The Israeli bombardment of Gaza being perpetuated under ‘Operation Pillar of Defense’ comes at an interesting time. Under the leadership of Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak, the expansion of illegal Jewish settlements into Palestinian lands has increased at unprecedented rates. Netanyahu’s administration has approved the construction of 850 settler homes in the occupied West Bank in June 2012, even after the Israeli parliament rejected a bill to retroactively legalize some of the existing homes in the area.  The number of Jewish settlers in the West Bank has almost doubled in the past 12 years, with more than 350,000 residing illegally under international law.  While Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman asserts Tel Aviv’s unwillingness to permit Palestinians any right to return to their lands, emphasizing, “not even one refugee,” apartheid enforced on ethnic and religious lines has become a ratified part of Israeli government policy.  Far-right political discourse that was once considered extremism is now the status quo in Israel.
While Netanyahu publically announced support for a Palestinian state on the West Bank, his government has threaten to end the Oslo Accords if the United Nations General Assembly granted Palestine with non-member observer state status.  A panel of Israeli jurists assembled by Netanyahu’s government to determine the legal status of the West Bank concluded that there is “no occupation” of Palestinian lands and that the continued construction of settlement outposts are entirely legal under Israeli law, despite critical international opinion. Netanyahu’s far right-conservative Likud party was established on the philosophy of Ze’ev Jabotinksy, who called for the establishment of a ‘Greater Israel,’ a concept embraced by Israeli historian Benzion Netanyahu, the father of today’s Prime Minister. Under his fathers influence, Benjamin Netanyahu was indoctrinated in the ideological foundations of Revisionist Zionism, which promote Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria (Palestine) and the full biblical land of Israel by contemporary Jews, an oil rich landmass extending from the banks of the Nile River in Egypt to the shores of the Euphrates.
As rocket fire hits Tel Aviv for the first time since the Gulf War, the ongoing siege of Gaza must be seen as what it is – a premeditated component of Israeli expansionism. Netanyahu was a zealous supporter of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s 2008-2009 sieges on Gaza known as ‘Operation Cast Lead,’ which killed over 1,400 Palestinians, while Israel suffered only 13 causalities.  On November 14, 2012, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) launched an offensive into the Hamas-controlled Gaza strip and began announcing their progress through an official Twitter account. IDF forces assassinated a prominent Hamas military commander, Ahmed Jabari, who was allegedly in possession of a draft copy of a permanent truce agreement with Israel.  The agreement included mechanisms for maintaining the cease-fire in the case of future military exchanges between Israel and the Hamas-led political factions of the Gaza Strip. Militants from the armed wing of Hamas in Gaza retaliated by firing rockets into Israeli territory, a large percentage of which were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system.
Benjamin Netanyahu used this retaliation to claim the moral high ground by warning that he will take “whatever action is necessary” to stop further rocket fire from Gaza into Israel.  IDF officials have called on 30,000 reservists to prepare for a possible extended ground incursion into Gaza, as IDF forces indiscriminately kill civilians attempting to strike Palestinian aerial and naval targets.  The Obama administration has condemned Hamas for perpetuating violence, while Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood government led by Mohamed Morsi recalled Egypt’s ambassador from Tel Aviv. Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Kandil arrived in Gaza after the second day of Israeli attacks in a show of support for Palestine. Through ‘Operation Pillar of Defense,’ Israel is targeting the military foundations of Hamas, while attempting to portray itself as a victim in the international media. IDF forces dropped thousands of Orwellian leaflets over Gaza, urging citizens to take responsibility for their own safety, due to Hamas “once again dragging the region to violence and bloodshed.”