27th Mar 2024

High on Blood Lust

By Yves Smith, NakedCapitalism

Sadly, the Israel leadership and most of its population is high on blood lust and overweening sense of entitlement. And there’s no ready way to get them to sober up. The only wild card I can see somewhat slowing the murderous conduct is Biden dying in office. Harris would correctly be seen as weak and not able to protect Israel’s back as well as Biden.

While an in-depth update on the situation in Gaza and the broader Israel genocidal campaign against Palestinians seems overdue, any full-bore treatment would quickly become emotionally numbing due to extent and savagery of the killing, maiming, and torture of Palestinians. That is before getting to the destruction of Palestinian society by destroying its institutions: its mosques, universities, schools, and hospitals.

As we’ll also cover briefly, the Biden Administration is trying to have it both ways with voters, pretending to Do Something via verbal wet noodle-love-taps. The latest was a cynical resolution at the UN which pretended to be a ceasefire resolution but a reading of the details showed it to be anything but. However, the US got to play virtuous victim when China and Russia vetoed it.

In the meantime, despite Israel’s continuing success in wiping out weak and defenseless Gazans, with a policy of starvation now doing most of the heavy lifting, the Israeli army continues to look like a paper tiger. As we’ll discuss, it is short on material and is increasingly dependent on a US which has drained its reserves in the Ukraine war. That is separate from the points often made by Scott Ritter, that the IDF is also operationally third-rate, with its air force the one arguable exception.

First, to the continuing horror on the ground. A solid, although therefore grim, sighting comes via the must-read Intercept story, “MAN-MADE HELL ON EARTH”: A CANADIAN DOCTOR ON HIS MEDICAL MISSION TO GAZA. The subject is Dr. Yasser Khan, an ophthalmologist specializing in eyelid and reconstructive facial surgery, who has taught and performed surgery in 45 countries in humanitarian settings. As many other doctors who have served in Gaza attest, he has never seen anything approaching the trauma and horror he witnessed there. A few snippets from Dr. Kahn:

What we’d been seeing livestreamed on Instagram, on social media or whatever, I actually saw myself and it was worse than I can imagine.

Doctors have been kidnapped, and, yes, they have been tortured. They dehumanize the doctors and health care workers when they capture them. We’ve seen pictures of them, so we know this happens, and it does indeed happen. A few of the doctors went through torture, and one doctor that came back, he’s a general surgeon, he came back, I was speaking to his wife, and he’s not the same anymore. He was tortured and he still has torture marks over his body, and he’s a general surgeon….These doctors when they come back, the few that are released, there’s still a lot that are under custody with the Israeli forces, they’re not the same anymore…

I’m an eye surgeon, an eye plastic surgeon, and so I saw the classic, what I penned “the Gaza shrapnel face,” because in an explosive scenario, you don’t know what’s coming. When there’s an explosion, you don’t go like this [cover your face], you kind of actually, in fact, open your eyes. And so shrapnel’s everywhere. It’s a well-known fact that the Israeli forces are experimenting [with] weapons in Gaza to boost their weapon manufacturing industry. Because if a weapon is battle-tested, it’s more valuable, isn’t it? It’s got a higher value. So basically they’re using these weapons, these missiles that purposely, intently create these large shrapnel fragments that go everywhere. And they cause amputations that are unusual.

Dr. Khan performed surgeries to remove eyes of multiple children wounded in Israeli strikes, calling the injuries “the Gaza shrapnel face.”

Most amputations occur at the weak points, the elbow or the knee, and so they’re better tolerated. But these [shrapnel fragments] are causing mid-thigh, mid-arm amputations that are more difficult, more challenging, and also the rehabilitation afterward is also more challenging. Also these shrapnels [are] unlike a bullet wound. A bullet wound goes in and out; there’s an entry and exit point. Shrapnel stays there. So you gotta take it out. So the injuries I saw were — I mean, I saw people with their eyes blown apart. And when I was there, and this is my experience, I treated all children when I was there the first time. It was kids that [were aged] 2, 6, 9, 10, 13, 15, and 16, and 17 were the ones that I treated. And their eyes unfortunately had to be removed. They had shrapnel in their eye sockets that I had to remove and, of course, remove the eye. There’s many patients, many children who had shrapnel in both their eyes. And you can only do so much because right now, because of the aid blockade and because of the destruction of most of Gaza, there’s no equipment available to take shrapnel that’s in the eye out. And so we just leave them alone and they eventually go blind.

And so I saw these facial injuries, I saw limbs of children just kind of hanging off, barely connected. I saw abdominal wounds where you had, of course, the intestines exposed.

He also describes how the child amputees, even when not subject to multiple amputations due to infection, can’t be treated so as to be fitted for a prosthetic….charitably assuming they survive and there is money and for that:

The thing is that in any normal amputation, in a normal circumstance, a child who gets amputated goes through about eight or nine operations until they’re adults, to revise the stump and fix the stump. Who is going to do that now? Not only have they lost their supports, their entire family structure, they don’t have the family structure or the infrastructure to do that because it’s all been destroyed. READ MORE: Israel's terrorist proxies attack Moscow concert hall

We had pointed out early on, even while the IDF was bombing Gaza hard, that they had done enough damage to infrastructure, as in destroying shelter and cutting off the electricity for water transport and purification (at that point they had not struck treatment plants…I assume that has happened) that the IDF could let nature run its course and let disease, starvation, and dehydration finish off the Gaza population. Israel now appears to be relying primarily on that approach, even though it is still targeting key facilities like the last remaining pretty functional hospital and also noising up its plan to attack Rafah, as in kill more Palestinians by military means if Egypt, as expected, continues to refuse to enable the ethnic cleansing by letting them enter Egypt.

To underscore that the starvation is intended, in case you harbored any doubt, see the Guardian in Israel will no longer approve Unrwa food aid to northern Gaza, agency says:

The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, Unrwa, said on Sunday that Israel had definitively barred it from making aid deliveries in northern Gaza, where the threat of famine is highest…

Last week a UN-backed food security assessment warned that famine was projected to hit the north of Gaza by May unless there was urgent intervention. Unrwa has not been able to deliver food to the north since 29 January, [Unrwa spokesperson, Juliette] Touma said. READ MORE: Hamas Did NOT Attack Israel on Oct. 7th, Hamas Was Defending the Al-Aqsa mosque

Clearly, what is being prepared is a level of mass killing far beyond the bloodbaths carried out in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere.

Do yourself a favor. Think for yourself. Be your own person. Question everything. Stand for principle. Champion individual liberty and self-ownership where you can. Develop a strong moral code. Be kind to others. Do no harm, unless that harm is warranted. Pretty obvious stuff...but people who hold these things in their hearts seem to be disappearing from the earth at an accelerated rate. Stay safe, my friends. Thanks for being here.


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