The drums of war are heard again in Israel

The drums of war are heard again in Israel and they are sounded because once more Israel’s invincibility in is question. Despite the triumphant rhetoric in the various media commemorative reports, two years after ‘Cast Lead’, the sense is that that campaign was as much of a failure as was the second Lebanon war of 2006. Unfortunately, leaders, generals and the public at large in the Jewish State know only one way of dealing with military debacles and fiascos. They can be redeemed only by another successful operation or war but one which has to be carried out with more force and be more ruthless than the previous one with the hope for better results in the next round.

Force and might, so explained leading commentators in the local media (parroting what they hear from the generals in the army), is needed in order to ‘deter’, to ‘teach a lesson’ and to ‘weaken’ the enemy. There is no new plan for Gaza – there is no real desire to occupy it and put in under direct Israeli rule. What is suggested is to pound the Strip and its people once more, but with more brutality and for a shorter time. One might ask, why would this bear different fruits than the ‘Cast Lead Operation’? But this is the wrong question. The right question is what else can the present political and military elite of Israel (which includes the government and the main opposition parties) do?

They have known now for years what to do in the West Bank – colonize, ethnically cleanse and bisect the area to death, while remaining publicly loyal to the futile discourse of peace or rather the ‘peace process’. The end result is expected to be a docile Palestinian Authority within a heavily Judaized West Bank. But they are at a total loss about how to manage the situation in the Gaza Strip, ever since Ariel Sharon ‘disengaged’ from it. The unwillingness of the people of Gaza to be disengaged from the West Bank, and the World, seems to be more difficult to defeat, even after the horrible human toll the Gazans paid in December 2008 for their resistance and defiance.

The scenario for the next round is unfolding in front of our eyes and it resembles depressingly the same deterioration that preceded the massacre of Gaza two years ago: daily bombardment on the Strip and a policy that tries to provoke Hamas so that more expanded assaults would be justified. As one general explained, there is now a need to take into account the damaging effect of the Goldstone report: namely the next major attack should look more plausible than the 2009 one (but this concern may not be that crucial to this particular government; nor would it serve as an obstacle).

As always in this part of the world, other scenarios are possible – less bloody and maybe more hopeful. But it is hard to see who can generate a different short term future: the perfidious Obama administration? The helpless Arab regimes? timid Europe or the handicapped UN? The steadfastness of the people of Gaza and that of the Palestinian people in general means that the grand Israeli strategy to wither them away – as the founder of the Zionist movement, Theodore Herzl, hoped to do to the indigenous people of Palestine already in the very end of the nineteenth century – will not work. But the price may yet rise and it is time for all those who voiced a powerful and effective voice AFTER the Gaza massacre two years ago, to do it NOW, and try and avert the next one.

This voice is described in Israel as the attempt to ‘delegitimize’ the Jewish State. It is the only voice that seems to concern seriously the government and the intellectual elite of Israel (far more annoying to them than any soft condemnation by Hillary Clinton or the EU). The first attempt to counter this voice was to claim that delegitimization was anti-Semitism in disguise. This seems to have backfired since Israel demanded to know who in the world supports its policies; well it transpired that the only enthusiastic supporters of Israeli policy in the Western world nowadays are extreme right wing, traditionally anti-Semitic, organizations and politicians The second attempt is to try and argue that these attempts in the form of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, would make Israel more determined to continue and be a rogue state. However, this is a vacuous threat: Israeli policies are not generated by this moral and decent voice; on the contrary, this voice is one of the few factors that restrain the aggressive policy, and who knows when, if in the future western governments would joined their publics as they did eventually in the case of Apartheid South Africa, it may even bring an end to these policies and enable Jews and Arabs alike to live in peace in Israel and Palestine. 

This voice is effective because is shows clearly the link between the racist character of the state and the criminal nature of its policies towards the Palestinians. The voice turned recently into an organized and clearly defined campaign with a clear message: Israel will remain a pariah state as long as its constitution, laws and the policies will continue to violate the basic human and civil rights of the Palestinians, wherever they are, including the right to live and exist.

What is needed now is for the noble but totally futile energy invested by the Israeli peace camp and its like in the west in the concept of ‘co-existence’ and the projects of ‘dialogue’ to be reinvested in the attempt to prevent another genocidal chapter in the history of Israel’s war against the Palestinians, before it is too late.

Ilan Pappé is the coauthor with Noam Chomsky of Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel’s War Against the Palestinians (Haymarket Books).

 

About Ilan Pappe

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 34 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Shingo says:

    Israel bombed Gaza this week killing 5 Palestinians.  They are again trying to start another war that they can defend themselves against.

    Israel also declared that the Goldstone Report will not affect how they conduct the next massacre, in spite of their so called investigations into their own war crimes.

    Hamas has renewed calls for a ceasefire, which have been ignored by Israel.

    And once that massacre is under way, Witty will be here to blame Hamas for the escalation, for not taking their medicine with good grace and lacking discipline when they fore back.

    This time around, Israel will inflict irreparable damage to itself, so much so that Europe is going to officially turn against them and the PA will be finished.

    • eljay says:

      >> And once that massacre is under way, Witty will be here to blame Hamas for the escalation …

      That’s just what good Zio-supremacism cultist hypocrites do when “a good in the world” continues to oppress, destroy and kill.

      It really helps, though, if you “Remember the Holocaust!”

  2. annie says:

    Ilan Pappe?? omg

  3. rosemerry says:

    How often do the MSM speak of “Iran supporting the Hamas terrorists”, or “smuggling” of sophisticated weapons, or “thousands of rockets” hitting Israel, and never are they challenged for their grotesque suggestion that the situation is causing Israel to be the victim. The “delegitimising” should be challenged at once. What is legitimate about a homeland, changed into a state, ignoring all international laws and living by violence and destruction of indigenous people and their land?

  4. MHughes976 says:

    I know that Ilan knows his Israeli onions much better than I do but I really cannot see that Israel has an excuse that would hold water even with American public opinion for another assault on Gaza in the near future. And I think that Ilan himself makes clear that an onslaught that was impossible to disguise as anything but a massacre carries grave dangers which the Israeli leaders recognise. I say ‘even with American opinion’ because I think that Shingo is too optimistic about us Euros – we are a vacillating lot and led by a rather strange bunch of individuals. I see Shmuel has not managed to get rid of Berlusconi yet.

    • Avi says:

      MHughes976 December 26, 2010 at 6:33 pm

      [...] us Euros – we are a vacillating lot and led by a rather strange bunch of individuals.

      Not very different from what is taking place in North America. I wouldn’t count on any voices of condemnation or those calling for restraint to come from the West. In the grand scheme of things, I think we’re going to start seeing a shift in Australia’s position on such matters, as global economic growth shifts to southeast Asia.

      As for neighboring countries, the next Israeli assault on Gaza will likely result in the destabilization of one Arab regime or another. Leaders like Mubarak and Jordan’s king are sitting on pressure cookers. Something has got to give. The current combination of conditions in the region is not sustainable.

      And that leads me to the conclusion, which in this context leaves me worried and fearful of what the future may hold for the region.

      • yonira says:

        It would have to be Egypt, the Palestinians are particularly loved in Jordan, even with such a strong contingent there.

        • Avi says:

          yonira December 26, 2010 at 8:59 pm

          It would have to be Egypt, the Palestinians are particularly loved in Jordan, even with such a strong contingent there.

          Try to hide your glee.

          Besides, none of this is going to be good for Israel, certainly not when it decides to slaughter hundreds of civilians……AGAIN.

        • Antidote says:

          Rewrite your statement with ‘Jews’ for Palestinians. Substitute the 1930s and 40s, and two Western countries. Do you see now how offensive it is? Or is it strictly beyond you to see a connection between one form of racism and another?

    • Shingo says:

      I say ‘even with American opinion’ because I think that Shingo is too optimistic about us Euros – we are a vacillating lot and led by a rather strange bunch of individuals.

      I understand your cynicism MHughes, but I can’t help but feel that the status quo is near breaking point. Isrel didn’t score well in Europe following the flotilla massacre, and after the last Gaza assault, the international community is now scruitinizing Israel’s actions like never before.

      After Lebanon and Gaza, there is no wiggle room left for Israel, outside Washington and John Hagee’s congregations.

      • seafoid says:

        I agree, Shingo. The public in Israel have been fed a diet of hatred of the Palestinians for so long along with the basic ration of Holocaust panic that they can be whipped into supporting a turkey shoot against Gaza at a moment’s notice. Israel is moving to the point where madness seems to be the only rational policy action.

        Israel lost a lot of ground in 2010. The Palestinians and their supporters are playing Israel like a matador teasing a raging bull. Bibi held off Obama but Goldstone, BDS and the flotilla all landed barbs in the animal. Another attack on Gaza and the creature moves closer to its death.

        • MHughes976 says:

          A good metaphor! There’s a children’s story in which Ferdinand the Bull (I think) decides that life’s better if you stop raging and just accept life in the meadow. Thanks for your remarks and Shingo’s.

        • Eva Smagacz says:

          Otóż, moi kochani, dawno temu, w Hiszpanii
          był sobie młody byczek imieniem FERNANDO.
          Inne młode byki, jego rówieśniki
          skakały po łące, bodły się rogami,
          brykały całą bandą,
          ale nie Fernando.
          Fernando lubił spokój.
          Lubił wąchać kwiatki:
          stokrotki i bławatki.
          W ciche wieczory letnie
          chadzał pod drzewo stuletnie
          i w jego cieniu siadywał.
          I wąchał polne kwiatki:
          stokrotki i bławatki.
          Jego mamusia, Krowa, patrzyła na to ze smutkiem.
          - Fernandziu – mówiła – zobacz, ty stajesz się odludkiem.
          Muczała bardzo żałośnie: – pomyśl, co z ciebie wyrośnie?
          Czemu nie hasasz, nie brykasz i towarzystwa unikasz?
          Czemu rogami nie bodziesz? Popatrz na inną młodzież…
          I ciągle w kółko to samo.
          Fernando na to: – Mamo,
          Na co mi bójki i wojny?
          Ja jestem byczek spokojny.
          I stokroć bardziej wolę bławatki i kąkole.

    • Citizen says:

      I doubt that the Wikileaks revelation that Israel consulted with Fatah and Egypt on its plan for Operation Cast Lead has gone unnoticed by the underground in places like tottering Egypt and conflicted Jordan.
      As to Europe, I see German President Wulff visited Israel recently–he’s the first German president born after Nazi rule and ran for his job expressing a desire to visit Israel supported by his personal history of staunch opposition to anti-semitism; early in his presidency he expressed a desire to visit Israel and took his 17-year-old daughter Annalena and other German teenagers with him, which demonstrated Germany’s official commitment to teach generation about the evils of the Shoah and the German duty to compensate the Jewish people in everyway possible. Thousands of young Germans have gone to Israel over the years as exchange students or volunteers social workers dedicated to helping Jews, especially Shoah survivors. OTOH, the Israeli Embassy has proactively countered what it sees as a growing effort in Germany to “delegitimize” the Jewish state. Further, a number of local and regional German governments apparently have hosted and/or given prizes to speakers venting criticism of Israel. Last year the (former) German president Horst Köhler issued the Federal Merit Cross, one of the country’s most prestigious awards, to Israeli lawyer Felicia Langer, who has equated Israel with Nazi Germany and the South African apartheid regime. Now Frankfurt’s honoring Alfred Grosser is an issue.
      Speaking from France, Grosser, a sociologist, political scientist and historian born to a German- Jewish family in Frankfurt in 1925, told the J Post in a telephone interview that he stands by his statement that “criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism have nothing to do with each other. It is rather Israel’s policies that promote anti-Semitism globally.” Grosser has compared his treatment by the Nazis in the early 1930s with Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians. His family fled to France in 1933.

      This month, The 9th annual “German Situation” study (@ University of Bielefeld Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Conflict and Violence) suggests a clear “cooling of the social climate” as a result of tougher economic times in Germany. In 2010, 57 % of the study poll respondents agreed: “Israel is conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians” and 38% agreed that it was “understandable how Israel’s policies might encourage anti-Jewish feelings.” ( See link to thejc.com)

  5. According to NPR, Hamas was unable to control other factions, who were unilaterally firing rockets at Israeli civilians, though they claimed to desire to NOT escalate from their end.

    I note conflict, not one-way oppression. You describe it solely as oppression with only the power subject to any inquiry.

    What do you recommend that Israel do, relative to factions shelling Israeli civilian towns?

    What do you recommend that Hamas do, relative to factions shelling Israeli towns?

    What do you recommend the factions do, relative to the mutual stated urge to avoid escalated war?

    You say that the peace camp should “prevent another genocidal war”, but you don’t suggest how. How negligent and baiting an analysis is that? Is it even an “analysis”?

    In December, 2008, Gideon Levy published an article in Haaretz, describing the chain of events in similar terms to your description, but ended with a critique of Hamas for idiotically (I think its a quote) provoking a bigger dog.

    I described it then as intentional on their part, an application of the logic that “the purpose of civil disobedience is to evoke a response”.

    I get that you can’t influence PFLP, Islamic Jihad, other decentralized and splintered factions.

    Make a proposal already!!!!! Not just an “I told you so” game.

    • Shingo says:

      According to NPR, Hamas was unable to control other factions, who were unilaterally firing rockets at Israeli civilians, though they claimed to desire to NOT escalate from their end.

      Just like Israel is unable to control the lunatis in Hebron. But unlike Hamas, Israel punishes Hamas.

      I note conflict, not one-way oppression. You describe it solely as oppression with only the power subject to any inquiry.

      Who is blockading who Witty? Is Israel under siege?

      What do you recommend that Israel do, relative to factions shelling Israeli civilian towns?

      Lift the siege.

      What do you recommend that Hamas do, relative to factions shelling Israeli towns?

      No much, seeing as they are under sirge and barely able to run their society.

      You say that the peace camp should “prevent another genocidal war”, but you don’t suggest how.

      Easy. Israel has to agree to a ceasefire and not break it.

      How negligent and baiting an analysis is that? Is it even an “analysis”?

      Don’t lecturer to others about analysis when yours has no connection to facts or realilty.

      In December, 2008, Gideon Levy published an article in Haaretz, describing the chain of events in similar terms to your description, but ended with a critique of Hamas for idiotically (I think its a quote) provoking a bigger dog.

      Absolute Rubbish. You’re full of it Witty. I dare you to link to that article.

      I get that you can’t influence PFLP, Islamic Jihad, other decentralized and splintered factions.

      I get that by your logic, Baruch Goldstein’s actions were ordained by the Israeli government.

      Make a proposal already!!!!! Not just an “I told you so” game.

      You want a propsal? Here you go.

      1. Impose severe sanctions on Israel
      2. Cease all arms shipments and aid to Israel
      3. Pass UNSC Chapter 7 Resolutions demanding that Israel disarm, withdraw, from the OT, and lift the sirge on Gaza.

      How’s that Witty? Too maximalist for you?

      • lyn117 says:

        Maybe if Israel wasn’t busy shooting at Hamas, they’d be able to control the other factions.

        This same thing happened during the mini-intifada of 1996, the Palestinian police (then under Arafat) came out to quell Palestinian protests but the Israeli army shot at them, and during the Al-Aqsa intifada. Israel was bombing Palestinian police at the same time demanding those police control anyone making attacks on Israelis, which at first were only on Israeli soldiers and settlers.

        What I suggest to stop the rockets is that Israel allow equal rights regardless of creed and recompense the refugees including allowing them to return and pursue life on an equal basis. Then there would be a) a big reason for the radical groups not to shoot at Israel, because they’d be shooting at themselves not just Israelis i.e. the state would belong to all Palestinians including the radical groups and b) there would be insignificant support from the general population for them shooting rockets, as most people just want to live their own lives and don’t want to start wars with their neighbors, so others of their own ethnic group would either control them or allow the state to do so. Under a system of equal rights, the radical groups would be so tiny as to be controllable. The problem right now is that Israel started a war on the Palestinians based on their religion/ethnic group. So of course some people keep on fighting back.

        • Shingo says:

          Israel was bombing Palestinian police at the same time demanding those police control anyone making attacks on Israelis, which at first were only on Israeli soldiers and settlers.

          That seems to be a recurrign theme.

          During the 2006 Lebanon war, Israel were bombing Lebanese Military bases while demanding that the Lebanese military quell Hezbollah.

        • seafoid says:

          Gaza is the holding pen for Israel’s unwanted southern Muslims. The situation there where 80% of people are dependent on food aid , 50 miles down the road from Tel Aviv’s S&M clubs where imported beer costs $8 a bottle, is totally unsustainable.

        • RoHa says:

          “Tel Aviv’s S&M clubs where imported beer costs $8 a bottle”

          And you know this..how?

    • jimby says:

      Richard, if you are complaining about a lack of control, you should remind yourself that the police academy graduation was the first target in the glorious Cast Lead assault or so I recall. How do you recall it?

      • Citizen says:

        Wikileaks reveals that Israel consulted with Fatah (and Egypt) on Cast Lead before implementing it. No wonder the US regime ignored the Goldstone Report considering both regimes Israel consulted are on Uncle Sam’s payroll.

  6. In not proposing alternatives, YOU are one of the drummers.

  7. RE: “Israel will remain a pariah state as long as its constitution, laws and the policies will continue to violate the basic human and civil rights of the Palestinians…” – Ilan Pape
    MY COMMENT: Great article, but I have one little bone to pick. As “everybody knows”, I’m loathe to parse words, but Israel does not really have a “constitution” in the traditional sense. That’s a big part of the problem.
    Had Israel adopted a constitution back when it should have, that constitution might now be acting as a “firewall” against some of the more incendiary extremists who seem to be taking over the country.
    FROM WIKIPEDIA:

    The Basic Laws of Israel (Hebrew: חוקי היסוד‎, ḥŭḳḳēi ha-yyǝsōd) are a key component of Israel’s constitutional law. These laws deal with the formation and role of the principal state’s institutions, and the relations between the state’s authorities. Some of them also protect civil rights. While these laws were originally meant to be draft chapters of a future Israeli constitution, they are already used on a daily basis by the courts as a formal constitution. Israel currently functions according to an uncodified constitution consisting of both material constitutional law, based upon cases and precedents, and the provisions of these formal statutes. As of today, the Basic Laws do not cover all constitutional issues, and there is no deadline set to the completion of the process of merging them into one comprehensive constitution. There is no clear rule determining the precedence of Basic Rules over regular legislation, and in many cases this issue is left to the interpretation of the jurisdictional system.
    BACKGROUND
    The State of Israel was supposed to adopt a formal written constitution a few months after its declaration of independence on 14 May 1948. The declaration itself states that a constitution should be formulated and adopted no later than 1 October 1948. Adoption of a democratic constitution was also a demand of the General Assembly Resolution 181, which proposed the establishment of a “Jewish state”. The State of Israel failed to adopt a formal constitution. While the deadline stated in the declaration of independence proved unrealistic in light of the war which went on between the new state and its neighboring countries, general elections were arranged on 25 January 1949, in order to elect the Constituent Assembly which would approve the new state’s constitution. The Constituent Assembly convened on 16 February 1949. It held several discussions about the constitution which soon reached a dead end.
    Several arguments were proposed against the adoption of a formal constitution. The Religious Jews at the time opposed the idea of their nation having a document which the government would regard as nominally “higher” in authority than religious texts such as the Tanakh, Talmud, and Shulkhan Arukh…

    SOURCE – link to en.wikipedia.org

    • Avi says:

      I suspect that professor Pappe used the term “constitution” in order to appeal to a wider range of audiences, especially those who are not as informed as yourself in regard to the Israeli system of government.
      And that’s the beauty of this website is that it has a good body of contributors who are well-informed and knowledgeable, able to elaborate on certain matters and provide readers with the relevant information.

      • Citizen says:

        Yes, Avi, I am sure that was his motive; too, he did not capitalize the word “constitution,” which suggests no formal document, or it at least suggests he’s talking about the whole Israeli structural system, the nature of Israel itself as embodied in all its legislation and authoritive bodies and guidelines for internal governance. He goes on to embelish, “laws and the policies,” as part of the whole culprit matrix.

      • Granted! See my reply below to annie.

  8. annie says:

    avi, yes i am certain professor pappe is all too aware israel has no constitution.

    here is a report from al jazeera i noticed on kate’s thread (thanks kate) confirming pappe’s instincts Israel and Gazans trade threats (video)

    • RE: “avi, yes i am certain professor pappe is all too aware israel has no constitution.” – annie
      MY COMMENT: Yes, I have no doubt as to that. I was certainly not “correcting” Pappe (who is far more knowledgeable than am I), I was just taking advantage of his mention of ‘constitution’ to discuss what I have long seen as a serious threat to a “democratic” Israel – the the failure to adopt a formal constitution. Unfortunately, I fear it is now too late to rectify that problem without a major upheaval. I just hope I’m not around when the s*** hits the fan!

  9. fuster says:

    Ilan Pappe

    beating it in public yet again.

    • Shingo says:

      Seriously fuster,

      Do you have any reason for frequenting this blog? Do you have any intention of ever offering anything beyond your smart ass one liners?