Unintentional Precision

After Al-Shifa, the war on Gaza intensifies and expands. It’s worth looking at what is going on and what might be done to respond, rather than just stand in horror and disbelief.

First, there is a certain haunting hypocrisy about the ‘west’ being alerted to the crisis when aid workers (often code for white people) are killed. But here we are.

The newspapers report that “Three British nationals have been killed by an Israeli airstrike that hit an aid convoy in Gaza, the Foreign Office has confirmed. The three Britons were among seven aid workers employed by the charity World Central Kitchen (WCK) spearheading efforts to alleviate looming famine in Gaza. David Cameron spoke to his Israeli counterpart, Israel Katz, on Tuesday and requested an urgent explanation of the incident.”

I mean sure Dave, have a strongly worded phone-call with him. That should do it.

What Israel is telling you is that it unintentionally precision-bombed three World Central Kitchen vehicles. That’s some feat. To recap: the IDF unintentionally ordered the bombing of the first car, but the occupants survived the drone strike with injuries and were rescued by the second vehicle which was also then unintentionally bombed. Then the survivors were rescued by a third vehicle, but this was also unintentionally bombed, killing everyone.

What kind of urgent explanation do you want?

As Tara Houska has put it, there is reason for Israel’s acting with complete impunity: “They bombed a hospital, no response. So they bombed them all. They gunned down starving people at aid convoys, no response. So they bombed an international NGO. They killed 40,000+ Palestinians, no response. So now they kill foreign citizens.”

Now an emboldened Israel has threatened to escalate the conflict beyond the borders by targeting the assassination of the three most senior leaders in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The attack on the consulate in Damascus was carried out by sending F16 jets to bomb the building in broad daylight. This is unprecedented, leading to John Sawers, the former chief of MI6, acknowledging that the attacks would be regarded as an Israeli escalation since diplomatic premises are supposed to enjoy diplomatic immunity.

As the tragedy unspools before us, daily atrocities mount up. And yet, as Jonathon Shafi notes: “The horrific, indeed unfathomable, testimony and imagery from Al-Shifa hospital comes as the US approves an $18 Billion weapons transfer to Israel. All states continuing to send arms are culpable, and prosecution cases should be taken to The Hague.”

Three things are striking about what we are witnessing. The first is that the support of the USA and Britain for Israel is hard-wired into the political elites. It is an unquestionable fact of Foreign Policy that changes not at all between administrations or parties. But even if this is never questioned – despite the mounting wall of evidence of war-crimes and atrocities – this is not to say that it has no political consequences. The aftermath of these grotesque events will have consequences for the perpetrators, their funders and everyone complicit in it. The appalling scenes being witnessed are not easily forgotten and Israel’s global reputation is being destroyed.

Secondly it is clear that there is a deliberate attempt to destroy medical infrastructure. This is systematic and counts as a war crime. Combatants are required to create a filed hospital, offer medical aid to civilians and at Al-Shifa, according to reports from the BBC, none of this was done.

Third, there is a systematic effort to starve a captive population, with humanitarian aid, food trucks and organisations like World Central Kitchen targeted and people attacked as they were at the Flour Massacre. As Bel Trew of the Independent reported after hearing from Associated Press that aid ships have turned back from Gaza with some 240 tons of undelivered aid after strike: “This is the devastating impact of Israel’s attack – not only because WCK has had to suspended all their operations, not only because a shipload of aid is turning back, but because other aid agencies will have to do the same. Civilians are starving and more will starve in Gaza.”

The next phase – beyond destruction and starvation is to clear out the population of Gaza – either because it has been decimated or under the pretext of ‘safety’. But on top of this is settlement, a process you can see in the West Bank but now planned for the post-Gaza period. This report by Jeremy Loffredo has a Zone of Interest tone to it:

Where does this go?

Are we seemingly waiting for elections in the US and the UK to sort things out? How is it viable even for the most deranged Israeli to think that this will lead to a viable, liveable peace? Is there really no threshold, no boundary to the Israeli’s actions that will provoke a response, any response at all?

Comments (7)

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  1. Carolyn Yates says:

    1. Mossad is one of the best secret services in the world but failed to predict the scale and scope of the terror attacks on 7th October.
    2. The IFF is the best most disciplined and well trained state army in the world yet has been unable to use precision and strategy to find and free hostages and/or eradicate Hamas embedded in Gaza.
    Either both services have become rapidly weaker than ever before or there’s another more important plan unfolding – the one state solution and expulsion of Palestinians.

    1. Thank you Carolyn. It doesnt make sense, or sadly it really does

    2. John says:

      Carolyn – many of us have been wondering the same I.e. cock up or conspiracy. I’m afraid the longer this sorry genocidal saga plays out the less believable the cock up option becomes.
      We require the UK government to publish the legal advice on whether Israel has broken international humanitarian law asap. The fact that they refuse to do so is highly suspicious.
      We also need the UK government to :
      stop supplying armaments and financial support to Israel until they cease hostilities.
      To stop the block on funds for UNRWA.
      To start applying trade sanctions on Israel until they cease hostilities.
      These actions would I believe have to be undertaken if it was established that Israel had not complied with international humanitarian law.
      We also require an opposition to address these concerns rather than slavishly agreeing with government as they are more concerned about being called antisemitic than stopping the death in Gaza.

  2. Thomas Dunlop says:

    We all know what is going to happen. If you read the old testament, it is littered with justifications for genocide on behalf of the “chosen” people. That the current Israeli government is full of Biblical literalists, opportunists and convicted criminals, we can have no doubt on what is their minds desire currently. Why our governments do not realise this, god only knows.

  3. SleepingDog says:

    “It is an unquestionable fact of Foreign Policy that changes not at all between administrations or parties.”
    Well, this is an example of what I’ve been saying for a long time. There are great swathes of policy (largely in foreign, military, diplomatic, security, espionage, environmental but also some domestic, industrial and economic etc) that are off-limits to democratic influence in the British and USAmerican Empires. Labour in government has been as imperialist (sometimes even more so) than the Conservatives.

    Supporting genocide, settler colonialism, ethnic cleaning, land theft and apartheid in Israel-Palestine is not at all a break in tradition; we’re just getting to see what this has been like for people on the receiving end in close to realtime. This imperial power is exerted through the royal prerogative and royalist institutions in the British Empire, under draconian and increasing royal secrecy, which is why it is so important to end royalist rule and codify the current British quasi-Constitution.

    No need for the passive tense: Israel is destroying Israel’s global reputation (by which I suspect is meant ‘in the West’ or equivalent). What we don’t know is what coercion or pressure Israel exerts on other political leaderships: dark funding, blackmail using compromising material gained through phone hacking, suitcase nukes in London and Washington? Who is the greatest threat to democracy and the rule of law if not Israel and its backers (including the Christian evangelicals who want to turn the USAmerican Empire into a theocracy)?

  4. Helen Burns says:

    Follow the money. There’s masses of oil and gas offshore between the mainland and Cyprus…….and someone will need a bit of land on the coast for the pipeline to come ashore, and for the stuff to be refined. Ker-ching!

  5. Ellie McDonald says:

    Yes Helen. Follow the money and don’t mention the need of Gaza for access to the natural gas.

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