A picture tells a thousand words as the old cliche goes. From this map it’s very plain why Palestinians are rightfully aggrieved and why Israel is at fault for this despite copious protestations of innocence.
Keeping up with all the great writing on the net about the current Israeli onslaught on the Gazan people is nigh on impossible, still, here’s a smattering of what we’ve collected of the good stuff for future reference. Please feel free to add your choices in the comments at the bottom of this post.
Mark Steel writes brilliantly in his satirical opinion So what have the Palestinians got to complain about?
The gap between the might of Israel’s F-16 bombers and Apache helicopters, and the Palestinians’ catapulty thing is so ridiculous that to try and portray the situation as between two equal sides requires the imagination of a children’s story writer.
The reporter on News at Ten said the rockets “may be ineffective, but they ARE symbolic.” So they might not have weapons but they have got symbolism, the canny brutes.
It’s no wonder the Israeli Air Force had to demolish a few housing estates, otherwise Hamas might have tried to mock Israel through a performance of expressive dance.
The rockets may be unable to to kill on the scale of the Israeli Air Force, said one spokesman, but they are “intended to kill”.
Maybe he went on: “And we have evidence that Hamas supporters have dreams, and that in these dreams bad things happen to Israeli citizens, they burst, or turn into cactus, or run through Woolworths naked, so it’s not important whether it can happen, what matters is that they WANT it to happen, so we blew up their university.”
Palestine’s Guernica and the Myths of Israeli Victimhood – Mustafa Barghouti, Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative dispels several myths propagated by Israel, including
While Israel has indeed removed the settlements from the tiny coastal Strip, they have in no way ended the occupation. They remained in control of the borders, the airspace and the waterways of Gaza, and have carried out frequent raids and targeted assassinations since the disengagement.
Furthermore, since 2006 Israel has imposed a comprehensive siege on the Strip. For over two years, Gazans have lived on the edge of starvation and without the most basic necessities of human life, such as cooking or heating oil and basic medications. This siege has already caused a humanitarian catastrophe which has only been exacerbated by the dramatic increase in Israeli military aggression.
Uri Avnery reminds us of the state of play between the parties in A Memo to Obama on Israel:
13) The terms of Israeli-Palestinian peace are clear. They have been crystallized in thousands of hours of negotiations, conferences, meetings and conversations. They are:
13.1) A sovereign and viable State of Palestine will be established side by side with the State of Israel.
13.2) The border between the two states will be based on the pre-1967 Armistice Line (the “Green Line”). Insubstantial alterations can be arrived at by mutual agreement on an exchange of territories on a 1:1 basis.
13.3) East Jerusalem, including the Haram-al-Sharif (“Temple Mount”) and all Arab neighborhoods will serve as the capital of Palestine. West Jerusalem, including the Western Wall and all Jewish neighborhoods, will serve as the capital of Israel. A joint municipal authority, based on equality, may be established by mutual consent to administer the city as one territorial unit.
13.4) All Israeli settlements–except any which might be joined to Israel in the framework of a mutually agreed exchange of territories– will be evacuated (see 15 below).
13.5) Israel will recognize in principle the right of the refugees to return. A Joint Commission for Truth and Reconciliation, composed of Palestinian, Israeli and international historians, will examine the events of 1948 and 1967 and determine who was responsible for what. Each individual refugee will be given the choice between (1) repatriation to the State of Palestine, (2) remaining where he/she is living now and receiving generous compensation, (3) returning to Israel and being resettled, (4) emigrating to any other country, with generous compensation. The number of refugees who will return to Israeli territory will be fixed by mutual agreement, it being understood that nothing will be done that materially alters the demographic composition of the Israeli population. The large funds needed for the implementation of this solution must be provided by the international community in the interest of world peace. This will save much of the money spent today on military expenditure and direct grants from the United States.
13.6) The West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip constitute one national unit. An extraterritorial connection (road, railway, tunnel or bridge) will connect the West Bank with the Gaza Strip.
13.7) Israel and Syria will sign a peace agreement. Israel will withdraw to the pre-1967 line and all settlements on the Golan Heights will be dismantled. Syria will cease all anti-Israeli activities conducted directly or by proxy. The two parties will establish normal relations between them.
13.8) In accordance with the Saudi Peace Initiative, all member states of the Arab League will recognize Israel and establish normal relations with it. Talks about a future Middle Eastern Union, on the model of the EU, possibly to include Turkey and Iran, may be considered.
From the ashes of Gaza – Tariq Ali points to a one state solution:
Soon after the Hamas election victory in Gaza, I was asked in public by a Palestinian what I would do in their place. “Dissolve the Palestinian Authority” was my response and end the make-believe. To do so would situate the Palestinian national cause on its proper basis, with the demand that the country and its resources be divided equitably, in proportion to two populations that are equal in size – not 80% to one and 20% to the other, a dispossession of such iniquity that no self-respecting people will ever submit to it in the long run. The only acceptable alternative is a single state for Jews and Palestinians alike, in which the exactions of Zionism are repaired. There is no other way.
A new U.S. policy for Israelis and Palestinians – Jess Ghannam is on the faculty of the department of psychiatry and global health sciences at UC San Francisco. While she does not proffer Fringe’s diagnosis of Israel as suffering from a national form of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, Ghannam describes the symptoms.
Finkelstein: Israel seeking Arab obeisance – Gary Norman Finkelstein in his interview says:
Number one Israel wants to reestablish what it calls its deterrence capacity. That is a technical term that the Israelis use. It basically means to restore the fear of Israel among the Arab states in the region.
After the defeat inflicted by Hezbollah and the inability of Israel to launch an attack on Iran it was almost inevitable that they would attack Hamas, because Hamas is defying the Israeli will. According to the Israeli papers, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak was planning the attack before the last ceasefire and they were just waiting for a provocation from the Palestinians.
On November 4, the Israelis broke the ceasefire with Hamas knowing full well–and if you review the Israeli papers, they say so knowing full well that when they killed six militants in Gaza the Palestinians would retaliate and then Israel would have the pretext to invade. Therefore, the first goal was to restore the fear of Israel among Arabs by inflicting a bloodbath in Gaza.
The Gaza Massacre – Taki Theodoracopulos notes similarities between the German occupation of Greece and Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.
During the German occupation of Greece, the occupiers posted the following rules: If any German soldier was found murdered, 10 Greeks would immediately be rounded up at random and executed; if there was a repetition, the number would go up to 100.
Since 2005 Israel, which is still punishing the original inhabitants of the lands it rules or occupies, has killed 150 Palestinians for each Israeli killed these last eight years. Just think of it. Seventeen Israeli lives have been expunged by the murder of 2550 Palestinian ones. That’s doing much better than the Nazis.
Is the UN complicit in Israel’s massacre in Gaza? – Omar Barghouti looks at the sanitisation of the massacre in Gaza perpetrated by the UN:
Now, senior UN officials, excluding the particularly courageous and principled UN Special Rapporteur for human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory, Richard Falk, and a few others, are only focusing on “women and children” victims of the massacre, implying, even if unintentionally, that all Palestinian men in Gaza are fair game for the Israeli killing machine. The tens of Palestinian civilian policemen that were butchered in the opening hours of the massive Israeli attack by dozens of fighter jets were, thus, conveniently dismissed by such irresponsible UN figures of casualties as Hamas “fighters,” more or less, that may be targeted with impunity. This is not to mention the scores of male teachers, doctors, workers, farmers and unemployed who were killed by Israel’s indiscriminate bombing in their workplaces, public offices, homes or streets and were not accounted for as civilian victims of Israel’s belligerent murder spree.
Gaza’s New Year doesn’t break from the last – news from Gaza by Mohammad:
Israeli F-16 warplanes had just destroyed the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Education, and the Palestinian Legislative Council, all potent symbols of Israel’s desire to destroy and demolish. I cannot think of any excuse for the destruction of ministries that regulate law and order and education.
The bombing continued, as it has for six days now. The targets are almost exclusively civilian, as they have been for six days. A school in the Tufah neighborhood, a mosque in Abasan, homes, farms, the aforementioned ministries and the house of Palestinian democracy, the Legislative Council.
From 2006, a reminder of the reasonable outcome Hamas is seeking – Israel must withdraw to pre-1967 borders if Israel:
“is ready to give us the national demand to withdraw from the occupied area [in] ’67; to release our detainees; to stop their aggression; to make geographic link between Gaza Strip and West Bank, at that time, with assurance from other sides, we are going to accept to establish our independent state at that time, and give us one or two, 10, 15 years time in order to see what is the real intention of Israel after that.”
Until Israel says what its final borders will be, Hamas will not say whether it will ever recognize Israel, Zahar said. “If Israel is ready to tell the people what is the official border, after that we are going to answer this question.”
In the Akram Al Kanwa’s family of 10 children, 7 were injured; 2 remain in hospital. … Either from shock or a physical effect of a nearby explosion 3 days ago, 11,000 were dead … that’s 11,000 less dinners for Gaza families, not even counting the eggs.
Will we hear any protests from PETA about this? Doubtful.
The truth about those rockets from Dennis Rahkonen, quoting Jerusalem Post writer Larry Derfner:
“The [Palestinian] Kassam [rockets] have terrorized the 25,000 people in Sderot and its environs, but have caused very, very few deaths or serious wounds. By contrast, Israel has terrorized 1.5 million Gazans, locked them inside their awfully narrow borders, throttled their economy, and killed and seriously wounded thousands of them . . .
“This is crazy. Israel is the superpower of the Middle East, but because we still think we’re the Jews of Europe in the 1930s, or the Israelites under Pharaoh, we spend a lot more time fighting our enemies than we might if we looked at the whole picture, not just our half of it . . .”
Israel’s hasbara propaganda machine is dissected.
in Salon, Glenn Greenwald looks at the blindsupport given to Israel by the US, despite the strong feeling in democratic camps (55% against – 31% for) that the criminal offensive on Gaza is not kosher, the monstrous annual tithe delivered by the US taxpayer to the Zionist land grabbers to support their military thuggery and the obvious consequences to US national security in doing so. It’s difficult to work out whether Israel owns the US, or vice versa.
Democracy Now interviews the conscientious objector nephew of Netanyahoo, Jonathan Ben-Artzi and Dov Khenin, member of the Hadash party, a Jewish-Arab party also known as the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality.
JONATHAN BEN-ARTZI: Well, it’s not—you know, it’s not only my uncle. It’s the voices of most Israelis. And what’s worrying is that it’s the voices of many—although there are many who, as Dov said, many Israelis who do oppose this, there are far more Israelis who blindly support this. And, you know, even given the war in Lebanon of two-and-a-half years ago, where Israel killed so many people and yet emerged the loser, by all accounts, of that endeavor, they once again support something similar, which is bound for failure, only after collecting hundreds or thousands of bodies of dead innocent people.
So, you know, I’m speaking to you here not as anyone’s nephew or anything like that, but just as someone who’s, you know, speaking as an Israeli—I’m not an American—and trying to speak out to Americans to tell them you don’t have to support Israel blindly. Not everything that Israel does is holy. And sometimes you have to speak firmly to Israel and tell us, tell our government, you know, stop doing this.
Ted Honderich has a perceptive overview of Israel’s descent into madness:
The preponderant aim of neo-Zionism in Gaza now is neo-Zionism. It is that vicious selfishness. It is that semitism on a level with anti-semitism and now beginning to be comparable in effects. The state of Israel has no moral right to pursue its preponderant aim in Gaza.
That is not quite all. In its neo-Zionism, Israel has no moral right to defend itself against the rockets used against it. Whatever the instincts of human nature, it has no more right to defend itself against them than Hitler Germany had a right to defend itself and its death camps.
What Israel is engaged in is not even war. For a war, in the connotation of the term that is necessary, including necessary for propaganda, you need two sides comparable in power. What is happening in Gaza now is something else.
It is the Palestinians who have had, and now have, a moral right to their terrorism, their justified self-defence against neo-Zionism, in all of historic Palestine. The argument for that proposition, partly on the basis of the Principle of Humanity, is now easier.
As promised, here’s the responses I received to questions posed to Israel’s Consulate in New York, represented by Consul @DavidSaranga in a governmental world first public press conference on Twitter today.
One of the aims appeared to be pushing a slick vidcast ad about life under Hamas bombing in Sderot complete with petition – perhaps in the interests of global citizen’s democracy and balance, the Israelis will turn the power back on in Gaza so its hapless populace can prepare a glossy vid of their own.
Though one couldn’t say real twittering rapport was achieved, the flood of questions from round the planet kept the Consul’s fingers hopping! Twitter is probably not the best medium to conduct open press conferences that are likely to attract large numbers of participants – still, I gained a few interesting followers and was pleased some of my questions were answered, albeit with nothing particularly unpredictable – where information delivered was questionable, I took the trouble to reply with correct links where applicable.
@IsraelConsulate what is your understanding of the word “apartheid“? [link]
@Jinjirrie: There are no Israelis are living in Gaza so there is no segregation. the only solution is a 2 state solution #askisrael [link]
@israelconsulate gaza effectively occupied by israel , yet without rights enjoyed by israelis … justification? #askisrael [link]
@israelconsulate why not aim for a wonderful 1 state solution? sooner or later demographic facts will make this inevitable surely #askisrael [link]
@IsraelConsulate why did Israel break the ceasefire with Hamas with incursions in November? http://is.gd/e7c0 #AskIsrael [link]
@Jinjirrie: Hamas decided to break the CF: http://tinyurl.com/3v4gkl #askisrael [link]
@israelconsulate better source for cf here http://is.gd/dTEH – hamas offered to renew truce, on very reasonable terms – comment? #askisrael [link]
@IsraelConsulate why is Israel attacking a civilian mercy ship? #AskIsrael #gaza http://is.gd/e8n6 [link]
@jinjirrie During CF 3 ships were let in. Due to escalation, we have decided to keep the ships out of harms way 4 their safety.#askisrael [link]
@israelconsulate how is ramming an aid ships & firing round it keeping ‘them out of harm’s way’? #askisrael [link]
@israelconsulate Ur reply to @jinjirrie disingenuous.Aid ship blocked 4 its own safety? Imagine they know risks http://is.gd/eds8 #askisrael [link]
The captain of the Dignity told Penhaul he received no warning. Only after the collision did the Israelis come on the radio to say they struck the boat because they believed it was involved in terrorist activities.
The captain and crew said their vessel was struck intentionally, Penhaul said, but Palmor called those allegations “absurd.”
“There is no intention on the part of the Israeli navy to ram anybody,” Palmor said.
“I would call it ramming. Let’s just call it as it is,” McKinney said after the boat docked in Lebanon. “Our boat was rammed three times, twice in the front and one on the side”
“Our mission was a peaceful mission to deliver medical supplies and our mission was thwarted by the Israelis — the aggressiveness of the Israeli military,” she said.
The incident occurred in international waters about 90 miles off Gaza.
Followup questions I asked pursuant to replies received by others:
@anotherpundit Isr. only targets mil. installations. Unfortunate damage 2 civ. targets occurs. Hamas purposely puts civ. at risk. #AskIsrael [link]
@israelconsulate why does israel bomb civilian police stations & universities if it ‘only targets military installations?’ #askisrael [link]
@realprince IL is pro ceasefire, but due 2 R exp. these R used 2 strengthen Hamas. we’d rther negotiate than fight. #AskIsrael [link]
@IsraelConsulate ‘rather negotiate than fight?’ why a different tune from you to israeli politicians http://is.gd/ediV #askisrael [link]
@jranck crossings r open. 2day 33 trucks of aid & 5 ambulances. Among them r: UNRAW, MSF, ICRC & WFP. In the last 6 mnts: 17,000 @askisrael [link]
@IsraelConsulate UN says 600 lorry loads of food & medicine needed daily & israel allows in 33 .. discrepancy??? #askisrael [link]
@xylem we believe talking is the best way, but we’ll talk only to factions that accept our right to live. a right Hamas denies #AskIsrael\ [link]
@israelconsulate http://is.gd/edAy hamas conditns for accptig israel were clear & reasonable esp. ending the illegal occupation #askisrael [link]
And lastly, my remaining unanswered questions, which I hope will be addressed at a later date:
@IsraelConsulate when did the psyop warning phone calls to gazans start after the initial Cast Lead surprise? #askisrael [link]
@IsraelConsulate how long before abbas stops being a suitable ‘partner for peace’ like all the others before? #askisrael [link]
@IsraelConsulate 5000 palestinians koed by israel & 14 israelis koed by rockets in 7 yrs – when will the illegal occupation end? #askisrael [link]
A man who takes away another man’s freedom is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness. I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else’s freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity – Nelson Mandela
Bombs are raining down on Gaza. In that tiny, densely populated strip of land on the Mediterranean, under merciless siege for the past 18 months, there is nowhere to hide, no sophisticated air raid shelters or safe zones. When the chilling phone call comes from the Israeli psyops that one’s home is near a target, there is nowhere safe to go. The initial Israeli attack however was reportedly a surprise.
It is well worth considering that 55% of the 1.5 million Gazan population are under the age of 18. Israel has killed 31 children and wounded 140 thus far in the past 4 days of its pogrom from a total
360 375 people killed and counting.
Israeli politicians and their complicit foreign muppets coldly bleat about how Hamas must stop its barrage of homemade rockets which have killed 4 people during Operation Cast Lead.
During the last seven years, 14 Israelis have been killed by mostly homemade rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, while more than 5,000 Palestinians were killed by Israel with some of the most advanced US-supplied armaments in the world. And while no rockets are fired from the West Bank, 45 Palestinians have died there at Israel’s hands this year alone.
Yet Israel refuses to seek a truce – they have more killing in mind and a powerful military funded gratuitously with yankee dollars with which to accomplish their goals.
Are they are enjoying this slaughter, this reenactment of the Shoah which was visited upon them long ago and with which they have threatened the people of Gaza this year? Will they stretch out their criminal collective punishment of the Gazan people until that mindless fool Bush is out of office?
Before it falls down the memory hole, we should remember that last week, Hamas offered a ceasefire in return for basic and achievable compromises. Don’t take my word for it. According to the Israeli press, Yuval Diskin, the current head of the Israeli security service Shin Bet, “told the Israeli cabinet [on 23 December] that Hamas is interested in continuing the truce, but wants to improve its terms.” Diskin explained that Hamas was requesting two things: an end to the blockade, and an Israeli ceasefire on the West Bank. The cabinet – high with election fever and eager to appear tough – rejected these terms.
The core of the situation has been starkly laid out by Ephraim Halevy, the former head of Mossad. He says that while Hamas militants – like much of the Israeli right-wing – dream of driving their opponents away, “they have recognised this ideological goal is not attainable and will not be in the foreseeable future.” Instead, “they are ready and willing to see the establishment of a Palestinian state in the temporary borders of 1967.” They are aware that this means they “will have to adopt a path that could lead them far from their original goals” – and towards a long-term peace based on compromise.
The rejectionists on both sides – from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran to Bibi Netanyahu of Israel – would then be marginalised. It is the only path that could yet end in peace but it is the Israeli government that refuses to choose it. Halevy explains: “Israel, for reasons of its own, did not want to turn the ceasefire into the start of a diplomatic process with Hamas.”
Why would Israel act this way? The Israeli government wants peace, but only one imposed on its own terms, based on the acceptance of defeat by the Palestinians. It means the Israelis can keep the slabs of the West Bank on “their” side of the wall. It means they keep the largest settlements and control the water supply. And it means a divided Palestine, with responsibility for Gaza hived off to Egypt, and the broken-up West Bank standing alone. Negotiations threaten this vision: they would require Israel to give up more than it wants to. But an imposed peace will be no peace at all: it will not stop the rockets or the rage. For real safety, Israel will have to talk to the people it is blockading and bombing today, and compromise with them.
The sound of Gaza burning should be drowned out by the words of the Israeli writer Larry Derfner. He says: “Israel’s war with Gaza has to be the most one-sided on earth… If the point is to end it, or at least begin to end it, the ball is not in Hamas’s court – it is in ours.”
The last thing Israel has ever wanted in its blighted, ugly existence is peace – it has proved this time and time again. Until it has expropriated all it wants from the Palestinians, it is in the interests of the Zionist enterprise to divide and conquer using Hamas and Fatah as pawns, manipulate international opinion, run a concentration camp in Gaza and get away as it usually does with endless bloody murder.
Boing Boing posts an alert that Israel is utlising Web 2.0 to interact with the world, with an inaugural citizen’s twitter conference to be held today between 1 – 3 pm EST.
@IsraelConsulate what is your understanding of the word “apartheid“?
@IsraelConsulate why did Israel break the ceasefie with Hamas with incursions in November? http://is.gd/e7c0 #AskIsrael
In contravention of international maritime law, Israel is compounding its criminal travesties with an assault on civilian emergency supply ship Dignity.
So we’ve asked another question:
@IsraelConsulate why is Israel attacking a civilian mercy ship? #AskIsrael #gaza http://is.gd/e8n6
Israel’s current massacre in Gaza has been characterised by United Nations regional envoy, Richard Falk “as a massive violation of international law because it was punishing an entire population for the actions of a few” – thus an extension of the collective punishment of the blockade inflicted on the civilians in Gaza over the past year.
Falk also accused Israel of “targeting civilians and of a disproportionate response to the threat posed by Hamas’s equally illegal rocket attacks on its southern border.”
Israeli Foreign Minister and electoral hopeful Tipsy Livni’s response, backed by the usual muppets in the US administration? The attacks were needed “to change the reality on the ground. That reality … was one where Hamas continued rocket attacks on the people of southern Israel without retaliation.”
Yet it was Israel which deliberately broke the ceasefire with Hamas last November after which were rockets fired in retaliation that Israel then used as propaganda in a transparently deceitful attempt to justify the present pogrom against the people of Gaza, further claiming spuriously that civilians are not being targeted.
“The Israeli government steadily sought to break down the ceasefire, not just in Gaza since early November, but also in the West Bank. Israeli forces have carried out an average of 33 incursions, 42 arrests or detentions, 12 woundings and 0.84 killings a week in the West Bank during the ceasefire. The tactic has been to continue attacking Hamas and other militants in the West Bank, provoking responses in Gaza, and to use the responses as the pretext for the massive attacks of the last 24 hours.”
Israel rejected Hamas offers for an extension of the cease fire:
“On 23rd December Hamas offered to renew the ceasefire if Israel would undertake to open border crossings for supplies of aid and fuel, and halt incursions. For those of us appalled at the collective punishment involved in the ongoing siege, and concerned that Israelis should not fear death or injury from Qassam rockets, that seems a truly reasonable response.
For Israel to reject it bespeaks a bankrupt body politic especially since the army and the politicians are acting against the wishes of the Israeli public. It is after all the civilians on both sides who will bear the brunt of this dangerous folly.”
Other sources indicate the planning of Israel’s attack on Gaza occurred over several months, so it’s fair to assume the Israeli incursion provocation in November formed part of the strategy to exonerate the Zionist enterprise from blame.
Israel is refusing any truce with Hamas and has foreshadowed weeks more collective punishment. Does this mean its government believes its propaganda campaign is working and they can continue to bomb Gaza with impunity, with little to no censure from the international community?
What does Israel really hope to achieve with its abominable slaughter and destruction of Gaza’s infrastructure?
In an excellent dissection of the issues, Hugo Foster discusses the counter-productivity of Israel’s attack on Gaza:
The assumption that hurting Palestinian civilians, either through air strikes or through starvation and power cuts, will make them rebel against their leaders is farcical. Hamas is a religious nationalist movement that above all aspires to defend Palestinian land and security, something that the majority of Gazans believe is worthwhile. This has been shown to be so time and time again.
The EU, France, Russia, UN and belatedly Britain have condemned the ongoing air strikes. But the US, the one power with any real hold over Israel, has shamefully refused to follow suit, urging Israel simply to avoid civilian casualties. As one Jerusalem Post commentator writes, ‘The [US] State Department’s reaction seemed to be a repetition of the one we heard two years ago [regarding the July war in Lebanon], but with Hamas replacing Hezbollah and Gaza standing in for Lebanon: the war is Hamas’s fault, Hamas should stop shelling Israel with rockets, Hamas is a terror organization, the people of Gaza are suffering because of Hamas’.
This kind of nonsense, in ignoring the true dynamics of the Arab-Israeli conflict, will in the long run do nothing for Israelis or Palestinians. Our leaders should remember that most of Gaza’s inhabitants are children of refugees, the sad legacy of protracted conflict in the Middle East, and a reminder that all attempts to date to produce a military solution to the Palestinian question have fundamentally failed. And any government not yet convinced as to just how explosive the issue of Palestine is across the Middle East need only look at the ripples of civil unrest reported in just about every capital city in the region in the last three days.
Nir Rosen describes the counter-productive consequences of Israel’s hideous, masochistic strategy:
The democratically elected Hamas government was targeted for destruction from the day it won the elections in 2006. The world told the Palestinians that they cannot have democracy, as if the goal was to radicalise them further and as if that would not have a consequence. Israel claims it is targeting Hamas’s military forces. This is not true. It is targeting Palestinian police forces and killing them, including some such as the chief of police, Tawfiq Jaber, who was actually a former Fatah official who stayed on in his post after Hamas took control of Gaza. What will happen to a society with no security forces? What do the Israelis expect to happen when forces more radical than Hamas gain power?
A Zionist Israel is not a viable long-term project and Israeli settlements, land expropriation and separation barriers have long since made a two state solution impossible. There can be only one state in historic Palestine. In coming decades, Israelis will be confronted with two options. Will they peacefully transition towards an equal society, where Palestinians are given the same rights, à la post-apartheid South Africa? Or will they continue to view democracy as a threat? If so, one of the peoples will be forced to leave. Colonialism has only worked when most of the natives have been exterminated. But often, as in occupied Algeria, it is the settlers who flee. Eventually, the Palestinians will not be willing to compromise and seek one state for both people. Does the world want to further radicalise them?
We hear the usual Israeli line. General Yaakov Amidror, the former head of the Israeli army’s “research and assessment division” announced that “no country in the world would allow its citizens to be made the target of rocket attacks without taking vigorous steps to defend them”. Quite so. But when the IRA were firing mortars over the border into Northern Ireland, when their guerrillas were crossing from the Republic to attack police stations and Protestants, did Britain unleash the RAF on the Irish Republic? Did the RAF bomb churches and tankers and police stations and zap 300 civilians to teach the Irish a lesson? No, it did not. Because the world would have seen it as criminal behaviour. We didn’t want to lower ourselves to the IRA’s level.
Yes, Israel deserves security. But these bloodbaths will not bring it. Not since 1948 have air raids protected Israel. Israel has bombed Lebanon thousands of times since 1975 and not one has eliminated “terrorism”. So what was the reaction last night? The Israelis threaten ground attacks. Hamas waits for another battle. Our Western politicians crouch in their funk holes. And somewhere to the east – in a cave? a basement? on a mountainside? – a well-known man in a turban smiles.
The plight of the Gazan people inflicted by the 18 month long blockade and the perfidy of exceptionalist Israeli propaganda is further highlighted in the video below.
Video now gone from youtube.