William Pfaff is the author of The Irony of Manifest Destiny, published in June 2010 by Walker and Company (New York) -- his tenth and culminating work on international politics and the American destiny. He describes the neglected sources and unforeseen consequences of the tragedy towards which the nation's current effort to remake the world to fit America's measure is leading. His previous books and his articles in The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, and his syndicated newspaper column, featured for a quarter century in the globally read International Herald Tribune, have made him one of America's most respected and internationally influential interpreters of world affairs.   [Read more...]
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A Pariah State?

Paris, July 30, 2014 -- Israeli attacks on hospitals and UNRWA refugee shelters brought the total of Palestinian dead to 1,224 according to the UN this morning, with more no doubt to come. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has just promised his people “a prolonged campaign” in Gaza. If it is, Israel may find itself considered, even by Americans, a pariah state.

Children on playgrounds and in shelters will undoubtedly again be among the victims. Those killed on Monday, the Israeli Defense Forces say, were not killed by them, but by Hamas missiles aimed at Israel. The 19 killed yesterday were the victims of artillery fire.

Diligent readers will recall that last week’s attack on the URWA school at Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza, killing 16 women and children and wounding more than 100, was described by Israel as a matter of “Hamas rockets or mortar shells falling short,” as the IDF explained to London’s Financial Times.

Later, the explanation was changed to one of Israeli forces responding to “intense fire from the school area,” and was meant to eliminate the threat. U.N. Refugee Works officials said they had informed the Israelis twelve times of the school’s coordinates, pleading for permission from the IDF to evacuate the civilians, which never was given. Yesterday's school attack disregarded 17 UN warnings.

The Israeli military is neither incompetent nor accident-prone, particularly when UNRWA schools and other U.N. or independent international aid agencies are concerned. But in its ranks there is also a theory (no doubt picked up from others) that terrorization works. By those inevitably imperfect but plausible accounts journalists and humanitarian agencies try to compile in such matters, Brit Hanoun was the fourth U.N. school hit in this campaign.


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