'Sadism and Savagery I've Never Seen Before': Max Blumenthal & Chris Hedges Discuss 2014 Assault on Gaza

Recent tensions in the West Bank and East Jerusalem have brought the long-standing Israeli occupation of Palestine back into the news. Discussion of a third Intifada and a "wave of violence" have John Kerry rushing to the region to "calm things down" and pundits scrambling to lay blame. Missing from recent news is an important piece of context: Palestine is still reeling from the Israeli assault on Gaza last summer that left 11,000 wounded and over 2,200 dead, 70% of them children. 

Pulitzer Prize-winner Chris Hedges and AlterNet's Max Blumenthal recently sat down to discuss the situation on Hedges' new teleSUR show, "Days of Revolt," a series that focuses on people around the world fighting injustice. 

"The homes [in Gaza] are three to four stories high," Blumenthal said, "and each floor represents a generation, so when it gets hit by a missile, you see a family liquidated." His words play over video of explosions destroying apartment complexes and sometimes entire city blocks. The UN estimates that over 20,000 homes were destroyed and over 500,000 Gazans displaced during last summer's Operation Protective Edge.

The two men also discuss a chilling economic angle on the carnage. A major sector of Israel's economy is the design, manufacturing and exporting of weapons and weapons systems.

"These horrific weapons they are testing," Hedges said. "I mean, they're using the people of Gaza like guinea pigs." The weapons in question, so-called DIME bombs (or dense inert metal explosives), are, according to Blumenthal, "tungsten-based and attack human tissue over a matter of days... [they have] a very small entry wound and result in the massive burning of the organs." The use of these weapons, Hedges notes, creates a perverse incentive to test new, brutal weapons that can later be exported.

As the false symmetry of "tit for tat" framing plays out in our media, their discussion is a useful reminder that over the past few years, what's happened in Palestine is anything but symmetrical. 

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