I n the U.S., the current Israeli attack on Gaza is presented as an Israeli effort to stop missile attacks, of Israel defending itself. In reality, on Nov. 14, Israel violated an Egyptian-brokered truce when it assassinated Hamas military chief Ahmed al-Jabari and launched numerous air strikes on Gaza.

The killing of Jabari was counterproductive. According to a Nov. 15 Haaretz article by Aluf Benn, Jabari was responsible for the enforcement by Hamas of the various cease-fires with Israel. This assassination actually sparked an increase in the number of missiles being fired from Gaza.

Perhaps more importantly, Israeli peace activist Gershon Baskin said that Jabari had just received a proposal for a long-term truce before Israel assassinated him. Baskin wrote: "Jabari is dead, and so is the chance for a mutually beneficial long term cease-fire understanding."

Regarding Israel's alleged goal, Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai said: "The goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages. Only then will Israel be calm for 40 years."

The U.S. media's coverage of the fighting that has killed more than 140 Palestinians and five Israelis ignores the fact that Gazans are living under a brutal Israeli occupation. Israeli control, with Egypt's help, of Gaza's borders means that Israel determines what enters and leaves Gaza. Israel has used this control to impose a siege on Gaza since 2007. The siege, along with the horrific Israeli attack in December 2008, has devastated Gaza and its people.

In February 2006, Dov Weisglass, an adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, summed up Israel's Gaza policy. He said: "The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger." Even before the 2008 invasion of Gaza, Israeli academic Neve Gordon described the dire situation there as an experiment in famine.

In January 2008, Karen Koning AbuZayd, commissioner general for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, wrote: "Gaza is on the threshold of becoming the first territory to be intentionally reduced to a state of abject destitution, with the knowledge, acquiescence and -- some would say -- encouragement of the international community."

This August, the UN issued a report questioning the viability of life in Gaza in 2020. The situation is even worse now. Israel may have already achieved its goal in Gaza.