April 6, 2024

In Gaza Substack

This morning the New York Times reported the findings of the IDF “investigation” into the WCK killings: “grave mistake … errors in decision-making.” It’s a mystery why the Times ran this redundant story. It had already determined what happened yesterday BEFORE the “investigation”: “mistakes and misjudgments.” How did the Times know this ahead of the “investigation”? The IDF told it so before the “investigation.” The Times reporters covering today’s story are named Aaron Boxerman and Adam Ragson. Both of them previously worked in Jerusalem for the Israeli propaganda rag sheet, Times of Israel. Theirs must have been a most smooth transition from Israel’s Jerusalem disinformation bureau to Israel’s New York disinformation bureau. Still, wouldn’t a cost-cutting expert recommend that the Times just reprint IDF press releases without the intermediary of “reporters”?


The IDF fired on the second and third cars in the WCK caravan after survivors of the first targeted assassination sought refuge in them. Targeting the survivors of an initial attack is IDF standard operating procedure; one of the tricks of the (satanic) trade. Here are a couple of typical examples from Operation Protective Edge (2014):


A MULTIPLE DRONE-MISSILE ATTACK wounded nine civilians, including three children, in the vicinity of a mosque. Another drone missile targeted an ambulance just as it headed back to the hospital loaded with several of the wounded, incinerating eight people, including the three children, two medics, and a volunteer. Yet another drone-missile attack targeted a second ambulance that arrived belatedly on the scene. A witness recalled, “What we saw was really horrible. The ambulance looked like a tree branch that was completely charred. The bodies had no parts—no legs, no hands—they were severely burned.” (Amnesty International, “Black Friday”)


THE ROOF OF A HOME WAS HIT by high-explosive mortar shells that killed eight family members, including seven children aged between three and nine, who were playing there, and their grandfather aged seventy. Israel purported that the attack was in response to an “anti-tank missile” and a “burst of mortar” fired from the neighborhood that injured one soldier. The IDF then fired “another round of shells” ten minutes later “just as three ambulances and the paramedics arrived at the scene,” which also hit “many of the people who had gathered around the [family] house to try and help survivors.” A UN investigation headed by a New York State judge quoted a journalist eyewitness who was “stunned” by the “apparent targeting of ambulances and journalists who had rushed to provide assistance to the injured and cover the incident.” It further noted that eyewitness accounts “are corroborated by two video recordings,” one of which showed a “dying cameraman continuing to film, and the ambulances being hit by a rocket.” As a result of the second round of shelling, 23 persons were killed and 178 others injured. (“Report of the Detailed Findings of the Independent Committee of Inquiry”)



The Times reports that, on account of the “errors” in the WCK massacre, two officers would be dismissed from their positions and three others would suffer a “reprimand.”

Although naive observers were appalled at such leniency, this was by Israeli standards actually a harsh punishment. During Operation Cast Lead (2008-9), Israel killed 1,400 Gazans, up to 80 percent of whom were civilians and 350 children. Human Rights organizations documented massive war crimes committed by the IDF. How did Israel punish the perpetrators? A handful of soldiers suffered disciplinary sanctions such as an officer who was “severely reprimanded,” while the harshest sentence meted out was a seven-and-a-half-month prison term to a soldier who had stolen a credit card. During their attack on a humanitarian convoy of vessels headed towards Gaza (2010), Israeli commandos killed 10 unarmed passengers aboard the flagship Mavi Marmara. The punishment? A corporal was sentenced to five months in prison for stealing a laptop computer, two camera lenses, and a compass. During Operation Protective Edge, Israel killed 2,200 Gazans, of whom 70 percent were civilians and 550 children. “I can say without hesitation,” Gaza specialist Sara Roy of Harvard University observed, “that I have never seen the kind of human, physical, and psychological destruction that I see there today.” The punishment? Three Israeli soldiers were indicted for stealing $600 from a Palestinian home.


Truth be told, Israel confronts an excruciating dilemma. It is a war crime to deliberately target or indiscriminately attack a civilian or civilian object. The World Bank’s “Gaza Strip Interim Damage Assessment” (March 2024) reports that since October 7 Israel has, among other things, damaged or destroyed 290,820 housing units (of which 76% were totally destroyed), and as a result “more than 1.08 million people will not be able to return to their homes.” It has killed more than 31,000 Gazans (of whom 70% are women and children) and wounded 75,000 others. The objective of the Israeli assault has been to, once and for all, solve the Gaza “problem.” It has carried out a deliberately indiscriminate assault targeting Gaza’s entire civilian population and infrastructure. If this or that killed Gazan proves to be a militant or this or that destroyed housing unit stands above a tunnel, it amounts to little more than the margin of error in the totality of this onslaught. Here, then, is Israel’s moral dilemma: were it to prosecute every war criminal in its ranks, there wouldn’t be anyone left to finish the job in Gaza.