American writer Norman Finkelstein is soon to release his new book, “This Time We Went Too Far: Truth and Consequences of the Gaza Invasion“, a concise examination of Israel’s bombardment of Gaza in late 2008 and early 2009. (It’s also worth noting that Finkelstein has chosen a relatively new publisher, OR Books, to release his work, a print on demand and online distributor).
Here’s the forward:
Alongside many others I have devoted much of my adult life to the achievement of a just peace between Israel and Palestine. It cannot be said that Palestinians living under occupation have derived much benefit from these efforts. The changes that have occurred have only been for the worse. Under the guise of what is called the “peace process” Israel has effectively annexed wide swaths of the West Bank and shredded the social fabric of Palestinian life there and in the Gaza Strip.
It would nonetheless be unduly pessimistic to say that no progress has been made. Israel can no longer count on reflexive support for its policies. Public opinion polls over the past decade reveal a growing unease with Israeli conduct not only outside but also inside Jewish communities around the world. This shift largely stems from the fact that the public is now much better informed. Historians have dispelled many of the myths Israel propagated to justify its dispossession and displacement of Palestine’s indigenous population; human rights organizations have exposed Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinians living under occupation; and a consensus has crystallized in the legal-diplomatic arena around a settlement of the conflict that upholds the basic rights of Palestinians.
The simmering discontent with Israeli conduct reached a boiling point in December 2008 when Israel invaded Gaza. The merciless Israeli assault on a defenseless civilian population evoked widespread shock and disgust. Deep fissures opened up in the Jewish communities, especially among the younger generations. Many of Israel’s erstwhile supporters who did not vocally dissent chose to remain silent rather than defend the indefensible.
The first part of this book analyzes the motives behind Israel’s assault on Gaza and chronicles what Amnesty International called “22 days of death and destruction.” The least that we owe the people of Gaza is an accurate record of the suffering they endured. No one can bring back the dead or restore the shattered lives of those who survived but we can still respect the memory of their sacrifice by preserving it intact.
But this book is not just a lament; it also sets forth grounds for hope. The bloodletting in Gaza has roused the world’s conscience. The prospects have never been more propitious for galvanizing the public not just to mourn but to act. We have truth on our side, and we have justice on our side. These become mighty weapons once we have learned how to wield them effectively. The challenge now is two-fold: to master, and inform the public of, the unvarnished record of what happened in Gaza; and then to mobilize the public around a settlement of the conflict that all of enlightened opinion has embraced—but that Israel and the United States, standing in virtual isolation, have rejected. It is my hope that this book will help meet this challenge and, ultimately, enable everyone, Palestinian and Israeli, to live a dignified life.