Alice Rothchild in CounterPunch:
The both-sides-have-their reasons-but-Israel-is-the-victim stories follow an expected pattern. Israeli Jews, still living in the shadow of the Holocaust, return to their rightful homes and then fight for every inch of what is justly theirs. They are repeatedly faced with intractable Arab terrorists who attack innocent civilians and must be crushed with all the might the Israeli military has at its disposal. Never Again! Add “barely human” Hamas and Iranian militants, and armed and aggressive ultra-Orthodox Jews and settlers abetted by Israeli soldiers defending God’s promises and marching defiantly through Jerusalem yelling “Death to the Arabs!” and we have the narrative in place. The United Nations, a host of human rights groups, and the International Court protest, suggesting various crimes against humanity, while Israelis wring their hands and cry foul. Victim again. The US remains remarkably silent given that much of the weaponry is ours. Could both sides just de-escalate, please?
What is different this time?
While there have been uprisings of Palestinian citizens in Israel against land confiscations and other violations, as well as in support of Palestinians suffering in the territories (Land Day in 1976 comes to mind), now Palestinians in Acre, Haifa, Jaffe, Lod, Nazareth, and Ramle are protesting loudly and vigorously. The mayor of Lod may call this “Kristallnacht” but Palestinian citizens have reached a breaking point, unable to tolerate the 72 year history of racist and exclusionary policies by the Israeli government, its most recent attacks in Jerusalem, and ever-increasing rightward, tending toward fascistic, political parties.
The Israeli government may have miscalculated, although it is entirely possible that the wily Netanyahu thinks that a war would rally the fractured Israeli populace and improve his chances of reappearing Houdini-like as a viable candidate and of course staying out of prison. I suspect that most Israeli politicians believe that anything that causes a rift in the dysfunctional Hamas/ Palestinian Authority relationship and provides an excuse to assassinate a few Hamas leaders is also good for Israel. Israel has already thrown a monkey wrench into the now cancelled Palestinian elections by denying East Jerusalemites the right to vote, thus increasing the distress of the already pandemic stressed occupied Palestinian population.