Gaza: Israel approaching ‘genocidal threshold’?

In news that shocked the world Nov. 18, an Israeli bomb destroyed a Gaza City home, killing 11 people, including nine from three generations of a single family—from a grandmother to a two-year-old child. Gaza’s Hamas prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, called the attack a “massacre” that “exceeded all expectations.” Brig. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, chief spokesman for the Israeli military, said it was “examining the event.” He added: “The wanted target in this case was responsible for firing dozens of rockets into Israel. I do not know what happened to him, but I do know that we are committed to the safety of the citizens of Israel.” The following day, Israeli air-strikes killed five Palestinians at the Gaza refugee camps of Nuseirat and al-Bureij. Israeli forces have now killed over 100 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip since Israel launched Operation Pillar of Cloud six days ago.

Over 50 people were also injured in protests on the West Bank over the weekend. IDF troops fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protestors who had gathered outside Israel’s Ofer prison. At Qalandia checkpoint, one protester was wounded by a rubber bullet as Palestinian youths threw stones and Molotov cocktails at troops. A 28-year-old Palestinian man died on Monday after he was wounded in clashes with Israeli forces at a protest in Ramallah. (Ma’an NewsMa’an News, Ma’an News, Nov. 19; NYT, Nov. 18)

Gilad Sharon, the son of former prime minister Ariel Sharon, had a piece in the Jerusalem Post Nov. 18, whose understated title, “A decisive conclusion is necessary,” belied the exterminationist rhetoric within:

Why do our citizens have to live with rocket fire from Gaza while we fight with our hands tied? Why are the citizens of Gaza immune? If the Syrians were to open fire on our towns, would we not attack Damascus? If the Cubans were to fire at Miami, wouldn’t Havana suffer the consequences? That’s what’s called “deterrence”—if you shoot at me, I’ll shoot at you. There is no justification for the State of Gaza being able to shoot at our towns with impunity. We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima—the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too.

There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing. Then they’d really call for a ceasefire.

Were this to happen, the images from Gaza might be unpleasant—but victory would be swift, and the lives of our soldiers and civilians spared.

This recalls the words of Israel’s deputy defense minister Matan Vilnaia a few months before Operation Cast Lead that continuing Palestinian rocket fire would risk a “greater shoah” of the Palestinian people

One wonders how Israel’s political elite, who have forged an entire national identity around the Holocaust, can be so apparently blind to the reality that they are approaching what Robert Jay Lifton called the “genocidal threshold” in his writings on the Final Solution—the point at which mass murder becomes legitimized, allowing the “step from image to act.”

From New Jewish Resistance, Nov. 19


  1. Israel’s genocidal threshold: more evidence
    A newly relevant clip from Sky News, March 23, 2009, on ugly war propaganda t-shirts worn by Israeli soldiers:

    The t-shirts were printed for Israeli soldiers at the end of periods of deployment or training courses and were discovered by Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

    One, printed for a platoon of Israeli snipers depicts an armed Palestinian pregnant women caught in the crosshairs of a rifle, with the disturbing caption in English: “1 shot 2 kills”.

    Another depicts a child carrying a gun also in the centre of a target.

    “The smaller, the harder,” read the words on the t-shirt.

    According to a soldier interviewed by the newspaper, the message has a double meaning: “It’s a kid, so you’ve got a little more of a problem, morally and also the target is smaller.”

    Another shows an Israeli soldier blowing up a mosque and reads “Only God forgives”…

    A spokesman for the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) told Sky News Online, the t-shirts were printed on the private initiative of the soldiers and their designs “are not in accordance with IDF values and are simply tasteless. This type of humour is unacceptable and should be condemned”.

  2. The other Israel speaks out…

    An anti-war protest in Tel Aviv this week. Note pro-war counter-protesters across the street proudly chanting “We brought a Nakba down on you!”