Gaza: Israel’s mythical withdrawal


The Israel Defense Forces have completed five investigations into claims of war crimes during the war on Gaza and concluded, unsurprisingly, that those claims are unfounded.

As an IDF spokesperson said: “The bottom line is that the IDF conducted itself in an appropriate manner within the limits of international law.”

Given the points raised in my earlier post, that may be right, though it demonstrates more about international law than the nature of the violence.

One striking feature of the IDF presentation of its findings is a video containing a 3D animation of the urban landscape in Gaza designed to reinforce the idea that any alleged crimes were the product of the battlefield’s complex geography rather than IDF desire. In a simulation that resembles commercial war-games, the IDF video claims to detail the war-fighting strategies of Hamas forces that endangered civilians and their infrastructure.

The video opens with a narration designed to set the scene for the war in December 2008 that contains this claim:


Few statements could be more untrue. As I noted in my first post on Gaza, quoting Adi Ophir, Israel has maintained a stranglehold on the territory for the last decade or more. While the settlers and associated soliders were withdrawn, nothing for the civilian population moves in or out of Gaza without Israeli consent. What moves, when, and how much, is tightly controlled. The destiny of Gaza’s local population is therefore very much in the combined hands of Israel’s government, the elected Hamas administration and the Palestinian Authority. Until Israel accepts its part in creating the conditions of insecurity it faces, long-term solutions are going to elude all parties to the on-going conflict.

3 Responses to “Gaza: Israel’s mythical withdrawal”

  1. David Campbell

    Human Rights Watch has condemned the IDF inquiry as lacking credibility – see

    HRW has also called for Hamas to be investigated for its extra-judicial killing of at least 32 Palestinian opponents carried out under cover during the Israeli war – see

  2. David Campbell

    ‘Gisha’ is an Israeli NGO promoting freedom of movement in accordance with international law — see

    Their animation, Closed Zone, highlights the continuing confinement of Palestinians despite Israel’s claims of disengagement and withdrawal from Gaza. Watch this short piece at

  3. Photographing the Catastrophe of Gaza | David Campbell -- Photography, Multimedia, Politics

    […] Whether what we did see was what we should have seen (i.e., the strategy of catastrophization in Gaza I have posted on previously here, here and here); […]


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