Posts Tagged ‘IDF’

It had been pointed out (thanks Wassy and Eva) that there was a banner on the top of the “newspaper pro-Palestinian activists in the West love”, Ha’aretz, for a “Palestinian State”. This banner was paid for by a group of Fanatics lead by Israeli MK Aryeh Eldad and the text of it, I found on this site,  http://israelifrontline.blogspot.com/ run by a woman who lived 40 years of her life in Canada and the USA, but now has “returned to Israel”. Check out this campaign entitled:

A Democratic Jordan is Palestine  (Jordan is Palestine)

What follows is the material the signatories spread if they have a site or mailing list, with my (mary rizzo) comments in RED.

Just because the flags are similar, they propose "unification" as Palestine

Please sign this petition from Knesset Minister Dr. Aryeh Eldad, and forward it to all your friends, urging Jordanian King Abdullah to declare Jordan as the new Palestinian State and Homeland.
The New ‘Road Map’ for Peace starts Now! No. No need for the actual citizens to have a voice in it! That’s the way every “Road Map for Peace” has always worked.

Larry Kosberg
—————————–
As you well know, we are encouraging people to sign this petition so we can declare Jordan the new Palestinian State. Because wishing makes it so! Please watch the video below (complete with trashy electronic pop) to learn more about the history of this region.  Read the declaration, and if you agree, please sign the petition. And in the meantime declare Disneyland a Nuclear Free Zone and why not The Moon as the next frontier? Lacking that, declare your next door neighbour’s garage as belonging to the guy across the street. Everyone will think it’s reasonable!

Israel is being pressured to create a Palestinian State.  In response, we want to pressure the international community and the UN to pressure King Abdullah II to turn Jordan into the Palestinian State. 80% of Jordanians are so-called “Palestinians”. We propose that the rest may join them. From Pressure to pressure, the pressure on “the rest” is not going to be a petition or a kind invitation. It takes other forms, ones that include guns, bombs, arrests, and the thing we call “willing population transfer”.

Now is the time to stand in support of the state of Israel and to create peace in this region by giving the Arabs a country of their own. Arabs there had a country of their own, a land of their own, a home of their own.  They will never again be able to say that they do not have a state. They actually were robbed of their homes, and during the process of post colonial state-making, were swindled out of their state, which is a crime that has not been rectified with the imposition of unlimited mass immigration of Jews into Israel and with the expulsion of the indigenous Palestinian population also into other Arab states.

Most importantly, after you have signed, please be sure to forward this message to your list to keep this trend going and to have a significant number of signatures.
Thank you very much,

Michelle Cohen (a so-called “Israeli” who lived 40 of her years in Canada and the USA).

Please click HERE to sign this petition. Not advised to even leave a snide remark… they will use your name and that is not what you want.  

The Government of Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu are under  pressure to accept and implement “the  two states solution”  which means a creation of  a Palestinian State in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Right now, they better grab it while the going is good. But they have never been able to understand what the implications of their Jewish State were in actual fact. It means obviously claiming in fact what the unstated annexation of the territory has allowed them to avoid…. less territory than the entirety. Now that the “demand” might happen, they change the cards on the table. So, to find a way to get all the land, “get the rest of the unwanted to join others” in population transfer, which is actually a word that means deportation, a crime against humanity, they make it look like a boon for Palestinians and an asset for peace. YES!  The old hasbara trick of commit an atrocity and paint it as humanitarian goodness! 

It was the late Prime Minister Rabin who wrote :”A Palestinian State can be created only on the ruins of the State of Israel”. We are concerned that the only political plan to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – is the plan that endangers the very existence of Israel.
 
 
 

Prof. Aryeh Eldad, M.D. (For a detailed biography on Prof. Eldad, please click here.) No, see below where I comment on his “illustrious” biography.

Jordan is Palestine (with deconstruction in red)

To His Majesty
The King of Jordan
King Abdullah the Second
&
The Government and Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
Presented this Date, the 25th of May 2011
The 65th Independence Day of the Kingdom of Jordan
 
As the cries for democracy reach us from Tunis, Egypt, and all around the Arab world, we call upon the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to declare itself the democratic nation state of the Palestinian people. (And it frightens us to see the word democracy which is translated into human terms, numbers and people in flesh and blood asking to be counted. This goes against our ideals of what democracy means so let’s kill two birds with one stone: complain that Jordan is NOT a democracy because it is ruled by a King, and also present ourselves as a democratic entity because we don’t have a king. We are the Jewish state, we don’t need anything else that complicates this simple reasoning).
 
80% of the population of Jordan are disenfranchised Palestinians. (Let’s hope that no one remembers how they actually ended up there, it’s already bad enough we have to use the P word).  This declarative step (imposed by us, so you have to reject it, and then the real victory: ARABS ARE AGAIN REJECTIONIST OF A PEACEFUL SOLUTION)  would correct that injustice and provide the foundation for a just, comprehensive and lasting peace between the Jewish and Arab peoples. (Israel isn’t even stated yet in MY words, how clever am I? Now let me drop the bomb for my own people, after all, they are the only ones who will read this! Then I repeat it once we get that pesky Palestine out of the way.)
 
The late Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin wrote: “A Palestinian State can be created only on the ruins of the State of Israel”.
That needn’t be the case. That shouldn’t be the case. (How in the hell can I sell the idea of Eretz Yisrael unless I brand it in the figurehead the peaceniks love? How clever am I?!)
 
Let Jordan be democratic and free, and let the Palestinian people accept upon themselves the full mantle and responsibility of democratic statehood in Jordan – without the destruction or diminishment of the state of Israel and without the physical transfer of any population, neither Jew nor Arab. (Now, when I say without the physical transfer, I cover my bottom nicely, and I don’t even need to state that we officially take the land and make it Jewish! We keep on doing what we are doing now and if they are so masochistic they want to say, it’s their own damn doing! How clever am I? Now remember, what I said, those Arabs are the enemies within the Jewish state of Israel. Within a few years we would be able to resettle 2-3 million refugees in Jordan, this is my plan and I never hid it except now. I call it “willing population transfer”.)
 
We the undersigned, citizens of the world, representatives of hundreds of thousands around the world, (there, covered my bottom again because the signatories will not be even six million) ask the Government of Jordan and King Abdullah the Second, to proclaim the Hashemite Kingdom the democratic nation state of the Palestinians, and with this symbolic and declarative step, make a decisive contribution to Middle East and world peace. (Since he’s a KING, he can just do that! Monarchy is good for us right now, thanks G-d!)
 
We remind you of the brave words of your father: (who was a king, so WTF does this mean but deep Arabic bowing which will win his heart and make us look like we respect all of that rot).
  
“I wish democracy and peace to be my legacy to my people and the shield of generations to come.” - King Hussein I of Jordan

Aryeh Eldad

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 

 

Aryeh Eldad
Arie Eldad.jpg
Date of birth 1 May 1950 (1950-05-01) (age 60)
Place of birth Tel Aviv, Israel
Knessets 16th, 17th, 18th
Party National Union
 

Prof. Aryeh Eldad, M.D. (Hebrew: אריה אלדד‎, born 1 May 1950) is an Israeli physician and politician, and a member of the Knesset for the National Union, within which he heads the Hatikva faction.

Biography

Eldad was born in Tel Aviv in 1950. He is married with five children. His father, Israel Eldad, was a well known Israeli public thinker and formerly one of the leaders of the underground group Lehi. (Underground is a polite word for TERRORIST. Lehi assassinated Folke Bernadotte, the UN attachè in the mandate.

The other major Jewish terrorist group, Lehi, was more extremist than the Irgun, claiming all the land between the Nile and the Euphrates as belonging to the Jews. When Jabotinsky declared a cease-fire in the fight against Britain and its mandate troops in Palestine during World War II, Stern broke with him and founded Lehi. Stern sought alliance with the Nazis, both because they shared an enemy in Britain and because Lehi shared Hitler’s totalitarian ideology. During the war Sternists openly celebrated Nazi victories on the battlefield.

 He is a resident of Kfar Adumim (he’s a settler in the most simplified sense of the term) and is a Brigadier-General (reserves) in the Israel Defense Forces. Self explanatory.

Medical career

Eldad is a professor and head of the plastic surgery and burns unit at the Hadassah Medical Center hospital in Jerusalem. He studied medicine at Tel Aviv University, where he earned his doctorate. He served as the chief medical officer and was the senior commander of the Israeli Defense Forces medical corps for 25 years, and reached a rank of Tat Aluf (Brigadier General). He is renowned worldwide for his treatment of burns and won the Evans Award from the American Burns Treatment Association.

Political career

Eldad was first elected to the Knesset on the National Union list in 2003, and chaired the Ethics Committee

Some of his ethics: He considers Israel as the “canary in the mines of radical Islam,” something his fellow Israelis would rather not think about. He is bringing courageous Dutch parliamentarian, Geert Wilders to show his controversial film “Fitna” (strife or chaos in Arabic) and legislators from Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, the U.K. and America to formulate a declaration against Islamization among Western democracies. Eldad deems it to be crucially important for Israelis to become educated about the nuances of this existential threat that seeks to extinguish the Jewish state as well as other non-Muslim nations.

and how about these ethics:

Thus, the first step in the attack against Iran should be a pre-emptive strike against Hezbollah and Hamas. The timing of the war against Hezbollah should be coordinated with the plans against Iran.

Prior to the scheduled Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the northern West Bank in August 2005, Eldad was the only member of parliament to call for non-violent civil disobedience as a tactic in the struggle against the government. Eldad even walked the few hundred kilometres between the now evacuated community of Sa-Nur (in the northern West Bank) to Neve Dekalim in order to attract attention to the opposition of the Withdrawal plan.

In the February 2006 dismantlement of the Amona outpost Eldad was injured during the confrontation between demonstrators and police, as was his ally MK Effi Eitam. The event caused a storm of criticism on both sides, as interim Prime MinisterEhud Olmert accused them of inciting the crowd to attack the police, while they accused Olmert and the police of reckless use of force. But it achieved the enormous benefit of making the settlers into “the force to reckon with”. From the horse’s mouth: But a new standard of resistance was achieved. No government in Israel will take for granted that they can evacuate a settlement and destroy it. They know very well that the next time they try it; they may have to kill some of us first. They know that no government in Israel will survive such brutality. The fact that the government avoids any attempt to forcibly evacuate settler outposts after Amona is the direct result of that very traumatic day.

After being re-elected in 2006, in August 2007 Eldad established and headed a 10-member Homesh Knesset caucus met for the first time. The caucus’ mandate is to work to promote the re-establishment of Homesh – with the aim of eventually re-establishing all the settlements dismantled in 2005.

In November 2007 he announced the formation of a new secular right-wing party named Hatikva. Ultimately the party ran as a faction of the National Union in the 2009 elections, with Eldad in third place on the alliance’s list. He retained his seat as the Union won four mandates.

In 2008 he submitted a bill to the Knesset proposing that Hebron‘s Arab residents be removed “in order to protect the Jews of Hebron”.[1] but his suggestion came to no avail.

Eldad’s 2009 proposal that Palestinian Arabs be given Jordanian citizenship drew a formal protest from the Jordanian foreign minister.[2]

Political beliefs

Eldad is a Revisionist Zionist who believes in the ideas of Zionist philosopher Zeev Jabotinsky who wrote:

“If you wish to colonize a land in which people are already living, you must provide a garrison for the land, or find a benefactor who will maintain the garrison on your behalf. … Zionism is a colonizing adventure and, therefore, it stands or falls on the question of armed forces.” (Expulsion Of The Palestinians, p. 45).

Eldad supports the right of Jews to live in any part of the Land of Israel and opposes any surrender of Israeli sovereignty to the PLO. “We have to understand that there is a price to pay if we want to be an independent Jewish State. It is still a lower price then what we will have to pay as Dhimmis living at the mercy of the Islamic terror” and what is that price? “There is only one answer to the challenge of the Jihad from Gaza: a military one.”

Eldad opposes the creation of any Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan River and called its possibility a “disaster”. The creation of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria would lead, Eldad believes, to a Hamas-run center of terror within three days of Israeli transfer of the land. Furthermore, Eldad believes that the State of Israel will never have peace with the Arabs.

On his Zionism, Eldad stated that “I belong to this part of the Jewish people that believes the Land of Israel belongs to the People of Israel.” In a university lecture, he questioned, “how did we [the Jewish people] become so distorted as to say the Arabs have a right to our land?” On “occupation,” he posits that “the only occupation I know of is the Arab occupation of the Land of Israel in the seventh century… If I am an occupier in Hebron, I am an occupier in Tel Aviv…” The Balfour Declaration, the White Papers, the United Nations recognition of the State of Israel – all these, Eldad believes, are not the sources of the Jewish right to the Land of Israel, but “only recognition of our right.” Yes, an occupier. This is clear. If one is an occupier in Hebron, one is an occupier in Tel Aviv.

On his political goals, Eldad has stated: “When I wake up in the morning, I divide the day into two parts. In the first part of the day, I try to prevent the creation of a Palestinian state. It is not a full-time job, so in the second part of the day, I try to prevent corruption.”

In March 2010, in response to David Miliband‘s statement that the Israeli cloning of British passports is “intolerable”, he commented: “I think the British are being hypocritical, and I do not wish to insult dogs here, since some dogs show true loyalty, [but] who gave the British the right to judge us on the war on terror?” Uhm, try the same guys who gave you that Declaration that you use as the recognition of your “right”. Let’s make a deal, they withhold judgement and you forget about the Balfour Declaration. Seems logical.

During Mahmoud Ahmadinejad‘s visit to Lebanon in October 2010, Eldad stated:

“History would have been different if in 1939 some Jewish soldier would have succeeded in taking Hitler out. If Ahmadinejad will be in the crosshairs of an IDF rifle when he comes to throw rocks at us, he must not return home alive.” (spoken like a true son of Lehi).

  

The Rotten Orchard


(there are many important hyperlinks, the colour of which is very close to the text colour.) On March 19th, two months after the 22-day devastation of Gaza and the slaughtering of over 1,400 Palestinians, the Israeli daily newspaper Ha’aretz published harrowing testimonies by numerous Israeli soldiers who had participated in “Operation Cast Lead.” The soldiers, all recent graduates of the Yitzhak Rabin pre-military preparatory program, were speaking at an open academic forum about their recent military experiences and, as Sarah Anne Minkin of Jewish Peace News reports, “confessed that they’d knowingly shot civilians to death in Gaza, that they’d intentionally vandalized Palestinian homes, and that the rules of engagement in the war – rules handed down from above – were exceptionally permissive.”

In response to these testimonies, the Israeli military denied the claims made by their own personnel, stating that even if some of the allegations and anecdotes were true (since the troops had “no reason to lie”), they were isolated incidents and did not represent the IDF as a whole. Nonetheless, the IDF promised to conduct “intensive and comprehensive inquiries” and an investigation was launched.

Eleven days later, on March 30th – half the time it took the Israeli air force, navy, and army to murder 313 children, 116 women, 497 civilian men, and 255 non-combatant police officers, wound over 6,000 more, and leave tens of thousands homeless – the Israeli military concluded that the soldiers’ stories of gross misconduct and war crimes were baseless, that they were “based in hearsay” and “rumors,” and declared an end to the probe. Even though the pre-military program’s own founder and leader, Danny Zamir, who is himself a deputy battalion commander in the IDF, described the soldiers’ testimonies as “dismaying and depressing” and concluded that the stories reveal the truth about “an army with very low norms of value,” the IDF investigators disagreed. Luckily for the IDF, the “investigation” by the IDF found that the IDF was still, in fact, according to the IDF, “the most moral army in the world.” What a relief that must have been.

Apparently, the claims of intentionally targeting Palestinian civilians, of shooting women and children, of the wanton destruction of civilian infrastructure and personal property, even if they are true, are only, we are told, the misguided actions of a few bad apples.

In fact, we are told that, in Israel, any evidence of military or political misconduct, human rights or international law violations, or racism and oppression are mere aberrations from normality, simple – however troubling – deviations from the peace-loving, ethnically tolerant, democratically representative mainstream. We are told not to judge an entire society by the misdeeds of some bad apples. These bad apples don’t represent the whole Israeli orchard, which, we are told, thrives on justice and equality. (The fact that the Israeli orchard was planted atop a bulldozed Palestinian orchard is, we are told, irrelevant. Even broaching such a topic is anti-Semitic…we are told.)

We are told that the Jewish Rabbinate distributed books and pamphlets, indoctrinating Israeli troops headed for Gaza with claims that they are holy warriors fighting to expel the Palestinians (collectively called “murderers”) who are “interfering with our conquest of this holy land.” The rabbis preach that there is a “a biblical ban on surrendering a single millimeter” of Israel to non-Jews and the literature they hand out states that “when you show mercy to a cruel enemy, you are being cruel to pure and honest soldiers. This is terribly immoral.” We are told that these rabid rabbis are just a handful of overzealous, extremist apples.

Even though in the first nine hours of the recent Gaza assault the Israeli Air Force dropped over 100 tons of bombs on one of the most densely populated areas on Earth – an area blockaded to ensure that no one penned up inside could escape Israeli missiles, shells, and bullets, we are told that the atrocities that occurred in Gaza must have been perpetrated by a few bad apples.

In three weeks of devastating bombings and ground assaults, the Israeli military destroyed over 4,100 homes, 25 schools and hospitals, two bridges, 1500 factories and shops, and numerous government offices and buildings in Gaza. Ten water and sewage arteries, ten electricity-generating stations, and 80% of all agricultural properties, including all farms and crops, were also destroyed. Damages to Palestinian infrastructure exceed $2 billion. Who is being held responsible for this destruction? Is it the Israeli government that authorized the operation, the military brass that planned and ordered the attacks, or the pilots, sailors, and soldiers that carried them out? We are told that the bad apples of Hamas are to blame.

We are told that “for the most part, someone who belongs to Hamas’ civilian welfare organizations is treated the same way as a member of its military wing” and is a legitimate target as dictated by Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security force. We are told that many of the Israeli attacks on Gaza were carried out via remote control. An Israeli reservist is quoted as saying, “It feels like hunting season has begun…Sometimes it reminds me of a Play Station game. You hear cheers in the war room after you see on the screens that the missile hit a target, as if it were a soccer game.” Have we lost count of bad apples yet?

We are told that Parash Hill, near Sderot, with views across lush green fields to Gaza City with the Mediterranean Sea beyond, was full of Israeli sightseers during the Gaza assault. They came with their families, binoculars, cameras with zoom lenses, and picnic baskets to watch Israeli F-16s, Apache helicopters, and unmanned drones fire missiles into residential neighborhoods, destroying buildings and slaughtering their terrified inhabitants. They gather on this “Hill of Shame” to view the carnage in the distance, celebrating the death and destruction, justifying the killing of children by saying, “When they grow up they’ll also probably be terrorists.” These Israelis, for whom watching genocidal air raids is a spectator sport, must be bad apples.

The Israeli military used banned and experimental weaponry such as white phosphorous and Dense Inert Metal Explosives (DIME) in heavily-populated civilian neighborhoods of Gaza. These weapons cause severe burns, dismemberment and mutilation to their victims. Numerous other atrocities have been well documented by Israeli and international organizations, such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the National Lawyers Guild, and B’Tselem. We are told that the perpetrators of such blatant war crimes must surely be bad apples, but for some reason the International Criminal Court has yet to charge anyone for misconduct.

The Israeli army used flechettes, which are “anti-personnel weapons designed to penetrate dense vegetation…4cm long metal darts that are sharply pointed at the front, with four fins at the rear. Between 5,000 and 8,000 are packed into 120mm shells which are generally fired from tanks.” Wafa’ Nabil Abu Jarad, a 21-year-old pregnant mother of two, was killed by flechettes in Gaza. Who would fire such heavy weaponry at a civilian? Probably just another bad apple.


Testimonies from Israeli soldiers reveal that it was common practice to storm an apartment building in Gaza and open fire upon anything that moved. Women and children waving white flags were gunned down. Soldiers “break down doors of houses for no reason other than it’s cool,” take over homes, write “Death to Arabs” on the walls, spit on family pictures, urinate on piles of the residents’ clothing, smear shit on the walls, and receive orders to “clean out the whole house. We threw everything, everything, out of the windows to make room. The entire contents of the house went flying out the windows.” Palestinians who try to run away must be terrorists, just as those who stay where they are must be terrorists. The pilot who makes a minor mistake like bombing a school and killing 40 Palestinian children is forgiven while the Israeli squad commander who says, “That’s what is so nice, supposedly, about Gaza: You see a person on a road, walking along a path. He doesn’t have to be with a weapon, you don’t have to identify him with anything and you can just shoot him. With us it was an old woman, on whom I didn’t see any weapon. The order was to take the person out, that woman, the moment you see her…I simply felt it was murder in cold blood” is yet another bad apple.

The sharpshooter who shot and killed a mother and her two children because they misunderstood orders (to turn right instead of left), given to them by Israeli soldiers who had invaded and occupied their home for days, holding them captive in one room before releasing them, was just a bad apple who made a mistake. According to the sniper’s squad leader:

“I don’t think he felt too bad about it, because after all, as far as he was concerned, he did his job according to the orders he was given. And the atmosphere in general, from what I understood from most of my men who I talked to … I don’t know how to describe it…The lives of Palestinians, let’s say, is something very, very less important than the lives of our soldiers. So as far as they are concerned they can justify it that way.”

Maybe he wasn’t such a bad apple, actually. After all, he was just following orders.

The non-commissioned officer who revealed that when the Israeli army “entered a house, we were supposed to bust down the door and start shooting inside and just go up storey by storey…I call that murder. Each storey, if we identify a person, we shoot them,” must just be talking about orders given by a bad apple or two and carried out by some more bad apples.

We are told that the Israeli soldiers who have custom t-shirts designed and printed for their units at end of training or field duty that bear such images as dead Palestinian babies, mothers weeping on their children’s graves, a gun aimed at a child and bombed-out mosques are just bad apples.

The snipers who wear shirts depicting a dead Palestinian baby with a teddy bear and his weeping mother beside him, accompanied by the inscription “Better use Durex,” the soldiers wearing shirts with a drawing of a Palestinian boy and the words, “Don’t bother running because you’ll die tired,” those who wear shirts depicting an Israeli soldier raping a Palestinian girl and the inscription “No virgins, no terror attacks,” the sharpshooters from the Givati Brigade’s Shaked battalion who wear T-shirts showing a pregnant Palestinian woman with a bull’s-eye superimposed on her belly, and the slogan, “1 shot, 2 kills,” these, we are told again and again, are just some more bad apples.

We are told that troops in Gaza engaged in a military practice called the “Neighborhood Procedure,” wherein Palestinian civilians are forced, often at gunpoint, to enter homes and ask the inhabitants to come out. This practice has been rejected by Israel’s own Supreme Court due to the ruling that using civilians in military operations violates not only IDF protocol but also international law, such as the Geneva Conventions that guarantee immunity to all civilians. So what is happening to the bad apples in the IDF who are using Palestinian civilians as human shields?

We are told that the IDF commanders who ordered their troops to shoot at Palestinian and Red Cross paramedics, rescuers, and ambulances in Gaza, preventing evacuation and treatment of the wounded, resulting in the deaths of an unknown number of Palestinians, in another unequivocal breach of international law, are most likely just some bad apples.

The rules of engagement in Gaza, as defined by the Israeli military, state that a Palestinian need only be in a “problematic” location for him to be “incriminated” and thereby automatically be “sentenced to death. Often, there is no need for him to be identified as carrying a weapon. Three people in the home of a known Hamas operative, someone out on a roof at 2 A.M. about a kilometer away from an Israeli post, a person walking down the wrong street before dawn – all are legitimate targets for attack.” According to the IDF, the bad apples here are the “suspicious” Palestinians, stupidly living their lives without seeking permission from Israel, and not the soldiers shooting unarmed civilians.


In Gaza, Israeli soldiers entered the home of a woman and her ten children and told her she had to choose five of her children to “give as a gift to Israel.” After ignoring the screams and pleas for mercy and repeating their demands, the soldiers said they would choose for her and murdered five of the children before her eyes. These soldiers are apparently bad apples.

A senior Israeli reserve officer, after hearing about some of the barbarity of the Israeli troops in Gaza, said it was important to “bear in mind what sort of values inductees have when they come to us these days. Every year, the education system produces a significant number of little racists.” That sounds like a significant number of bad little apples.

Israel’s new Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, is one such bad apple. Lieberman, leader of the openly fascist Israel Beteynu party, ran for Prime Minister in Israel’s recent elections under the banner of “No loyalty, no citizenship” with the hopes of implementing oaths of allegiance to a Jewish state in order for Arab citizens of Israel and Jewish critics of Israeli policies toward Palestinians to maintain their citizenship. Lieberman even led a call to ban two Arab parties from Knesset elections – a move that was approved by the Central Elections Committee but subsequentally overturned by the Supreme Court. Undeterred, Lieberman said, “We will not give up. In the next Knesset we will pass the Citizenship Law, which will put a border on the disloyalty of some of the Israeli Arabs.” He is also a confessed and convicted child abuser, is under investigation for money-laundering and fraud, was a proud member of Meir Kahane’s Kach political party, which was outlawed due to its overt racism, and lives in an illegal Israeli settlement in the Palestinian West Bank.

As Minister of Transport in 2003, Lieberman, in response to the news that 350 Palestinian prisoners were to be given amnesty by Israel, declared that he would be happy to provide buses to take the prisoners to the Dead Sea and drown them there.

Of the thirty-three parties running for the Knesset in the recent elections, Israel Beteynu came in third. In mock elections held in 10 high schools prior to the official vote, the party came in first, followed by the hard-right Likud. The left-wing Meretz party came in dead last. Lieberman’s rabid teenage supporters wave Israeli flags and shout “Death to the Arabs” outside Israel Beteynu conferences, openly call for a fascist dictatorship in Israel, and explain their support for such beliefs by drawing connections to their mandatory military service this way:

“It gives us motivation against the Arabs. You want to enlist in the army so you can stick it to them. The preparation gives you the motivation to stick it to the Arabs and we want to elect someone who’ll do that. I like Lieberman’s thinking about the Arabs. Bibi doesn’t want to go as far.”

So, how many bad apples does it take for Israel Beteynu to finish third in parliamentary elections?

Lieberman’s predecessor, Tzipi Livni, is seen as being more of a centrist in Israeli politics. As leader of the Kadima party, founded in 2005 by war criminal Ariel Sharon, Livni supports the establishment of a Palestinian state in order to transfer Arab citizens out of Israel. Speaking at a Tel Aviv high school a week before the Gaza attacks, she said, “My solution for maintaining a Jewish and democratic State of Israel is to have two nation-states with certain concessions and with clear red lines…And among other things, I will also be able to approach the Palestinian residents of Israel, those whom we call Israeli Arabs, and tell them, ‘your national solution lies elsewhere.'” Is someone who limits national identity and the full spectrum of rights to only Jewish citizens of Israel, thereby excluding nearly one fifth of the population, a good apple or a bad apple?

Benyamin Netanyahu is Israel’s new Prime Minister and head of the Likud party. The 1999 party platform, more than a decade newer than the constantly-pointed-to Hamas Charter, confirms Likud’s unabashed support for illegal Jewish settlements in Palestine:

“The Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza are the realization of Zionist values. Settlement of the land is a clear expression of the unassailable right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel and constitutes an important asset in the defense of the vital interests of the State of Israel. The Likud will continue to strengthen and develop these communities and will prevent their uprooting.”

The document also states that “Jerusalem is the eternal, united capital of the State of Israel and only of Israel. The government will flatly reject Palestinian proposals to divide Jerusalem” and wholly rejects any semblance of a sovereign Palestinian state:

“The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river. The Palestinians can run their lives freely in the framework of self-rule, but not as an independent and sovereign state. Thus, for example, in matters of foreign affairs, security, immigration and ecology, their activity shall be limited in accordance with imperatives of Israel’s existence, security and national needs.”

If we are told that Hamas leaders Khalid Meshal and Ismail Haniyeh are bad apples for consistently offering 30-year-long truces and accepting (and recognizing) Israel as a legitimate political entity within its 1967 borders, then what exactly are Bibi and his Likudniks?

We are told that the Israeli government has banned Palestinian political activity in Jerusalem. At one recent event, celebrating the Arab League’s designation of Jerusalem as the capital of Arab culture for 2009, Israeli authorities broke up a children’s march at an East Jerusalem Catholic school and when the teenage girls present at the gathering “released a few dozen balloons in the red, white, green and black colors of the Palestinian flag over the walled Old City…Israeli military police and soldiers quickly moved into the schoolyard and popped the remaining balloons.” Obviously, these balloon-poppers and party-poopers are just some local bad apples enforcing the law.

A recent poll by Israel’s Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies shows that 46% of Israel’s Jewish citizens favor the “transfer” of Palestinians out of the West Bank and Gaza, 31% favor the “transfer” of Israeli-Arabs out of the country altogether. Moreover, 55% say that the state should encourage Arab emigration, only 49% support the establishment of a Palestinian state, 61% believe Israeli-Arabs pose a threat to Israel’s security, and around 80% are opposed to Israeli-Arabs being involved in important decisions, such as delineating the country’s borders. Another poll, conducted by the Israeli Association for Civil Rights, found that 78% of Jewish Israelis are opposed to Arab parties being part of a coalition government, 56% believe that “Arabs cannot attain the Jewish level of cultural development,” 75% agree that Arabs are inclined to be violent (54% of Arab Israelis feel the same way about Jews), and 75% of Israeli Jews say they would not live in the same building as Arabs.

By contrast, the United Nations Development Program reports that nearly 70% of Palestinian young adults over the age of 17 oppose the use of violence to resolve the conflict with Israel and only 8% believe that violence is an important tool. The study also found that 42% were depressed by their current conditions and 39% were “extremely” depressed (55% in Gaza).

We are told that the barbaric destruction of Gaza had the support of 90% (if not 94%) of Israelis. Assuming this percentage excludes all Palestinian citizens of Israel, we’re only talking about 5 million or so bad apples.

When the seeds of a society are cultivated on a steady diet of historical falsehoods, bogus founding mythologies, unabated colonization and rampant militarism, some bad apples, infested with hatred, racism, and convictions of divine right, ethnic supremacy, and perpetual victimization, will surely grow.

But with so many bad apples, it is clear: the entire orchard is rotten.

Nima Shirazi is a writer and a musician. He was born and raised in Manhattan. Now living in Brooklyn, he writes the weblog Wide Asleep In America under the moniker “Lord Baltimore.” He can be reached at wideasleepinamerica (at) gmail (dot) com.

 


صلح با عدالت
Peace with justice

Lord Baltimore
Wide Asleep In America
Brooklyn, NY
http://www.wideasleepinamerica.com

WRITTEN BY Anis Hamadeh

 

With amazement the world public has noticed in recent weeks that war crimes had apparently been committed in Gaza. (1) Even Israeli soldiers and military staff now report about their own cruelties against the Palestinian population, cruelties that we do not even know from movies. (2) The stylish T-shirts, that promote the shooting of pregnant Palestinian women by indicating that in this way you can kill two human beings with one bullet, appeared strange to people abroad, too. (3) Moreover, the appointment of Avigdor Lieberman as Israeli foreign minister horrifies the public. (4) There would be further reasons to be disgusted, like the ongoing ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem, the plans for expanding the illegal settlements, some killings, the abduction of Gazan fishermen and so on, but these details do not enter the global discourse, because, well, because they never did. The question is: how genuine is the amazement about what happened in Gaza?

 

Did anything change in Israeli politics? Are those really completely new phenomena, suddenly coming up in the discourse, out of thin air? Or do we only witness the consequences of a continuing strategy that had begun more than sixty years ago? There are good arguments for the latter alternative, especially when you look at the facts. Let us, for example, revisit the year 1948 …


Deir Yassin and the Human Rights

 

1948 was a special year. It was marked by Plan D, the Israeli plan to ethnically cleanse Palestine. (5) Jewish troops expelled about 700,000 people from the indigenous population of the country and killed many of the men in combat age. Even in 1936, after the Palestinian revolt, the Palestinian elite had been persecuted. This was shortly after the first Palestinian party was founded which was to represent the interests of the native population in the two fronts struggle against the British occupation and the Zionist conquerers. “Punishments” like the demolition of residence houses were firstly used by the British and were adopted later by the Zionists. In 1948, several Jewish terror groups were known, like the Haganah, Irgun, the Stern Gang, Lechi and others. They killed, took the land away from the local people and later contributed several prime ministers who were accepted by the world public without any difficulty – very similar to today.

 

Don’t think that the pogroms against the population of Palestine during the execution of Plan D were secret. When the future Prime Minister Menachem Begin had the Arab village of Deir Yassin attacked on April 9 and many of its inhabitants killed (certainly including children and women) in order to terrorize and horrify the people, this was covered in the world press. Begin defended his deed with a typical Israeli bonmot: “The massacre of Deir Yassin not only had its justification – without the ‘victory’ of Deir Yassin there had never been a State of Israel.” (6) Four years later, the same Begin attempted to kill the German chancellor Adenauer (7) and in 1978 he received the Nobel Peace Prize.

 

When Deir Yassin went through the press, the horror about this deed was huge, very similar to today after Gaza. Everybody was surprised and disgusted, even perpetrators like Haganah and the Jewish Agency. A pattern came into being, the pattern of shooting and crying, i.e. killing with subsequent lament. This has worked: there have never been any consequences for Israel. The killings, the expropriations and the humiliation of the local population until today belong to the salient characteristics of Israeli politics. Nothing has changed.

 

At the end of 1948, large portions of Palestine were “Palestinian-free”, much more than the designated part of the land that the international community and the UN had granted to the Jews (with the explicit demand that the local people be treated well). We remember that the international community decided to give some land to the victims of the European genocide against the Jews and everybody was happy with the Palestine decision … except, of course, the people who lived in the region, because it was their land according to all international and logical standards. Weapons and myths (8) silenced them.

 

1948 was also the year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In December, when Israel was established on the blood of the Palestinians, the world celebrated the Human Rights and did not care about Palestinians. The world wanted human rights with exceptions, but this did not work. Now, sixty years later, we begin to understand that.

 

The Aryan state did not work, let’s try a Jewish state …

 

During its history, Israel has continued the Deir Yassin policy, and today there is less than 10 or 5 percent of the land left to the Palestinians. On global refugee days people do not talk about Palestinians, although they are the biggest group of refugees in the world with far over 5 million people. This works because Palestinians (and Arabs and Muslims in general) are needed to fill the role of the anti-Semite which is substantial to the Zionist ideology.

 

It is, as if the world said: the Aryan state did not work, let’s try a Jewish state … Is it really surprising that we witness stunning similarities between the two today? (9) The Israeli population today is exactly confronted with the “final solution” subject now, because Israel cannot make peace on the one hand (this would imply justice for Palestinians, an unthinkable idea in Israel’s decision-making) and needs to end the conflict, on the other. With extremely violent politicians like Netanyahu and Lieberman the “transfer” plan comes closer, an idea to just expel Palestinians en masse like in the old days. Of course, if this happens, it will not mean peace, but more violence and even stronger resistance. So let your imagination fly and think about what a final solution could look like.

 

It is not known how many Palestinians must die before the world recognizes that they are human beings and not anti-Semites. Right now the killing goes on, the Gaza peak did not evoke a real criticism yet. Israel is encouraged to go on to see how far it can go. Do not think that this was it, do not think that Israel will now see that it cannot go on like this. The Zionists have learned that they can do anything with impunity. On March 22, 2009, a total of 14,000 tons of new US weapons arrived in Ashdod on the German cargo ship “MS Wehr Elbe” (owner: Oskar Wehr KG, Hamburg). (10) With these weapons alone, tens of thousands of people can be killed.

 

The Jewish state will collapse, like the Aryan state has collapsed, because both have the seed of self-destruction in them. Both are clearly racist, violent and expansionist in nature. This time it hits Arabs and Muslims instead of Jews. For over sixty years the international community has been blind to this fact, although it is so obvious that ordinary people know it and talk about it – not politicians or journalists or others who need the public.

 

Countries like Germany even have a “reason of state” to secure the persecution of Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims, calling it a “historical responsibility”. There is no other possible reason to introduce a reason of state if it was not for something highly illegal that needs to be hushed up.

 

We may still save the rest

 

The repressive tolerance of Western countries like Germany and the USA makes it possible to write all this down, because it usually has no “harmful” effects towards change. A lot of people think that – unlike the Nazi state – the Zionist state cannot be overcome by violence and thus will prevail. This is an error. Racist regimes of this ilk end up in self-destruction if they are not overcome from the outside. What is important now: we can still save lives. We cannot save the about 1,500 dead in Gaza anymore. But we may still save the rest.

 

At the end of May, the Free Gaza Movement will organize a flotilla of boats, the Hope Fleet, to break the siege of Gaza. You can support them. (11) The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) is present in Palestine to shield Palestinians from the Zionist killers (12). You can support them and save lives. This is a critical phase and every hand is needed, every tongue and every cent. Boycott Zionists now! Take it seriously now! Boycott non-Israeli journalists and politicians who support the killing! Argue with them! Support those Jews who are committed against violence and for peace in Palestine. For the sake of humanity and of yourself: do not take part in this murder.

 


NOTES:
1. E.g. in the German “Spiegel”, “Israelische Armee: Gaza-Veteranen schockieren mit Aussagen über wahllose Morde.” by Ulrike Putz, Beirut,
http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/0,1518,614286,00.html
2.
See e.g. ‘Shooting and crying’, von Amos Harel, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1072475.html
3. See e.g. http://news.sky.com 20 March 2009, “Israeli Army T-Shirts Mock Gaza Killings”, by Dominic Waghorn (URL too long)
4. Guardian 25 March 2009, “Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s shame”, by Neve Gordon, http://www.redress.cc/palestine/ngordon20090327
5. Ilan Pappe, “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine”, 2006
6.
Markus A. Weingardt (2002): Deutsche Israel- und Nahostpolitik. p. 33
7. See e.g. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 12 June 2006 “‘Im Auftrag des Gewissens’. Begin war Drahtzieher des Adenauer-Attentats”, www.faz.net/s/RubFC06D389EE76479E9E76425072B196C3/Doc~E35BBCD5A37DA47809AD4F6A865C6332B~ATpl~Ecommon~Scontent.html
8. Myths like “A land without a people for a people without land”, “Arab aggressions/ David vs. Goliath”, “anti-Semitic Arabs/Muslims”, Palestinian Nazi cooperation (it was far less effective than Zionist Nazi cooperation), Arab military superiority (Jordan was the only country with a decent army then, and the Jordanian king was successfully promised a part of the prey, namely the West Bank); also see John Rose (2004), “Myths of Zionism”
9. This comparison is still forbidden in the mainstream, “for the security of Israel”, but it is as obvious as it is founded and necessary. See my essay “The Second Case”, Feb. 5, 2009, http://www.anis-online.de/1/essays/23.htm
10. Amnesty International, Press Release, April 1, 2009, United States Delivers Massive New Weapons Shipment to Israel, Confirmed by Pentagon, Says Amnesty International, http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?id=ENGUSA20090402002&lang=e (NB: The German government is co-guilty, cf. (in German): http://www.radio-utopie.de/2009/01/23/Bundesregierung-dementiert-Wissen-ueber-Waffentransport-nach-Israel-Chronologie-der-Wehr-Elbe-Affaere)
11. See press release and updates at www.freegaza.org
12. http://palsolidarity.org

 

SOURCE: http://www.freegaza.org/en/home/804-shooting-and-crying-nothing-new-since-1948–or-is-it

 

The following is an attempt to present my own personal dictionary of what seems to be the most charged terminology and concepts attached to the Palestinian solidarity and anti-war discourse.

 

Palestine- a piece of land on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. For many years Palestine was the home of the Palestinian people: Muslims, Christians and Jews who lived in peace and harmony for hundred of years. In the late 19th century, in the light of emerging European nationalism, a few Jews had decided that Jews should not be left out. They then invented the notions of: ”Jewish people”, ”Jewish history” and ”Jewish nationalism”.  They decided to settle the majority of world Jewry in Palestine. Throughout the years the Jewish national project, i.e., Zionism, had become more and more sinister and ruthless. In 1949 70% of the indigenous Palestinian population had already been ethnically cleansed. Nowadays the majority of Palestinians are living behind barbed wire in a state of terror guarded by Israeli soldiers.

 

Jews- the people who happen to identify themselves as Jews. Jews are not a race, they do not follow a single belief system either. I made myself a rule. I categorically refrain from dealing with ”the Jews” as a collective or an ethnic group. Instead I restrict myself to criticism of Jewish politics, Jewish ideology and Jewish identity.  

 

Judaism- one of the many religions practiced by the Jewish people (Jews for Jesus, Jews For Buddha, Jews For Allah and so on). Though Judaism contains some non-ethical aspects and teachings, the one and only peace-seeking collective amongst the Jewish people is actually a religious orthodox sect, namely Torah Jews. This fact is enough to make me very careful when criticising Judaism as a religion. When dealing with Judaism, I would restrict myself to criticism of interpretations of Talmudic racism and the biblically orientated Zionist genocidal plunder of Palestine. 

 

Jewishness- Jewish ideology, the interpretations of the meaning of being a Jew by those who regard themselves as Jews. Jewishness is the core of Jewish identity, it is a dynamic notion. It is hard to pin down.  While refraining from criticising Jews (the people) and Judaism (the religion), elaborating on Jewishness is a must, especially considering the crimes committed by the Jewish state in the name of Jewish people. As long as the Jewish state is shelling civilians with white phosphorous, it is our ethical duty to question: Who are the Jews? What does Judaism stand for? What is Jewishness all about? 

 

Palestine vs Israel- Palestine is a country, Israel is a state.

 

Palestinians- currently the longest lasting sufferers of racist colonial abuse and state terrorism. Palestinians are the only true indigenous inhabitants of Palestine.  4,300,000 Palestinian refugees are scattered in the Middle East.  There are Palestinians who managed to hold onto their land yet are denied equal civil rights, others live under military occupation.  The Palestinian cause is largely the ethically grounded demand of the Palestinian people to return to their own land. The land that belongs to them and to them alone. The Palestinian cause is the demand to dismantle the Jewish state and to form a State of its Citizens instead.

 

Zionism- the national colonial practical interpretation of Jewish ideology.  It asserts that Jews are entitled to a national home in Zion (Palestine) at the expense of the Palestinian people. Zionism is a colonial racist philosophy that practices genocidal tactics. It is a biblically orientated precept. Although Zionism portrayed itself initially as a secular movement, from the very beginning it transformed the Bible from a religious text into a land registry.

 

Israel- the Jewish state is a racist political concept. It is a place where Jewish supremacy is celebrated in an institutional manner.  Israel is a place where 94% of the population supports dropping white phosphorus on innocent civilians. Israel is the place where Jews can pour their vengeance on the Goyim.  

 

Palestinian resistance- the exercise of the ethical right to resist an invader, an ethnic cleanser and a racist.

 

Demographic bomb- Israel possesses many bombs, cluster bombs, petrol bombs, atomic bombs, WMD bombs, etc. The Palestinians have only one bomb, the demographic bomb. The Palestinians are the majority of the people between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. This fact itself defines the temporal quality of the Idea of Jewish state in Palestine.

 

Zionism vs Jewishness- it is difficult or maybe even impossible to determine where Zionism stops and Jewishness begins. Zionism and Jewishness establish a continuum. As it seems, Zionism has become the symbolic identifier of the contemporary Jew. Every Jew is identified by himself and others in reference to the Zionist compass (Zionist, anti-Zionist, oblivious to Zionism, love Zionism but hate Israel, love Israel but hate falafel and so on). 

 

Secular Judaism and Jewish Secular Fundamentalism- secularity has been a very popular precept amongst Jews in the last two centuries. The Jewish form of secularity is very similar to rabbinical Judaism. It is fundamentally monotheistic, it believes in one truth (God is dead until further notice). It is supremacist, it is extremely intolerant of others in general and Muslims in particular, it even promotes wars in the name of enlightenment, liberalism, democracy and even in the name of the victims to come.

 

Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder- the kind of mental state that leads 94% of the Israeli population to support air raids against civilians.  Within the condition of the Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder (Pre-TSD), the stress is the outcome of a phantasmic event, an imaginary episode set in the future; an event that has never taken place. Within Pre-TSD, an illusion pre-empts reality and the condition in which the fantasy of terror is itself becoming grave reality. If it is taken to extremes, even an agenda of total war against the rest of the world is not an unthinkable reaction. Unlike the case of paranoia, wherein the sufferer is subject to his own symptoms, in the case of Pre-TSD the sufferer actually celebrates his symptoms while others are left with the role of the audience or even victim. The sufferers of Pre-TSD within the press and media lobby for global conflict. Once they are in power they just spread death around. They manage to see a threat in almost anything. The Pre-TSD sufferer would call to flatten Iran, he would defend the IDF military campaign in Gaza for his own existential fears. The Pre-TSD sufferer is rather predictable and for one reason or other always to be found in the non-ethical cause.

 

Jihad- the struggle to improve one’s self and society. Jihad is the attempt to reach a harmony between the self and the world. It is there to bridge the gap between self loving, loving self and the love towards others. Jihad is the answer to chosenness.

 

Holocaust- an overwhelmingly devastating chapter in recent Jewish past. It would be difficult to imagine the formation of the Jewish state without the effect of the holocaust. Yet, it is impossible to deny the fact that Palestinians ended up paying the ultimate price for crimes that were committed against the Jews by other people (Europeans). Hence, it would make sense to argue that if Europeans feel guilty about the Holocaust, they better take extra care of its last victims, i.e., the Palestinians.

 

It must be mentioned that due to some legislation that restricts the scrutiny of the holocaust in an open academic manner, the holocaust is no longer treated as an historical chapter.  Instead it is regarded by many scholars as a religious narrative (namely, Holocaust Religion). Those who do not obey the religion or follow its restrictions are chased, excluded and jailed. The failure to maintain the holocaust as a vivid historic chapter turned Jewish history into a Pandora’s box sealed by prohibitions, legal restrictions and different forms of threats. In an ideal ”free world”, we would be able to look into the holocaust, to regard it as an historical chapter and to draw some lessons out of it.  That would mean also questioning its meaning. In an ideal (free) world, we may as well be allowed to wonder how come, time after time, Jews ended up despised and detested by their neighbours. In an ideal (free) world Jews may have a chance to learn from their mistakes in the past. For the time being, as long as we want to keep free, we better avoid questioning the past.   

 

The Meaning of the Holocaust- the Holocaust provides the Jews and others with two obvious lessons. One is universal and almost simplistic, it says: ”NO to racism”. As some Jewish intellectuals predicted after the war, Jews were supposed to lead the fight against racism. Seemingly, it didn’t happen. Not only did it fail to happen, but the Jewish state had become the ultimate form of racist practice. Three years after the liberation of Auschwitz the newly formed Jewish state brutally ethnically cleansed the vast majority of indigenous Palestinians. As time goes by, the Jewish state doesn’t try to disguise its racist agenda, i.e., Jews only state. 

 

The second lesson that can be drawn out of the holocaust is far less abstract, it is actually very pragmatic. It suggests to Jews ”to be aware of their deed”. It suggests to Jews ”to act ethically, or at least to pretend to do so”.  Seemingly, this lesson is totally ignored. In the Jewish state young IDF soldiers wear T-shirts depicting pregnant Palestinian women caught in the crosshairs of a rifle, with the disturbing caption “1 shot 2 kills”.  In the Jewish state, civilians had been caught picnicking watching their army dropping unconventional weapons on their Palestinian neighbours. The Israeli reality and the forceful Jewish lobbying around the world portray a complete dismissal of any ethical judgment or moral conduct. Whether it is the genocidal practice against the Palestinian people or the lobbying for more and more global conflicts. If the meaning of the holocaust would have been internalised, different appearances of such inhuman behaviour would have been addressed and tackled.

 

However, within the prohibition to re-visit our history we may still be entitled to reflect over Nazi brutality towards Jews in the light of the Jewish state’s crimes in Palestine. Seemingly, there is no legislation that prohibits us from doing that as yet. 

 

Hamas- political party that was elected in 2006 by the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank. Since then Israel has withheld payments owed to Gaza, causing the Palestinian economy to collapse. It has blockaded Gaza for months, starving the civilian population. And yet, Hamas proved once again that the Palestinian people are resilient. In spite of Israel’s genocidal tactics, in spite of the IDF targeting children, women and the elderly, Hamas’ popularity increases by the day and more so especially after the last Gaza conflict. It has now become clear that Israel does not possess the means of combating Islamic resistance. In other words. Israel’s days are numbered.  

 

Gatekeepers- for many years the Palestinian solidarity discourse had been shattered by those who claimed to know what is right and what is wrong.  They also claimed to know what should be discussed and what subject must be dropped. Initially, gatekeepers tried to recruit the Palestinian movement to fight antisemitism. Another bizarre agenda was to use the Palestinian people as another Guinea pig in a dogmatic socialist exercise.

 

Due to the growing success of Palestinian and Islamic resistance, the power of Gatekeepers is now reduced to none. Though gatekeeping operators still insist upon exercising their powers, their influence is totally restricted to primarily Jewish cells.

 

Antisemites- in the old days, antisemites were those who didn’t like Jews, nowadays, antisemites are those the Jews don’t like. Considering the growing chasm between the Jewish state and its lobbies and the rest of humanity, we have good reason to believe that before not too long, the entirety of humanity will be denounced as antisemitic by one Jewish lobby or another. 

 

Antisemitism- a misleading signifier. Though it refers largely to anti-Jewish feelings, it gives the impression that these feelings are racially motivated or orientated. It must be clear that Jews are not a race and do not establish a racial continuum. Thus, no one hates the Jews for their race or their racial identity.  

 

Bearing in mind Israeli crimes and Jewish lobbying around the world, anti-Jewish feeling should be realised as a political, ideological and ethical reaction. It is a response to a criminal state and its institutional support amongst world Jewry. Though resentment to Zionism, Israel and Jewish lobbying is rather rational, the failure to distinguish between the ”Jew”, and Zionism is indeed very problematic and dangerous especially considering the fact that many Jews have nothing to do with the Zionist crime. However, due to the extensive Jewish institutional support of Israel, it is far from easy to determine where the ”Jew” ends and the Zionist starts. In fact, there is no such demarcation line or spot of transition. The outcome is clear, Jews are implicated collectively by the crimes of their national project. One obvious solution for the Jew is to oppose Zionism as an individual, another option is to oppose Zionism in the name of the Torah, it is also possible for the Jew to shun the tribal ideologist in himself.    

 

Self loving- the belief that something about oneself is categorically and fundamentally right, moral and unique. This is the secular interpretation of being chosen.

 

Self Hatred- the belief that something about oneself is categorically and fundamentally wrong, immoral and ordinary. This state of being may also be a point of departure of a spiritual ethical quest.

 

Chicken Soup- is what is left once you strip Jewish identity of Judaism, racism, chauvinism, White Phosphorous, supremacy, cluster bombs, secularity, Zionism, Israel, intolerance, Nuclear reactor in Dimona, cosmopolitanism, genocidal tendency, etc. The Jew can always revert to chicken soup, the iconic symbolic identifier of Jewish cultural affiliation. The Jew is always more than welcome to say: ”I am not religious nor am I a Zionist, I am not a banker, nor is my name Madoff. I am not a ”Labour friend of Israel” nor I am a Lord or look like a cash machine.  I am just a little innocent Jew because my mama’le used to feed me with chicken soup when I was slightly unwell.”  Let’s face it once and for all, chicken soup is not that dangerous (unless you are a chicken). My grandmother taught me that it was very healthy. In fact I tried it once in winter 1978, I had the flu then. It helped, I feel better now.   

WRITTEN BY Khalid Amayreh

 

One of the most scandalous aspects of US foreign policy towards the Middle East is the shocking dishonesty inherent in the American approach regarding the Palestinian plight.

 

The US often watches Israel indulge in pornographic criminal acts against Palestinian civilians, acts that contradict the most fundamental American ideals and norms.

 

However, instead of condemning these evil crimes, successive American administrations have either kept silent or given Israeli the benefit of the doubt.

 

Take for example the recent Israeli blitz in Gaza. Everyone under the sun knows by now that Israeli forces committed outrageous massacres of innocent civilians in Gaza.

 

And every honest person knows that these crimes were carried out knowingly and deliberately, often using American-supplied weapons, such as F-16 fighter planes, White Phosphorus bombs, dart shells and anti-personnel chemical agents that eat through the body, causing indescribable suffering, leading to death.

 

So, could it be possible that the US, with all its intelligence capabilities, doesn’t really know that Israel committed these massacres against innocent civilians whose only “crime” was their enduring determination to be free from Judeo-Nazi persecution and oppression?

 

This week, the United Nations human rights investigator Richard Falk pointed out that the Israeli blitz against the Gaza Strip in December and January constituted a clear-cut war crime of the “greatest magnitude.”

 

Falk said Israel clearly violated the Geneva Conventions which require warring forces to distinguish between military targets and surrounding civilians.

 

“If it is not possible to do so, then launching the attack is inherently unlawful and would seem to constitute a war crime of the greatest magnitude under international law.”

 

Falk, a Jew, argued convincingly that on the basis of the preliminary evidence available there is reason to reach this conclusion: that Israel carried out deliberate massacres against innocent civilians.

 

“Some of these criminal violations included the targeting of schools, mosques and ambulances and the use of internationally prohibited weapons such as White Phosphorus, in civilian areas.”

  

Falk’s remarks have been perfectly corroborated by irrefutable evidence produced and gathered by numerous human rights groups, including Israeli groups such as B’Tselem.

 

Indeed, even Israeli soldiers and officers who took part in that genocidal onslaught are now making testimonies acknowledging that the Israeli army committed indiscriminate and wanton murder of innocent civilians and that everyone was aware of this reality.

 

According to these testimonies, published by the Israeli newspaper, Ha’aretz, “Israeli forces killed Palestinian civilians under permissive rules of engagement and intentionally destroyed their property.” (Ha’aretz, March 19, 2009)

 

According to Ha’aretz, the testimonies include a description by an infantry squad leader of an “incident” where an IDF sharpshooter “mistakenly” shot a Palestinian mother and her two children.

 

“There was a house with a family inside, we put them in a room. Later, we left the house and another platoon entered, and a few days after that there was an order to release the family. They had set up positions upstairs. There was a sniper position on the roof.

 

“The platoon commander let the family go and told them to go to the right. One mother and her two children didn’t understand and went to the left, but they forgot to tell the sharpshooter on the roof they had let them go and it was okay, and he should hold fire and he…he did what he was supposed to do….!!

 

“I don’t think he felt too bad about it, because after all, as far as he was concerned, he did his job according to the orders he was given. And the atmosphere in general, from what I understood from most of my men who I talked to…I don’t know how to describe it….The lives of Palestinians, let’s say, is something very, very less important than the lives of the soldiers. So, as far as they are concerned, they can justify it that way.”

 

Some Israeli officials and mouthpieces of Zionist propaganda would claim that these criminal acts of premeditated murder were merely “individual aberrations.”

 

This is a big and most likely malicious lie (a malicious lie occurs when the liar knows he is lying). After all, an aberration doesn’t happen 1,500 times in 22 days.

 

In short, Israeli soldiers and pilots were given clear and unmistakable instructions to murder civilians, to destroy their homes and to thoroughly terrorize them.

 

Well, things are clear enough for all those honestly interested in knowing the truth.

 

Regrettably, however, it is amply clear that the Obama administration, along with most European governments, are not really interested in pursuing this matter, not because they don’t know the truth about Israel and its hideous crimes in Gaza, but rather because the truth is too inconvenient for them.

 

Indeed, it is highly inconceivable that western governments don’t know the truth about  the recent genocide that Israel perpetrated in Gaza. They know it, probably too well.

 

The problem with these military and political powers, but moral midgets, is that they don’t want to act on their knowledge. They don’t want to look Israel in the eye and tell her Nazi-minded leaders that they are murderous thugs and ought to be thrown behind bars or at least be shipped, like drugged wild animals, to the Hague to be prosecuted for their crimes. Indeed, had the Obama administration had a semblance of moral ethics, it would have refused to receive Gabi Ashkenazi, the Chief of Staff of the Israeli Army, the man who supervised all the wanton killings and destruction in Gaza.

That man is a war criminal pursuant the laws of man and the laws of heaven.  His hands are stained with the blood of 400 children, many of whom were exterminated with White Phosphorous shells.

 

However, instead of arresting him, or at least denying him an entry visa, America received him with all the trappings and pleasantries befitting a venerable statesman. Shame on America for prostituting herself before the Nazis of our time.

 

Well, this is the crux of the matter that the Obama administration is reluctant to face for fear of upsetting the powerful Jewish lobby in America, which is trying apparently successful in forcing the new American leadership to be at AIPAC’s beck and call.

 

In short, if the Obama administration wants to be sincere and honest about peace in the Middle East, it should stop preoccupying itself with secondary and symptomatic matters such as Palestinian “terror” and Hamas’ “non-recognition” of Israel, and the so-called “Iranian threat.”

 

The real problem impeding peace and stability in the Middle East is simply the malignant tumor known as Israel, a bellicose, militaristic, arrogant and paranoid state that has lost all claim to decency, dignity and respect, a state whose modus operandi is based on murder, dishonesty and theft.

 

Hence, it is imperative that the Obama administration abandon, once and for all, its hopelessly impotent stance vis-à-vis Israel and its powerful agents in America.

 

This is if Obama truly wants to succeed and save his country and the world from the huge turbulence and chaos now looming over the horizon.

 

The statesman Winston Churchill once was heard to say, “Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room.” Surely, his experience in international relations would lead him to have had a clear understanding of who is sitting at the helm in the decision room, and who simply dances to someone else’s music.

 

Well, Mr. Obama, assume the position of leadership that everyone expects, rather than jumping to the orders of the Jewish lobby.  This is how they are accustomed to treating American presidents, from Lyndon Johnson to George W. Bush.

 

This is certainly what they want you to be. The way the lobby handled the recent “Freeman affair” is a stigma of shame on America’s forehead. It leaves no doubt as to that lobby’s rapacity, meanness and hell-bent determination to enslave America for Israel’s sake.

 

Don’t surrender to them. American is too important for the world to be handed over to the Satanic lobby.

On March 3rd something that is (to my knowledge) unprecedented happened in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill. A standing room only crowd of over 130 persons heard actual Congressmen (not just outsiders given a platform by Congressmen) objectively discuss the devastation recently visited upon Gaza by the Israeli Defense Forces.

It began with an excerpt from a video about the Congressmen’s visit to Gaza that showed what was left of a day-care center. Although not much more than rubble, the center was host to an art exhibit that the staff insisted on mounting after its destruction because it was a center of life. There were also interviews with the staff of a hospital who, although their homes are only an 18-minute drive away, must go through an at least 90-minute (each way) check point every working day.

There was also a grocery store in Jaballia camp in which there were items on shelves thanks to the infamous tunnels. Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) argued that it would be better to open the crossings where freight would be checked.

One must understand that none of the speakers blamed Israel for what happened. Indeed, all who spoke strongly emphasized that they were not taking sides and mentioned the anxieties that militants in Gaza have imposed on Israel with their rocket attacks. Nonetheless, when most in Congress and the mainstream media are in a state of denial about the humanitarian crisis, the fact that these few stood up to show pictures of bombed schools and displaced civilians indicates that there is change in the air and that the time for the Palestinian narrative to complement the other one that has monopolized the discourse in America is timely.

Ellison insisted that his call for opening the crossings, which he said was the only message he had to offer, would enhance Israeli security as well as alleviate the humanitarian crisis. He said that at no time did they hear any anti-American talk, nor anti-Israeli or pro-Hamas comments (although that may have been due to the fact that their visit was for only one day). Ellison noted that without a dedicated constituency, Gazans can expect no action. He noted that there is well-organized Israeli lobby and a somewhat less well-organized Palestinian lobby, but no peace lobby.

Brian Baird (D-WA) said that the original intention of the Congressional visit was for him and Ellison to speak on Islam in the West. Now, he said, the challenge is to be honest about what they have seen without being accused of taking sides. He felt that what has been done in the last couple of months gives people there hope, but that money is not sufficient. Neither the rockets nor the invasion has moved things forward; neither has advanced the prosperity or security of the people there.

Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) says he never feared for his safety and he never met anyone looking for a fight. He said he found only friendly children and people who wanted to get on with their lives. He expressed the view that letting aid go only through tunnels has not stopped the rockets and not advanced communication between the parties to the conflict, but only enriched outlaws. Holt mentioned seeing a science book at an American school there shredded by the bombings and Baird recalled a book about baseball that mentioned Jackie Robinson’s successful struggle against racism.

The respondent was Daniel Levy, Director of the Middle East Task Force of the New America Foundation. He remarked that the Congressmen had done a service for America’s public diplomacy by restoring hope. He thanked them for resisting playing the blame game and noted that the arbitrary definition of “basic food and medicine” that is now allowed at the Rafah crossing excludes toothpaste, building materials and item arbitrarily labeled ‘luxuries.’ Banknotes are not allowed in. Even when credit is deposited to a bank it can’t be withdrawn because there is no physical currency. He said these are collective sanctions rather than targeted sanctions. He concluded that to resolve the issue there needs to be a deal on Gilad Shalit, the crossings must be opened, and a cease fire accepted. What must not happen, he said, is to continue to hold the entire population hostage. The theory that deprivation of Gaza will cause them to overthrow Hamas has been disproven.

Levy explained that in 2005 there was an agreement that the Rafah crossing would not be used for commerce, and all commerce would go through the five Israeli crossings, but those crossings are now closed. Although 200 trucks now pass through Rafah, the minimal aid requirement is 500 trucks. Baird added that the crossing best equipped to screen trucks for contraband is not open.

In response to reporter Sally Quinn’s allegations of fears by “Arab and Muslim leaders” that Hamas will steal any aid and her inquiry as to whether Gazans are angry at or supportive of Hamas, Ellison replied that Gazans are focused on their survival. Baird added that there was a lot of discussion of long-term psychological effects on children and that they had heard at the Islamic Conference that if we don’t proactively reward moderates extremism will flourish. Because of the frequency of allegations of a “hate filled curriculum,” he asked the children about their attitudes toward the U.S. and got typical kid answers. Levy added that we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact the Fatah position was that by working with the U.S. and Israel they would deliver a Palestinian state; all these years after the handshake on the White House lawn that has become a tough promise to sell. There is a recognition now that Hamas is part of the landscape like it or not.

In response to a question from a reporter from Al Jazeera as to whether the trip and program signaled a real shift in American policy, Baird replied that “you can criticize a friend and still be a friend.” He feels that many in Congress would like resolutions to be more measured and nuanced. Ellison noted that in Israel it is okay to talk about these things; it is only in Washington that politicians fear derision for stating the obvious.

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.
Minaret of Freedom Institute
http://www.minaret.org

source: http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/thinking_through_a_us_strategy_toward_gaza_a_congressional_view/0017209

Having left Gaza now, I am trying to come to terms with what I saw, what I heard and honestly, what I don’t think I will ever understand  is the justification.  While Israel’s recent offensive has been the most egregious of any historical attack upon the Palestinians in Gaza, it is just that, one of many.  Gaza has been under Israeli bombardment and sanctions for many years.  Prior to the Israeli pullout in 2005, Gaza was under the complete control and occupation of Israel.  Nearly 8000 Israeli settlers occupied 40% of Gaza while the 1.5 million Palestinians occupied the remaining 60%.  Settlements were located on the most fertile lands and along Gaza’s beautiful coastal regions and checkpoints prevented Palestinian mobility.  Despite being one-fifth the size of Rhode Island, 25 miles long by 4-7.5 miles wide, Gaza was divided into three sections and Palestinians had to pass through multiple checkpoints to get from one section to the next.  Often Israeli forces would close these checkpoints and not allow the Palestinians access to the other regions in Gaza as a form of collective punishment.
 
Yet with Israel’s pullout in 2005, the Palestinian experience has not improved.  Rather, it has become even more unpredictable and isolated.  Palestinians who celebrated the exodus of the Israeli settlers and the return of their land could not have imagined what would follow and how Israel would subsequently unleash its brutal force against them.  As the saying goes, nothing in life is free and the Palestinians have paid, and continue to pay, a dear and unforgivable price for Israel’s withdrawal from their legally rightful land.
 
From the first moments of Israel’s military campaign on December 27, Israel’s indifference to civilian casualties was clear.  Its first attacks started at around 11:30 AM, at a time when children leave the morning session of school and the afternoon students arrive.  The streets were packed with civilians,­ children no less.  Within moments, hundreds of Palestinians were killed and even more Palestinians were injured (at least 280 Palestinians were killed on the first day, and 700 wounded, including more than a dozen policemen attending a graduation ceremony at the Gaza City police station).  One of the little girls in Jabalia told me that she was in school when the attacks started.  She fainted from the overwhelming fear and was not able to go home and see her family for days.  When she did go home, she remembers seeing dead and injured bodies stranded all over street and hearing the thundering sound of missiles falling.
 
In its offensive, Israel attacked UNRWA warehouses, schools, mosques, civilian neighborhoods, businesses, factories, hospitals, universities and the media center.  Its attacks took place during the day, night, during temporary ceasefires, and often without any notice or warning.  I would ask the Palestinians I met who had lost loved ones in the recent incursion whether they were warned about an oncoming attack by some flyer or radio announcement.  The majority would laugh at my question.  “Why would I stay in my home if I knew that it was going to be attacked?  Do you think I want to die?  Do you think I would want to put my family and children in danger?”  Most of the Palestinians had no notice that they were going to be attacked and bombarded until it was too late, and at that point, all they could do was stay in their homes, far from any window or door, and pray that their house would not be next.
 
Those, like Majid Fathi Abd al-Aziz al-Najjar, who were warned, tended to flee to “safer” areas.  Majid and his wife and children resided in a border town in Khan Younis.  Shortly after the start of its incursion, the Israeli military dropped flyers on his town, a copy of which he showed me.  It said in Arabic that militants had entered your area and as a result we are forced to react and attack this area.  Yet these flyers were only dropped in the center of town and Majid did not even realize that they were dropped until after the attacks on his way to see the rubble that used to be his home.  Realizing that Israeli tanks were planning on entering Gaza and would destroy anything that would block their entry, Majid packed his family and fled to his relative’s home far from the border, in an area deemed safe.  Yet at 10 PM on January 3, 2009, a white phosphorus missile strayed off course and rammed right into the home that Majid and his family had taken refuge in, along with 15-20 other Palestinians.  The missile came through the roof and broke through the wall and hit Majid’s wife, Hanan Abd al-Ghani al-Najjar, dead center in her chest.  She died immediately upon impact.  Six or seven others, including Hanan’s elderly mother and Hanan and Majid’s daughter were severely injured by shrapnel and rushed to the hospital.  Whereas Majid thought he had fled from certain death in his home on the border, death followed him to his place of refuge.  Yet the sad reality is that no matter where Majid fled, no place in Gaza was safe.  Hanan’s death was not the unpredictable result of a misguided missile, but rather the predictable consequence of a one-sided war waged by the fifth largest army against a population that is trapped within a prison and weakened by decades of occupation and years of blockade.  
 
While Israel has perfected its many excuses in justifying innocent Palestinian death and destruction (“there were militants present…well we thought there were militants present” ,”we warned them but they did not to leave”, “missiles were being fired from that [insert location here]“, “we are investigating this attack”, “it was an accident”), Israel has fallen short of providing actual evidence to substantiate killing people like Hanan Al-Najjar, Kassab Shurrab, Mahmoud Masharrawi, Sabha’s husband and the majority of others killed.  After attacking the UN-operated al-Fakhura School in Jabalia on January 6, where many families had taken refuge and killing at least 40 innocent women and children and injuring dozens more, Israel made a rare attempt to actually justify its attacks.  Not only did Israel use one of its staple excuses (“militants were firing from inside the school”), but it actually showed a video of militants firing mortars from the school.  Within a matter of days, though, the video was dated to 2007 and till now, Israel has not provided us with another staple excuse of why, two years later, the al-Fakhura School was attacked and the hundreds of Palestinian civilians were killed and injured. 
 
How does Israel explain the executions, the shooting of Palestinians point blank in cold blood?  How does it justify Israeli soldiers shooting Kassab Shurrab with five bullets across the chest as he came out of his car with his hands to his side, especially as one of the Palestinian hostages sitting blindfolded by the soldiers heard the commander tell the soldier in Hebrew to shoot the civilians that were driving down the road.  What about the two daughters of Khaled Abed Rabbo, Amal, age 2, and Suaad, age 7, murdered by an Israeli soldier using a semi-automatic rifle before their father’s eyes as the other Israeli soldiers ate chips and chocolate?  Let us not forget about Sameer Rashid Mohammad Mohammad, a 43 year old UNRWA worker, who was separated from his family by Israeli soldiers and taken to a separate room and shot in the chest?  For four days after killing Sameer, Israeli soldiers held his family hostage and would make the family prepare the murdered Sameer food.  Only when the Israeli soldiers left their home, did Sameer’s children see that their father was executed and by their father’s dead and bleeding body were piles of food.  How about Farah al-Halo, 1.5 years of age, who was shot in the stomach when her family was forced to evacuate from their home at 6:30 PM by Israeli soldiers who assured them of their safety?  Only 50 meters down the road they were shot at by other Israeli soldiers.  Farah, with her intestines spilling from her stomach, died on the side of the road a few hours later as the same soldiers that had assured their safety watched.
 
Further, how can Israel explain its use of the Palestinians as human shields?  Upon entering a village, Israeli soldiers would separate the men from the women.  Sami Rashid Mohammad Mohammad, Sameer’s brother, was taken as a hostage and forced to accompany the Israeli soldiers for four days.  He was handcuffed and blindfolded and made to walk in front of the Israeli tanks and soldiers as bullets would whiz by.  At other times, he was made to sit on his knees in an open field for hours while Israeli soldiers would shoot from behind him and often at his feet.  These Palestinians were nothing more than entertainment for the soldiers, a child’s play toy.  When I asked Sami whether he saw any Palestinian militants during his time as a human shield, he laughed and said that he only saw Israeli soldiers with their blackened faces and camouflage outfits.  “It was only Israeli soldiers shooting at each other,” he remarked.  It is thus no wonder that between four to six Israeli soldiers were killed and 24 others injured in “friendly fire.”
 
Additionally, how can Israel explain the humiliation tactics it used against the Palestinians such as forcing Palestinian ambulance drivers to abandon their ambulance cars and drive donkey carts to pick up the dead and wounded as if to equate Palestinians with donkeys?  The soldiers would grant the ambulance drivers half an hour to clear the area using donkey carts and threatened to shoot after half an hour.  And what about the racist remarks painted on the walls of the Palestinian homes?  One of my co-delegates took pictures of the Hebrew writings graffitied on the walls of some of the Palestinian homes we visited in Zeitoun and had a friend translate them.  Among the things written were: “Death to Arabs”, “War now between Arabs and Jews”, “An Arab brave is an Arab in a grave” “Bad to the Arab=good for me”, “He who dreams Givati [Israeli infantry brigade] does not expel Jews. He who dreams Givati kills Arabs!!!”
 
The reality is that Israel cannot explain or justify any of these things, nor does it even care to do so.  When Israel’s staple excuses are not readily consumed or when it is examined under a critical lens, Israel applies another tactic­ threat and demonization.  Israel has created one of the strongest lobby organizations in the U.S., AIPAC, which actively demonizes any opponent or criticizer of the State of Israel.  Due to John Ging’s, the Director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), open opposition to Israel’s attacks in Gaza and his call for the investigation of Israeli attacks, he has been demonized and AIPAC recently introduced House Resolution 29 attacking UNRWA and alleging that it supports terrorists.  Even I have received a few threatening emails upon the issuance of NLG’s Press Report which documented some of our findings.  One of the emails indicated that I, along with the other attorneys, will have our careers followed.  As the email stated, “Israel is smart not stupid, and will continue to do what they must as will America to survive even over the bodies of their leaders if necessary.” 

Almost every Palestinian I met in Gaza believes that Israel’s recent attack will only be followed by another bloodier and more deadly attack on Gaza that will exterminate the Palestinians once and for all.  Considering the history of attacks on Gaza, the level of atrocities recently committed in Gaza and the lack of international redress, I do not think that these statements are mere paranoia.  Israel must be held accountable for its crimes in Gaza lest it commit larger and more egregious crimes in the future.  As one who has been trained in the legal profession, I demand that Israel engage the legal arena and provide the international community with real evidence, and not just staple excuses and dated videos, that can justify every single civilian murder and the widespread d estruction of Palestinian civil society.  Until Israel is able to do so, the evidence in Gaza leads anyone willing to visit to the inevitable conclusion that Israel has committed war crimes.

Every day, I am assaulted by something in the topsy-turvey world of US politics that amazes me and makes me say to myself, ‘Well I guess I have seen it all now’, only for it to be outdone and replaced the very next day by something even more outrageous.

Politics can do that to people. Power and the opportunity to play on the ‘big field’ is like a drug that makes people do crazy things, things that defy reason, logic, and sometimes decency.

Take for example the most recent article by Arab American Institute James Zogby in his defense of President Elect Barak Obama’s decision to appoint Rahm Emmanuel as White House Chief of Staff. In his piece entitled “Rahm Emanuel and Arab Perceptions” he writes “The emails and calls to my office were both troubled and troubling because much of the reaction was based on misinformation”. The “misinformation” in this case dealt with Rahm Emanuel, the “brilliant strategist” as Jim puts it and his many “proven” political skills which led to him being “tapped” by Obama. No more no less. That is, as Jim calls it, “First, the facts.” I just wonder if Rahm’s ‘proven politics’ is also what dragged Obama to AIPAC’s conference this past summer to deliver that infamous shameful speech, as well as the meeting
afterwards with the board of AIPAC where he was accompanied by Rahm
Emanuel. I don’t think Rahm being born to an Israeli parent who once ran guns for the Irgun Terrorist Organization, his faith as a devout Jew or his being a staunch supporter of Israel had “nothing” to do with his appointment as the conventional wisdom would like us to believe. Of course not, it is his ‘brilliancy’ that got him there. “Its that simple” says the spokesman for the Arab-American community Jim Zogby. Maybe Arabs lack thinking brains to be in positions of power.

Ok, Emanuel may not be an Israeli Citizen, even though Israeli law grants citizenship to Jews who are born for Israeli parents abroad. As a matter of fact the “Israeli Law of Return” grants Israeli citizenship to any Jew who wishes to have it. As a matter of fact many American Jews in high power positions are dual citizens. One such is Douglas Feith, who ran the Office of Special Plans at the Pentagon, and who concocted the ‘Yellow Cake’ theory giving George Bush the ammo he needed to invade an Arab country. Another one coming to mind is Michael Chertoff, our Director of Homeland Security whose father fought in the Bitar Brigade, a Jewish terrorist group during the Palestinian Holocaust which by the way, started way before the so-
called ‘Holocaust’ of Europe and which continues to this very day. No doubt the reader is inclined to call me an ‘anti-Semite’ despite the fact that there is more ‘semitism’ in one of my eyelashes than there is in the whole of European Jewish community because I said the “so-called” Oh well, I guess I am one of those ‘self-hating’ Semites.

Jim goes on to defend Rahm’s service in the Israeli Army saying: “Emanuel volunteered for a few weeks, as a civilian, doing maintenance on Israeli vehicles.” Is he a mechanic? So, not only is he “brilliant” when it comes to politics, he is ‘Rahm the Mechanic’ as well. Talk about a real Renaissance man. Not only is Rahm “brilliant” in banking and finance, “brilliant” in the way he stabs a steak knife into a hardwood table repeatedly when talking
about ‘enemies’ who must be dealt with, but “brilliant” with cars too, especially the ones used by Israel’s military. There is something so familiar between this and the whole “Joe the Plumber” business we heard so much about during the campaign.

Ok, let’s get back to that then–What vehicles Jim? What is a civilian volunteer in the Israeli Army? Did you know that there are no ‘civilians’ in Israel? If someone volunteers to go help a country at a time of war, one can safely assume he will be involved in some kind of a defense position. Was he greasing up the Israeli Tanks before they took positions on the Northern border with Syria and Lebanon in 1991? Or did he just write some nice love notes on Tank Shells? I am not sure, but this “brilliant” American found it
necessary to go and join the Israeli Army – ok in a civilian capacity, god don’t be so uptight on technicalities – but yet, he did not join the American Army fighting two wars. It makes you wonder what country comes first in Rahm’s mind. Is he one of those Israel’s Firsters bunch?

As an aside (although one of supreme importance) what should be noted is that if Mr. Zogby–seeing his homeland of Lebanon being bombarded by Israel as it was in July 2006–decided to don his US Passport and go to Lebanon in order to volunteer in protecting another country, he would be arrested upon re-entry into the US and charged with a whole assortment of crimes related to terrorism. However, when it is a Zionist Jew doing so for Israel, he is offered the highest position in the president’s cabinet and the rest of the world is not supposed to think anything of it.

Oh yes, this is the killer, I almost left it out. Jim wrote: “The truth is that Emanuel is an effective leader in Congress. He is a strong supporter of Israel. But then, how many members of Congress are not?” It’s no big deal, he is just one of the many in Washington who are supporters of Israel. Well Jim you forgot one fundamental difference between “Rahm the Mechanic” and others, namely that the other members of congress prostitute themselves for power, influence and money, but they really don’t get much enjoyment out of the deal. On the contrary–just like prostitutes they want the ordeal to be over with asap because deep down they feel so ashamed of themselves seeing Palestinian children dying from Israeli bullets fired by
Israeli settlers as well as Israel’s imposed starvation and hunger on
innocent people and they can’t do anything about it. “Rahm the
Mechanic” however, Mr Jim Zogby, enjoys what he is doing for Israel. His father, his family, and his “mother country” are proud of what he has become. Israeli Newspapers said “one of us in the White House.” He is doing it because he enjoys it. The Arabs are the sworn enemies of Rahm’s father and his last name is a reminder of that. Emanuel actually is not the last name of the family they changed it when rahm’s uncle, Emanuel was killed by Arabs before the establishment of Israel, and the family changed their last name to, Emanuel. Now do you understand why Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims, Christians, and all freedom-loving people around the World are disturbed by Rahm’s appointment? Can you take your democratic hat off for a second and voice your concern about Rahm? Can you, Uncle Tom?

I saw you turning the world upside down for a comment that John McCain did not make-even though, we made a big issue out of it- I for one made the biggest stink about it, but I did not see you doing the same when Rahm’s father actually, and factually insulted ALL Arabs, dead, alive and yet to be born. Thank God for Mary Oakar and the ADC who forced an apology out of Rahm for what his father had said about how his son will “surely influence Obama’s decisions on Israel” while following it with the comment that “he wasn’t Arab” and therefore will not be going to the White House to “mop floors”. The funny thing in the whole episode is Rahm’s apology, and especially when he said that the comment made by his dad did not “reflect the way he was raised and did not reflect his family values”. I wonder who raised him?

It was his father who said it, the head of his family, the man who installed the values in Rahm, the very same man who ran guns to the Jewish terrorists to massacre the poor souls of Deir Yasin. Now Jim, do you blame the Arabs for their “perception” of Rahm? Is it just a perception? “Can you hear me now!!!”

www.currentissues.tv

Current issues with Hesham Tillawi can be viewed Live every Thursday at 8:00 PM Central Standard Time on Cox Cable system Channel 15 in Louisiana as well as Live on the Internet at www.currentissues.tv and can be contacted at Tillawi@currentissues.tv The show is also broadcast on Bridges TV via cable, satellite, and broadband and on Amazonas satellite World Wide. Current Issues the radio show airs live around the World on Broadband and shortwave 5.050 and many stations around the U.S. every Saturday 4-6 PM Central Time on www.republicbroadcasting.org

A Discourse Analysis

A few days ago, Noam Shalit, the ‘father of’ slammed the Hamas for holding his son for no real reason. Miraculously, he managed to forget the fact that his son Gilad was actually a combatant soldier who served as a post guard in a concentration camp and was captured in a fortress bunker overlooking Gaza.

Father Shalit called upon Hamas to: “stop holding us as hostages of the symbols of yesterday’s wars”. He also claimed that the Hamas is engaged in no less than ‘imaginary resistance’. Seemingly, these are some very bold statements from a father who is supposed to be very concerned with his son’s fate.

Gilad Shalit saga is no doubt an exemplary case-study of Israeli identity. In spite of the fact that Gilad Shailt is a soldier who was directly involved in the Israeli military crime against a civilian population, the Israelis and Jewish lobbies around the world insist upon presenting him as an ‘innocent victim’. The leading slogan of the Shalit campaign reads ‘Gilad Shalit, Human being, JEW’. And I ask myself is he really just an ordinary a ‘human being’ as the slogan suggests or rather a chosen one as implied by the ‘Jew’ predicate? And if he is just a human being, why exactly did they add the ‘Jew’ in? What is there in the ‘Jew’ title that serves the Free Shalit campaign?

Apparently the usage of the predicates ‘Human being’ and ‘Jew’ in such a proximity is rather informative and meaningful. Within the post-holocaust Jewish and liberal discourses ‘human being’ stands for ‘innocence’ and ‘Jew’ stands for ‘victim’. Accordingly, the Shalit’ campaign slogan should be grasped as ‘FREE Gilad Shalit the innocent victim’.

One may wonder at this stage, what does it take for a combatant soldier serving as a post guard in a concentration camp to become an ‘innocent victim’? Apparently, as far as Israeli discourse is concerned, not a lot. It is really just a matter of rhetoric.

It is rather notable that within the Israeli militarized society, the soldier is elevated, his blood is precious in comparison to ordinary Jewish citizens. Israelis adore their military men and grieve every loss of their armed forces with spectacular laments. Considering the IDF being a popular army, the Israeli love of their soldiers can be realized as just another fashion of their inherent self-loving. The Israelis simply love themselves almost as much as they hate their neighbors. In Israel a death in action of an IDF combatant would receive far more attention than a death of a civilian who was subject of so called ‘terror’. Similarly, in Israel an IDF POW would gather the ultimate media attention. Ron Arad, Ehud Goldwasser and Gilad Shalit are household names in Israel, the names and faces are familiar to all Israelis and others who are interested in the conflict. Considering Israel being in a constant state of war, the collective-over caring concern for the military man is rather enigmatic or even peculiar.

Within the Israeli narrative, the soldier is grasped as an innocent being that is ‘caught’ in a war which he is doomed to fight against his will. The Israeli combatant ‘shoots and sobs’. Within the Israeli deluded mindset and historical narrative, the Israelis ‘seek peace’ and it is somehow always the ‘others’ who bring hostility and violence about. This outright self-deception is so imbued within the Israeli self image, something that allows the Israelis to launch and initiate one war after another while being totally convinced that it is always the ‘Arabs’ who attempt to throw the Israeli into the sea.

In that sense, the Israeli ‘War Against Terror’ should be realized as a battle against the terror within. The constant battle against the ‘Arabs’ is an outlet that resolves the Hebraic self-imposed anxiety which the Israeli cannot handle or even confront. In that very sense throwing white phosphorous on women, the elderly and children acts as a collective Valium pill, it brings peace to the Israeli mind, it smoothes the terror within. Killing en masse resolves the insular Israeli collective state of fear. This explains how come 94% http://news.hosuronline.com/NewsD.asp?DAT_ID=722 of the Israeli Jewish population supported the last genocide in Gaza. The consequences are devastating. The total majority of the Israeli Jews not only say NO to ‘love thy neighbor’, they actually say YES to murder in broad daylight.

In their deluded mindset the Israelis are pushed into ‘no choice’ wars ‘against their will’ in spite of the fact that they are ‘innocent victims’. In fact, this delusion or rather cognitive dissonance stands at the very core of the Israeli unethical existence. The Israeli is submerged in a self-notion of blamelessness, it is somehow always the other who carries the guilt and the fault (i). This total discrepancy between Israeli self-perception i.e., ‘innocence’ and Israeli manifested practice i.e., barbarism beyond comparison, can be realized as a severe form of detachment on the verge of collective psychosis.

The case of Shalit embodies this discrepancy very well. Time after time we are asked by Israeli officials and Jewish lobbies to show our compassion to a combatant soldier that was serving as post guard in the biggest jail in history. An American right-winger, for instance, would probably have enough decency in him not to demand our compassionate empathy towards a USA marine that was injured while serving as a post guard in Guantànamo Bay. Similarly, not many would dare demand our compassionate empathy towards a German platoon who performed a role similar to Gilad Shalit’s in an East European concentration camp in the early 1940’s. Moreover, could anyone imagine the kind of Jewish outrage that would be evoked by an imaginary campaign by a right-wing, white supremacist slogan that reads “Free Wolfgang Heim, Human Being, Aryan”?

As much as I understand Noam Shalit’s deep concerns regarding the fate of his son, I must advise him with the hope that he takes it into consideration. His son Gilad is not exactly an innocent angel. If anything, like the rest of the Israelis, he is an integral part of the Israeli continuous sin. He was a soldier in a criminal army that serves a criminal cause that launches criminal wars. I honestly suggest to Mr. Noam Shalit to consider changing his rhetoric. He should drop his righteous preaching voice and replace it with either dignity or a desperate call for Hamas’ mercy. You either acknowledge your son’s deeds and be proud of it as a nationalist militant Jew, alternatively, you may beg for Hamas’ kindness. If I were in his place, I would probably go for the second option. Noam Shalit better drop the word hostage of his vocabulary. Neither he nor his son are Hamas’ hostages. If anything they are both held hostage by a Jewish nationalist project that is going to bring the gravest disaster on the Jewish people. They are both prisoners of a criminal war against ‘thy neighbors’, the Palestinian civilian population.

Considering the crimes against humanity repeatedly committed by Israel, all that is left for the Jewish state is just rhetorical spin that indeed becomes more and more delusional and ineffective. Thus, it didn’t really take me by surprise to find out that Noam Shalit is not just a concerned parent, he is also a profound post-modernist polemicist . “Resistance against what? Against whom? “ wonders father Shalit, trying to dismiss the Palestinian cause altogether. You Hamas are taking us “hostages of symbols that at best belong to yesterday’s wars, to yesterday’s world, which has since changed beyond recognition.”

Mr. Shalit, I would like you to tell us all what has changed ‘beyond recognition’ (except the landscape of Gaza)? Please enlighten us all because as far as we can see, you yourself still live on stolen Palestinian land, making the Biblical call for plunder into a contemporary devastating reality. As far as we can see, your sons and daughters are still engaged in murderous genocidal practices as they have been for the last six decades.

Mr. Shalit, I suggest that you wake up and the sooner the better. Nothing really changed, at least not in the Israeli side. The only change I may discern is the cheering fact that you and your people do not win anymore. Yes, you manage to kill children, women and old people, yes, you have managed to drop unconventional weapons on civilians dwelling in the most populated area on this planet and yet, you fail to win the war. Your military campaigns achieve nothing except death and carnage. Your murderous genocidal actions attained nothing but exposing what the National Jewish project is all about and what the Israeli is capable of. Your imaginary power of deterrence is melting down as I write these words and Hamas rockets keep pounding Southern Israel. Yet, the Jewish state has secured itself a prominent position as the embodiment of evil. If there is a ‘change beyond recognition’ to be detected is the fact that after Gaza we all know who you are and what you stand for.


[i] Amalek, Spanish Inquisition, Nazis, Poles, Communists, Arabs, PLO, Hamas, Venezuela, Iran and now Turkey

Once upon an alleged democracy, the Egyptian government decided a couple of days ago to try the journalist Majdi Hussein, the secretary-general of the Egyptian Labour party in a military court – even though he is a civilian – because he broke the law when he tried to “illegally enter the Gaza Strip”.

 

One wonders what is legal and what is not when it comes to Gaza.  It seems the law in Egypt is extremely elastic and can accommodate all manipulations and tailoring of the law to fit different sizes of growing plots. The good old Egyptian system is abiding by the law to the letter, and that’s why it wants to try a journalist in a military court for entering Gaza ‘illegally’ while the good old authority was providing the Israeli military ‘legally’ with tons of foods through the Gaza crossings while blocking any food sent to the starved to death children of Gaza who were burned to the bone by white phosphorus by that same Israeli army Egypt was feeding.

 

Last month the opposition Egyptian newspaper Alosbooa ‘The Week’ revealed in one of its reports a controversial story that was not refuted by the authorities about the Egyptian company ‘International Union of Food Industries’ which was providing the Israeli army with large quantities of homegrown Egyptian vegetables during the aggression on Gaza, since the very first day of the aggression. 

 

The report revealed that the Egyptian trucks were loaded with tons of frozen local grown vegetables from the company stores in the city of Sadat to the Israeli company “Food Channel”, through Al Awja crossing between Egypt and Israel. One of the drivers said that he has made these deliveries many times to Israel but he was hiding this fact from his relatives and neighbours in Albadry neighbourhood at Assalam city, and that he used to tell them that he was delivering goods to other Arab countries, or the delivery is heading towards far ports like Savaja because he was embarrassed to tell them the truth. Other drivers said they no more feel embarrassed or ashamed of doing so because their government itself has normalized relations with Israel years ago. The workers in the company said that the food was repackaged with Hebrew writing, showing the expiry date and the contents, and that the food has been prepared according to Jewish religious rules.  Thus indicating that it complied with the traditional religious Jewish parameters, and that’s why the company imposed a cordon around the place, keeping stored bags, boxes, posters and empty cartons away from the sight of intruders, not allowing any of the workers or the staff to approach the packaging area, and searching every worker at the end of his shift before leaving.

 

Contrary to what was expected, trade exchange between Egypt and Israel because of Israeli policies towards the Palestinians has increased notably to 4 billion dollars in addition to exports of oil and gas.

 

Regarding the journalist Majdi Husse, this was not his first encounter with the Egyptian authorities. He was Chief Editor of an Egyptian Islamic bi-weekly when he was imprisoned for 4 months along with the journalist Muhammad Hilal in 1998 with charges of defaming former Minister of the Interior in Egypt, Lt. Gen. Hussein al-Alfi.

Hussein said he was prevented twice by the Egyptian authorities from entering the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing point, forcing him to take an alternative route to get into the Palestinian territories.

The Egyptian prosecutor in Al-Arish city said the decision to put Hussein on military trial (even though he is a civilian) came after three days of investigations with him, and that he was arrested upon his arrival to the Egyptian side of the border with Gaza. The trial of Hussein is expected to be held on Thursday.

The Labour party in Egypt considered subjecting one of its top officials to a military trial as a grave violation of human rights, since he is a civilian, and commented that Majdi’s decision to get into Gaza Strip was driven by his “nationalist, Islamic, and popular considerations, and that Majdi’s determination to enter the Strip reflects the general feeling in the Egyptian street to lift the siege on Gaza and to open the Rafah crossing point before the Palestinian people.”

Majidi is not the only Arab journalist Egyptian authorities prevented from entering Gaza, the Al-Jazeera team was denied entry into Gaza too. The Egyptian authorities denied two of Al-Jazeera’s top journalists Ahmed Mansour and Ghassan Bin Jiddo entry into the Gaza Strip without explaining the reasons. Especially since Egypt had granted entry into the Gaza Strip to foreign and European journalists.

In a telephone call with his satellite channel, Mansour confirmed that the Egyptian authorities told them that they (he and bin Jiddo) were denied entry, at a time it granted many journalists of different nationalities the right to enter the Strip.

“We presented our identification documents to the Egyptian authorities and requested permission to enter the Gaza Strip as other journalists did, but we were denied entry,” added Mansour.

Mansour also said that the Egyptian officials stopped answering their telephone calls, but he stressed that the Al-Jazeera team will remain at the borders till a rational reason by the Egyptian authorities is given to justify such action.

Hence, according to the law-abiding Egyptian authorities, it is illegal to open the crossing to allow food and aid to the starved Gaza children, but it is legal to feed the Zionist army who were barbecuing Gaza children. It is legal to allow foreign journalists to cross to the Gaza haven, but it is against the law to allow Arab journalists to cross the borders to investigate or offer emotional support. It seems it is legal to stand on the borders and watch a full nation being killed and not only to stand idly doing nothing, but also to punish those who intend to help.

Two Surgeons from the UK, Dr Ghassan Abu Sittah and Dr Swee Ang, managed to get into Gaza during the Israeli invasion. Here they describe their experiences, share their views, and conclude that the people of Gaza are extremely vulnerable and defenseless in the event of another attack.

The wounds of Gaza are deep and multi-layered. Are we talking about the Khan Younis massacre of 5,000  in 1956 or the execution  of 35,000 prisoners of war by Israel in 1967? Yet more wounds of the First Intifada, when civil disobedience by an occupied people against the occupiers resulted in massive wounded and hundreds dead?  We also cannot discount the 5,420 wounded in southern Gaza alone since 2000. Hence what we are referring to below are only that of the invasion as of 27 December 2008,
Over the period of 27 December 2008 to the ceasefire of 18 Jan 2009, it was estimated that a million and a half tons of explosives were dropped on Gaza Strip. Gaza is 25 miles by 5 miles and home to 1.5 million people. This makes it the most crowded area in the whole world. Prior to this Gaza has been completely blockaded and starved for 50 days.  In fact since the Palestinian election Gaza has been under total or partial blockade for several years.

On the first day of the invasion, 250 persons were killed.  Every single police station in Gaza was bombed killing large numbers of police officers. Having wiped out the police force attention was turned to non government targets.  Gaza was bombed from the air by F16 and Apache helicopters,  shelled from the sea by Israeli gunboats and from the land by tank artillery. Many schools were reduced to rubble,  including the American School of Gaza, 40 mosques, hospitals, UN buildings, and of course 21,000 homes, 4,000 of which were demolished completely. It is estimated that 100,000 people are now homeless.

Israeli weapons
The weapons used apart from conventional bombs and high explosives also include unconventional weapons of which at least 4 categories could be identified.

Phosphorus Shells and bombs
The bombs dropped were described by eye witnesses as exploding at high altitude scattering a large canopy of phosphorus bomblets which cover a large area.

During the land invasion, eyewitnesses describe the tanks shelling into homes first with a conventional shell. Once the walls are destroyed, a second shell – a phosphorus shell is then shot into the homes.  Used in this manner the phosphorus explodes and burns the families and the homes. Many charred bodies were found among burning phosphorus particles.
One area of concern is the phosphorus  seems to be in a special stabilizing agent. This  results in the phosphorus being more stable and not completely burning out.  Residues still cover the fields, playground and compounds. They ignite when picked up by curious kids, or produce fumes when farmers return to water their fields. One returning farming family on watering their field met with clouds of fumes producing epistaxis.  Thus the phosphorus residues probably treated with a stabilizer also act as anti-personnel  weapons against children and make the return to normal life difficult without certain hazards.

Surgeons from hospitals are also reporting cases where after primary laparotomy for relatively small wounds with minimal contamination find on second look laparotomy  increasing areas of tissue necrosis at about 3 days.  Patients then become gravely ill and by about 10 days those patients needing a third relook encounter massive liver necrosis. This may or may not be accompanied by generalized bleeding , kidney failure and heart failure and death. Although acidosis, liver necrosis and sudden cardiac arrest due to hypocalcemia are known to be a complication of white phosphorus it is not possible to attribute these complications as being due to phosphorus alone.

There is real urgency to analyze and identify the real nature of this modified phosphorus as to its long term effect on the people of Gaza. There is also urgency in collecting and disposing of the phosphorus residues littering the entire Gaza Strip. As they give off toxic fumes when coming into contact with water, once the rain falls the whole area would be polluted with acid phosphorus fumes. Children should be warned not to handle and play with these phosphorus residues.

Heavy Bombs
The use of DIME (dense inert material explosives) were evident, though it is unsure whether depleted uranium were used in the south.  In the civilian areas, surviving patients were found to have limbs truncated by DIME, since the stumps apart from being characteristically cut off in guillotine fashion also fail to bleed. Bomb casing and shrapnel are  extremely heavy.

Fuel Air Explosives
Bunker busters and implosion bombs have been used . There are buildings especially the 8 storey  Science and Technology Building of the Islamic University of Gaza which had been reduced to a pile of rubble no higher than 5-6 feet.

Silent Bombs
People in Gaza described a silent bomb which is extremely destructive.  The bomb arrives as a silent projectile at most with a whistling sound and creates a large area where all objects and living things are vaporized with minimal trace.  We are unable to fit this into conventional weapons but the possibility of new particle weapons being tested should be suspected.

Executions
Survivors describe Israeli tanks arriving in front of homes asking residents to come out. Children, old people and women would come forward and as they were lined up they were just fired on and killed. Families have lost tens of their members through such executions. The deliberate targeting of unarmed children and women is well documented by human right groups in the Gaza Strip over the past month.

Targeting of ambulances
Thirteen ambulances had been fired upon killing drivers and first aid personnel in the process of rescue and evacuation of the wounded.

Cluster bombs
The first patients wounded by cluster were brought into Abu Yusef Najjar Hospital.  Since more than 50% of the tunnels have been destroyed, Gaza has lost part of her lifeline. These tunnels contrary to popular belief are not for weapons, though small light weapons could have been smuggled through them.  However they are the main stay of food and fuel for Gaza. 

Palestinians are beginning to tunnel again. However it became clear that cluster bombs were dropped on to the Rafah border and the first was accidentally set of by tunneling.  Five burns patients were brought in after setting off a booby trap kind of device.

Death toll
As of 25 January 2009, the death toll was estimated at 1,350 with the numbers increasing daily. This is due to the severely wounded continuing to die in hospitals. 60% of those killed were children.

Severe injuries
The severely injured numbered 5,450, with 40% being children. These are mainly large burns and polytrauma patients.  Single limb fractures and walking wounded are not included in these figures.

Through our conversations with doctors and nurses the word holocaust and catastrophe were repeatedly used. The medical staff all bear the psychological trauma of the past month living though the situation and dealing with mass casualties which swamped their casualties and operating rooms. Many patients died in the Accident and Emergency Department while awaiting treatment. In a district hospital, the orthopaedic surgeon carried out 13 external fixations in less than a day.

It is estimated that of the severely injured, 1,600 will suffer permanently disabilities. These include amputations, spinal cord injuries, head injuries, large burns with crippling contractures.

Special factors
The death and injury toll is especially high in this recent assault due to several factors:

No escape:  As Gaza is sealed by Israeli troops, no one can escape the bombardment and the land invasion. There is simply no escape. Even within the Gaza Strip itself, movement from north to south is impossible as Israeli tanks had cut the northern half of Gaza from the south. Compare this with the situation in Lebanon 1982 and 2006, when it was possible for people to escape from an area of heavy bombardment to an area of relative calm – there was no such is option for Gaza.

Gaza is very densely populated.  It is eerie to see that the bombs used by Israel have been precision bombs. They have a hundred percent hit rate on buildings which are crowded with people. Examples are the central market, police stations. Schools, the UN compounds used as a safety shelter from bombardment, mosques (40 of them destroyed), and the homes of families who thought they were safe as there were no combatants in them and high rise flats where a single implosion bomb would destroy multiple families.  This pattern of consistent targeting of civilians makes one suspect that the military targets are but collateral damage, while civilians are the primary targets.

The quantity and quality of the ammunition being used as described above.
Gaza’s lack of defense against the modern weapons of Israel. She has no tanks, no planes, no anti-aircraft missiles against the invading army.  We experienced that first hand in a minor clash of Israeli tank shells versus Palestinian AK47 return fire.  The forces were simply unmatched.

Absence of well constructed bomb shelters for civilians. Unfortunately these will also be no match for bunker busters possessed by the Israeli Army.

Conclusion
Taking the above points into consideration, the next assault on Gaza would be just as disastrous. The people of Gaza are extremely vulnerable and defenseless in the event of another attack. If the International Community is serious about preventing such a large scale of deaths and injuries in the future, it will have to develop a some sort of defense force for Gaza. Otherwise, many more vulnerable  civilans will continue to die.

Dr Ghassan Abu Sittah and Dr Swee Ang
(Franklin, thanks for sending!!)

Rule #1: In the Middle East, it is always the Palestinians that attack first, and it’s always Israel who defends itself. The name of this is “retaliation”.

 

Rule #2: The Palestinians are not allowed to kill Israelis. The name of this is “terrorism”.

 

Rule #3: Israel has the right to kill Palestinian civilians; the name of this is “self-defense” or “collateral damage”.

 

Rule #4: When Israel kills too many Palestinian civilians, the Western world calls for restraint. This is called the “reaction of the international community”.

 

Rule #5: Palestinians do not have the right to capture Israeli military, not even 1 or 2.

 

Rule #6: Israel has the right to capture as many Palestinians as they want (around 10,000 to date being held without trial). There is no limit; there is no need for proof of guilt or a trial. All that is needed is the magic word: “terrorism”.

 

Rule #7: When you say “Hamas”, always be sure to add “supported by Hezbollah, Syria and Iran”.

 

Rule #8: When you say “Israel”, never say “supported by the USA, the UK, European countries and even some Arab regimes”, for people (God forbid) might believe this is not an equal conflict.

 

Rule #9: When it comes to Israel, don’t mention the words “occupied territories”, “UN resolutions”, “Geneva Conventions”. This could distress the audience of Fox, CNN, etc.

 

Rule # 10: The Palestinians are always “cowards” who hide behind a civilian population that “they don’t care about”. If they (militants) sleep in houses with their families, the name of this is: “cowardice”. Israel has the right to annihilate the towns where they sleep using bombs and missiles. The name of this is “high precision surgical action”.

 

Rule #11: Israelis speak better English than Arabs. This is why we let them speak out as much as possible, so that they can explain rules 1 through 9. The name of this is “neutral journalism”.

 

Rule #12: If you don’t agree with these rules or if you favor the Palestinian side over the Israeli side, you must be a very dangerous anti-Semite. You may even have to make a public apology if you express your honest opinion.

 

THIS NAME OF THIS IS: DEMOCRACY!!

(Isn’t democracy wonderful?)

 

Now that you have read the rules (a Spanish language version of them says the author was God, and I’ve translated an Italian version you can read tomorrow on www.tlaxcala.es), see what the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Lies and Deception has issued in today’s briefing. It’s their denouncement of War Crimes and Death of civilians, of thievery and use of weaponry. Obviously, they project all evil onto their enemies, and here is a classic example of the Hasbara of Israel’s “Good War in a Nutshell”. If you read it, you will see that they are accusing Hamas of all and sundry, War Crimes, even! See how well they apply these rules, going beyond the beyond! They tout about words such as “Truth”, the use of exaggeration and hyperbole alone is staggering, “Eight years of constant rocket barrages”, “I don’t think there’s ever been a time in the history of warfare when any army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties and deaths of innocent people than the IDF is doing today in Gaza.”,  and the whopper, “…I was struck by how cosmetically unchanged Gaza appeared to be.”

 

Count how many times they use each rule and share your results with the rest of us! Find a few rules that were hidden… in essence, for lovers of science fiction or fairy tales, this genre will be right up your alley.

Behind the Headlines: The truth about Hamas crimes in Gaza

The evidence of Hamas’ war crimes, its exaggeration of civilian casualties and damage to property, its abuse of humanitarian aid and its intimidation of Gaza’s residents are finally coming to light.

Despite Hamas’ best efforts to hide the truth about events in the Gaza Strip, the evidence of Hamas’ war crimes, its exaggeration of civilian casualties and damage to property, its abuse of humanitarian aid and its intimidation of Gaza’s residents are finally coming to light.

Israel knows better than most countries the horrors of war. Eight years of constant rocket barrages targeting Israeli civilians, eight years of trying tactic after tactic to stop these war crimes left Israel with little choice but to invoke its legitimate right of self-defense.

When Israel did strike back against Hamas terror in Gaza, it took unprecedented and innovative steps to try to encourage civilians to avoid Hamas positions, even placing tens of thousands of phone calls warning residents in hazardous areas. As British Colonel (ret.) Richard Kemp commented on the BBC, “I don’t think there’s ever been a time in the history of warfare when any army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties and deaths of innocent people than the IDF is doing today in Gaza.”

To Israel’s great sorrow, innocent civilians in Gaza have been harmed. However, the figures of civilian casualties have been greatly exaggerated. Most of these figures come from Hamas sources, amplifying the number of civilians killed by including as “children” teenage Hamas fighters and as “women,” female terrorists. According to an Israeli investigation, of the 1,100-1,200 reported casualties, 250 were civilians. The rest are believed to be terrorists or have yet to be identified, but given that most of them are young men in their 20s, it is not unreasonable to assume that they are also members of Hamas or other terrorist organizations.

Hamas is responsible, both morally and under international law, for many of the dead and injured civilians. This terrorist organization deliberately used the local population as human shields, a war crime. Civilian structures were used as launching pads for rockets, a tactic that is extremely hazardous to residents. Civilians were prevented, at gunpoint, from fleeing the sites of battles and even children have been grabbed to be used as living bulletproof vests. Even ambulances were not safe from hijacking attempts by terrorists, who would lure the ambulances into the heart of battle to transport Hamas terrorists to safety.

Property damage, while sizeable, has also been exaggerated. As Tim Butcher, a journalist intimately familiar with the Gaza Strip reported (Telegraph, Jan 20): “There had been no carpet bombing of large areas, no firebombing of complete suburbs. Targets had been selected and then hit, often several times, but almost always with precision munitions. Buildings nearby had been damaged and there had been some clear mistakes… But, in most the cases, I saw the primary target had borne the brunt… For the most part, I was struck by how cosmetically unchanged Gaza appeared to be.”

Hamas’ rocket attacks, which continued throughout the operation, constituted a double war crime. Not only were they aimed at about 15% of Israel’s civilian population, they were cynically carried out from locations immediately adjacent to homes, schools, hospitals, relief agency warehouses, mosques, public buildings – as well as from the office building that housed foreign media studios. These reprehensible acts were documented not only in Israeli aerial films, but by the international media.

As Rod Nordland (Newsweek, Jan 20) described one event, “Suddenly there was a terrific whoosh, louder even than a bomb explosion. It was another of Hamas’s homemade Qassam rockets being launched into Israel – and the mobile launchpad was smack in the middle of the four [apartment] buildings, where every apartment was full…”

Lorenzo Cremonesi (Corriere della Sera, Jan 21) relates the testimony of “Um Abdallah”:  “Practically all of the tallest buildings in Gaza that were hit by Israeli bombs … had rocket launching pads on their roofs, or were observation decks for the Hamas. They had also put them near the big UN warehouse, which went up in flames.”

Many of Gaza’s residents are now returning home. Some have found weapons left behind by Hamas terrorists who turned their homes into forward positions against the IDF, or worse, bodies of terrorists killed during the fighting. Many blame Hamas for the loss of life and property damage caused by Hamas’ practice of hiding among the civilian population. However, critical as they are of the Hamas regime in private, few, if any, residents of Gaza will accuse Hamas publically, a move that is tantamount to suicide.

An official Fatah spokesman in Ramallah (Jerusalem Post, Jan 19) reported that 100 of his men in Gaza have been killed or wounded, some brutally tortured, by Hamas. A Fatah leader in Gaza City claimed that members of his faction were being held in school buildings and hospitals that Hamas had turned into make-shift interrogation centers, and as many as 80 were either shot in the legs or had their hands broken for allegedly defying Hamas’ orders (see also video of Fatah testimonials about Hamas).

Ulrike Putz (Der Spiegel, Jan 23) managed to interview Palestinians who were not too intimidated by Hamas to speak (as long as their full names were not used): “Hail found out after the cease-fire that the militants had used his house as a base for their operations. The door to his house stood open and there were electric cables lying in the hallway. When Hail followed them they led to his neighbor’s house which it seems Hamas had mined. As Hail, in his mid-30s, sat on his porch and thought about what to do a man came by: He was from Hamas and had left something in Hail’s home. He let him in and the man then emerged with a bullet proof vest, a rocket launcher and an ammunitions belt. An hour later a fighter with Islamic Jihad called to the door, then disappeared onto the roof and reappeared with a box of ammunition.” 

Israel has a strong interest in the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip and will work together with the international community and moderate Arab regimes to improve the lives of Gaza’s residents. However, caution most be exercised to ensure that the aid does not end up in Hamas’ pockets.

This is not unwarranted wariness – Hamas has a long history of stealing humanitarian aid for its own use, even while the operation was ongoing. As Yaacov Katz reported (Jerusalem Post, Jan 12), “Hamas raided some 100 aid trucks that Israel had allowed into Gaza, stole their contents and sold them to the highest bidders.”     Earlier (Jerusalem Post, Jan 6) Mr. Katz related that “Hamas has set up an independent hospital in the Gaza Strip to treat its operatives wounded in fighting with the IDF – and, according to Israeli estimates, it is pilfering a significant portion of the medicine allowed into the Strip…”  

These reports are not only coming in from Israeli sources. Jordan’s News Agency (Petra, Jan 20) reported on the hijacking of humanitarian aid on its way to UNWRA warehouses in Gaza for distribution to the civilian population: “A number of armed men have seized on Tuesday a Jordanian aid convoy after entering the Gaza Strip… The armed men opened fire at drivers after crossing Karem Abu Salem [Kerem Shalom] crossing point and forced them to head to their own warehouses.”

Hamas’ hijacking of humanitarian aid is not only ethically repulsive, it is extraordinary given that Hamas is attempting to claim that the motive for its  rocket attacks is to force the opening of the crossings. This assertion is, of course, preposterous given that the rocket fire started eight years ago, when there was free trade with Gaza and continued after Israel completely withdrew from the Gaza Strip. Moreover, Hamas’ constant and deadly rocket, mortar, truck-bomb and shooting attacks on the crossings are one of the prime reasons for their closing.

The complexities of fighting terrorist organizations are becoming more familiar to democratic states, including NATO forces in Afghanistan. A British soldier who served there analyzed the IDF’s activities in light of his experience and noted (The Spectator, Jan 24) that “I believe that I and other soldiers understand the stress, friction and confusion that combat brings in a way that media commentators and UN bureaucrats never can.”

However, one principle is clear to any unbiased analyst – as long as Israel, and not Hamas, is blamed for civilian casualties and property damage, Hamas will continue to use civilians as human shields and violate every basic rule of international humanitarian law.

As Nir Boms, vice president of the Center for Freedom in the Middle East, and Shayan Arya an Iranian activist, wrote (Jerusalem Post, Jan 28), “War, even when justified, brings much injustice with it. But there is also an important lesson to be learned, and a hope that this time it will not be completely missed by the rioting Arab street… The Palestinian discourse often fails to address the question of responsibility and accountability for Palestinian choices, decisions and leadership.” The Palestinians in Gaza must accept and take responsibility for the consequences of the Hamas leaders they chose.

Fortunately, the truth is starting to come to light. Even a senior European Union official – Louis Michel, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid – denounced Hamas, not only stating (AFP, Jan 26) during his visit to Gaza: “I intentionally say this here – Hamas is a terrorist movement and it has to be denounced as such,” but also concluding that: “At this time we have to also recall the overwhelming responsibility of Hamas” for the conflict in Gaza.

I have decided to publish some names and photos of the Israeli military personnel who participated in the so-called “Operation Cast Lead”, the offensive launched by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on the Gaza Strip between 27 December and 18 January 2009. The names of these criminals called my attention since the first day of their criminal attack against the Palestinian civilians in Gaza. I consider each person who took part in this IOF and each one whose name appears in this report as a war criminal who should be requested by an international court of justice, just like all other war criminals who were persecuted before…Colonel Ron Ashrov.jpgThe Israeli Attorney General Menachem Mazuz is conniving with others the war crimes committed in Gaza. These others are Ehud Barak, Ehud Olmert and his cabinet of criminals, and the military counterpart, Brigadier General Avihai Mandelblit. Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi is equally involved in the war crimes in Gaza. The Attorney General of Israel asked his military counterpart to open a quick investigation among the military as an “alternative” measure to hinder potentially “hundreds” of international lawsuits against Israeli officials alleging war crimes against the Gaza population during the operation has been widely anticipated. There is growing concern in the offices of the Israeli justice and war ministries because they expect a massive wave of lawsuits for human rights violations against Israeli officers and politicians.

Colonel Hartzi Halevi – Paratroops Brigade Commander1The criminal intentions of Menechem Mazuz, namely helping to cover up war crimes of the State of Israel by giving an advice to the military, and by opening a “formal and internal investigations” is a clear fraud planned by the Israeli ministry of justice. Such a behavior is not that of a state, it is the behavior of a criminal organization trying to escape their well deserved punishment.

The military censor of Israel is preventing the media from identifying officers who participated in the Gaza Strip IOF, and divulging information about them which could be used in legal proceedings against them in courts of justice abroad. There is great concern at the defense and the justice ministries that Israeli officers will be singled out in a massive wave of suits for human rights violations.

Eyal Eisenberg2.jpgIn recent days the censor has forbidden publishing the full names and photographs of officers from the level of battalion commander down. It is assumed that the identity of brigade commanders has already been made known. The censor also forbids any reports tying a particular officer of battlefield command rank (lieutenant to lieutenant colonel) to destruction inflicted in a particular area.

The Israeli war criminal number one, Ehud Barak, stated that the State of Israel bears the responsibility for sending IOF troops on missions in Gaza, as well as for defending civilians, and as such it is obligated to grant its full support to these officers and soldiers who participated in the IOF in Gaza. Barak said that no harm should come to officers and soldiers as a result of their Commander of the 401st Brigade Colonel Yigal Slovikinvolvement in the operation.

The war criminal Barak ordered the IOF to set up a team of intelligence and legal experts to collect evidence related to operations in Gaza that could be used to defend military commanders against future lawsuits abroad.

 

Here are Some Names of the Israeli War Criminals who Operated in Gaza 

maj-gen-ido-nehushtan-approved-as-new-iaf-commanderMaj. Gen. Ido Nehushtan, a war criminal, Commander of Israeli air forces which lead all the operation of destruction with tons of phosphorus bombs.

Colonel Ron Ashrov, a war criminal, Commander of the Northern Gaza, deputy to the Givati Brigade.

Brigadier-General Eyal Eisenberg - Commander of all the IOF war criminal forces of “Operation Cast Lead” were under his command in Gaza Division. He personally participated in the war. He commanded the operations, in which Armored and Engineering corps units, as well as infantry soldiers were taking part. Eisenberg also commanded a division during the Second Lebanon War.

colonel-yigal-slovikColonel Yigal Slovik, commander of 401st Armored Corps Brigade convoy, entered Gaza in a Merkava tank from Netzarim and he did not stop until it reached the coast. He murdered the Palestinian civilians who raised the white flags, and he destroyed many houses over the head of the people. The brigade units also conducted numerous raids targeting public infrastructure.

destruction-commander-in-gaza-warSho’alay Marom, Brigadier (res.), razed to the ground hundreds of houses in Rafah, and in Jabalia.

Lt. Col. Yoav Mordechai, he served as a commander of the criminal Golani infantry brigade’s 13th Battalion in Gaza and in the “second Lebanon war”. He attacked the Tel al-Hawa neighborhood, where hundreds of Palestinian residents who had fled on foot were murdered under his instructions. In one well-known incident, about more 150 Palestinian civilians were gathered by the IOF in a house, and then the house was bombed and shelled. Lt. Col. Yoav Mordechai is a friend of the PA, and it is known that he coordinated his crimes with the PA.

Lt. Col. Oren Cohen, a war criminal, commander of Battalion 13 in the Golani Brigade, who led on night his troops into eastern of Gaza City, they murdered over hundred Palestinian. He was moderately wounded by the Israeli war criminal friends. Cohen and his soldiers operated during the second Lebanon war.

Lt. Col. Avi Blot, a war criminal, commander of the 101st Battalion in the Paratrooper Brigade.

Lieutenant-Colonel Yehuda Cohen, battalion commander in Givati infantry Brigade’s Rotem Regiment, a war criminal in the second war in Lebanon, and a war criminal in Gaza.

Lieutenant-Colonel Ronen Dagmi, deputy commander of the 401st Armored Brigade which operated in “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza.

Col. Avi Peled.jpgCol. Avi Peled, a war criminal, a commander brigade in Battalion 51 who operated in Gaza during “Operation Cast Lead”, and he was operated during the second war of Lebanon.

Brig.-Gen. ( res.) Zvika Fogel, a war criminal, a former deputy OC Southern Command in charge of artillery fire for Operation Cast Lead. Zvika and his son Zivi Fogel participated in “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza.
Brigadier-General Yuval Halamish, Chief IOF Intelligence Officer, participated in “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza.

Paratrooper Brigade commander, Hartzi Halevi, during an IDF opeCol. Hertzi Halevy, brigade commander, a former Sayeret Matkal, commander of the Israel Paratroopers’ Brigade in Gaza, committed war crimes in Gaza during “Operation Cast Lead”.

Col. Tomer Tsiter, a Givati squad commander from Ra’anana, participated in the massacre in Gaza during “Operation Cast Lead”, and previously he participated in the massacre “Operation Defensive Shield” in the Jenin refugee camp in 2002.

Gur Rosenblatt, infantry reserve officer, participated in “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza.

Guy Ohaion, infantry reserve officer, participated in “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza.

Lt. Col. Erez, armored corps, tank commander, participated in “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza.

Maj. Nimrod Aloni, participated in “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza.

Lieutenant Colonel (res.) Shlomo Saban, participated in “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza.

Capt. Ron Vardi, a war criminal, participated in “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza.

Ashkinazi_terrorist_1Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenazi, IOF Chief of Staff, whose father was a holocaust survivor from Bulgaria and whose mother was born in Syria. This moral degenerate is the engineer of this new  holocaust in Gaza. He committed war crimes in south of Lebanon. Three of his soldiers were captured by the Hizbullah resistance after they illegally crossed into Lebanon as a provocation ordered by him.

Commander of the Shoalay Marom Brigade_destroying Gaza houses.JMajor-General Yoav Galant, southern command chief. He was the chief commander in charge of “Operation Cast Lead”. He personally participated in the massacre against civilians in Gaza.

Richard Awizrat, Senior Warrant Officer, participated in “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza, and he also participated in the massacre in Jenin of 2002, during “Operation Defensive Shield”.

Major-General Amos YadlinMajor General Amos Yadlin, Military Intelligence chief, participated in “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza.

War Criminals Preparation Team 

Ehud Olmert, the corrupt Israeli Prime Minster legitimized the War in Gaza together with his cabinet.

Ehud Barak, Israeli War Minister, planned “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza in order to improve his chances during the next elections.

Tzipi Livni, Foreign Minister of Israel, who leads the Israeli propaganda to legitimize the massacre and destruction in Gaza, planned and coordinated “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza in order to improve her chances during the next elections

Yuval Diskin.jpgThe names of many other war criminals from the infantry, tanks, combat engineers, artillery, and intelligence who participated in the war crimes in Gaza are still unknown. They should not feel safe either. War crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide are proscribed and prosecuted in all countries of the world in one way or other, and there exists no statute of limitations for such crimes. The “protection” offered by Mazuz and his cronies is weak, first of all because the fact that such “protection” is offered is a implicit admission of guilt, and because national and international statutes specifically address the issue of sham “proceedings which are instituted to protect the guilty”, and because since the Nuremberg proceedings against the German army, following orders is no excuse and does not absolve of culpability. We and others will continue doing whatever is possible to find out the names of as many of the criminals who participated in Gaza as possible, and any information which will put them behind bars.

Read and See more Photos About the Israeli War Criminals here.

Yuval Diskin, Shin Bet security service chief, the organizer of the war in Gaza. Due to his personal recommendation, the IAF bombed the hospitals and the medical centers of Gaza.

Brig Gen Jonathan Locker, head of Israeli air forces which operated in Gaza.

brig-gen-jonathan-lockerhead-of-iaf1My decision is a challenge to the State of Israel, to the Israeli attorney general Mazuz and the military headquarters, who forbade the media from publishing the names of the Israeli officers who lead “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza, murdering 1310, and wounding over 5600, over 90% of these casualties being civilians, destroying public and the private property in many parts of towns and cities, and completely razing several areas completely to the ground.

WRITTEN BY Henry Siegman

 

Western governments and most of the Western media have accepted a number of Israeli claims justifying the military assault on Gaza: that Hamas consistently violated the six-month truce that Israel observed and then refused to extend it; that Israel therefore had no choice but to destroy Hamas’s capacity to launch missiles into Israeli towns; that Hamas is a terrorist organisation, part of a global jihadi network; and that Israel has acted not only in its own defence but on behalf of an international struggle by Western democracies against this network.

 

I am not aware of a single major American newspaper, radio station or TV channel whose coverage of the assault on Gaza questions this version of events. Criticism of Israel’s actions, if any (and there has been none from the Bush administration), has focused instead on whether the IDF’s carnage is proportional to the threat it sought to counter, and whether it is taking adequate measures to prevent civilian casualties.

 

Middle East peacemaking has been smothered in deceptive euphemisms, so let me state bluntly that each of these claims is a lie. Israel, not Hamas, violated the truce: Hamas undertook to stop firing rockets into Israel; in return, Israel was to ease its throttlehold on Gaza. In fact, during the truce, it tightened it further. This was confirmed not only by every neutral international observer and NGO on the scene but by Brigadier General (Res.) Shmuel Zakai, a former commander of the IDF’s Gaza Division. In an interview in Ha’aretz on 22 December, he accused Israel’s government of having made a ‘central error’ during the tahdiyeh, the six-month period of relative truce, by failing ‘to take advantage of the calm to improve, rather than markedly worsen, the economic plight of the Palestinians of the Strip . . . When you create a tahdiyeh, and the economic pressure on the Strip continues,’ General Zakai said, ‘it is obvious that Hamas will try to reach an improved tahdiyeh, and that their way to achieve this is resumed Qassam fire . . . You cannot just land blows, leave the Palestinians in Gaza in the economic distress they’re in, and expect that Hamas will just sit around and do nothing.’

 

The truce, which began in June last year and was due for renewal in December, required both parties to refrain from violent action against the other. Hamas had to cease its rocket assaults and prevent the firing of rockets by other groups such as Islamic Jihad (even Israel’s intelligence agencies acknowledged this had been implemented with surprising effectiveness), and Israel had to put a stop to its targeted assassinations and military incursions. This understanding was seriously violated on 4 November, when the IDF entered Gaza and killed six members of Hamas. Hamas responded by launching Qassam rockets and Grad missiles. Even so, it offered to extend the truce, but only on condition that Israel ended its blockade. Israel refused. It could have met its obligation to protect its citizens by agreeing to ease the blockade, but it didn’t even try. It cannot be said that Israel launched its assault to protect its citizens from rockets. It did so to protect its right to continue the strangulation of Gaza’s population.

 

Everyone seems to have forgotten that Hamas declared an end to suicide bombings and rocket fire when it decided to join the Palestinian political process, and largely stuck to it for more than a year. Bush publicly welcomed that decision, citing it as an example of the success of his campaign for democracy in the Middle East. (He had no other success to point to.) When Hamas unexpectedly won the election, Israel and the US immediately sought to delegitimise the result and embraced Mahmoud Abbas, the head of Fatah, who until then had been dismissed by Israel’s leaders as a ‘plucked chicken’. They armed and trained his security forces to overthrow Hamas; and when Hamas ­ brutally, to be sure ­pre-empted this violent attempt to reverse the result of the first honest democratic election in the modern Middle East, Israel and the Bush administration imposed the blockade.

 

Israel seeks to counter these indisputable facts by maintaining that in withdrawing Israeli settlements from Gaza in 2005, Ariel Sharon gave Hamas the chance to set out on the path to statehood, a chance it refused to take; instead, it transformed Gaza into a launching-pad for firing missiles at Israel’s civilian population. The charge is a lie twice over. First, for all its failings, Hamas brought to Gaza a level of law and order unknown in recent years, and did so without the large sums of money that donors showered on the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority. It eliminated the violent gangs and warlords who terrorised Gaza under Fatah’s rule. Non-observant Muslims, Christians and other minorities have more religious freedom under Hamas rule than they would have in Saudi Arabia, for example, or under many other Arab regimes.

 

The greater lie is that Sharon’s withdrawal from Gaza was intended as a prelude to further withdrawals and a peace agreement. This is how Sharon’s senior adviser Dov Weisglass, who was also his chief negotiator with the Americans, described the withdrawal from Gaza, in an interview with Ha’aretz in August 2004:

 

What I effectively agreed to with the Americans was that part of the settlements [i.e. the major settlement blocks on the West Bank] would not be dealt with at all, and the rest will not be dealt with until the Palestinians turn into Finns . . . The significance [of the agreement with the US] is the freezing of the political process. And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state and you prevent a discussion about the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package that is called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed from our agenda indefinitely. And all this with [President Bush's] authority and permission . . . and the ratification of both houses of Congress.

 

Do the Israelis and Americans think that Palestinians don’t read the Israeli papers, or that when they saw what was happening on the West Bank they couldn’t figure out for themselves what Sharon was up to?

 

Israel’s government would like the world to believe that Hamas launched its Qassam rockets because that is what terrorists do and Hamas is a generic terrorist group. In fact, Hamas is no more a ‘terror organisation’ (Israel’s preferred term) than the Zionist movement was during its struggle for a Jewish homeland. In the late 1930s and 1940s, parties within the Zionist movement resorted to terrorist activities for strategic reasons. According to Benny Morris, it was the Irgun that first targeted civilians. He writes in Righteous Victims that an upsurge of Arab terrorism in 1937 ‘triggered a wave of Irgun bombings against Arab crowds and buses, introducing a new dimension to the conflict’. He also documents atrocities committed during the 1948-49 war by the IDF, admitting in a 2004 interview, published in Ha’aretz, that material released by Israel’s Ministry of Defence showed that ‘there were far more Israeli acts of massacre than I had previously thought . . . In the months of April-May 1948, units of the Haganah were given operational orders that stated explicitly that they were to uproot the villagers, expel them, and destroy the villages themselves.’ In a number of Palestinian villages and towns the IDF carried out organised executions of civilians. Asked by Ha’aretz whether he condemned the ethnic cleansing, Morris replied that he did not:

 

A Jewish state would not have come into being without the uprooting of 700,000 Palestinians. Therefore it was necessary to uproot them. There was no choice but to expel that population. It was necessary to cleanse the hinterland and cleanse the border areas and cleanse the main roads. It was necessary to cleanse the villages from which our convoys and our settlements were fired on.

 

In other words, when Jews target and kill innocent civilians to advance their national struggle, they are patriots. When their adversaries do so, they are terrorists.

 

It is too easy to describe Hamas simply as a ‘terror organisation’. It is a religious nationalist movement that resorts to terrorism, as the Zionist movement did during its struggle for statehood, in the mistaken belief that it is the only way to end an oppressive occupation and bring about a Palestinian state. While Hamas’s ideology formally calls for that state to be established on the ruins of the state of Israel, this doesn’t determine Hamas’s actual policies today any more than the same declaration in the PLO charter determined Fatah’s actions.

 

These are not the conclusions of an apologist for Hamas but the opinions of the former head of Mossad and Sharon’s national security adviser, Ephraim Halevy. The Hamas leadership has undergone a change ‘right under our very noses’, Halevy wrote recently in Yedioth Ahronoth, by recognising that ‘its ideological goal is not attainable and will not be in the foreseeable future.’ It is now ready and willing to see the establishment of a Palestinian state within the temporary borders of 1967. Halevy noted that while Hamas has not said how ‘temporary’ those borders would be, ‘they know that the moment a Palestinian state is established with their co-operation, they will be obligated to change the rules of the game: they will have to adopt a path that could lead them far from their original ideological goals.’ In an earlier article, Halevy also pointed out the absurdity of linking Hamas to al-Qaida.

 

In the eyes of al-Qaida, the members of Hamas are perceived as heretics due to their stated desire to participate, even indirectly, in processes of any understandings or agreements with Israel. [The Hamas political bureau chief, Khaled] Mashal’s declaration diametrically contradicts al-Qaida’s approach, and provides Israel with an opportunity, perhaps a historic one, to leverage it for the better.

 

Why then are Israel’s leaders so determined to destroy Hamas? Because they believe that its leadership, unlike that of Fatah, cannot be intimidated into accepting a peace accord that establishes a Palestinian ‘state’ made up of territorially disconnected entities over which Israel would be able to retain permanent control. Control of the West Bank has been the unwavering objective of Israel’s military, intelligence and political elites since the end of the Six-Day War.[*] They believe that Hamas would not permit such a cantonisation of Palestinian territory, no matter how long the occupation continues. They may be wrong about Abbas and his superannuated cohorts, but they are entirely right about Hamas.

 

Middle East observers wonder whether Israel’s assault on Hamas will succeed in destroying the organisation or expelling it from Gaza. This is an irrelevant question. If Israel plans to keep control over any future Palestinian entity, it will never find a Palestinian partner, and even if it succeeds in dismantling Hamas, the movement will in time be replaced by a far more radical Palestinian opposition.

 

If Barack Obama picks a seasoned Middle East envoy who clings to the idea that outsiders should not present their own proposals for a just and sustainable peace agreement, much less press the parties to accept it, but instead leave them to work out their differences, he will assure a future Palestinian resistance far more extreme than Hamas ­ one likely to be allied with al-Qaida. For the US, Europe and most of the rest of the world, this would be the worst possible outcome. Perhaps some Israelis, including the settler leadership, believe it would serve their purposes, since it would provide the government with a compelling pretext to hold on to all of Palestine. But this is a delusion that would bring about the end of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.

 

Anthony Cordesman, one of the most reliable military analysts of the Middle East, and a friend of Israel, argued in a 9 January report for the Center for Strategic and International Studies that the tactical advantages of continuing the operation in Gaza were outweighed by the strategic cost ­ and were probably no greater than any gains Israel may have made early in the war in selective strikes on key Hamas facilities. ‘Has Israel somehow blundered into a steadily escalating war without a clear strategic goal, or at least one it can credibly achieve?’ he asks. ‘Will Israel end in empowering an enemy in political terms that it defeated in tactical terms? Will Israel’s actions seriously damage the US position in the region, any hope of peace, as well as moderate Arab regimes and voices in the process? To be blunt, the answer so far seems to be yes.’ Cordesman concludes that ‘any leader can take a tough stand and claim that tactical gains are a meaningful victory. If this is all that Olmert, Livni and Barak have for an answer, then they have disgraced themselves and damaged their country and their friends.’

 

15 January

 

Note

 

[*] See my piece in the LRB, 16 August 2007.

 

Henry Siegman, director of the US Middle East Project in New York, is a visiting research professor at SOAS, University of London. He is a former national director of the American Jewish Congress and of the Synagogue Council of America.

 

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v31/n02/sieg01_.html

 

LRB contributors react to events in Gaza

 

Tariq Ali, David Bromwich, Alastair Crooke, Conor Gearty, R.W. Johnson, Rashid Khalidi, Yitzhak Laor, Yonatan Mendel, John Mearsheimer, Gabriel Piterberg, Jacqueline Rose (certainly to be published elsewhere), Eliot Weinberger, Michael Wood.

 

January 15, 2009

 

http://www.lrb.co.uk/web/15/01/2009/mult04_.html#tariqali

 

Tariq Ali

 

A few weeks before the assault on Gaza, the Strategic Studies Institute of the US Army published a levelheaded document on ‘Hamas and Israel’, which argued that ‘Israel’s stance towards the democratically-elected Palestinian government headed by Hamas in 2006, and towards Palestinian national coherence – ­legal, territorial, political and economic – has been a major obstacle to substantive peacemaking.’ Whatever their reservations about the organisation, the authors of the paper detected signs that Hamas was considering a shift of position even before the blockade:

 

It is frequently stated that Israel or the United States cannot ‘meet’ with Hamas (although meeting is not illegal; materially aiding terrorism is, if proven) because the latter will not ‘recognise Israel’. In contrast, the PLO has ‘recognised’ Israel’s right to exist and agreed in principle to bargain for significantly less land than the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip, and it is not clear that Israel has ever agreed to accept a Palestinian state. The recognition of Israel did not bring an end to violence, as wings of various factions of the PLO did fight Israelis, especially at the height of the Second (al- Aqsa) Intifada. Recognition of Israel by Hamas, in the way that it is described in the Western media, cannot serve as a formula for peace. Hamas moderates have, however, signaled that it implicitly recognises Israel, and that even a tahdiya (calming, minor truce) or a hudna, a longer-term truce, obviously implies recognition. Khalid Mish’al states: ‘We are realists,’ and there is ‘an entity called Israel,’ but ‘realism does not mean that you have to recognise the legitimacy of the occupation.’

 

The war on Gaza has killed the two-state solution by making it clear to Palestinians that the only acceptable Palestine would have fewer rights than the Bantustans created by apartheid South Africa. The only acceptable alternative is a single state for Jews and Palestinians with equal rights for all. Certainly it seems utopian at the moment with the two Palestinian parties in Israel ­Balad and the United Arab List – both barred from contesting the February elections. Avigdor Lieberman, the chairman of Yisrael Beitenu, has breathed a sigh of satisfaction: ‘Now that it has been decided that the Balad terrorist organisation will not be able to run, the first battle is over.’ But even victory has its drawbacks. After the Six-Day War in 1967, Isaac Deutscher warned his one-time friend Ben Gurion: ‘The Germans have summed up their own experience in the bitter phrase “Mann kann sich totseigen!” — you can triumph yourself to death. This is what the Israelis have been doing. They have bitten off much more than they can swallow.’

 

Five hundred courageous Israelis have sent a letter to Western embassies calling for sanctions and other measures to be applied against their country, echoing the 2005 call by numerous Palestinian organisations for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) on the South African model. This will not happen overnight but it is the only non-violent way to help the struggle for freedom and equality in Israel-Palestine.

 

Tariq Ali’s latest book is The Duel: Pakistan on the Flight Path of American Power.

 

David Bromwich

 

Like the suicide bombings of the Second Intifada, the rockets from Gaza were a choice of tactics of a spectacular vengefulness. The spectacle was greater than the damage: no Israeli had been killed by a rocket before the IDF launched their assault. Yet the idea of rockets falling induces terror, whereas the idea of an army invading a neighbouring territory has an official sound. The numbers of the dead ­ as of 15 January, more than 1000 Palestinians and fewer than 20 Israelis tell a different story. Many people remain unmoved by the tremendous disproportion because they cannot get the image of rockets out of their heads.

 

In the United States, since this one-sided war began on 27 December, facts are not suppressed but fiction pervades the commentary. We are offered an analogy: what would Americans do if rockets were fired from Canada or Cuba? The question has been repeated with docility by congressional leaders of both parties; but the rockets are assumed to come suddenly without cause. The choking of the Gaza Strip by land, sea and air, the rejection by the US of the Palestinian Unity Government, the coup launched by Fatah and bankrolled by the US, which ended in the seizure of power by Hamas ­ all of this happened before the rockets fell from thee sky. It is as if it belonged to a prehistoric time.

 

American politicians exhibit an identification with Israel that is now in excess of the measurable effects of the Israel lobby. The blindness of the identification has led the US to respond with keen sensitivity to Israeli requests for assistance and moral support, and to underestimate the suffering caused by the Gaza blockade and by the settlements and checkpoints and the wall on the West Bank. Yet grant the potency of the lobby and the identification ­ even so, the arrogance with which Israel dictates policy is hard to comprehend on the usual index of motives. Ehud Olmert boasted to a crowd in Ashkelon on 12 January that with one phone call to Bush, he forced Condoleezza Rice to abstain from voting for the UN ceasefire resolution she herself had prepared. The depth, the efficacy and the immediacy of the influence are treated by Olmert as an open secret.

 

To judge by the nomination of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state and the likely nomination of Dennis Ross as Middle East envoy, Obama wants to be seen as someone who intends no major change of course. In a televised interview on 11 January, he said he would deal with Israel and Palestine in the manner of the Clinton and Bush administrations. The unhappy message of his recent utterances has been reconciliation without truth; and reconciliation, above all, for Americans. This preference for bringing-together over bringing-to-light is a trait of Obama’s political character we are only now coming to see the extent of. It is an element  -until lately an unperceived element- ­ of a certain native moderation of temper that is likely to mark his presidency. Yet his silence on Gaza has been startling, even immoderate. The ascent of Barack Obama was connected in the world as well as in the US with peculiar and passionate hopes, and his chances of emerging as a leader of the world are diminished with every passing day of silence.

 

David Bromwich teaches English at Yale.

 

Alastair Crooke

 

‘We have to ask the West a question: when the Israelis bombed the house of Sheikh Nizar Rayan, a Hamas leader, killing him, his wives, his nine children, and killing 19 others who happened to live in adjoining houses ­because they saw him as a target, ­was this terrorism? If the West’s answer is that this was not terrorism, it was self-defence ­then we must think to adopt this definition too.’

 

This was said to me by a leading Islamist in Beirut a few days ago. He was making a point, but behind his rhetorical question plainly lies the deeper issue of what the Gaza violence will signify for mainstream Islamists in the future.

 

Take Egypt. Mubarak has made no secret of his wish to see Israel teach Hamas a ‘lesson’. Hamas are sure that his officials urged Israel to proceed, assuring Amos Yadlin, Israel’s Head of Military Intelligence, at a meeting in Cairo that Hamas would collapse within three days of the Israeli onslaught.

 

Islamists in Egypt and other pro-Western ‘moderate’ alliance states such as Saudi Arabia and Jordan have noted Israel’s wanton disregard for the deaths of civilians in its desire to crush Hamas. They have seen the barely concealed pleasure of the regimes that run those states. The message is clear: the struggle for the future of this region is going to be uncompromising and bloody.

 

For all Islamists, the events in Gaza will be definitive: they will tell the story of a heroic stand in the name of justice against overwhelming odds. This archetype was already in place on the day of Ashura which fell this year on 7 January — when Shi’ites everywhere commemorate the martyrdom of Hussein, the Prophet’s grandson, killed by an overwhelming military force at Kerbala. The speeches given by Hassan Nasrallah, Hizbullah’s secretary general, were avidly followed; the ceremony of Ashura drove home the message of martyrdom and sacrifice.

 

Islamists are likely to conclude from Gaza that Arab regimes backed by the US and some European states will go to any lengths in their struggle against Islamism. Many Sunni Muslims will turn to the salafi-jihadists, al-Qaida included, who warned Hamas and others about the kind of punishment being visited on them now. Mainstream movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Hizbullah will find it hard to resist the radical trend. The middle ground is eroding fast.

 

At one level Gaza will be seen as a repeat of Algeria. At another, it will speak to wider struggles in the Arab world, where elites favoured by the West soldier on with no real legitimacy, while the weight of support for change builds up. The overhang may persist for a while yet, but a small event could trip the avalanche.

 

Alastair Crooke is co-director of Conflicts Forum and has been an EU mediator with Hamas and other Islamist movements. Resistance: The Essence of the Islamist Revolution will come out next month.

 

Conor Gearty

 

It is just possible the killings in Gaza may mark the end of Israel’s disastrous plunge into militant Zionism. The key is Obama: will he collapse under pressure like most of his predecessors, or is there more to him? Let us assume he knows how senseless it is for the US to collude in a crime of the kind going on in Gaza. There are ways of marking this without unleashing the pro-Israeli forces against him at too early a stage.

 

Clearly the new administration desires to re-engage with the global community and revive its commitment to international law: the ‘war on terror’ will be reconfigured and Guantanamo closed. A rededication of the US to law should also involve a more consensual approach to the UN ­“Security Council business in particular ­ including (for example) support for UN investigative missions to regions where egregious violations of human rights and breaches of the UN charter have occurred. It should entail the US signing up to the International Criminal Court” and urging its closest allies to do likewise. Framed in this way, a US engagement in the international human rights agenda would quickly lead to a crucial re-empowerment of the rapporteurs, special representatives, committees of experts and so on who have languished on the margins for so long.

 

This reformist energy would then need to be backed by mechanisms along the lines of the MacBride principles or the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act linking US financial and military aid to the newly emerging international legal order. The worst offenders against the new dispensation would run the risk of economic and intellectual boycotts. Since its application would be general, Obama could do all this without any mention of Israel, leaving the consequences to be worked through by various bureaucracies, while the phone calls and special pleas are politely fended off with an easy ‘it is out of my hands’. Were pressure from the lobbies to reach dangerous levels, the president might choose to take the issue to the American people, to discuss openly whether Israel should have an exemption from the system of values to which every other genuine ally and the US itself will by then have signed up. That is not likely to be a debate which the Israeli leadership will want.

 

Conor Gearty, Rausing Director of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights and professor of human rights law at the LSE, has written a number of books on terrorism and human rights.

 

R.W. Johnson

 

The current crisis has probably not changed anything fundamental. As even the more pessimistic Israeli analysts have been noting for some time, the pressure of the crisis has turned many, perhaps most Palestinians into irreconcilable foes of Israel. To that extent the two-state solution, however much the great and good may wish it, gradually becomes less and less of a real solution. The present crisis was probably unavoidable given (a) Iran’s position, (b) the coming Israeli election and (c) the failure of Israel to achieve full-scale victory over Hizbullah last year. That last factor has weighed on all minds, showing Iran how much leverage it had, threatening to turn all Arab-occupied land into rocket-launching grounds and increasing Israeli determination to show that this is a prohibitively expensive option for anyone who opts to host such an exercise. The stalemate seems complete.

 

I doubt whether Obama will make much difference. His chief of staff is an ex-Israeli soldier and his administration will be heavily in hock to the Israel lobby from day one. Israel may be unhappy that he will talk to Hamas but this unhappiness is quite unnecessary. He is not going to soft-talk them into accepting Israel’s existence and laying down their rockets, so what will such talks really change?

 

The real key remains US-Iran relations. This was a period in which many expected an Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear facilities. The fact that it has not happened is promising and suggests that the CIA is right to say Iran is not close to having nuclear weapons. As it is the US has hugely strengthened Iran by handing Iraq over to Shi’ites and an Obama administration might try to capitalise on that by making a US-Iranian deal the cornerstone of Middle East politics, thus reducing Syrian, Saudi and Egyptian leverage. Iran would obviously be greatly tempted by such a deal. But if Obama and Ahmadinejad really could reach a deal it would probably be very bad news for both Hizbullah and Hamas, who might get cut off from Iranian aid. If that happens, I can’t see much joy for Palestinian militancy. But if it doesn’t and the US under Obama is left to face an unchanged position, he is bound to end up taking Israel’s side as much as Bush did. Which also doesn’t bode well for militant Palestinians. So whatever happens I’d expect the Palestinians to emerge worse off from this conflict and Israel stronger, though probably less popular.

 

R.W. Johnson lives in Cape Town.

 

Rashid Khalidi

 

It is commonplace to talk about the ‘fog of war’, but war can also clarify things. The war in Gaza has pointed up the Israeli security establishment’s belief in force as a means of imposing ‘solutions’ which result in massive Arab civilian suffering and solve nothing. It has also laid bare the feebleness of the Arab states, and their inability to protect Palestinian civilians from the Israeli military, to the despair and fury of their citizens. Almost from the moment the war began, America’s Arab allies ­ above all Egypt ­ found themselves on the defensive, facing accusations of impotence and even treason in some of the largest demonstrations the region has seen in years. Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary general of Hizbullah in Lebanon, reserved some of his harshest criticism for the Mubarak regime; at Hizbullah rallies, protesters chanted ‘Where are you, Nasser?’ ­ a question that is also being asked by Egyptians.

 

The Egyptian government and its Arab allies ­ Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco ­ responded to the war much as they responded to thee 2006 invasion of Lebanon: by tacitly supporting Israel’s offensive in the hope of weakening a resistance movement which they see as a proxy for Iran and Syria. When the bombing began, Egypt criticised Hamas over the breakdown of the reconciliation talks with Fatah that Cairo had brokered, and for firing rockets at Israel. The implication was that Hamas was responsible for the war. Refusing to open the Rafah crossing, the Mubarak government pointed out that Israel, the occupying power, not Egypt, was responsibile for the humanitarian situation in Gaza under the Fourth Geneva Convention. Egypt’s concern is understandable: ever since it recovered the Sinai in 1979, it has worried that Israel might attempt to dump responsibility onto it for the Strip’s 1.5 million impoverished residents, a fear that has grown as the prospects of ending the occupation have receded. But its initial refusal to open the crossing to relief supplies, medical personnel and reporters made it difficult for Cairo to deny charges that it was indifferent to Palestinian suffering, and that it valued relations with Israel and the US (its main patron) more highly than the welfare of Gaza’s people.

 

Since Hamas came to power in Gaza in 2006, Egypt’s press has been rife with lurid warnings ­ echoed in conservative Lebanese and Saudi newspapers, as well as Israeli ones ­about the establishment in Gaza of an Islamic emirate backed by Iran. Cairo’s distrust of Hamas is closely connected with internal politics: Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brothers, the country’s largest opposition movement; and it came to power in Gaza in the kind of democratic elections that Mubarak has done everything to prevent. (He is likely to be succeeded by his son, Gamal, after sham elections.) When there still seemed hope of a Palestinian Authority (PA) coalition government between Fatah and Hamas (which would have diluted the latter’s power), Egypt was careful to appear balanced. But after the deep split in Palestinian politics that followed the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007, Egypt tilted increasingly against Hamas. The division of occupied Palestine into two PAs ­ a Fatah-ruled West  Bank and a Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, both without sovereignty, jurisdiction or much in the way of authority ­ was seen in Cairo as a threat to domestic security: it promised greater instability on Egypt’s borders, jeopardised the negotiated two-state solution with Israel to which Egypt was committed, and emboldened allies of the Muslim Brothers.

 

Egypt has also been alarmed by Hamas’s deepening relationship with its fiercest adversaries: Iran, Syria and Hizbullah. ‘Moderate’ Arab regimes like the one in Egypt ­ deeply authoritarian, at best, but friendly with the US ­ have favoured peaceful negotiations with Israel, but negotiations have not led to Palestinian independence, or even translated into diplomatic leverage. Resistance movements such as Hizbullah and Hamas, by contrast, can plausibly claim that they forced Israel to withdraw from occupied Arab land while scoring impressive gains at the ballot box; they have also been reasonably free of corruption. As if determined to increase the influence of these radical movements, Israel has undermined Abbas and the PA at every turn: settlements, bypass roads and ‘security barriers’ continue to encroach on Palestinian land; none of the 600 checkpoints and barriers in the West Bank has been removed; and more than 10,000 Palestinian political prisoners languish in Israeli jails. The result has been the erosion of support for the PA, and for the conciliatory approach pursued by the PA and Arab states such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which reacted by moving even closer to the Bush administration in its waning days. Mubarak, according to Ha’aretz, urged Olmert to continue the Gaza offensive until Hamas was severely weakened – though Egypt has, of course, denied these reports.

 

But Hamas will not be so easily defeated, even if Israel’s merciless assault and Hamas’s own obduracy have brought untold suffering on the people of Gaza and much of the Strip lies in ruins: like Hizbullah in Lebanon in 2006, all it has to do in order to proclaim victory is remain standing. The movement continued to fire rockets into Israel under devastating bombardment, and it looks likely to emerge politically stronger when the war is over, although as with Hizbullah, it may have provoked popular resentment for bringing Israeli fire down on the heads of the civilian population: there was little Palestinian popular support for the firing of rockets at Israel in the months before the Israeli offensive. It is doubtful, moreover, whether any Hamas leader will be as shrewd as Hassan Nasrallah after the 2006 Lebanon war, when he admitted that had he known the damage Israel would do, he would not have offered the pretext that triggered its onslaught.

 

Israel began a propaganda campaign several months ago, when it closed Gaza to journalists in what appears to have been an effort to remove witnesses from the scene before the crime took place. Cell phone transmission was interrupted to prevent the circulation of photos and videos. The result, in Israel and the US, has been an astonishingly sanitised war, in which, in a bizarre attempt at ‘balance’, the highly inaccurate rocket attacks against Israel and their three civilian victims since the fighting began on 27 December have received as much attention as the levelling of Gaza and the killing of more than 1000 Palestinians and the wounding of nearly 5000, most of them civilians. But Arabs and Muslims (and indeed most people not living in the US and Israel) have seen a very different war, with vivid images of those trapped in the Gaza Strip, thanks in large part to Arab journalists on the ground.

 

During the large demonstrations that erupted in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Jordan and Yemen, condemnation was directed not only at the usual targets, Israel and the US, but also at the passivity, even complicity, of Arab governments. Stung by the protests and fearing popular unrest, several Arab states sent their foreign ministers to New York, led by Prince Sa’ud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, and forced through a Security Council resolution in the face of American resistance. Jordan withdrew its ambassador from Tel Aviv; Qatar broke off ties with Israel and offered $250 million for the rebuilding of Gaza. At the same time, Egypt made limited concessions, taking some wounded Gazans to hospitals in Egypt, providing medical supplies, and belatedly allowing a few medical personnel into the Strip through the Rafah crossing. Yet the Mubarak regime has otherwise continued to play the role of even-handed mediator.

 

As I write, its proposals for a ceasefire have met with a positive response from both Hamas (which has significantly modulated its criticism of Egypt) and Israel. It is still unclear how Egypt will respond to Israel’s demands that it halt arms smuggling through tunnels into Gaza; when and if the crossings will be fully opened; under what arrangements, and how reconstruction aid will be channelled to the devastated area; and indeed how an Egyptian-brokered arrangement, should it come into force and endure, will be regarded by Egyptian and Arab public opinion.

 

For the moment, the shaky legitimacy of Abbas’s government in Ramallah, and of the authoritarian Arab governments that have cast their lot with Israel and the United States in the regional contest with Iran, appears to have grown shakier still. Should Iran and Syria succeed in rapidly establishing new relationships with Washington under the Obama administration, these governments will be further weakened. Moreover, their inability (or their unwillingness) to do more to resolve the Palestine question, or even to alleviate Palestinian suffering, has been exposed once again. It contrasts starkly with democratic and non-Arab Turkey’s robust support for the Palestinians. Palestine has been a rallying cry for opposition movements in the Arab world since 1948, and in the decade after the first Arab-Israeli war a series of domestic upheavals, revolutions and coups took place in several Arab countries, including Egypt, where veterans of the Palestine war led by Nasser came to power in the 1952 coup against King Farouk. The repressive capacities of a government such as Egypt’s, whose secret police is said to employ more than a million people, should not be underestimated. But several unpopular regimes may face serious consequences at home for having aligned themselves with Israel.

 

Rashid Khalidi is Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia.

 

Yitzhak Laor

 

We’ve been here before. It’s a ritual. Every two or three years, our military mounts another bloody expedition. The enemy is always smaller, weaker; our military is always larger, technologically more sophisticated, prepared for full-scale war against a full-scale army. But Iran is too scary, and even the relatively small Hizbullah gave us a hard time. That leaves the Palestinians.

 

Israel is engaged in a long war of annihilation against Palestinian society. The objective is to destroy the Palestinian nation and drive it back into pre-modern groupings based on the tribe, the clan and the enclave. This is the last phase of the Zionist colonial mission, culminating in inaccessible townships, camps, villages, districts, all of them to be walled or fenced off, and patrolled by a powerful army which, in the absence of a proper military objective, is really an over-equipped police force, with F16s, Apaches, tanks, artillery, commando units and hi-tech surveillance at its disposal.

 

The extent of the cruelty, the lack of shame and the refusal of self-restraint are striking, both in anthropological terms and historically. The worldwide Jewish support for this vandal offensive makes one wonder if this isn’t the moment Zionism is taking over the Jewish people.

 

But the real issue is that since 1991, and even more since the Oslo agreements in 1993, Israel has played on the idea that it really is trading land for peace, while the truth is very different. Israel has not given up the territories, but cantonised and blockaded them. The new strategy is to confine the Palestinians: they do not belong in our space, they are to remain out of sight, packed into their townships and camps, or swelling our prisons. This project now has the support of most of the Israeli press and academics.

 

We are the masters. We work and travel. They can make their living by policing their own people. We drive on the highways. They must live across the hills. The hills are ours. So are the fences. We control the roads, and the checkpoints and the borders. We control their electricity, their water, their milk, their oil, their wheat and their gasoline. If they protest peacefully we fire tear gas at them. If they throw stones, we fire bullets. If they launch a rocket, we destroy a house and its inhabitants. If they launch a missile, we destroy families, neighbourhoods, streets, towns.

 

Israel doesn’t want a Palestinian state alongside it. It is willing to prove this with hundreds of dead and thousands of disabled, in a single ‘operation’. The message is always the same: leave or remain in subjugation, under our military dictatorship. We are a democracy. We have decided democratically that you will live like dogs.

 

On 27 December just before the bombs started falling on Gaza, the Zionist parties, from Meretz to Yisrael Betenu, were unanimously in favour of the attack. As usual ­ it’s the ritual again ­ differences emerged only over the dispatch of blankets and medication to Gaza. Our most fervent pro-war columnist, Ari Shavit, has suggested that Israel should go on with the assault and build a hospital for the victims. The enemy is wounded, bleeding, dying, desperate for help. Nobody is coming unless Obama moves ­ yes, we are all waiting for Godot. Maybe this time he shows up.

 

Yitzhak Laor lives in Tel Aviv. He is the editor of Mita’am.

 

John Mearsheimer

 

The Gaza war is not going to change relations between Israel and the Palestinians in any meaningful way. Instead, the conflict is likely to get worse in the years ahead. Israel will build more settlements and roads in the West Bank and the Palestinians will remain locked up in a handful of impoverished enclaves in Gaza and the West Bank. The two-state solution is probably dead.

 

‘Greater Israel’ will be an apartheid state. Ehud Olmert has sounded a warning note on this score, but he has done nothing to stop the settlements and by starting the Gaza war he doomed what little hope there was for creating a viable Palestinian state.

 

The Palestinians will continue to resist the occupation, and Hamas will still be able to strike Israel with rockets and mortars, whose range and effectiveness are likely to improve. Palestinians will increasingly make the case that Greater Israel should become a democratic binational state in which Palestinians and Jews enjoy equal political rights. They know that they will eventually outnumber the Jews, which would mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state. This proposal is already gaining ground among Israel’s Palestinian citizens, striking fear into the hearts of many Israelis, who see them as a dangerous fifth column. This fear accounts in part for the recent Israeli decision to ban the major Arab political parties from participating in next month’s parliamentary elections.

 

There is no reason to think that Israel’s Jewish citizens would accept a binational state, and it’s safe to assume that Israel’s supporters in the Diaspora would have no interest in it. Apartheid is not a solution either, because it is repugnant and because the Palestinians will continue to resist, forcing Israel to escalate the repressive policies that have already cost it significant blood and treasure, encouraged political corruption, and badly tarnished its global image.

 

Israel may try to avoid the apartheid problem by expelling or ‘transferring’ the Palestinians. A substantial number of Israeli Jews ­ 400 per cent or more ­ think that the government should ‘encourage” their fellow Palestinian citizens to leave. Indeed, Tzipi Livni recently said that if there is a two-state solution, she expects the Palestinians inside Israel to move to the new Palestinian state.

 

Why would American and European leaders intervene? The Bush administration, after all, backed Israel’s creation of a major humanitarian crisis in Gaza, first with a devastating blockade and then with a brutal war. European leaders reacted to this collective punishment, which violates international law, not to mention basic decency, by upgrading Israel’s relationship with the European Union.

 

Many in the West expect Barack Obama to ride into town and fix the situation. Don’t bet on it. As his campaign showed, Obama is no match for the Israel lobby. His silence during the Gaza war speaks volumes about how tough he is likely to be with the Israelis. His chief Middle East adviser is likely to be Dennis Ross, whose deep attachment to Israel helped squander opportunities for peace during the Clinton administration.

 

In a recent op-ed about the Gaza war, Benny Morris said that ‘it would not be surprising if more powerful explosions were to follow.’ I rarely agree with Morris these days, but I think he has it right in this case. Even bigger trouble is in the offing for Israel ­ and above all ffor the Palestinians.

 

John Mearsheimer is a professor of political science at the University of Chicago and co-author of The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy.

 

Yonatan Mendel

 

It’s very frustrating to see Israeli society recruited so calmly and easily to war. Hardly anyone has dared to mention the connection between the decision to go to war and the fact that we are only a few weeks away from an election. Kadima (Tzipi Livni’s party) and Labour (Ehud Barak’s) were doing very badly in the polls. Now that they have killed more than 1000 Palestinians (250 on the first day ­ the highest number in 41 years of occupation) they are both doing very well. Barak was expected to win eight seats in the Knesset; now it is around 15. Netanyahu is the one sweating.

 

I am terribly sad about all this, and frustrated. On the first day of the operation I wrote an article for the Walla News website and within four hours I had received 1600 comments, most calling for my deportation (at best) or immediate execution (at worst). It showed me again how sensitive Israeli society is to any opposition to war. It is shocking how easily this society unites behind yet another military solution, after it has failed so many times. Hizbullah was created in response to Israel’s occupation of Lebanon in 1982. Hamas was created in 1987 in response to two decades of military occupation. What do we think we’ll achieve this time?

 

The state called up more than 10,000 reservists, and even people who had not been called also travelled to military bases and asked to be sent to Gaza. This shows once again how efficient the Israeli propaganda and justification machine is, and how naturally people here believe in myths that have been disproved again and again. If people were saying, ‘We killed 1000 people, but the army is not perfect, and this is war,’ I would say it was a stupid statement. But Israelis are saying: ‘We killed 1000 people, and our army is the most moral army in the world.’ This says a lot about the psychology of the conflict: people are not being told what to think or say; they reach these insights ‘naturally’.

 

Since I was a soldier myself ten years ago, I worry I might be called up as a reservist. If I were to refuse now, when Israel is at war, I would be sent to prison. But still, I tell myself, that would be so much easier than being part of what my country is doing. Apparently, every single Jewish member of the Knesset, except one from the Jewish-Arab list, believes that killing more Palestinians, keeping the Gazan population under siege, destroying their police stations, ministerial offices and headquarters will weaken Hamas, strengthen Israel, demonstrate to the Palestinians that next time they should vote for Fatah, and bring stability to the region. I have no words. Only one Jewish member of the Knesset, out of 107, went to the demonstration that followed the deliberate bombing by the Israelis of an UNRWA school being used to house refugees, resulting in the deaths of 45 civilians. Once again, the Israeli slogan is ‘Let the IDF win’ and once again everybody agrees. People have short memories. By 2008, two years after the Second Lebanon War ended, Hizbullah had more soldiers than before, three times more weapons, and had dramatically improved its political position. It now even has a right of veto in parliament. The same could happen to Hamas, but once again military magic enchants Israeli society.

 

I have a friend whose brother is a pilot in the IDF. I asked to speak to him. I told him what I thought about Israel’s behaviour and he seemed to agree with my general conclusions. He said, however, that a soldier should not ask himself such questions, which should be kept to the political sphere. I can’t agree. But the second thing he told me was more important. He told me that for pilots, a day like the first day of the war, when so many attacks are being made simultaneously, is a day full of excitement, a day you look forward to. If you take these words into account, and bear in mind that in Israel every man is a soldier, either in uniform or in reserve, there is no avoiding the conclusion that there are great pressures for it to act as a military society. Not acting is damaging to the IDF’s status, budget, masculinity, power and happiness, and not only to the IDF’s. This could explain why in Israel the military option is almost never considered second best. It is always the first choice.

 

Ha’aretz too is a source of unhappiness for me, since in wartime the paper is part of this militaristic discourse, shares its values and lack of vision. Ha’aretz did not criticise Israel when its troops deployed to Lebanon in 2006. Nor did it have anything to say when the same soldiers bombed Gaza’s police, schools and people. Even when there was a demonstration against the war, with more than 10,000 people taking part, both Jews and Palestinian citizens of Israel, the Ha’aretz website chose to publish a picture of a counter-demonstration, in which a few hundred participated, waving Israeli flags and shouting: ‘Let the IDF win.’

 

I have problems speaking to my closest friends and family these days, because I can no longer bear to hear the security establishment’s propaganda coming from their mouths. I cannot bear to hear people justifying the deaths of more than 200 children killed by Israeli soldiers. There is no justification for that, and it’s wrong to try to find one. Usually I feel part of society in Israel. I feel that I am on one side of the political map and other people are on the opposite side. But over the last few days, I feel that I am not part of this society any more. I do not call friends who support the war, and they do not call me. The same with my family. It is a hard thing for me to write, but this is how it is.

 

Yonatan Mendel was a correspondent for the Israeli news agency Walla. He is currently at Queens’ College, Cambridge working on a PhD that studies the connection between the Arabic language and security in Israel.

 

Gabriel Piterberg

 

Israel’s onslaught on Gaza may well do permanent damage to one of the most effective tools in its propaganda kit: the image of the morally handsome, ‘shooting and crying’ Israeli soldier.

 

Three weeks after the 1967 War, Avraham Shapira and Amos Oz, then a rising young author, were summoned to Labour Party headquarters. They were asked to make the demobilised soldiers from the kibbutzim break the wall of silence and discuss their war experience. Soldiers’ Talk (Siah Lohamim), the collection of interviews they edited, was a national and international success. The book, which forged the image of the handsome, dilemma-ridden, existentially soul-searching Israeli soldier, was a hymn to that frightening oxymoron, ‘purity of arms’ and the ideal of an exalted Jewish morality.

 

It was also a kind of ‘central casting’ from which Oz drew many of his fictional protagonists. Rabin (when he was ambassador to Washington) and Elie Wiesel read extracts in the US ‘in order to present the Israeli soldier’s profile'; and Golda Meir called it ‘a sacred book': ‘we are fortunate to have been blessed with such sons.’ The latest version of Soldiers’ Talk, in terms of register and success, is Ari Folman’s Waltz with Bashir.

 

Given the might of Israel’s warriors and the vulnerability of their targets, now that the country no longer engages in wars against other state armies, the image is hard to keep alive. At the same time it no longer matters in the way it once did: for political and military elites in Israel, and the War on Terror constituency in the US, the killing of Arabs and Muslims no longer requires any weeping or soul-searching. It’s just what freedom-loving people do. The war adulation of the recent pro-Israel demonstrations in Los Angeles is chastening but you couldn’t call it hypocritical.

 

Perhaps with the benefit of hindsight, the attack on Gaza will be seen as the action of a colonial power that is running out of ideas; not unlike France in the final stage of the Algerian war.

 

Gabriel Piterberg teaches history at UCLA. The Returns of Zionism was published last year. 

 

Eliot Weinberger

 

1. Who remembers the original dream of Israel? A place where the observant could practice their religion in peace and the secular would be invisible as Jews ­ where being Jewish only mattered if you wanted it to matter. That dream was realised, not in Israel, but in New York City.

 

2. The second dream of Israel was of a place where socialist collectives could flourish in a secular nation with democratic freedoms. Who remembers that now?

 

3. ‘Never again’ should international Jews invoke the Holocaust as justification for Israeli acts of barbarism.

 

4. As in India-Pakistan, blaming the Brits is true enough, but useless.

 

5. A few days ago, to illustrate the Gaza invasion, the front page of the New York Times had a large pastoral photograph of handsome Israeli soldiers lounging on a hill above verdant fields. Unquestioning faith in the ‘milk and honey’ Utopia of Israel is the bedrock of American Judaism, and reality does not intrude on faith.

 

6. Any hope for some sort of peace will not come from the US, even without Bush. It must come from within an Israel where the same petrified leaders are elected time and again, where masses of the rational have emigrated to saner shores and have been replaced by Russians and the American cultists who become settlers. It is hard to believe that this will be anytime soon.

 

7. It is hard to believe that two states will ever be possible. So why not a new dream of Israel? A single nation, a single citizenry with equal rights, three languages­ English as a neutral third­ €“ and three religions, separate from the state. Give it a new name– say, Semitia, land of the Semites.

 

Eliot Weinberger’s recent books include What Happened Here: Bush Chronicles.

 

Michael Wood

 

A New York Times reporter describes the ‘lethal tricks’ of Hamas in Gaza. I don’t doubt the existence of the tricks, but the implication is that the far more lethal directness of the Israeli attack is not only justified but morally superior to the enemy’s underhand modes of action. This is an adaptation of an old paradigm, in which Israel gets to play the role of the rational modern state. The straightforward, civilised West meets the endlessly devious, backward Orient, and takes care of things in its up-to-date efficient way. What’s wrong with that? They are always ‘they'; their deaths don’t count as ours do.

 

When does an invasion become a massacre? How many Palestinians have to die just because they are Palestinians before we recognise another old paradigm? Herzl thought the native population of what was to become Israel would have to be ‘spirited’ across the border; now the very deaths of that population are being spirited off into arguments about the right to self-defence. If self-defence includes the bombing of ambulances and feeling no qualms at killing such an astonishing number of children, then we have entered a moral territory from which there may be no return. Unless of course we have merely returned to the imperial 19th century, a world of brutal and unapologetic conquest, where force was the only argument that mattered and our only choice was whether to be hypocritical about it or not.

 

Michael Wood teaches at Princeton. His most recent book is Literature and the Taste of Knowledge.

 www.lrb.co.uk/v31/n02/sieg01_.html