Monday, November 5, 2007

The danger of Ha'aretz

The Israeli newspaper is at it again, saying what should not be said about Israel. A fine piece by Uzi Benziman is the paradigm of what is wrong to those who view the Jewish State as incapable of doing anything wrong, whether it be human rights abuses, violations of international law, or outright aggression that goes unpunished (or even unnoticed) by the West. How many even recall the Israeli strike on Syria in early September? Has any criticism been notable as of yet?

In Benziman's article, he sees the mistake in collective punishment of Gazans, in the vain hope of stopping Qassam rockets terrorising Israelis in Sderot:

"Experience teaches that subjecting the Palestinians to collective punishment - roadblocks, curfews or economic pressure - has not brought the desired result. Just the opposite: it increases the terror organizations' motivation to strike at Israel, and increases the number of potential suicide bombers."

Such logic is missing in too many in these times. But those Qassams have to stopped, right?

"So what should be done to combat the Qassams? Instead of trying economic siege and power outages and limited raids and ground campaigns and targeted assassinations - how about trying to reach a comprehensive settlement with the Palestinians founded on a genuine Israeli willingness to give up the territories?"

It makes sense to me. Gaza has been the playground for Israel's demented militancy; it's a giant prison, caged in with guards and checkpoints and IDF incursions imminent every day. With the recent declarations that enable any IDF soldier to be "above the law" to enflict as much damage to Palestinians as possible (in Gaza), Qassam rockets provide the perfect pretext for any future raid into the Gaza Strip. Benziman concurs that,"

"They call the move a 'test': If it works, fine; if not, they'll think of something else."

So anything that happens in Gaza is subject to Israel's whims and desires; if we want to try out some bombs, let's do it in Gaza; if we want to try to snuff out some Palestinians, Gaza is the place to do it. It doesn't matter if it works (although it would be better if it did), because it's just Gaza: they're "hostile" people; they have brought this on themselves. Let's starve them but just enough to keep them alive (to continue starving); let's cut their power and show them how primitive they really are; let's cut their medical supplies and fuel and even curb their banking. So what if it works? I quote Benziman again,

"According to reports by Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel in Friday's Haaretz, the Israel Defense Forces recommended the sanctions even though it knew they would not achieve the declared goal: to stop the rocket and mortar shells."

It won't work but let's do it anyway.

As was showcased in video documenting the Gaza debacle, groups like Islamic Jihad and Al-Aqsa Martyr Brigade, who responsible for the Qassam launchers, are involved in guerrilla warfare, all the while pushing Hamas from their moderate position into encapsulating armed resistance against Israel. In the video, the operation of Qassams were just a band of three to four people, with a tiny setup that has no centrality. A sanctions strategy is not going to deter these radicals who see violence as justified because of Israel's continued oppression and occupation of Palestinians. On the contrary, it will exacerbate an already fiery confrontation, vindicating all the rhetoric that extremist factions such as Islamic Jihad are preaching. While there are some who condemn the acts of sending Qassams (which allure Israel to strengthen its resolve), most Palestinians support them in their resistance against their occupier.

But this reality is something that the folks who unconditionally support Israel to the bitter end don't want you to read. They would rather the typical person be coccooned from all the bad things and bad people, so you can pledge your undying love to the Jewish State (while being in a foreign country). Palestinian suffering has no bearing; what counts is Israeli suffering (since they have suffered for an eternity and have finally found their way home). As of this writing, they are still giving it to Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, this time with two more pieces in the Washington Post. Philip Weiss attests that this is further evidence that such a entity as Jewish Power is an absolute in DC circles.

"I believe the Post has run a series of critical pieces on M & W. Shouldn't they give the authors or those who agree with them space to defend their point of view? (My sources tell me the Post has rejected a couple of pieces that would have backed M & W up...)"

This is only corroborated further by another piece (also commented on by Philip Weiss) that named figures such as John Hannah, Douglas Feith, Scooter Libby and Elliott Abrams as instrumental in opposing any initiative to implement the Road Map. When the Prince Abdullah (as well as Jordan's King Hussein) challenged Bush to do something about the Palestinian situation, the "cabal" in Rice's and Rumsfeld's offices opposed stating

"...that negotiation was just a reward for bad behavior. First the Palestinians had to reject terrorism and practice democracy."

So who is really impeding progress here? Any small measure to promote some kind of detente (at least) is rebuffed where it counts, and those who are not in line are derailed. The Palestinians are caught in the middle of a struggle between the elites on what is accepted and what is to be done. We're seeing a strong campaign to keep the Israeli centred viewpoint (even though it still is, most criticism directed at what would be best for Israel's survival, with the Palestinians a mere side factor in the matter), respected public figures such as Tutu, Carter, Walt and Mearsheimer continually subjected to vitriol, and the crusade hitting the institutions to prevent these people to speak (or debate), as well as an offensive against Israel's liberal newspaper which prints what is not fit to be printed. Even more dangerous is the fact that the Larry Franklin case seems to be losing momentum, thanks to more delayed tactics of the defense. This is a man who is undisputably working for Israel's benefit at the cost of American intelligence, and yet we're meant to see this as nothing wrong, all in a day's work. If there ever was a doubt that a Lobby existed to promote Israel's interests, the Franklin case is the stamp that sealed the envelope.

But this is what they don't want you to know. They'd prefer we remain the coccoon, similiar to those Israelis who are just inured to the occupation that the Palestinians don't even entitle a story in the front pages. We will be insulated from all that could potentially harm us, agnate the 9/11 aftermath that had us protected from all covert operations that had "blowback" effects. In the end this will not be the way towards anything besides mutual annihilation. There can be no understanding unless we engage with those we disgree with, and there will be no basis for peace unless Israel recognises Palestinian dolour and their birth of exile. If not then we can expect more "tests" from Israel.

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