It was the sign that got to me. I was standing with protesters outside the Burlington (VT) City Hall at a rally organized by Jewish Voice for Peace. To my left I spotted a man, grim-faced and silent, holding aloft a piece of cardboard with these words scratched in black:
“Jews against Genocide.”
“So it has finally come to this,” I said to myself.
Why, I wondered, would Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Biden administration risk their standing in the world and ignore calls for a ceasefire? Did they have an unspoken agenda?
As a chronicler of the endless post-9/11 wars in the Middle East, I concluded that the end game was likely connected to oil and natural gas, discovered off the coast of Gaza, Israel and Lebanon in 2000 and 2010 and estimated to be worth $500 billion. The discovery promised to fuel massive development schemes involving the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia.
Also at stake was the transformation of the eastern Mediterranean into a heavily militarized energy corridor that could supply Europe with its energy needs as the war in Ukraine dragged on.
Here was the tinderbox waiting to explode that I had predicted in 2022. Now it was exploding before our very eyes. And at what cost in human lives?
Reflections on the Israeli War on Gaza
The year 1975 was my last in beautiful, cosmopolitan Beirut, Lebanon, before it descended into 15 years of brutal civil war, killing 100,000 people.
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