Operation Cast Lead killed 1,417 people. Chillingly, the generals call their repeated bombardments ‘mowing the lawn’
This month marks the 10th anniversary of the first major military assault on the 2 million Palestinians of the Gaza Strip. After its unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, Israel turned the area into the biggest open-door prison on Earth. The two hallmarks of Israel’s treatment of Gaza since then have been mendacity and the utmost brutality towards civilians.
On 27 December 2008, Israel launched Operation Cast Lead, pounding the densely populated strip from the air, sea and land for 22 days. It was not a war or even “asymmetric warfare” but a one-sided massacre. Israel had 13 dead; the Gazans had 1,417 dead, including 313 children, and more than 5,500 wounded. According to one estimate 83% of the casualties were civilians. Israel claimed to be acting in self-defence, protecting its civilians against Hamas rocket attacks. The evidence, however, points to a deliberate and punitive war of aggression. Israel had a diplomatic alternative, but it chose to ignore it and to resort to brute military force.