Understand that last year’s Gaza assault was only the beginning

Gazans are remembering their dead after Israel’s attack.

But according to the New York Times:

In the year since Israel launched its devastating military offensive against Hamas in Gaza, the country’s political and military leaders have faced intense international condemnation and accusations of possible war crimes.

But Israel seems to have few qualms. Officials and experts familiar with the country’s military doctrine say that given the growing threats from Iranian-backed militant organizations both in Gaza and in Lebanon, Israel will probably find itself fighting another, similar kind of war.

Only next time, some here suggest, Israel will apply more force.

“The next round will be different, but not in the way people think,” said Giora Eiland, a retired major general and former chief of Israel’s National Security Council. “The only way to be successful is to take much harsher action.”

Such talk has raised alarm among some critics in Israel, but so far it has stirred little public debate.

These actions are only allowed to continue because the Western world, including the US, Australia and the UK, continues to provide political and military cover for war crimes.

Ben White, writing on Al-Jazeera English, explains how these kinds of wars are part of Israel’s inner logic:

That this was a “carefully planned” assault intended “to punish, humiliate and terrorise a civilian population” was clear at the time.

The Jerusalem Post reported Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, as saying that Israel’s aim was to “to provide a strong blow to the people of Gaza so that they would lose their appetite for shooting at Israel”.

As hundreds of Palestinians were being killed, The Washington Post related how the “hope” of Israeli officials was that “Gazans become disgusted with Hamas and drive the group from power”.

An Israeli ex-national security adviser told The New York Times that “the terrible devastation” caused by going beyond just “military targets” would lead to “a lot of political pressure” on Hamas.

Targeting civilians to advance a political goal is a standard definition of terrorism: in the words of the US state department, “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets”. US federal law describes terrorism as violence or “life-threatening acts” apparently intended “to intimidate or coerce a civilian population”.

A final part of Israel’s political strategy for the Gaza Strip is to turn the territory into a depoliticised humanitarian crisis, its population rendered utterly dependent on international aid. This is the strategy of ‘de-development’ that has been going on for decades and which is now intensified and more brutal.