Netanyahu would offer something else. First, he is a faithful representative of an authentic “Israeli” view – an almost complete distrust of Arabs and the chance of reaching peace with them, mixed with condescension and dehumanization. Second, he will finally arouse the world’s rage towards us, including that of the new U.S. administration. Sadly, this may be the only chance for the kind of dramatic change that is needed.
It surprises me to the degree that many people lose their moral compass over Israel. We’ve come to expect it from Israelis; currently they’re promising to protect their war criminals from international prosecution over their recent massacre of Gazans.
But, then there’s people like Mark Thompson, the BBC’s director general, who has been instrumental in the BBC’s recent refusal to broadcast an appeal for the citizens of Gaza. How does one manage to become so detached from the plight of other human beings? How is it that the person who heads the BBC is completely duped by the idiotic “war on terror” propaganda that so dehumanises people like the Palestinians?
Israel has announced that it is nearing its military goals in Gaza. Given that they seem to have accomplished nothing of military significance in their campaign – they have not destroyed Hamas, and the rockets they claim to want to stop (but in fact provoked with their invasion) are still falling – this raises the obvious question: what is Israel’s goal?
At this stage, I can’t help but notice that they’ve killed 900 Palestinians so far. Which makes me wonder: is a thousand dead all they’re after? An object lesson written in civilian blood? Because their military spasm seems utterly pointless otherwise.
Along with the Zionist dehumanisation of Palestinians it would help to explain why Israeli troops herded 110 civilians into a house under the guise of their own safety before shelling it and killing 30 of them.
The body of a girl who was found in the rubble of her destroyed house following an Israeli air strike on a house in Zeitoun Photograph: Mohammed Abed
Oxford professor of international relations Avi Shlaim served in the Israeli army and has never questioned the state’s legitimacy. But its merciless assault on Gaza has led him to devastating conclusions:
The only way to make sense of Israel’s senseless war in Gaza is through understanding the historical context. Establishing the state of Israel in May 1948 involved a monumental injustice to the Palestinians. British officials bitterly resented American partisanship on behalf of the infant state. On 2 June 1948, Sir John Troutbeck wrote to the foreign secretary, Ernest Bevin, that the Americans were responsible for the creation of a gangster state headed by “an utterly unscrupulous set of leaders”. I used to think that this judgment was too harsh but Israel’s vicious assault on the people of Gaza, and the Bush administration’s complicity in this assault, have reopened the question.
I write as someone who served loyally in the Israeli army in the mid-1960s and who has never questioned the legitimacy of the state of Israel within its pre-1967 borders. What I utterly reject is the Zionist colonial project beyond the Green Line. The Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in the aftermath of the June 1967 war had very little to do with security and everything to do with territorial expansionism. The aim was to establish Greater Israel through permanent political, economic and military control over the Palestinian territories. And the result has been one of the most prolonged and brutal military occupations of modern times.
Israel’s assault on Gaza has exacted the bloodiest toll of civilian lives yet, when the bombing of UN schools being used as refugee centres and of housing killed more than 50 people, including an entire family of seven young children.
Most of those killed were in the school playground and in the street, and the dead and injured lay in pools of blood. Pictures on Palestinian TV showed walls heavily marked by shrapnel and bloodstains, and shoes and shredded clothes scattered on the ground. Windows were blown out.
The UN was particularly incensed over targeting of the schools, because Israeli forces knew they were packed with families as they had ordered them to get out of their homes with leaflet drops and loudspeakers. It said it had identified the schools as refugee centres to the Israeli military and provided GPS coordinates.
Naturally the Zionist government says Gazans fired at them from the school. Of course they can lie with impunity because they’ve banned journalists from witnessing their crimes in Gaza.
Yes, not just the Zionist government, but Israelis. Apparently 95% of Israelis approve of this assault on Gaza [↩]
The body, known as the National Information Directorate, was set up eight months ago following recommendations from an Israeli inquiry into the 2006 Lebanon war. Its role is to deal with hasbara – meaning, in Hebrew, “explanation”, and referring variously to information, spin, and propaganda.
One of the challenges of Israel’s media offensive has been to counter the disturbing images of Gaza in the conflict. “In the war of the pictures we lose, so you need to correct, explain or balance it in other ways,” said Aviv Shir-On, foreign ministry deputy director-general for public affairs. “Support doesn’t mean the world is standing behind us, but it does mean people understand what we are doing and why.
The hasbara directive also liaises over core messages with bodies such as friendship leagues, Jewish communities, bloggers and backers using online networks. Last week the directorate started a YouTube channel showing Israeli bombings in the Gaza strip. “New media is a new war zone within the media – we are planning to be relevant there,” said Leibovich.
It’s deplorable the number of people, mostly so-called “liberals,” who choose to keep their mouths shut in the face of the scourge that is Zionism, something Ronnie Kasrils, a South African politician who was active in the fight against apartheid from the 60’s onwards, described as “far worse” than apartheid South Africa.
Imagine what these same people would be saying, or doing, if their own country had been unlawfully occupied and embargoed for 60 years of relentless oppression and repression, and all attempts at peaceful change had been forcefully prevented or scuttled.
And yet they don’t stay silent because they think Zionism is a just cause, surely; it’s clearly not. They stay silent because of 9/11 and the subsequent conflation of any Arab opposition to Western dominance as terrorism. They stay silent because of the Jewish Holocaust—something the Arabs had nothing to do with—because they’re too scared of been tarred with the brush of anti-Semitism.