Amira Hass: Israel's 'Right to Self-defense', Nobel Laureates, other notables call for Arms Boycott
Israel's 'right to self-defense' - a tremendous propaganda victory
By supporting Israel's offensive on Gaza, Western leaders have given the
Israelis carte blanche to do what they're best at: Wallow in their sense of
victimhood and ignore Palestinian suffering.
<http://www.haaretz.com/misc/writers/amira-hass-1.278> Amira Hass
Haaretz: 04:06 19.11.12 |
One of Israel's tremendous propaganda victories is that it has been accepted
as a victim of the Palestinians, both in the view of the Israeli public and
that of Western leaders who hasten to speak of Israel's right to defend
itself. The propaganda is so effective that only the Palestinian rockets at
the south of Israel, and now at Tel Aviv, are counted in the round of
hostilities. The rockets, or damage to the holiest of holies - a military
jeep - are always seen as a starting point, and together with the terrifying
siren, as if taken from a World War II movie, build the meta-narrative of
the victim entitled to defend itself.
Every day, indeed every moment, this meta-narrative allows Israel to add
another link to the chain of dispossession of a nation as old as the state
itself, while at the same time managing to hide the fact that one continuous
thread runs from the 1948 refusal to allow Palestinian refugees to return to
their homes, the early 1950s expulsion of Bedouin from the Negev desert, the
current expulsion of Bedouin from the Jordan Valley, ranches for Jews in the
Negev, discrimination in budgets in Israel, and shooting at Gazan fishermen
to keep them from earning a respectable living. Millions of such continuous
threads link 1948 to the present. They are the fabric of life for the
Palestinian nation, as divided as it may be in isolated pockets. They are
the fabric of life of Palestinian citizens of Israel and of those who live
in their lands of exile.
But these threads are not the entire fabric of life. The resistance to the
threads that we, the Israelis, endlessly spin is also part of the fabric of
life for Palestinians. The word resistance has been debased to mean the very
masculine competition of whose missile will explode furthest away (a
competition among Palestinian organizations, and between them and the
established Israeli army). It does not invalidate the fact that, in essence,
resistance to the injustice inherent in Israeli domination is an inseparable
part of life for each and every Palestinian.
The foreign and international development ministries in the West and in the
United States knowingly collaborate with the mendacious representation of
Israel as victim, if only because every week they receive reports from their
representatives in the West Bank and Gaza Strip about yet another link of
dispossession and oppression that Israel has added to the chain, or
because their own taxpayers' money make up for some of the humanitarian
disasters, large and small, inflicted by Israel.
On November 8, two days before the attack on the holiest of holies -
soldiers in a military jeep - they could have read about IDF soldiers
killing 13-year old Ahmad Abu Daqqa, who was playing soccer with his friends
in the village of Abassan, east of Khan Yunis. The soldiers were 1.5
kilometers from the kids, inside the Gaza Strip area, busy with "exposing"
(a whitewashed word for destroying ) agricultural land. So why shouldn't the
count of aggression start with a child? On November 10, after the attack on
the jeep, the IDF killed another four civilians, aged 16 to 19.
Wallowing in ignorance
Leaders of the West could have known that, before the IDF's exercise last
week in the Jordan Valley, dozens of Bedouin families were told to evacuate
their homes. How extraordinary that IDF training always occurs where Bedouin
live, not Israeli settlers, and that it constitutes a reason to expel them.
Another reason. Another expulsion. The leaders of the West could also have
known, based on the full-color, chrome-paper reports their countries
finance, that since the beginning of 2012, Israel has destroyed
569 Palestinian buildings and structures, including wells and 178
residences. In all, 1,014 people were affected by those demolitions.
We haven't heard masses of Tel Aviv and southern residents warning the
stewards of the state about the ramifications of this destruction on the
civilian population. The Israelis cheerfully wallow in their ignorance.
This information and other similar facts are available and accessible to
anyone who's really interested. But Israelis choose not to know. This willed
ignorance is a foundation stone in the building of Israel's sense of
victimization. But ignorance is ignorance: The fact that Israelis don't want
to know what they are doing as an occupying power doesn't negate their deeds
or Palestinian resistance.
In 1993, the Palestinians gave Israel a gift, a golden opportunity to cut
the threads tying 1948 to the present, to abandon the country's
characteristics of colonial dispossession, and together plan a different
future for the two peoples in the region. The Palestinian generation that
accepted the Oslo Accords (full of traps laid by smart Israeli lawyers) is
the generation that got to know a multifaceted, even normal, Israeli society
because the 1967 occupation allowed it (for the purpose of supplying cheap
labor) almost full freedom of movement. The Palestinians agreed to a
settlement based on their minimum demands. One of the pillars
of these minimum demands was treating the Gaza Strip and West Bank as a
single territorial entity.
But once the implementation of Oslo started, Israel systematically did
everything it could to make the Gaza Strip into a separate, disconnected
entity, as part of Israel's insistence on maintaining the threads of 1948
and extending them. Since the rise of Hamas, it has done everything to
backup the impression Hamas prefers - that the Gaza Strip is a separate
political entity where there is no occupation. If that is so, why not look
at things as follows: As a separate political entity, any incursion into
Gazan territory is an infringement of its sovereignty, and Israel does this
all the time. Does the government of the state of Gaza not have the right to
respond, to deter, or at least the masculine right - a twin of the IDF's
masculine right - to scare the Israelis just as Israel scares the
But Gaza is not a state. Gaza is under Israeli occupation, despite all the
verbal acrobatics of both Hamas and Israel. The Palestinians who live there
are part of a people whose DNA contains resistance to oppression.
In the West Bank, Palestinian activists try to develop a type of resistance
different from the masculine, armed resistance. But the IDF puts down all
popular resistance with zeal and resolve. We haven't heard of residents of
Tel Aviv and the south complaining about the balance of deterrence the IDF
is building against the civilian Palestinian population.
And so Israel again provides reasons for more young Palestinians, for whom
Israel is an abnormal society of army and settlers, to conclude that the
only rational resistance is spilled blood and counter-terrorizing. And so
every Israeli link of oppression and all Israeli disregard of the
oppression's existence drags us further down the slope of masculine
* * *
Nobel peace laureates call for Israel military boycott over Gaza assault
Letter with 52 signatories including artists and activists also denounces US
and EU 'complicity' through weapons sales
Chris McGreal <http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/chrismcgreal> in Jerusalem
guardian.co.uk <http://www.guardian.co.uk/> , Wednesday 28 November 2012
A group of Nobel peace prize-winners, prominent artists and activists have
issued a call for an international military boycott of Israel
<http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/israel> following its assault on the Gaza
<http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/gaza> Strip this month.
The letter also denounces the US, EU and several developing countries for
what it describes as their "complicity" through weapons sales and other
military support in the attack that killed 160 Palestinians, many of them
civilians, including about 35 children.
The 52 signatories include the Nobel peace laureates Mairead Maguire and
Adolfo Pérez Esquivel; the film directors Mike Leigh and Ken Loach; the
author Alice Walker; the US academic Noam Chomsky; Roger Waters of Pink
Floyd; and Stéphane Hessel, a former French diplomat and Holocaust survivor
who was co-author of the universal declaration of human rights.
"Horrified at the latest round of Israeli aggression against the 1.5 million
Palestinians in the besieged and occupied Gaza Strip and conscious of the
impunity that has enabled this new chapter in Israel's decades-old
violations of international law and Palestinian rights, we believe there is
an urgent need for international action towards a mandatory, comprehensive
military embargo against Israel," the letter says.
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