|What happened in Gaza this past weekend? For three days, Israeli military aircraft bombarded Palestinians in Gaza, killing dozens, including children. The brutal assault came after months of increased deadly military raids and home demolitions across the occupied West Bank, and just days after the Israeli state closed off Gaza crossings, creating a dire fuel shortage. |
What was the damage? The damage wrought by Israel’s latest attack was overwhelming and horrific. Forty-four Palestinians were killed, including 15 children, and 311 were wounded, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
Without a fuel supply, Gaza’s only power plant shut down on Saturday. Hospitals began warning that within three days, they wouldn’t have enough power to continue operating. To ration energy, the electricity supply was limited to just four hours a day — amid a suffocating heatwave, almost no clean water, and a bombing campaign.
Why did a ceasefire happen so quickly? In our view, there were two main considerations for the Israeli government: Israel currently has an interim government, led by interim Prime Minister Yair Lapid. Lapid will face Benjamin Netanyahu in elections this fall. For many years, interim governments seeking broad support among Israelis have put on a show of force against Palestinians.
This time, the interim government wanted to demonstrate that they are no less forceful and lethal than Netanyahu’s far-right coalition. In just three days, his maneuver had gained approval from the Israeli public. Throughout the weekend, there was talk in the Israeli media about how military aggressions needed to end quickly, to avoid an international outcry on Monday.
How will Gaza get its power back?
Under the terms of the ceasefire agreement, the Israeli government will begin letting fuel supplies into Gaza again. Of course, with all the power in the hands of the Israeli state, Palestinians’ access to life-sustaining materials and goods is under permanent threat.
What was the response from Washington? Mostly quiet. Of those in Congress who spoke out, it was mostly shameful. The overwhelming majority expressed support for Israeli military violence. They echoed themes of “Iranian-funded extremism” and the “miracle” of Israel’s U.S.-provided Iron Dome defense system, with barely a mention of the dozens of Palestinians killed by U.S.-funded bombs dropped from U.S.-funded warplanes. Far fewer spoke out in Gaza’s defense. The clear highlight, as usual, was from Representative Rashida Tlaib:
|President Biden, just back from a trip to the Middle East to solidify our “ironclad” relationship with the Israeli apartheid state, released a statement on Sunday. In it, Biden said “I commend Prime Minister Yair Lapid and his government’s steady leadership throughout the crisis.” Clearly for Biden, “leadership” includes killing children. |
What comes next? With a ceasefire agreement holding, and a pause on overt military offensives, Israel is hoping to avoid any consequences. And perversely, given the cheerleading for the Iron Dome, it’s now more likely anti-Palestinian congresspeople will be able to push through an increase in U.S. military funding. Meanwhile, violence against Palestinians by the Israeli military continues, including a deadly attack in Nablus last night. And Palestinian resistance and resilience also continues, with a general strike called today across the occupied West Bank.
What can I do? For those of us in the U.S., we have to refuse to allow Gaza to leave the headlines. We also need to make sure the media is reporting accurately.
On August 8, the New York Times published A Cease-Fire Holds After a 3-Day Gaza Conflict: Key Takeaways. None of the “takeaways” address Palestinian deaths, or Israel’s 15-year blockade of Gaza, or acknowledge that Palestinian hospitals almost closed over fuel shortages. Please take two minutes and use our tool to email the NYT international editor, and demand they report accurately when the Israeli military attacks Palestinians. Please feel free to use and adapt the sample email on the next page.
Jewish Voice for Peace
P.O. Box 589
Berkeley, CA 94701