But how new is this new year? It sounds very much like the last year or worse. Even before the old year could be rung out, Israel started pounding Gaza--and this was carried out along with a massive Israeli PR exercise. The corporate media the world over, accustomed to bite the easy crumbs of information handed out by the PR companies, reported what was obvious PR shit. However, some commentators were brave enough to have delved a little deeper into the issue.
Israel has been saying that its aerial bombings of Gaza were provoked by Hamas' Qassam rockets. Hamas is definitely wrong in shooting the rockets, even during a truce period. But is that the entire truth? According to Sara Roy (London Review of Books), it is not:
Israel’s siege of Gaza began on 5 November, the day after an Israeli attack inside the strip, no doubt designed finally to undermine the truce between Israel and Hamas established last June. Although both sides had violated the agreement before, this incursion was on a different scale. Hamas responded by firing rockets into Israel and the violence has not abated since then. Israel’s siege has two fundamental goals. One is to ensure that the Palestinians there are seen merely as a humanitarian problem, beggars who have no political identity and therefore can have no political claims. The second is to foist Gaza onto Egypt. That is why the Israelis tolerate the hundreds of tunnels between Gaza and Egypt around which an informal but increasingly regulated commercial sector has begun to form. The overwhelming majority of Gazans are impoverished and officially 49.1 per cent are unemployed. In fact the prospect of steady employment is rapidly disappearing for the majority of the population.
According to Tariq Ali (The Guardian, UK), the Israeli attacks on Gaza are motivated by political goals:
The assault on Gaza, planned over six months and executed with perfect timing, was designed largely, as Neve Gordon has rightly observed, to help the incumbent parties triumph in the forthcoming Israeli elections. The dead Palestinians are little more than election fodder in a cynical contest between the right and the far right in Israel. Washington and its EU allies, perfectly aware that Gaza was about to be assaulted, as in the case of Lebanon in 2006, sit back and watch.
Add to the big picture of motives and goals Israel's military-security-industrial complex's need to demonstrate the effectiveness of its weapons, the surgical precision of its bombings. The Israeli military gloated how in about 3 minutes it was able to bombard multiple locations in Gaza. The footage will help establish Israel's arms industry's effectiveness to its customers and would-be customers--Israel is the world's 4th largest arms supplier now. And in a recent interview to the New Yorker magazine, Naomi Klein, the author of Shock Doctrine, clearly told how Israel's commitment to the peace process has been compromised by its security industry.
Also, sometimes I have this suspicion that Israel wants to incite Hezbollah and finally Iran to take part in this war and finish the Neocon agenda before Bush's final departure. Let us see how it all turns out but the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is appalling.