Israel’s War Against Palestine: Documenting the Military Occupation of Palestinian and Arab Lands

Gideon Levy

As opposed to the conventional thinking, the tens of thousands of Palestinians in Israeli prisons are human beings; as opposed to the conventional thinking, they also have families whose worlds have been destroyed. Most of them are not murderers, some are political prisoners in every way; others are various kinds of “bargaining chips” or throwers of stones and Molotov cocktails and carriers of kitchen knives.

No, he is not a villain, the Israeli patriot – he is merely brainwashed and blind. He would like to live in a democracy … But it’s a democracy without most of its mechanisms. He is satisfied with elections and majority rule: The majority will make the decisions, and to hell with the minority.

Israel embarked yesterday on a mini Operation Cast Lead. Like its larger, losing predecessor, this operation had it all: the usual false claim that is was they who had started it – and not the landing of commandos from helicopters on a ship in open sea, away from Israeli territorial waters. There was the claim that the first act of violence came not from the soldiers, but the rioting activists on Mavi Marmara; that the blockade on Gaza is legal and that the flotilla to its shores is against the law – God knows which law.

And facing them on the seas has been the Israeli ship of fools, floating but not knowing where or why. Why detain people? That’s how it is. Why a siege? That’s how it is. It’s like the Noam Chomsky affair all over again, but big time this time. Of course the peace flotilla will not bring peace, and it won’t even manage to reach the Gaza shore. The action plan has included dragging the ships to Ashdod port, but it has again dragged us to the shores of stupidity and wrongdoing.

Gideon Levy on Israeli-style democracy, one that is run by a military elite: “After we sent Prof. Noam Chomsky away, and there was no sharp rebuke by Israeli academics (who in their silence support a boycott of Bir Zeit University), we will be left with a narrow and frightening intellectual world.”

It would be possible to identify with these intolerant reactions were it not for the fact that Israel itself is one of the world’s prolific boycotters. Not only does it boycott, it preaches to others, at times even forces others, to follow in tow. Israel has imposed a cultural, academic, political, economic and military boycott on the territories. At the same time, almost no one here utters a dissenting word questioning the legitimacy of these boycotts. Yet the thought of boycotting the boycotter? Now that’s inconceivable.

Who says Jewish humor has disappeared from Israel? Who says that even the state’s shadowiest organizations don’t enjoy occasional moments of levity, in between carrying out assassinations and foiling conspiracies? Israel’s ongoing fascistization, isolation, nationalism and militarism don’t make for much comic relief.

There are not many Jews like Wiesel, to whom the White House door is open and the president lends an ear. And what does Wiesel do with this golden opportunity? He talks to Obama about postponing discussions on Jerusalem. Not about the need for an end to the occupation, not about the opportunity to establish a just peace (and a just Israel ), not about the outrageous injustice to the Palestinians. Only perpetuating the occupation.

The only democracy in the Middle East is perhaps unique, but it’s doubtful if it’s the real thing. Results of a poll published in Haaretz yesterday reflect what has been known for a long time: a combination of ignorance, a basic lack of understanding and a fascist mood. An ill and dangerous wind is blowing toward a government that is threatened with collapse.

If it depended on public opinion, Kamm and Blau would be executed and Haaretz would be shut down on the spot. The general who gave the assassination orders revealed by Kamm and Blau has come out of the affair unscathed, while the journalist and his source are enemies of the people.

IOA Editor: While certain American Liberals – often, self-declared “Left Zionists” – are having a terrible time searching for Israel’s “Jewish Conscience,” and not finding it, Israeli-Jewish conscience remains crystal clear: Execute the traitors and continue with the mission. High walls separate Us from Them; let the military authorities run the Occupation and win the war against Palestine, without the traitors, the Goldstones, and the global Delegitimizers.

Are Israelis entitled to know that the IDF’s highest ranking officers gave advanced written permission to fire at innocent people during “targeted assassinations?” Isn’t the media’s supreme duty, not only its right, to report this? Are Israel’s citizens entitled to know that IDF commanders approved killing people even when it was possible to apprehend them, in blatant violation of the High Court’s ruling?

Gideon Levy: “Israel has never depended so much on the United States like it does today. Until now Obama has made all the possible mistakes. His first year was wasted… But I’m afraid their main goal now is to get rid of Netanyahu. And if this is the case, it will not lead anywhere. Anyone who will replace him will be more of the same, just nicer. It will be again this masquerade of peace process, of photo opportunities, of niceties which don’t lead anywhere. From this point of view, I prefer a right-wing government. At least, what you see is what you get.

The ultimate Israeli dream is that the Coptis and Tibis will disappear from sight. If the so-called demographic problem can’t be solved by driving Arabs out, we’ll try to get rid of them another way: destroy their identity, cloud their national memory and turn them into Israelis, not to mention Zionists. It won’t work. We are not only talking about economic discrimination, but about trampling on national heritage. This won’t work either.

What’s the big deal? Another 1,600 apartments for ultra-Orthodox Jews on occupied, stolen land? Jerusalem won’t ever be divided, Benjamin Netanyahu promised, in another applause-winning move. In that case, why not build in it? The Americans have agreed to all this, so they have no reason to pretend to be insulted.

The Israeli peace camp didn’t die. It was never born in the first place. While it’s true that since the summer of 1967, several radical and brave political groups have been working against the occupation – all worthy of recognition – a large, influential peace camp has never existed here.

Ask any tea grower in Sri Lanka or banana farmer in Cameroon and they’ll tell you that Israel is seen as a global weapons provider, a political and economic power, an occupying and oppressing state.

There’s no difference between the assassins by the Border Police or the Duvdevan unit that kills wanted people in the occupied territories, and the daring hush-hush assassins of Dubai. The only debate since Dubai is about whether it was a snafu. But the real snafu is that assassinations have long been a legitimate weapon: no doubts and no questions asked, all without the true designation – executions.

IOA Editor: See also Haaretz editorial: Troubling questions from Dubai, which is questioning the wisdom of the Mossad assassination, but not the legitimacy of murder as a foreign policy.

We can continue to remain silent and know that silence means collaboration. But when the left wakes up it will be too late. In fact, it is already too late. Meretz is dead, Labor is dying, Kadima is nonexistent, Peace Now is still deliberating over whether to petition against the pardon, and the right is freely celebrating and going wild.

We have a prime minister who speaks about evil but is building a fence to prevent war refugees from knocking at Israel’s door. A prime minister who speaks about evil but shares the crime of the Gaza blockade, now in its fourth year, leaving 1.5 million people in disgraceful conditions. A prime minister in whose country settlers perpetrate pogroms against innocent Palestinians under the slogan “price tag,” which also has horrific historical connotations, but against whom the state does virtually nothing.

Gideon Levy: Waltz in Batir

16 January 2010

“The Palestinians don’t have a real organization fighting for their rights and they can’t expect others to fight for them… No revolution in history was ever led by a government or a bureaucracy. We’ve became an agency of Israel and of the United States. You can’t lead a revolution and fly to America. Our leaders are too fluid in their views. A revolution requires toughness, not flexibility. In music, you can be flexible, but not when you’re leading a revolution.”

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