One year after Israel’s Operation “Cast Lead” sent Israeli troops, tanks and missiles into Gaza with the stated goal of ending rocket fire on southern and eastern Israeli cities, the anniversary is being marked more outside of Israel than inside. Other than brief words, Israeli politicians did little to mark the war’s anniversary. A rally in Sderot is set for December 31, 2009.
Israeli media, notoriously short of attention span, are preoccupied with the latest internal political maneuvering. Will all or part of the Kadima party join the government? Will Kadima leader Tzipi Livni be toppled by Shaul Mofaz? Is Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s politicking brilliant, opportunist, desperate, or all three?
Surely, the political gamesmanship in Israel is influenced by the fallout from the Gaza War, the harshly critical Goldstone Report, increasing global isolation, and pressure from West Bank Palestinians, if not Gaza’s Hamas leaders.
Israel is seemingly united on its combined defensive crouch and counter-offensive efforts to delegitimize Goldstone. However, cracks in the façade of unity are coming through on the seemingly solid support for the effort to bring home captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, held for more than three years now by Hamas (presumably) in Gaza. Netanyahu played down expectations of Shalit’s imminent release in advance of his Tuesday, December 29, 2009, trip to Egypt.
Political leaders and media from outside Israel commenting on the Gaza War are tending to reflect their built-in biases. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon bemoaned the conditions in Gaza. An Al-Jazeera TV special claimed Israel’s incursion into Gaza failed to achieve its goal of reducing Palestinian rocket fire (even as many other media and Israel itself noted that 2009 was a year of relative quiet but for isolated incidents.
Hamas efforts to whip up its populace seem to have fallen flat. Independent reports indicate that the first day of a planned 22 days of rallies (for each day of the war) went by with a whimper not a bang. Egypt has cracked down on a group of pro-Palestinian activists who sought to mark the event from the Egyptian side of the Gaza border.
A smattering of pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel protests (and pro-Israel counter-rallies) occurred around the world. An effort to make Gaza a “trending topic” on Twitter succeeded but faded in less than a day.
Here is a summary of Shalom Hartman Institute commentary on the Gaza War, the Goldstone Report, and Gilad Shalit:
- Donniel Hartman: Doing what we must to bring Gilad Shalit home
- Donniel Hartman: The pain and dilemma of an Israeli father and citizen
- Donniel Hartman: Fighting a just war against Hamas justly
- Donniel Hartman: Gaza War: We won, we left, now what?
- Avi Sagi: The IDF’s moral eclipse
- Avi Sagi: The spirit of the IDF ethics code and the investigation of Operation Cast Lead