in East Africa were simply known as ‘Asians’. They had come to dominate trade under British colonial policies.”

        The Palestinians – the Arab population, whether Christian, Muslim, or secular – are the majority original inhabitants of the land of Palestine/Israel, just as the East Africans are the original inhabitants of their land.

        What happened in Palestine is the original inhabitants have been ethnically cleansed/genocided in order to establish a Jewish state.

        And obviously the Palestinians don’t dominate trade in Palestine/Israel.

        Put another way, the “Asians” who came to dominate trade in Uganda didn’t ethnically cleanse/genocide the Ugandans in order to create their own ethno-religious state in the midst of the native population of East Africa.

    1. ThirtyOne

      “Everyone has serious escalation potential against the US in the region and there’s little Biden can do about it without withdrawing those forces from Syria and Iraq, which he can’t do without looking weak.”
      I briefly saw a balloon launched from Jordan on Flightradar24, heading east towards Iraq. It was no longer tracked when I returned from looking the balloon up.

  14. nippersdad

    A “final solution” was the only thing missing to make Zionists openly become their Nazi oppressors. The mask is off for everyone to see now.

  15. Sin Fronteras

    So what about Joe Brandon and 2024? The picture of him and Nut-and-yahoo remind me of similar pix of Hitler and Mussolini (without the embracing, which I guess didn’t fit the culture back then). And Biden will be stained among the anti-imperialist left with enabling and supplying genocide. I’m guessing Brandon is dead meat for the 2024 election, unless they manage to jail or incapacitate Trump.

    So here’s my speculation (cue to Mike Tyson and von Moltke remarks about the best laid plans of mice and men). Predicting events in an unstable war situation is hard. But I’d like to figure out what our Evil Oligarchs “think” they are doing.

    The MIC has decided eliminating Hamas and standing down Hezbollah and Iran are “worth it”. Hersh’s description of Israeli plans complements this article and amounts to a “rational plan”. A smoking ruin in Gaza and thousands of dead Palestinians will doom Biden (my slogan: “Is Genocide the Lesser Evil?!?”). So TPTB have decided Biden is expendable.

    What’s the follow up, assuming this policy “works” (big leap I know)? Memory holing, tut-tutting over “understandable but misguided” Israeli extremism, and various insider stories blaming Biden and not the MIC. And THEN moving on to war with China or escalating against Russia.

    There is a contrary explanation which has surfaced in NC: our elites have lost the ability to craft a unified national project, and there IS NO unified plan. Every faction is just out for the pillaging, get it while the getting is good. I find this an attractive explanation for what we can observe of the last 2+ generations of US domestic policy. I’m not so sure it explains, for example, 30 years of encroaching on Russia and refusing their overtures to join NATO.

    1. elissa3

      The Biden as fall guy theory is intriguing, but I think that your last paragraph comes close to nailing it. They have no plan. They are truly bereft of intelligent thought, the kind that could craft a coherent strategy–medium or long term.

  16. Samuel Conner

    It seems to me that the Israeli policy has the effect of incentivizing international actors to deploy a peacekeeping/civil administration/humanitarian relief force into Gaza (this would presumably require UN SC mandate, which US would probably oppose, with further reputational cost). If such a thing did get through the UN SC, and a major power such as China were to participate in it, it would IMO be difficult for Israel to interfere with ii.

    1. The Rev Kev

      They would not be safe for them as Israel has a bit of a history of attacking UN troops and pretending afterwards that it was a mistake.

  17. Pookah Harvey

    While media attention is on Gaza the Israeli settlers have been active on the West Bank according to the Guardian.

    The Guardian visited two villages abandoned in less than a week, Ein Rashash and Wadi a-Seeq, and a third where some families were discussing leaving.

    “This was already the most significant displacement we’ve seen since the 1970s. Now you have seen two villages abandoned in one week,” Shaul said. “This is on steroids.”

    Herder settlers living near the village of al-Mu’arrajat had begun stopping Palestinians, asking for their IDs and telling them they had 24 hours to leave their homes, said Alia Mlehat, 27.

  18. flora

    an aside: for some reason the argument over who owns the land based on nearly prehistorical claims reminds me of the arguments over the Kennewick Man skull found in the US northwest. For years some American Indian tribes tried to suppress the skull and halt its investigation because it might disprove their own origins stories and claims. It was a huge fight including the tribes, the govt, and the archeologists/anthropologists.

    I’m not making light of the claims, only trying to put them into a modern context.

    1. hk

      There was a documentary about Native American history called, I think, 500 Nations in 1990s. (I could have sworn it was on PBS, but wiki says it was on CBS). There’s one exchange that I can’t forget:

      When Lakota were being forcibly removed from the Black Hills, one of them asked a US Cavalry scout from the Crow tribe, “why are you doing this to us?”

      The Crow scout answered, “Because, before the Black Hills were Lakota’s, they belonged to the Crow.”

      The unfortunate thing about “multiculturalism” as PMC understand is that it assumes that anything other than their semi-fictitious history, don’t exist, and that all “minorities” are the same, while, in truth, they all have their issues, myths, histories, and all that. When you elevate, as part of official propaganda, one tribe’s claim, you do injustice to another. The truth is that you can’t do “historical justice” at all, without stepping on some people somewhere. You can only have the truth, if you ask me, and the “justice” that gets in the way of the truth, or rather, the “facts” (becasue “truth” is the interpretation of the facts and as such, almost always involves twisting the facts to fit some perspective), is no justice at all.

    1. JonnyJames

      I forgot the main point: that even the heavily pro-Israel US corporate media reports on it. I guess that says a lot.

    1. GC54

      Once rich dual citizens take over Gaza, they’ll put in desalination plants powered by the offshore gas fields. Got to have fresh water swimming pools.

      1. JBird4049

        The government of Gaza has had agreements with gas producers to tap its recognized gas fields, but Israel blocked the company because reasons. Since those Gazan natural gas fields are quite extensive, it has been suggested that the current Israeli government of Prime Minister Netanyahu wants them, rather the family members, cronies, and allies want them for their personal enrichment.

        It has been about five years since I did a small class assignment on it, but from memory Netanyahu and his people were making bank running deliveries of very overpriced oil, gas, cement, food, and other approved supplies to the Gazans, which included using the shipping company owned by either a family member or close political supporter of Netanyahu. “Mowing the grass” was financially lucrative because the Palestinians would have to buy more overpriced cement and concrete to rebuild what was destroyed.

        If Gaza could get access to the gas, just like if its fishing fleet to get full access to the mediterranean sea, the ability to feed itself as well as building adequate infrastructure including water, electricity, hospitals, and schools would be doable. However, Israel uses the excuse of Hamas, which it helped to create, to block independent access to everything.

    2. c_heale

      If there is a 4 degree Celsius rise, there’ll only be a desert in the Israel/Palestine area. No humans.

      1. southern appalachian

        I assume so, which would make any sort of conflict now pointless. Excepting it accelerates the process, the carbon footprint of militaries is high.

        In addition, what we don’t spend the money on matters – 100 billion for wars… say we founded a program to provide a heat pump, new windows and insulation and so on to reduce home energy use, we’re averaging US $50k per house/apartment- if my math is correct 100 billion would allow us to retrofit 2 million existing dwellings, give or take. That could have an impact. Heat pumps, trains, electrical grid improvements…lots we could be doing that we are not.

  19. Mickey Hickey

    My opinion is that what Israel has to pay attention to is that how they deal with the Palestinians is likely how world opinion will take into account how the world will deal with Israel. The Yahu is doing serious damage to Israel’s reputation. In Irish culture you play the saints and scholars game while gradually eroding the enemy. His threat to attack Gaza with Israeli troops on the ground would have been welcomed in Ireland as it would have been a levelling of power. The Israelis are not likely to find Israeli troops willing to die in large numbers. Hence the US will continue to supply arms and ammunition to wage long distance war.

  20. Freethinker

    It would be interesting & amusing in equal measure if hamas called the US’s bluff of being a fair mediator by offering to leave Gaza in return for the US accepting the > 2 million Gazans into the US as citizens, thus elegantly solving the entire ‘intractable’ problem. No terrorism in any direction left in Gaza, so happy Israelis acquiring peace, happy Gazans no longer in a concentration camp soon to be unliveable due to the natural climate as well as oppressive climate, happy disaster capitalists developing prime mediterranean waterfront. The US can bask in the credit & easily afford the massive costs, since they print money wildly all the time anyway & it’ll still be cheaper than the forever war in Gaza.

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