A well-informed colleague informed me, and I have checked with reliable sources (including the BBC), that the Israeli military on 4 November seriously breached the Gaza ceasefire when it raided Gaza and it did so again on 17 November. Israel also sealed off Gaza leaving the 1.4 million inhabitants of this densely populated enclave in a dire predicament. My informant adds that on 23 December 2008 the Israeli government received a report from its own advisers that Hamas wanted to extend the ceasefire if the blockade was partially lifted. Ignoring this, the Israeli government launched the current campaign against Gaza. It is well evidenced that Israeli air force personnel had been doing air strikes training for months. I now believe that this current military action was cynically devised for the purpose of exploiting the interregnum between the departure of Bush and the inauguration of Obama and it looks to me as though the attack was pre-ordained whatever Hamas did. I suspect it was launched for the purpose of securing the victory of ex-Mossad hardliner Tzipi Livni (a friend of Condoleeza Rice, allegedly) in the forthcoming Israeli elections.
Meanwhile the Israeli invasion is radicalising countless people into more enemies. I have trawled several Middle Eastern English-language websites including Al Jazeera and it is clear that in comparison the coverage we are getting here in the UK is pretty sanitised. There, the images are of Gaza City against a horizon of smoke and fire; ordinary people distraught at the loss of their homes and loved ones; and worst of all, images of dead, dying and horribly injured children, including a particularly horrific image of the head of a four-year-old girl who was killed. Today's headline is that the number of Palestinian dead has passed 800 and of injured well over 3,000. This military action is not just criminal and murderous, it is stupid, stupid, stupid.