I think it hard to imagine there is anyone with access to global media who does not know of, or probably have a view on, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Many have expressed their opinions whilst the silence from others has spoken volumes in itself. Interestingly though when certain high profile people have spoken out in favour of the Palestinians they have been leapt upon and had the publicists in apoplexy whilst those of the pro-Zionist lobby seem able to express with relatively minor dissent. This is very common practice, the Zionist lobby has long since held the power and not been afraid to wield, it it is not that long ago since my union were threatened with legal action by a powerful conglomerate in the US if they were to decide boycott Israeli universities in protest at the conflict. If they were to decide to mind, not do it, no the censure came at the point where a policy would have been discussed and was to be agreed on. The debate had then to be that in theory were we able to find a method by which we could do so without punitive court costs would we do so, the vote was overwhelmingly in favour. I suspect in no small part down to the moral outrage people felt at being told what they were or were not allowed to decide on before they’d had a chance to decide it. Later pro-Zionist blogs came out naming and seeking to shame many of the people speaking in favour of the boycott, common practice has been to cite anti-semitism whenever someone expresses a view that is at odds with the extremely conservative Israeli state. Anti-semitism has been a brush used for much tarring, often unfairly, in instances such as these but it is a useful way of not listening to any of the arguments propagated, it is the slightly more erudite version of “la la la, I can’t hear you,” I stress the word slightly!
Israel and its Zionist sympathisers principle weapon used with profligacy against the protesters and detractors alike has a chillingly macabre irony as if somehow the reason for protesting against war crimes and butchery is somehow only related to the fact that it is jews who are carrying them out in this instance. This is a crassness of such magnitude that perhaps its ability to exist and continue is merely based on a collective consciousness that finds it too incredulous to see on the radar. In actual fact this method of dismissal causes far more harm to the Jewish community because it makes the actions of the Israeli government synonymous with a much wider and more diversely opinionated people whose link is faith and not political stance. A way of radicalising that has been used many times before is to use the actions of a distant minority to justify outrages against others more locally, sweeping generalisations etc. The Jews themselves have been the victims of this before and not just once, now however it is a state that is claiming to stand in their name that is doing the very same thing and more of them must, for the sake of their wider community, disassociate from it or risk the continued sweep of outrage pervading countries across the globe and widening the violence as has already been happening.
The argument that Israel has a perfect right to defend itself in the face of the barrage of Hamas attacks is the equivalent of saying that a tank has the right to fire its shell at a child who is pelting it with a pea shooter. This may sound at first flippant but this is the gulf between the hardware available to the Palestinians as opposed to that available to Israel. Indeed would anyone dispute the prudence of guerrilla warfare when in the face of a superior armoured force, it would be ironic for the Americans to do so given the nature of their independence as won from Britain by just such a tactic. Plucky freedom fighters and resistance heroes or insidious terrorists? Israel has the ability to bombard an entire state the way the Palestinians have the ability to bombard a building, the difference therefore is to count the dead and from which areas they come. We are not seeing children constantly being pulled out of Israeli buildings, the civilian death toll is almost exclusively on the one side as planes used for carpet bombing are a great deal less discriminatory than RPGs. We have seen the tunnels used to get into Israeli areas by Palestinian fighters, we have seen, though with less expressed outrage the tanks and fighter jets used to get into Palestinian areas.
Israel claims that more than 2,800 rockets have been fired by Hamas from Gaza into Israel but that most have been intercepted by their “Iron Dome” defence – the Palestinian civilians have no such defence against the Israeli rockets and their air strikes and Gaza is being systematically razed to the ground. World focus however has turned to the threat of ISIS, another nasty set of Islamic baddies almost conveniently thrust under our noses as if to show us who the real enemy are. I will not go into the Syria conflict right now, I have given some of my opinions before in 2005, 2012 and there will be another post in due course.
According to the Jewish Virtual Library the death toll on both sides since 2000 numbers 1,327 Israeli dead (11,135 wounded) and 9,515 Palestinian dead (19,011 wounded). According to NGOs and the UN over 80% of the 1,400 Palestinian casualties in Gaza in 2014 are civilians whilst 56 soldiers and 3 civilians have been killed on the Israeli side this year. Whenever Israel starts any major offensive it is the Palestinian civilians who bear the brunt of it.
To subject Gaza to such systematic atrocity is also enormously stupid, if indeed one is looking at any form of lasting peace being the endgame. The demolition of the structure necessary for forming a civilised state means the people in that state have nothing left to lose, they might just as well fight against the oppressor because it is a cause and they have little else left to believe in, or live in. This is a very easy situation for Hamas to thrive in. If Israel were to assist the Palestinians in building schools, nurseries, universities, utility distribution it would in turn fuel the moderates and their cause, it would create a new generation who would not have the reason to hate the Israeli state and would see them far more as a country with whom they cooperate even if they do not always agree. Would it happen overnight, no of course not but then armed conflict isn’t exactly going to come to an end any time soon. So the question is really one of what are people going to be dying for really isn’t it?
Perhaps a glance at the Irish situation may yield some comparison of how a diplomatic solution, whilst less than perfect, can be managed in a way where people are not dying in huge numbers and the extremists have been driven out of the mainstream and marginalised to the point of almost universal condemnation. During the 1980s in Britain a ruthless Conservative government who had no intention of listening to its own people met the Irish republican dissidents with soldiers, water cannon, plastic bullets and guard posts everywhere, they also assisted loyalist paramilitaries to carry out sporadic attacks on Republican areas and civilians. The IRA responded with bombs and guerrilla tactics, many of which were targeted at causing civilians damage but a large majority were phoned in with warnings to the police to avoid casualties. Irrespective of who you may feel was right in the Irish troubles what is not open to question is that children lost parents and parents lost children on both sides of the sea and political divide. The violence fuelled those who said you could not negotiate, the British government flatly refused to sit with Sinn Féin and attempt to reach any form of compromise, so people continued to die, including their own. When governments did seek to meet and negotiate it began to give weight to the arguments of those who said that there was a way that did not involve killing and that it should be investigated. When it was finally investigated a cautious truce was established, which turned into the wholesale decommissioning of weapons once the Good Friday Agreement had been signed up to by both parties, principally steered by the more moderate parities the SDLP on the Republican side and the UUP on the loyalist. The dissident republicans and loyalists that remain armed are now marginalised to near extinction, their actions can promote violence and cause harm but they will not have the support of communities any more, they will not be sheltered and protected by communities who feel wrong, aggrieved and let down by the state supposed to look after them. Do Irish republicans everywhere suddenly feel the matter is solved and that part of Ulster should still be ruled by the British, no, but people are no longer dying for that cause, just arguing vehemently over it in Parliaments, Councils, pubs and clubs.
That it is Israel carrying out these war crimes, for that is surely what they are – no less than Nixon and Kissinger in the Far East, is a hideous irony and not one lost on many people, in fact Israel is perhaps one of the only Western-allied nations where such oppression and perpetrations would be tolerated. (aside from the oil-producing nations of course, no Arab Spring in Bahrain, no that is not the uprising you are looking for!) Look at some of the Zionist press and see the rhetoric, the like of which was very evident in certain European countries in the 1930s. Yes I used that analogy and having seen the justification of violence I use it very specifically because the parallels are extremely similar and therefore a valid comparison, I do not do so purely for effect for it should not need it.
Let us not forget that although the military conflict is taking place between Israel and the Gaza area of the Palestinian territories the Israeli machine acts illegally in the West Bank with settlements, Benjamin Netayahu continues to sanction and sign off more settlements to add to the existing ones, the Gollan Heights is particularly fashionable at the moment. Whilst Israel bewails the Palestinian’s failure to live up to parts of any agreement so Neyanyahu in June authorised 1,500 new Israeli settlements in the occupied land. This is nothing less than a creeping putsch designed to so entrench Israeli settlers as to make them more and more difficult to remove and thus the land less likely to be returned. Under Section of the Geneva Convention “the occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own population into the territory it occupies.” the international community almost in its entirety has condemned Israeli settlements as illegal occupation. Israel contends that the territories it has occupied since the Six Day War do not constitute part of the Geneva Convention.
Votes in the UN have resulted in on one occasion condemnation by 158 nations out of 166 and then 160 out of 171 the countries voting against either directly or by abstentions are the usual suspects, the Western colonial powers such as the US, unsurprisingly along with their acolytes such as the Marshall Islands and Palau and the odd other country that seeks to curry favour with the giant and, more recently, by stealth the conservative Australian government. It is difficult to see another situation where the views of the United Nations Security Council, United Nations General Assembly, International Court Of Justice, International Red Cross and the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention could be so flagrantly disregarded. Given that the United States and its allies have used the non-compliance or flouting of a single UN Resolution, such as 1441, as a pretext for war it is interesting (though not surprising) that the international bodies should be cast aside in the case of Israel.
In fact there is evidence that the Israeli people do not agree wholeheartedly with their government’s actions. In 2003 76% of Israelis polled by Dahaf, a leading Israeli public opinion research firm, supported a two state solution and the return of sovereignty of Palestinian areas such as East Jerusalem. Rather like the Irish situation most of the actual citizens of the country do not sanction slaughter and want to be able to live in peace and without fear, for either side to claim that by bombing it is trying to achieve that is nonsense but this is not a chicken and egg situation this is a position where an imperialist state is capitalising on the last guilt generation to which it has access to exploit in order to expand its borders and maintain its disproportionate influence. Palestine is simply not large, enough, not equipped enough, not molised enough to constitute anything more than a pretext for Israeli military action. Were you truly worried about you borders and all the actions why would you continue to be building more and more houses further and further out into “enemy” territory? Would that not be a singular failure to look after your citizens?
Israel is at present a malignant conquering power, this is not because the people running it are Jews it is because they are arseholes and that trait runs throughout any section of humankind without exception. It does not have to be so, a peace can be found if all parties truly want it, the Palestinian people have everything to gain by peace and nothing to lose so why would they be the ones truly standing in the way? When the US wanted to broker peace in Ireland they did not go in merely slagging off one side because there was a desire for peace from the Irish community in the US and all sections of the Irish lobby. So go do your research and make up your own mind who stands to gain more from the conflict continuing…
Song Of The Day ~ The The – Armageddon Days Are Here Again (the lyrics just as apposite as they were 20 years ago)