After a nearly month-long assault that left at least 1,865 Palestinians dead, Israel has pulled its ground forces from the Gaza Strip under the 72-hour ceasefire that went into effect earlier today. Israeli and Palestinian factions have agreed to attend talks in Cairo on a longer-term agreement. Gaza officials say the vast majority of Palestinian victims were civilians in the Israeli offensive that began on July 8. Israel says 64 of its soldiers and three civilians have been killed. Palestinians are returning to homes and neighborhoods that have seen a massive amount of destruction. Nearly a quarter of Gaza’s 1.8 million residents were displaced during the fighting which destroyed more than 3,000 homes. The ceasefire was reached after international outrage over Palestinian civilian deaths peaked, with even Israel’s chief backer, the United States, criticizing recent Israeli shelling of United Nations shelters that killed scores of displaced Palestinians. To discuss the lead-up to the ceasefire and what to expect from the talks in Cairo, we are joined by author and scholar Norman Finkelstein.
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AARON MATÉ: Israel has pulled its ground forces from the Gaza Strip as a 72-hour ceasefire takes hold. In addition, Israeli and Palestinian factions have agreed to attend talks in Cairo on a longer-term agreement. Gaza officials say at least 1,865 Palestinians, most of them civilians, died during Israel’s offensive, which began on July 8th. Israel says 64 of its soldiers and three civilians have been killed. Nearly a quarter of Gaza’s 1.8 million resident were displaced during the assault, which destroyed more than 3,000 homes.
Earlier today, the Israeli military sent out a message reading, quote: “Mission accomplished: We have destroyed Hamas’ tunnels leading from Gaza into Israel. All of Israel is now safer.” Palestinians coming home to their neighborhoods report massive amounts of destruction.
GAZA RESIDENT: [translated] I am destroyed. I’m shocked. I have heart problems, and then I saw our house. We were all shocked. We don’t know what to do. Look at our houses and our children. Everything is destroyed, four apartments. All my children are stranded in the schools. Where are we supposed to go?
AMY GOODMAN: In other developments, a prominent Foreign Office minister in Britain, Sayeeda Warsi, has resigned, saying Britain’s policy on the crisis in Gaza is, quote, “morally indefensible.” In an interview with The Huffington Post, Warsi criticized Britain for pressuring Palestinian leadership not to seek justice at the International Criminal Court. On Monday, Human Rights Watch urged Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to seek ICC jurisdiction over crimes committed on and from Palestinian territory. The group detailed multiple examples of Israeli soldiers shooting and killing fleeing civilians in Gaza.
To talk more about Gaza, we’re joined now by Norman Finkelstein, author and scholar. His most recent books, Old Wine, Broken Bottle: Ari Shavit’s Promised Land and Knowing Too Much: Why the American Jewish Romance with Israel Is Coming to an End.