Some necessary context to the current crisis in Gaza:
1) In a U.S. diplomatic cable in 2008 revealed by Wikileaks, U.S. officials confirmed that Israel maintains a policy of economic strangulation over Gaza just enough “to avoid a humanitarian crisis.” One cable states:
“As part of their overall embargo plan against Gaza, Israeli officials have confirmed to (U.S. embassy economic officers) on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge.”
Israel wanted the coastal territory’s economy “functioning at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a humanitarian crisis”, according to the Nov. 3, 2008 cable.
Read more in Israel’s major daily newspaper Haaretz: WikiLeaks: Israel aimed to keep Gaza economy on brink of collapse
2) Hamas was created, promoted, and funded by the Israeli government as a “divide and conquer” tool in order to counteract Arafat’s Fatah party and the secular nationalist PLO in the 1980’s (ironically, when the US was funding the Afghan mujahideen against the Soviets). Read about it in an investigative 2009 article in the Wall Street Journal entitled How Israel Helped to Spawn Hamas:
“Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel’s creation,” says Mr. Cohen, a Tunisian-born Jew who worked in Gaza for more than two decades. Responsible for religious affairs in the region until 1994, Mr. Cohen watched the Islamist movement take shape, muscle aside secular Palestinian rivals and then morph into what is today Hamas, a militant group that is sworn to Israel’s destruction.
Instead of trying to curb Gaza’s Islamists from the outset, says Mr. Cohen, Israel for years tolerated and, in some cases, encouraged them as a counterweight to the secular nationalists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and its dominant faction, Yasser Arafat’s Fatah. Israel cooperated with a crippled, half-blind cleric named Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, even as he was laying the foundations for what would become Hamas. Sheikh Yassin continues to inspire militants today; during the recent war in Gaza, Hamas fighters confronted Israeli troops with “Yassins,” primitive rocket-propelled grenades named in honor of the cleric.
When Israel first encountered Islamists in Gaza in the 1970s and ’80s, they seemed focused on studying the Quran, not on confrontation with Israel. The Israeli government officially recognized a precursor to Hamas called Mujama Al-Islamiya, registering the group as a charity. It allowed Mujama members to set up an Islamic university and build mosques, clubs and schools. Crucially, Israel often stood aside when the Islamists and their secular left-wing Palestinian rivals battled, sometimes violently, for influence in both Gaza and the West Bank.
3) Do you wonder why you’ve never heard the above two points presented in any kind of media analysis on let’s say FOX, CNN, or nightly cable news? Americans that receive news exclusively through mainstream sources (Washington Post, NY Times, FOX, CNN, NBC, CBS, etc…) should understand that there is some degree of real debate over Gaza and the Israel-Palestine conflict going on even within Israel itself, as well as Jewish media. Israeli policy is almost never subject to critical debate within American major media establishments.
Israel receives its overwhelming firepower and military hardware from the United States government and U.S. taxpayers. There is a huge Israeli lobbying effort in the U.S. which spends millions on influencing politicians, influential analysts, and media personalities. The purpose is to prevent any kind of real public criticism of Israeli action to ensure that the money continues to flow.
Again, it is ironic that one can actually get more divergent views on the Israel-Palestine conflict while reading Jewish and Israeli sources. Consider for example this analysis-driven piece in the Jewish Daily Forward newspaper: How Politics and Lies Triggered an Unintended War in Gaza.
It confirms what I wrote on July 1:
This current round of Gaza bombardment by Israel has little to do with the three Israeli teens kidnapped and murdered in the West Bank, but was planned in advance for political reasons by the Netanyahu government. The murdered teens served as the pretext for an attack on Gaza, in the way that Hezbollah border incidents have been the pretext for Israeli bombing of all of Lebanon. But in this case Israel’s proclaimed target, Hamas, likely had nothing to do with the murdered teens.