Operation Cast Lead Has Failed

The Israeli military says that 1,166 people were killed in Operation Cast Lead, 60 percent of whom were “terrorist operatives.” The state of Israel shamelessly lies in defense of war crimes and crimes against humanity against the Palestinian civilians who live under its thumb. See the Goldstone report and the findings of the international, Palestinian, and Israeli-based human rights organizations that establish the truth of Israel’s aggression against Palestinian civilians, including hundred of children killed in Operation Cast Lead.

According to the state of Israel, Operation Cast Lead was intended to stop rocket attacks into Israel. Some 270 rockets and mortar rounds have been fired from Gaza into Israel since the end of the operation. Operation Cast Lead, besides being an international crime, was a failure in its “intended” purpose. I think it’s clear at this point that no move by Israel short of either making peace with Palestinians or eliminating every Palestinian from Gaza will stop rocket fire or some other sort of violence from at least a handful of Palestinians against Israeli towns within range.

If human rights matter, there is no military solution to this conflict. To be sure, British settlers in North America justified massacring Indians on the grounds that Indians responded violently to colonization. But that didn’t make any less obvious the true source of the violence. Nor did it make the violence morally justifiable. Today, it is not only morally unjustifiable to make war on civilian populations – it is illegal under international law.

Israel will have to make peace, and that peace will have to based on something resembling a just settlement concerning land, property, and resources. The minimum acceptable for something like this is Resolution 242, unanimously adopted by the UN in November 1967, stating that no nation can legitimately acquire territory by war under international law, that Israel must withdraw its forces from territories occupied during the 1967 war, that Israel must terminate its state of belligerency, that Israel must recognize the right of vessels to navigate through international waterways, that Israel negotiate a just settlement of the Palestinian refugee problem.

Realizing the demands of Resolution 242 requires withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the 1967 war and the occupied territories, dismantling all settlements in these areas and the occupied territories, and compensation and/or right of return to expelled Palestinians. The means the removal of Israel forces and settlers to behind the 1949 armistice lines.

More just would be a return to the UN partition map of 1947 established in Resolution 181. Even more just would be the establishment of a single democratic country in Palestine without any ethnic or religious character. These last two options will not happen because of the recalcitrance of Israel and its defender the United States. The first option will likely never happen for the same reason, but it has to be the bottom line or else Israel will continue to consume all of Palestine.

The Fatah constitution contains the following articles: “Article (7) The Zionist Movement is racial, colonial and aggressive in ideology, goals, organisation and method.” And “Article (8) The Israeli existence in Palestine is a Zionist invasion with a colonial expansive base, and it is a natural ally to colonialism and international imperialism.” If the Fatah constitution is wrong, then why does Israel continue to engage in colonial activities? Settlements are the hallmark of colonial expansion. If Zionism is not racist, then why does the Israeli state define itself in specific ethnic terms? Why does the dominant ethnic Jewish population systematically privilege Jews, particularly Ashkenazi Jews (Europeans), and disadvantage Arabs and Mizrahi and Sephardi Jews, those of non-European origins? It isn’t a matter of opinion these characteristics of Zionism and Israeli behavior. They are matters of fact. If the leaders and citizens of Israel do not wish be defined in such a manner, then why, instead of pretending that the facts aren’t what they are, do they not change their policy and behavior?

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Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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