Exile and the prophetic: Gaza is world’s largest live military test site

Israel/Palestine
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This post is part of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page.

‘Netanyahu’s Willing Executioners?’

No, I can’t go there.  Israel 2012 is not Germany 1942.  Not even close.  But that’s only the beginning of the story.

Analysts are reporting that the latest Gaza blow-up was a warm-up for the coming confrontation with Iran.  Among other things, Gaza was a test for Israel’s Iron Dome anti-rocket system financed by the United States.  At least for short-range missiles, Iron Dome was a success.  In a confrontation with Iran, Israel is protected against incoming missiles from Lebanon and Gaza. 

Iran poses another, longer-range missile threat.  In Gaza, Iran’s threat couldn’t be tested directly. However, information from the short-range missile defenses, plus simulation exercises with longer range missile possibilities, was gathered.  Iran was also testing – and adjusting – the missiles it supplies to Hamas. 

Gaza is usually referred to as the largest outdoor prison in the world.  Is it now the largest live military testing site?

You don’t have to read Michel Foucault to know prisons are power centers where vast experiments on the human condition are conducted.  Should we expect an outdoor prison to be any different?

In reading a New York Times article on this subject, I was amazed at how easy the experimentation on populations rolls off writers’ pens.  Like most Times articles, the writing is impeccable.   A complex issue is easily understood.  Immersed in the article, I thought – ‘Oh, this makes perfect sense.  Gaza as a run-up for Iran.’ 

Then I stepped back and wondered if the article would include one analyst who questioned the ethics of using a population for testing weapons.  Further, the population upon whom the weapons were tested was only a preparation for another larger conflict.  In turn, this future conflict would provide invaluable data for the next round of war.

Even a realist in the world of politics should be given pause by such an analysis.  That might be my naiveté.  Is it also the Times naiveté?

The moral indictment extends to us, the reader, who can read this kind of analysis and simply affirm its logical content.  Likewise, the moral indictment comes back to the parties involved, those who oppose Palestinian freedom and those who would do ‘anything’ for Palestinians to be free.  It isn’t moral to use Gaza as a missile testing site regardless of the side you’re on.

Trial runs.  It’s outrageous that a population – any population – is subject to this insanity.

Palestinians as collateral damage – yet another discourse that is so disgusting it hardly merits mentioning except that it seems so acceptable.   For God’s sake, how did the Times, how did the United States, how did Israel, how did mainstream Jewry, how did Iran, how did we, get there?

Perhaps the main task before Jews of Conscience is simply – and profoundly – to say, ‘No, there aren’t any trial run populations anywhere in the world and certainly not in our name in Palestine.’

About Marc H. Ellis

Marc H. Ellis is retired Director and Professor of Jewish Studies at Baylor University and author of The Heartbeat of the Prophetic which can be found at Amazon and www.newdiasporabooks.com

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