by Gilles d'Aymery
[Author's note: Originally written for the "Blips from the Martian Desk" this piece keeps with the style and the format of the "Blips," but in light of the gravity and the sickness of the situation it should seem preferable to publish it as a stand-alone article that reflects my sorrow and ire. How long will the world's citizenry -- forget about leaders -- allow this situation to perdure? HOW LONG?]
(Swans - July 17, 2006) YOU HAVE TO TIP your hat to the Israeli government and its wonderful killing machine, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), for their sense of timing to launch another devastating offensive against the Palestinians -- those little rattlesnakes that prosper along the Israeli flexible and always enlarging borders. What better time to go on yet another killing spree than in the midst of the football World Cup and the Wimbledon Tennis championship? They had the entire world -- that is, the only world they are concerned with (Europe and the U.S.) -- in the midst of the 4th of July celebrations and sports galore. It was the perfect time for going crazy.
NOW, I DON'T know whether the Israeli Prime minister did actually utter that "'the landlord has gone crazy,' 'the earth will shake' and 'the restraint has ended,'" as Doron Rosenblum suggested in a July 7 Haaretz article ("The Lure of madness"), but it's quite fitting and a superb Freudian slip. Think about it: Who's the landlord? Israel, the world better believe it, is the landlord. Israel can do whatever she chooses to do. The land belongs to her, goes the narrative. So Israel is free to do whatever she wants with these barren lands. Too bad they are inhabited by Palestinians, known as -- pick and choose -- Arabs, Muslims, terrorists, rattlesnakes, cockroaches, rats, or monkeys. Israel decides. America applauds. Europe quivers. Life goes on. It does not make the news anyway. And when it does, it's always the same side that is depicted as the bad guys -- wonder which one?
SO, I SUPPOSE, the rats needed a lesson. Can you believe they dared capture one proud fighter from masterdom and kill two acolytes in the making? Can you believe they keep shooting logo rockets at their masters? Can you believe they refuse again and again to submit to the landlord? They needed a lesson; and a lesson they are getting, indeed. One logo rocket? Get one hundred artillery shells in return. One abducted soldier? Get 20, 40, 60 (whatever the exact number) Palestinian ministers or members of parliament abducted. Don't get it yet? What about destroying an electrical plant, thus paralyzing the water and sewage systems? Not enough? Okay, let's take a few bridges down as a bonus and level a couple of schools as an afterthought. Let's bomb the buildings housing the PA Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Economy (is there any ministry left standing?). Darn, let's destroy the entire infrastructure! And let's call the operation "Summer Rains" for good measure.
THE COCKROACHES have not learned their lesson yet? Well, let's see: "It's like an appointment with a dietician. The Palestinians will get a lot thinner, but they won't die," said the great humanitarian Dov Weisglass, an adviser to the Israeli prime minister. Hah, hah, hah, hah, hah...what a good joke! Let's not kill them all at once, just play the cat and mouse game. Stop the distribution of fuels. Stop the importation of foods. Let the meager foodstuff be left to rot for lack of refrigeration. Remember, the landlord "has gone crazy." It can do as it sees fit. Perhaps one would hope that when night falls the besieged populace may experience a few hours of respite, but no, the landlord has chosen otherwise and launched a campaign of sonic booms to keep traumatizing the helpless masses, largely abandoned and financially strangulated by the "international community." As Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was reported saying, we must "make sure that no one sleeps at night in Gaza."
THE ISRAELI GOVERNMENT has implemented such vicious policies, which are so harsh and cruel, that calls for Europe to take in Palestinians (especially those living in the Gaza Strip) have been heard; that if Europe is incapable to stop the carnage, at least they should give refuge to these besieged and wretched people. Israel will applaud the calls. They want the cockroaches out of the way. Palestinians should not have a life, not even a ghettoized life, within a land that Israel considers her own according to god, the U.S., the Christian fundamentalist cohorts, and the Israeli military. No need for mass killing when expulsion can take place through the intense suffering of the civilian population, in total contravention of the Geneva Conventions -- a slow death much more palatable to the humanitarian punditry.
IT'S GETTING BEYOND the beyond of abhorrence. Gaza has been a 1.3 million prison camp for decades. Its people has been subjugated and humiliated for ages. Their resistance, when peaceful, has been dismissed with arrogant laughter; when violent, targeting Israeli civilians, it's tagged terroristic, and the Palestinian perpetrators are accused of all the evils of the world and the cowardice of the weak: They attack civilians but do not dare attack the members of the IDF. When they do so, killing two Israeli soldiers and taking prisoner a third one, they are accused of kidnapping. Those people cannot win in the Western media. Their plight is not even heard. They happen to be Arabs and Muslims -- two strikes (not even three) and they are out for life, or, better said, death. Israelis kill Palestinian civilians randomly, it's called "collateral damage" -- sorry about that. Israelis snatched Palestinians' democratically elected officials and the Western media report the occurrence as an "arrest," certainly not a kidnapping. One Israeli soldier snatched: twenty/40/60 Palestinian lawmakers abducted and thrown in Israeli jails. Nine thousand Palestinians are in Israeli "custody." The Israeli actions and reactions, as we all know from the Western media reports, are morally superior to the Muslim/Arab/Terrorist paradigm. Rumsfeld & Co. could not agree more.
PALESTINIANS = Slaves -- ISRAELIS = Masters -- AMERICANS = Enablers -- EUROPEANS = Pilates washing their hands. The Western World does not care. The process of ethnic cleansing under the disguise of "security" measures continues unabated.
WE'VE BEEN TOLD by the docile media that the Israeli "restrained" military "escalation" was a direct "retaliation" for the capture of the Israeli soldier on June 25, but we've not been told that a day earlier, on June 24, Israeli commandos snatched two Palestinians in the Gaza strip. Actually, we are not being told much of anything from the news that emanate from Israel, and certainly no textured context, historical or otherwise. For that, one needs to visit a few sites and courageous authors that have not yet been called into submission through repeated accusations of anti-Semitism or self-hating Jews, or out of sheer despairing lassitude. But they are out there.
PERUSE the superb job done by independent journalist Jonathan Cook. Read his analysis on how the horrors in Gaza are being reported in the British media. See in particular the two Media Alerts in Media Lens, "Kidnapped by Israel" (June 30, 2006) and "Blaming the Victim in Gaza" (July 10, 2006). See also his July 12 article in CounterPunch, "Israel's Latest Bureaucratic Obscenity." The Middle East Report carries an excellent July 11 article by the Jordan Times correspondent Omar Karmi on the current humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, "Gaza in the Vise." And referring to July 11, one must absolutely read the piece by Sandy Tolan, "The Palestinian Catastrophe, Then and Now." This is a must-read article to understand the historical context and what happened on and around July 11, 58 years ago, to the Palestinians. Then go read Philip Greenspan's February 13, 2006 Swans column, "Continuing Israeli-Palestinian Historical Trends." Was he not on mark? Was all this mayhem predictable? Go back 39 years and read the very prescient Press Conference that the President of France, Général de Gaulle, gave on November 17, 1967 in the wake of the Israeli aggression, known as the 1967 Six-Day War. Another must-read for clear minded people. (It's in French. I'll endeavor, when and if asked, to make an English translation available. In the meantime, one can use any translating services available on the Web.)
I REFERRED to a "ghettoized life" earlier. The word ghetto represents as clearly as possible the situation in Gaza. It reminds me of an earlier human tragedy, that of the Warsaw Ghetto during WWII. That in the name of "never again" a majority of Israeli society is remaining silent when confronted with the sordid exactions prosecuted by its government, or openly supportive of those exactions, talks loudly about the madness of this state of affairs. The once persecuted have become the persecutors.
CITATION FOR THE AGES: "Now occupation, deportation, withdrawal, bombardment, razing, re-occupation, closure, encirclement and terror attacks will do the talking."
—Doron Rosenblum, "The lure of madness," Haaretz, July 7, 2006
HERE IS A POST found on the Haaretz site, a comment to Rosenblum's article that reflects the craziness of a country, Israel, gone mad:
Title: Not to mention...
Name: JOHANES Franzen
City: Stockholm State: Sweden
...murder, assassinations, house demolitions, The "Hebron lottery," the "play a sad tune," writing numbers on the arms of prisoners, sexual torture, make them drink urine or toxic liquid, torture in general, mass arrests, mass detentions, fence them in, fence them out, bomb them, shell them, starve them, prevent medicine from reaching their hospitals, cut their electricity, prevent water distribution, massacre after massacre, watch their women give birth in the mud, harass them in every way, humiliate them in every way, steal their land, expand the settlements, etcetera, and then declare: "It's WAR" when a homemade rocket lands on a parking lot in Ashkelon. How about that for "crazy"?
OF COURSE, when it's not the Palestinian cockroaches that need a lesson by being crushed under the boots of the landlord, attention must be born to the Northern boarder. What about another example of collective punishment directed against Lebanon? The Dominatrix, in an orgy of sexual epiphany, will destroy a whole country because, see, one cannot accept that two of her few & proud IDF soldiers be captured by a bunch of ragtag monkeys. Rockets are raining on Northern Israel (what did they think in the Israeli government, that the horror being thrown on the Palestinians in Gaza would not get a response elsewhere?), a couple of soldiers are captured and more killed, and it's time to let the rats know the mettle the Israeli psyche is made of. The Sampson Option is never far away from the former-persecuted-become-persecutor's mind. Let's go and kill. Let's show who's strongest. Let's demonstrate the moral superiority of the experiment. The international airport? Bombed? Two regional airports? Bombed? A fuel depot at the international airport? Bombed. Beirut, Tripoli? Bombed? The seaside? Blockade. The air? Blockade? The borders? Blockade. Civilian residences? Bombed. Bridges, roads? Destroyed. You mean two Israeli soldiers -- soldiers, not civilians -- are taken hostage, what about then taking the entire country -- Lebanon -- hostage in retaliation? Let the fury of unleashed power do the talking. Let a vengeful mayhem carry the day. Let emblaze the entire Middle East. Syria. Iran. Ah the sweetness of violence, the comfort of apocalyptic extremism -- the Christian Right must rejoice.
IT'S ANOTHER DEMORALIZING BLOW to the peace activists in Israel and all over the world. Time and again we are pinned down by brutality. Time and again we are left with no response. How can one respond to such cold, yet visceral violence? So we implore, we adjure in the name of humanity: Please, Israel, leave the Shebaa Farms. Please, leave the Golan Heights. Please, leave the Occupied Territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. There would have been no Hizbollah without the 1982 invasion of Lebanon. There would have been no Hamas without almost forty years of occupation, dispossession, and humiliation. The resistance with all its extreme perversions is a child of the occupation. Revenge and retaliation have only brought revenge and retaliation in return for four decades -- a vicious cycle of tit-for-tat asymmetrical bloodshed.
THE UN IS POWERLESS. Maybe in a week or so will they come with a resolution asking for "restraint" on all sides. The U.S. is very much the senior partner in the Middle East asphyxiating game. Europeans had a ball with the World Cup and Wimbledon. Now they are watching the Tour de France. The Gods of War can pursue their aims in tranquility. No one will disrupt their madness, and reason once more will mourn.
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