THE 51 DAY WAR by Max Blumenthal


Ruin and Resistance in Gaza
Email this review


An alarming report on Israel’s devastating 2014 attack on Gaza.

Alternet senior writer Blumenthal (Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel, 2013, etc.) arrived in Gaza on the 38th day of the recent conflict, just as the Israeli military took to the air with fighter jets and drones to deliver a relentless barrage of missiles and bombs. In a narrative based on interviews with citizens, physicians, and others, the author writes that the Israeli military “unleashed massive force against the civilian population,” killing 2,200 people (mostly Palestinian civilians), wounding over 10,000, and destroying about 18,000 homes. Some 3 million bullets were expended in wreaking $7 billion in damage, he writes. “The shocking level of firepower Israeli forces exerted against Gaza’s civilian infrastructure told the story of a frustrated Goliath unable to punish its vastly underarmed foe into submission,” writes Blumenthal. Israel, protected by an advanced sheltering and early warning system, had far fewer casualties. Sympathetic to Gaza's 1.8 million refugees and highly critical of Israel's increasingly right-wing leaders, the author attributes the ferocity of the Israeli attack on “bloodlust” over the deaths of three Israeli teenagers who, said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, had been “abducted and murdered by human animals.” Netanyahu added: “Hamas is responsible and Hamas will pay.” Based on his observations and accounts from survivors, the author charges that the Israeli onslaught targeted Palestinian civilians rather than Hamas fighters. He claims that Israeli soldiers engaged in execution-style killings, deliberately destroyed Gaza City high-rise buildings housing dozens of local media organizations, used Palestinians as human shields, and attacked cemeteries as well as U.N. schools that served as refugee shelters. The war elevated the status of “fundamentalist warriors” in Israel and left a wake of “rage and spreading radicalism” that is certain to bring more military conflict.

Explosive, pull-no-punches reporting that is certain to stir controversy.

Pub Date: June 30th, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-56858-511-6
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Nation Books
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2015


NonfictionI SHALL NOT HATE by Izzeldin Abuelaish
by Izzeldin Abuelaish
NonfictionTHIS IS NOT A BORDER by Ahdaf Soueif
by Ahdaf Soueif
NonfictionPALESTINE INSIDE OUT by Saree Makdisi
by Saree Makdisi