You know how sometimes a cop will turn off his dash cam (often “mistakenly,” or it “malfunctions”) right before he brutalizes or executes a victim? That’s what Israel did yesterday, when it knocked out Gaza’s only power plant, killing the power for most of the population. This, besides its economic/humanitarian impacts, will make it much harder for Gazans to convey their plight to the rest of the world. As smartphone and computer batteries run out, powerful, sympathy-inducing voices from Gaza, like that of the 16-year old Twitter-user Farah Baker (@Farah_Gazan), and the 10-year-old girl in this viral video, will be silenced. And as camera batteries die, we may see fewer devastating images of the carnage and wreckage that Israel is inflicting upon civilians, especially children.
Israeli government officials and their cheerleaders will be most pleased at such a development, as one of their chief complaints in interviews has been the “unfair” impact that such images of, in Netanyahu’s words “telegenically dead Palestinians,” have had on world opinion. Michael Oren, former Israeli ambassador to the US, recently fretted that, “the pictures look terrible on the TV, and that immediately translates into diplomatic pressure on Israel to accept a far-less advantageous ceasefire.” Oren was particularly worried that the outrage over the images would lead to Israel having its (blood-soaked) “hands tied” by the UN Security Council.
Surely, Netanyahu and Oren hope that the electricity black-out will result in a carnage black-out. And with the “telegenically” dead conveniently made invisibly dead, the massacre might become “out of sight, out of mind” enough to much of world opinion, that Israel can secure a Carthaginian peace, with their precious starvation blockade of Gaza fully intact.
Leaving Gaza with no electricity, and therefore no running water or sewage treatment, also furthers another Israeli aim. Netanyahu has stressed the war objective of stripping Hamas of its rocket-firing ability. Since the Qassam rockets they use consist of little more than piping and fertilizer, the only way that could be accomplished would be by completely obliterating any remnants of technology and the division of labor left in Gaza: by bombing the Palestinians “back to the Stone Age” and destroying their infrastructure. A chilling expression of such a desire was given by Gilad Sharon, the son of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in the Jerusalem Post in 2012:
“We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too.
“There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing.”