A Case Study of Operation Cast Lead: Understanding Israeli Chosen Trauma to Explain the Principle of Proportionality Employed in the Intervention




Formosa, Gordon

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This dissertation investigates the relationship between the application of proportionality employed in the December 27, 2008 – January 18, 2009 Israeli military intervention known as Operation Cast Lead, carried out in Gaza, and the large-group psycho-political concept known as chosen trauma. Thus this study probes the effect the latter concept played in the outcome of proportionality used by the Israeli military in Gaza against Hamas. The first chapter in this study will supply the general tenets with which the rest of the study shall deal. This will include definitions of proportionality in international humanitarian law, large-group psychology and chosen trauma. Furthermore this introduction shall also give the reader the motivation for carrying it out, aim of the study, postulation of hypotheses and initial research question. The research question revolves around the premise of ascertaining what role historical anxieties have had in modulating the application of proportionality employed by Israel. The second chapter will deal with xi the methodological aspects of the study, in which a thorough discussion of discourse analysis, the reasons for choosing such methodology and its merits and limitations will be tackled. Chapter three consists of the literature review which will primarily deal with building a consistent argument in support of the initial research query. This will start by giving a detailed background of the theoretical framework. Moreover aspects of the damage procured to Gazan infrastructure and civilians will be discussed and tied to Israeli perceptions of threat during the military intervention, with existing empirical and statistical research. Moreover the next chapter will be the actual discursive analysis and discussion of a number of texts sourced from the website of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Relations, after which the last section shall qualify the nature of the results obtained from the analysis. Key words: Proportionality, chosen trauma, identity, Israel, Hamas, Gaza.



Israel, Hamas, Identity, Gaza