Maurizio – Omnologos

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Why Israel Is Not The Palestinian Problem

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Many thanks to the Editorial Board at the International Herald Tribune for publishing a letter of mine on the Jan 9, 2009 printed paper, under the headline “When governments fail” (a modified version of yesterday’s blog “Are Palestinian Lives Truly Worthless?“):

David Brooks’s analysis (“The confidence war,” Views, Dec. 7) is missing the fact that the very strategies of successive Israeli governments, the Palestinian Authority and now Hamas have been based on the utter disregard of the value of the lives of individual Palestinians.

This has been true especially in the last decade or so. One side casually bombs crowded residential areas from afar only to release increasingly hypocritical apologetic press releases afterward. The other side sends youths on suicide missions or unleashes them armed with stones to throw at armored tanks – while proclaiming that thousands and thousands of dead women and children are a price worth paying for victory against “the Zionists.”

As shown repeatedly during the last century, it should be the job of international institutions to push hard for the safeguarding of lives, especially when the local governments are clearly unable or unwilling to do so. But I am afraid that with the way things are going, we can only expect a future made of innumerable deaths.

I’ll expand briefly upon that to argue why Israel is not the actual problem for the Palestinians, at the moment.

True, most of the actions undertaken during the latest conflict situation by the Jerusalem Government are at the edge or beyond the very limits of International Law and War Law. It also does look especially fishy how the Gaza invasion coincides with upcoming Israeli elections…one of the luckily few occasions where a democracy makes liberal use of somebody else’s blood for a few votes more.

But that’s less important to Palestinians than the gigantic failure of their leadership(s) to do anything positive on their behalf.

Like it or not, when there is a war one side usually shows little interest in protecting the other side’s civilian lives (it depends on the war, and on the propaganda, but the overall trend is alas towards more civilian deaths). However deplorable, if Azerbaijan declares war against Armenia (just an example) it goes without saying that Azerbaijanis will rather kill Armenians, and Armenians Azerbaijanis.

Usually, that is accompanied by each side trying as much as possible to protect its own: therefore Azerbaijan will do its best to defend Azerbaijanis, and Armenia Armenians. Sometimes that doesn’t actually work out as proclaimed (see Russian botched kidnap rescue attempts) but one can assume that at least the intention is always there.

That is not what happens for Palestinians. They must be the only people on Earth deliberately put in harm’s way by their own leaders. I am sure that even the incredibly locked-up Burmese junta, and the paranoid hermit North Korean state-wide prison, would try to lower casualties among their own citizens in case of war much, much better than Hamas (or Fatah for that matters) have ever managed even to imagine, let alone do.

In fact, just like in Communist states of old (USSR famine in the 1930’s, China famine in the 1950’s), in the world as seen by Hamas people are not people, but pawns to use for a higher ideological purpose (namely, the destruction of Israel). Horribly, a dead Palestinian child becomes more useful to them than a live Palestinian child, as it does make Israel look an abominable entity that doesn’t deserve to seat among Nations.

Whatever Israel has done or is doing, things don’t have to be the way they are. Resistance is a natural reaction to occupation, but suicide (or worse: making sure some of yours get killed for your political advantage) is not.

As suggested in the blog and the letter to the IHT, we would go a long way towards improving the Palestinians’ situation if only we could protect the people from Hamas (and from Fatah).

Now of course one would have to understand what brought Palestinians in the Occupied Territories to a situation that is perhaps worse than Somalia’s and definitely makes Haiti looks like Heaven on Earth. One would not do wrong by considering the issue of politicide by Israel, but that is as relevant to today’s situation as reconsidering the opportunity of wearing warm clothes in a snowstorm is to somebody that has already caught pneumonia.

Written by omnologos

2009/Jan/08 at 23:54:27

3 Responses

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  1. […] miracle will happen. Still, it is not impossible. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Why Israel Is Not The Palestinian ProblemPalestinian civil War WatchPalestinian Grudge Match: Fatah vs. HamasFatah’s Fifth […]

  2. This is nonsense. The situation of the Palestinian people originated in 1967 and in 1948, when Israel made no provision for their membership in a “Jewish” state.

    The Palestinians, including Christians, were defined by Israel’s public relations machinery as “Arabs” and punished collectively for Arab offenses prior to the end of the British mandate in 1948, because when they were relocated by force in 1948 and in 1967, the Palestinians could only return to a new Israel on a case by case basis.

    The situation was essentially the same as victims of the British massacre in Amritsar in 1919. Reginald Dyer, who authorised British troops to fire upon women and children, said as regards medical care for the wounded “we were ready to help anyone who applied”.

    The problem for Palestinian refugees, who retain that status today, is that (1) they had a human right to continuity of membership in a community that was taken away on the creation of the “Jewish” state, and (2) being able at leisure to apply or reapply for a lost right while you are stateless is almost impossible.

    Statelessness and refugee status MEANS that you cannot get a job to earn money to buy things for your children at the 7-11, much less deal for weeks with bureaucracy to apply for the return of your humanity.

    And, the implication of Israel’s “Law of Return” as well as its cowardly failure to write a constitution (which would be to face the fundamental contradiction, between the universalist and humanitarian ideals of 19th century Zionism, and the tribalism of modern Zionism) would be that as a Palestinian refugee, you would be applying for second class.

    But citizenship as a human right should not come in classes, should it. SHOULD IT?

    Now, in view of the facts and modern international law, how dare you blame Hamas?

    This is a very old theme of the Western liberal: to discover that the leadership of the oppressed is to blame.

    Your problem here is that the people of Gaza elected Hamas.

    As to Hamas placing these people in harm’s way: have you examined Gaza in Google Earth? Do you know how small it is?

    On Google Earth, it is strikingly different from the surrounding Israel, divided into lush and irrigated farms while Gaza is a miserable cluster of buildings, one of the most densely populated places on earth.

    I do not believe that Hamas is using civilians as human shields. Instead, it is located in the available real estate in a land which I could run across in an hour.

    Nor are suicide bombers forced into their acts. They volunteer in a society which (like Japan in the last year of WWII) cannot defend itself against tanks and F-16 fighters, but with which Israeli politicians have never negotiated in good faith.

    When those politicians try to do so, as in the case of Rabin, they are undercut by domestic terrorism in Israel which started with the Stern Gang and Irgun and which is carried-out by individuals who act objectively on behalf of Likud.

    Israeli politicians like Sharon are in fact constantly forced by Israel’s toxic “democracy”, a democracy of people who tend to screech, into playing for the mob, with the results that their stunts, such as Temple Mount, constantly undercut any good faith they could show.

    The result is the “peace process”, a phrase which makes me puke.

    Don’t blame Hamas. Don’t blame the victim. Israel is a criminal state and it shall be responsible for the destruction of its people.

    If I were the President of the USA, I’d invite every Jew to come to the USA, quoting the Jew, Emma Goldman (“give me your tired, your poor”). This is because Israel’s politicians have endangered the physical safety of their people!


    2009/Jan/31 at 13:07:33

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