RE: ISRAELI HISTORIAN: ISRAEL COULD FIND ITSELF FORCED TO WIPE OUT EUROPE
The nuclear threat is not just some babbling from an insane historian. There is a clear and conscious effort to maintain a certain level of "credibility". You know, like the credibility of a gangster. They gotta make sure you know that your family will be shot like dogs if you fuck around. It's what's sometimes called their "deterrence capacity". Like when they destroyed Gaza in 2008-09, they had to make sure people saw that they were "going wild".
As far as I'm concerned, the real issue is that the Palestinians aren't exterminated, or left to rot in isolation, imprisoned like "drugged roaches in a bottle". I don't give a fuck about Iran, they can hold their own it seems. Or at least that's what "western" intelligence thinks. I'm not sure how likely it is that Iran will be attacked, but a unilateral move by Israel, unauthorized by the U.S., seems like a fairytale. Don't see how it could happen. Though, that's where the "Samson complex" comes in. A suicide attack, but with nuclear weapons. If they think they're going to be destroyed or something, they'll just take everyone with them.
Is this likely? I doubt it, but what was more shocking - and realistic - is the calm talk of genocide. Of removing the Palestinians, and how this has been a constant and original theme of zionism and Israel. Now it's old news to me cause I've seen the quotes and read the books, but it's still shocking. And it's very credible, as history shows us. The nuclear threat is just part of their "deterrence" strategy, to show that they're insane enough to do anything. It's nothing new either, but it's definitely not just the view of some crazy guy. It's a specific and conscious strategy. How dangerous it is, well that depends on each situation. Like I definitely agree that a nuclear strike on Europe is kind of, lol, just not gonna happen. Can't take it seriously (though it's funny, when a brown guy carrying a Quran starts talking about violent resistance to oppression, all of a sudden it's a grave threat, the Quran of course, not the violence, HAHA), but when they talk about the "Dahiya doctrine" in Gaza, it's fucking credible.
Quote:Early speculation on the motive behind Israel’s slaughter in Gaza that began on 27 December 2008 and continued till 18 January 2009 centered on the upcoming elections in Israel. The jockeying for votes was no doubt a factor in this Sparta-like society consumed by “revenge and the thirst for blood,” where killing Arabs is a sure crowd-pleaser. (Polls during the war showed that 80-90 percent of Israeli Jews supported it.) But as Israeli journalist Gideon Levy pointed out on Democracy Now!, “Israel went through a very similar war…two-and-a-half years ago [in Lebanon], when there were no elections.” When crucial state interests are at stake, Israeli ruling elites seldom launch major operations for narrowly electoral gains. It is true that Prime Minister Menachem Begin’s decision to bomb the Iraqi OSIRAK reactor in 1981 was an electoral ploy, but the strategic stakes in the strike on Iraq were puny; contrary to widespread belief, Saddam Hussein had not embarked on a nuclear weapons program prior to the bombing. The fundamental motives behind the latest Israeli attack on Gaza lie elsewhere: (1) in the need to restore Israel’s “deterrence capacity,” and (2) in the threat posed by a new Palestinian “peace offensive.”
Israel’s “larger concern” in the current offensive, New York Times Middle East correspondent Ethan Bronner reported, quoting Israeli sources, was to “re-establish Israeli deterrence,” because “its enemies are less afraid of it than they once were, or should be.” Preserving its deterrence capacity has always loomed large in Israeli strategic doctrine. Indeed, it was the main impetus behind Israel’s first-strike against Egypt in June 1967 that resulted in Israel’s occupation of Gaza (and the West Bank). To justify the onslaught on Gaza, Israeli historian Benny Morris wrote that “[m]any Israelis feel that the walls…are closing in…much as they felt in early June 1967.” Ordinary Israelis no doubt felt threatened in June 1967, but — as Morris surely knows — the Israeli leadership experienced no such trepidation. After Israel threatened and laid plans to attack Syria, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser declared the Straits of Tiran closed to Israeli shipping, but Israel made almost no use of the Straits (apart from the passage of oil, of which Israel then had ample stocks) and, anyhow, Nasser did not in practice enforce the blockade, vessels passing freely through the Straits within days of his announcement. In addition, multiple U.S. intelligence agencies had concluded that the Egyptians did not intend to attack Israel and that, in the improbable case that they did, alone or in concert with other Arab countries, Israel would — in President Lyndon Johnson’s words — “whip the hell out of them.” The head of the Mossad told senior American officials on 1 June 1967 that “there were no differences between the U.S. and the Israelis on the military intelligence picture or its interpretation.” The predicament for Israel was rather the growing perception in the Arab world, spurred by Nasser’s radical nationalism and climaxing in his defiant gestures in May 1967, that it would no longer have to follow Israeli orders. Thus, Divisional Commander Ariel Sharon admonished those in the Israeli cabinet hesitant to launch a first-strike that Israel was losing its “deterrence capability…our main weapon — the fear of us.“ Israel unleashed the June 1967 war “to restore the credibility of Israeli deterrence” (Israeli strategic analyst Zeev Maoz)....
...As Israel targeted schools, mosques, hospitals, ambulances, and U.N. sanctuaries, as it slaughtered and incinerated Gaza’s defenseless civilian population (one-third of the 1,200 reported casualties were children), Israeli commentators gloated that “Gaza is to Lebanon as the second sitting for an exam is to the first — a second chance to get it right,” and that this time around Israel had “hurled [Gaza] back,” not 20 years as it promised to do in Lebanon, but “into the 1940s. Electricity is available only for a few hours a day”; that “Israel regained its deterrence capabilities” because “the war in Gaza has compensated for the shortcomings of the  Second Lebanon War”; and that “There is no doubt that Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah is upset these days….There will no longer be anyone in the Arab world who can claim that Israel is weak.”
This is a review of one of his books, which is basically an extended version of the last article. I could copy-paste passages from the book, but it's pdf and the alignment and shit gets all fucked. It takes too long, so fuck you. This'll do.
Quote:In January 2006 Hamas won the Palestinian elections fair and square, and the US and Israel reacted by imposing an economic blockade on Gaza, Hamas’s stronghold. In June 2007 Hamas foiled a putsch orchestrated by the US, Israel and elements of the Palestinian Authority. Hamas has been repeatedly accused of “seizing control” when it was correctly taking action to enforce its authority.
Israel tried to justify Operation Cast Lead, launched in December 2008, on the grounds of self-defence against rocket attacks but the main motives, we discover, were to restore Israel’s “deterrence capacity” and counter the threat posed by a new Palestinian “peace offensive”.
Deterrence capacity is about “keeping Arabs so intimidated that they could not even conceive of challenging Israel’s freedom to carry on as it pleased, however ruthlessly and recklessly”. The 1967 war had been unleashed for that same purpose.
Some stuff that reiterates the points in the original article.
Quote:"The tragedy of Zionism," Walter Laqueur wrote in his standard history, "was that it appeared on the international scene when there were no longer empty spaces on the world map." This is not quite right. Rather it was no longer politically tenable to create such spaces: extermination had ceased to be an option of conquest. (5) Basically the Zionist movement could only choose between two strategic options to achieve its goal: what Benny Morris has labeled "the way of South Africa" - "the establishment of an apartheid state, with a settler minority lording it over a large, exploited native majority" - or the "the way of transfer" - "you could create a homogenous Jewish state or at least a state with an overwhelming Jewish majority by moving or transferring all or most of the Arabs out." (6)
In the first round of conquest, the Zionist movement set its sights on "the way of transfer." For all the public rhetoric about wanting to "live with the Arabs in conditions of unity and mutual honor and together with them to turn the common homeland into a flourishing land" (Twelfth Zionist Congress, 1921), the Zionists from early on were in fact bent on expelling them. "The idea of transfer had accompanied the Zionist movement from its very beginnings," Tom Segev reports. "'Disappearing' the Arabs lay at the heart of the Zionist dream, and was also a necessary condition of its existence…. With few exceptions, none of the Zionists disputed the desirability of forced transfer - or its morality." The key was to get the timing right. Ben-Gurion, reflecting on the expulsion option in the late 1930s, wrote: "What is inconceivable in normal times is possible in revolutionary times; and if at this time the opportunity is missed and what is possible in such great hours is not carried out - a whole world is lost." (7)...
...The main Arab (and British) fear before and after the 1948 war was that the Zionist movement would use as a springboard for further expansion the Jewish state carved out of Palestine. (20) In fact, Zionists pursued from early on a "stages" strategy of conquering Palestine by parts - a strategy it would later vilify the Palestinians for. "The Zionist vision could not be fulfilled in one fell swoop," Ben-Gurion's official biographer reports, "especially the transformation of Palestine into a Jewish state. The stage-by-stage approach, dictated by less than favorable circumstances, required the formulation of objectives that appeared to be `concessions.'" It acquiesced in British and United Nations proposals for the partition of Palestine but only "as a stage along the path to greater Zionist implementation" (Ben-Gurion). (21)...
...Israel's settlement policy in the Occupied Territories the past decade points up the real content of the "peace process" set in motion at Oslo. The details are spelled out in an exhaustive study by B'Tselem (Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories) entitled Land Grab. (40) Due primarily to massive Israeli government subsidies, the Jewish settler population increased from 250,000 to 380,000 during the Oslo years, with settler activity proceeding at a brisker pace under the tenure of Labor's Ehud Barak than Likud's Benjamin Netanyahu. Illegal under international law and built on land illegally seized from Palestinians, these settlements now incorporate nearly half the land surface of the West Bank. For all practical purposes they have been annexed to Israel (Israeli law extends not only to Israeli but also non-Israeli Jews residing in the settlements) and are off-limits to Palestinians without special authorization. Fragmenting the West Bank into disconnected and unviable enclaves, they have impeded meaningful Palestinian development. In parts of the West Bank and East Jerusalem the only available land for building lies in areas under Israeli jurisdiction, while the water consumption of the 5,000 Jewish settlers in the Jordan Valley is equivalent to 75% of the water consumption of the entire two million Palestinians inhabitants of the West Bank. Not even one Jewish settlement was dismantled during the Oslo years, while the number of new housing units in the settlements increased by more than 50 percent (excluding East Jerusalem); again, the biggest spurt of new housing starts occurred not under Netanyahu's tenure but rather under Barak's, in the year 2000 - exactly when Barak claims to have "left no stone unturned" in his quest for peace...
...In September 2000, Palestinians embarked on a second intifada against Israeli rule. In the "warped thinking" of Israelis since Oslo, Haaretz journalist Amira Hass wrote soon after the renewed resistance, "the Palestinians would accept a situation of coexistence in which they were on an unequal footing vis-à-vis the Israelis and in which they were ranked as persons who were entitled to less, much less, than the Jews. However, in the end the Palestinians were not willing to live with this arrangement. The new intifada…is a final attempt to thrust a mirror in the face of Israelis and to tell them: `Take a good look at yourselves and see how racist you have become.'" Meanwhile Israel, having failed in the carrot policy it initiated at Oslo, reached for the big stick. Two preconditions had to be met, however, before Israel could bring to bear its overwhelming military superiority: a "green light" from the U.S. and a sufficient pretext. Already in summer 2001, the authoritative Jane's Information Group reported that Israel had completed planning for a massive and bloody invasion of the Occupied Territories. But the US vetoed the plan and Europe made equally plain its opposition. After 11 September, however, the US came on board. Sharon's goal of crushing the Palestinians basically fit in with the US administration's goal of exploiting the World Trade Center atrocity to eliminate the last remnants of Arab resistance to total US domination - or, in Robert Fisk's succinct formulation, "to bring the Arabs back under our firm control, to ensure their loyalty." Through sheer exertion of will and despite a monumentally corrupt leadership, Palestinians have proven to be the most resilient and recalcitrant popular force in the Arab world. Bringing them to their knees would deal a devastating psychological blow throughout the region. (46)
With a green light from the US, all Israel now needed was the pretext. Predictably it escalated the assassinations of Palestinian leaders following each lull in Palestinian terrorist attacks. "After the destruction of the houses in Rafah and Jerusalem, the Palestinians continued to act with restraint," Shulamit Aloni of Israel's Meretz party observed. "Sharon and his army minister, apparently fearing that they would have to return to the negotiating table, decided to do something and they liquidated Raed Karmi. They knew that there would be a response, and that we would pay the price in the blood of citizens." (47) In fact, it was plainly the case that Israel desperately sought this sanguinary response. Once the Palestinian terrorist attacks crossed the desired threshold, Sharon was able to declare war and proceed to annihilate the basically defenseless civilian Palestinian population...
...Influential Israeli policy-makers, and even the dean of Israel's "new historians," (57) Benny Morris, openly contemplate expulsion. Morris, explicitly endorsing expulsion of the Palestinians - "a sick, psychotic people" - in the event of war, further ranted: "This land is so small that there isn't room for two peoples. In fifty or a hundred years, there will only be one state between the sea and the Jordan. That state must be Israel." According to a recent poll conducted by Israel's Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, nearly one-half of Israelis support expulsion of West Bank and Gaza Palestinians, and nearly one-third support expulsion of Israeli Palestinians (three-fifths support "encouraging" Israeli Palestinians to leave). (58)...
...Maintaining that Sharon "has always harbored a very clear plan - nothing less than to rid Israel of the Palestinians," respected Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld has posited two alternative pretexts for expulsion. (1) The diversion of a global crisis such as an "American attack on Iraq." In this regard it bears recalling that in 1989 Benjamin Netanyahu urged the Israeli government to exploit politically favorable circumstances like the Tiananmen massacre to carry out "large-scale" expulsions when the "damage to Israel would have been relatively small." (2) A spectacular terrorist attack that "killed hundreds." Apart from the regrettably real prospect that Palestinians might commit such an atrocity, judging from the historical record it's plainly not beyond possibility that Sharon would provoke it. Although "some believe that the international community will not permit such an ethnic cleansing," van Creveld plausibly concludes, "I would not count on it. If Sharon decides to go ahead, the only country that can stop him is the United States. The US, however, regards itself as being at war with parts of the Muslim world that have supported Osama bin Laden. America will not necessarily object to that world being taught a lesson." The main US fear is that expulsion would trigger a reaction in the "Arab street" toppling its client regimes. But twice before, on the eve of the assaults on Iraq and Afghanistan, elite American opinion harbored a similar fear. In both cases it proved unfounded. The Bush administration might try its luck again in the expectation that the "Arab street" is a chimera. Meron Benvenisti conjured, in the pages of Haaretz, this nightmare scenario: "An American assault on Iraq against Arab and world opposition, and an Israeli involvement, even if only symbolic, leads to the collapse of the Hashemite regime in Jordan. Israel then executes the old `Jordanian option' - expelling hundreds of thousands of Palestinians across the Jordan River." Pointing up the likelihood of a war-time expulsion in Israel's current state of "moral dissolution" ("there has never been a better opportunity"), he concludes that "Nobody should be allowed to say they weren't warned." (63)...
Quote:All of this is normal, and quite frankly discussed by high Israeli officials. Thirty years ago Chief of Staff Mordechai Gur observed that since 1948, "we have been fighting against a population that lives in villages and cities." As Israel's most prominent military analyst, Zeev Schiff, summarized his remarks, "the Israeli Army has always struck civilian populations, purposely and consciously...the Army, he said, has never distinguished civilian [from military] targets...[but] purposely attacked civilian targets." The reasons were explained by the distinguished statesman Abba Eban: "there was a rational prospect, ultimately fulfilled, that affected populations would exert pressure for the cessation of hostilities." The effect, as Eban well understood, would be to allow Israel to implement, undisturbed, its programs of illegal expansion and harsh repression. Eban was commenting on a review of Labor government attacks against civilians by Prime Minister Begin, presenting a picture, Eban said, "of an Israel wantonly inflicting every possible measure of death and anguish on civilian populations in a mood reminiscent of regimes which neither Mr.Begin nor I would dare to mention by name." Eban did not contest the facts that Begin reviewed, but criticized him for stating them publicly. Nor did it concern Eban, or his admirers, that his advocacy of massive state terror is also reminiscent of regimes he would not dare to mention by name.6
Eban's justification for state terror is regarded as persuasive by respected authorities. As the current US-Israel assault raged, Times columnist Thomas Friedman explained that Israel's tactics in the current attack, as in its invasion of Lebanon in 2006, are based on the sound principle of "trying to `educate' Hamas, by inflicting a heavy death toll on Hamas militants and heavy pain on the Gaza population." That makes sense on pragmatic grounds, as it did in Lebanon, where "the only long-term source of deterrence was to exact enough pain on the civilians -- the families and employers of the militants -- to restrain Hezbollah in the future." And by similar logic, bin Laden's effort to "educate" Americans on 9/11 was highly praiseworthy, as were the Nazi attacks on Lidice and Oradour, Putin's destruction of Grozny, and other notable educational exercises.7...
...There is much sober debate about what the attackers hoped to achieve. Some of objectives are commonly discussed, among them, restoring what is called "the deterrent capacity" that Israel lost as a result of its failures in Lebanon in 2006 - that is, the capacity to terrorize any potential opponent into submission. There are, however, more fundamental objectives that tend be ignored, though they seem fairly obvious when we take a look at recent history.
Israel abandoned Gaza in September 2005. Rational Israeli hardliners, like Ariel Sharon, the patron saint of the settlers movement, understood that it was senseless to subsidize a few thousand illegal Israeli settlers in the ruins of Gaza, protected by a large part of the IDF while they used much of the land and scarce resources. It made more sense to turn all of Gaza into the world's largest prison and to transfer settlers to the West Bank, much more valuable territory, where Israel is quite explicit about its intentions, in word and more importantly in deed. One goal is to annex the arable land, water supplies, and pleasant suburbs of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv that lie within the separation wall, irrelevantly declared illegal by the World Court. That includes a vastly expanded Jerusalem, in violation of Security Council orders that go back 40 years, also irrelevant. Israel has also been taking over the Jordan Valley, about one-third of the West Bank. What remains is therefore imprisoned, and, furthermore, broken into fragments by salients of Jewish settlement that trisect the territory: one to the east of Greater Jerusalem through the town of Ma'aleh Adumim, developed through the Clinton years to split the West Bank; and two to the north, through the towns of Ariel and Kedumim. What remains to Palestinians is segregated by hundreds of mostly arbitrary checkpoints.
The checkpoints have no relation to security of Israel, nor does the wall,28 and if intended to safeguard settlers, they are flatly illegal, as the World Court ruled definitively. In reality, their major goal is to harass the Palestinian population and to fortify what Israeli peace activist Jeff Halper calls the "matrix of control," designed to make life unbearable for the "drugged roaches scurrying around in a bottle" who seek to remain in their homes and land. All of that is fair enough, because they are "like grasshoppers compared to us" so that their heads can be "smashed against the boulders and walls." The terminology is from the highest Israeli political and military leaders, in this case the revered "princes." And similar attitudes, even if more discretely expressed, shape policies.29
The racist rhetoric of political and military leaders is mild as compared to the preaching of rabbinical authorities. They are not marginal figures. On the contrary, they are highly influential in the army and in the settler movement, which Zertal and Eldar describe for good reason as the "lords of the land," with enormous impact on policy. One of the memorable photographs from the Gaza war showed three orthodox Jews in traditional black garb with the caption "Israelis, like these men, have come to hills near Gaza to watch their forces pound the Palestinian enclave in an attempt to stop Hamas rocket attacks" (an attempt to which we return. The story describes how Israelis, orthodox and secular, come to the hilltops that have "become the war's peanut gallery,... some with lunches and portable radios tuned to the latest reports of the battle raging in front of them, [some] to egg on friends and family members in the fight, [some] shouting `Bravo, Bravo!," as they watch the exploding bombs hardly able to contain their glee, some with their binoculars and lawn chairs. criticizing the Israeli attackers for hitting the wrong targets, much like fans at sporting events who criticize the coach.30
Soldiers fighting in northern Gaza were afforded an "inspirational" visit from two leading rabbis, who explained to them that there are no "innocents" in Gaza, so everyone there is a legitimate target, quoting a famous passage from Psalms calling on the Lord to seize the infants of Israel's oppressors and dash them against the rocks. The rabbis were breaking no new ground. A year earlier, the former chief Sephardic rabbi wrote to Prime Minister Olmert, informing him that all civilians in Gaza are collectively guilty for rocket attacks, so that there is "absolutely no moral prohibition against the indiscriminate killing of civilians during a potential massive military offensive on Gaza aimed at stopping the rocket launchings," as the Jerusalem Post reported his ruling. His son, chief rabbi of Safed, elaborated: "If they don't stop after we kill 100, then we must kill a thousand, and if they do not stop after 1,000 then we must kill 10,000. If they still don't stop we must kill 100,000, even a million. Whatever it takes to make them stop."31
Similar views are expressed by prominent American intellectuals. When Israel invaded Lebanon in 2006, Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz explained in the liberal online journal Huffington Post that all Lebanese are legitimate targets of Israeli violence. Lebanon's citizens are "paying the price" for supporting "terrorism" - that is, for supporting resistance to Israel's invasion. Accordingly, the vast majority of Lebanese civilians are no more immune to attack than Austrians who supported the Nazis. The fatwa of the Sephardic rabbi applies to them. In a video on the Jerusalem Post website, Dershowitz went on to ridicule talk of excessive kill ratios of Palestinians to Israelis: they should be increased to 1000 to one, he said, or even 1000 to zero, meaning that the brutes should be completely exterminated. Of course, he is referring to "terrorists," a broad category that includes the victims of Israeli power, since "Israel never targets civilians," he emphatically declared. It follows that Palestinians, Lebanese, Tunisians, in fact anyone who gets in the way of the ruthless armies of the Holy State is a terrorist, or an accidental victim of their just crimes.32
It is not easy to find historical counterparts to these performances. It is perhaps of some interest that they elicit virtually no censure and are thus apparently considered entirely appropriate in the reigning intellectual and moral culture - when they are produced on "our side," that is. From the mouths of official enemies such words would elicit righteous outrage and calls for massive preemptive violence to punish the villains....
...In the former Palestine, the rightful owners (by divine decree, according to the "lords of the land") may decide to grant the drugged roaches a few scattered parcels. Not by right, however: "I believed, and to this day still believe, in our people's eternal and historic right to this entire land," Prime Minister Olmert informed a joint session of Congress in May 2006 to rousing applause. At the same time he announced his "convergence" program for taking over what is valuable in the West Bank, as outlined earlier, leaving the Palestinians to rot in isolated cantons. He was not specific about the borders of the "entire land," but then, the Zionist enterprise never has been, for good reasons: permanent expansion is an important internal dynamic. If Olmert was still faithful to his origins in Likud, he might have meant both sides of the Jordan, including the current state of Jordan, at least valuable parts of it, though the 1999 Likud Charter - the program of current Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu - is ambiguous. It declares that "the Jordan Valley and the territories that dominate it shall be under Israeli sovereignty." What "dominates" the Jordan Valley is not defined, but it certainly includes everything to the West of the Jordan, the former Palestine, to remain under Israeli sovereignty. Within that territory there can never be a Palestinian state and settlement must be unconstrained, the Charter declares, since "Settlement of the land is a clear expression of the unassailable right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel."
For Olmert and his Likud successor, our people's "eternal and historic right to this entire land" contrasts dramatically with the lack of any right of self-determination for the temporary visitors, the Palestinians. As noted earlier, the lack of any such right was reiterated by Israel and its patron in Washington in December 2008, in their usual isolation and accompanied by the usual resounding silence.33
The plans that Olmert sketched in 2006 were later abandoned as not sufficiently extreme. But what replaces the convergence program, and the actions that proceed daily to implement it, are approximately the same in general conception. In 2008, West Bank settlement construction rose by 60%, according to a report by Peace Now, which monitors settlement. Housing starts in West Bank settlements rose by 46% over the previous year, while they declined in Tel Aviv by 29% and in Jerusalem by 14%. Peace Now reported further that some 6000 new units had been approved with 58,000 waiting approval: "If all the plans are realized," the report said, "the number of settlers in the territories will be doubled." There are many ways to expand the settlement project without eliciting protest from the paymasters in Washington, for example, setting up an "outpost" that is later linked to the national electricity and water grids and over time slowly becomes a settlement or a town. Or simply by expanding the "rings of land" around a settlement for alleged security reasons, seizing Palestinian lands, all processes that continue.34
These devices, which have roots in the pre-state period, trace back to the earliest days of the occupation, when the basic idea was formulated poetically by Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, who was in charge of the occupied territories: "the situation today resembles the complex relationship between a Bedouin man and the girl he kidnaps against his will...You Palestinians, as a nation, don't want us today, but we'll change your attitude by forcing our presence on you." You will "live like dogs, and whoever will leave, will leave," while we take what we want.35
That these programs are criminal has never been in doubt. Immediately after the 1967 war, the Israeli government was informed by its highest legal authority, Teodor Meron, that "civilian settlement in the administered territories contravenes the explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention," the foundation of international humanitarian law. Israel's Justice Minister concurred. Dayan conceded that "Settling Israelis in occupied territories contravenes, as is known, international conventions, but there is nothing essentially new in that," so the issue can be dismissed. The World Court unanimously endorsed Meron's conclusion in 2004, and the Israeli High Court technically agreed while disagreeing in practice, in its usual style.36...
...Uncontroversially, the Israel-Lebanon border was quiet for a year before the Israeli invasion, at least from Lebanon to Israel, north to south. Through the year, the PLO scrupulously observed a US-initiated ceasefire, despite constant Israeli provocations, including bombing with many civilian casualties, presumably intended to elicit some reaction that could be used to justify Israel's planned invasion. The best Israel could achieve was two light symbolic responses. It then invaded with a pretext too absurd to be taken seriously.
The invasion had nothing to do with "intolerable acts of terror," though it did have to do with intolerable acts: of diplomacy. That has never been obscure. Shortly after the US-backed invasion began, Israel's leading academic specialist on the Palestinians, Yehoshua Porath - no dove -- wrote that Arafat's success in maintaining the ceasefire constituted "a veritable catastrophe in the eyes of the Israeli government," since it opened the way to a political settlement. The government hoped that the PLO would resort to terrorism, undermining the threat that it would be "a legitimate negotiating partner for future political accommodations."
The facts were well-understood in Israel, and not concealed. Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir stated that Israel went to war because there was "a terrible danger... Not so much a military one as a political one," prompting the fine Israeli satirist B. Michael to write that "the lame excuse of a military danger or a danger to the Galilee is dead." We "have removed the political danger" by striking first, in time; now, "Thank God, there is no one to talk to." Historian Benny Morris recognized that the PLO had observed the ceasefire, and explained that "the war's inevitability rested on the PLO as a political threat to Israel and to Israel's hold on the occupied territories." Others have frankly acknowledged the unchallenged facts.69
In a front-page think piece on the latest Gaza invasion, NYT correspondent Steven Lee Meyers writes that "In some ways, the Gaza attacks were reminiscent of the gamble Israel took, and largely lost, in Lebanon in 1982 [when] it invaded to eliminate the threat of Yasir Arafat's forces." Correct, but not in the sense he has in mind. In 1982, as in 2008, it was necessary to eliminate the threat of political settlement.70
The hope of Israeli propagandists has been that Western intellectuals and media would buy the tale that Israel reacted to rockets raining on the Galilee, "intolerable acts of terror." And they have not been disappointed.
It is not that Israel does not want peace: everyone wants peace, even Hitler. The question is: on what terms? From its origins, the Zionist movement has understood that to achieve its goals, the best strategy would be to delay political settlement, meanwhile slowly building facts on the ground. Even the occasional agreements, as in 1947, were regarded by the leadership as temporary steps towards further expansion.71 The 1982 Lebanon war was a dramatic example of the desperate fear of diplomacy. It was followed by Israeli support for Hamas so as to undermine the secular PLO and its irritating peace initiatives. Another case that should be familiar is Israeli provocations before the 1967 war designed to elicit a Syrian response that could be used as a pretext for violence and takeover of more land - at least 80% of the incidents, according to Defense Minister Moshe Dayan.72
The story goes far back. The official history of the Haganah, the pre-state Jewish military force, describes the assassination of the religious Jewish poet Jacob de Haan in 1924, accused of conspiring for an accommodation between the traditional Jewish community (the Old Yishuv) and the Arab Higher Committee. And there have been numerous examples since.73
The effort to delay political accommodation has always made perfect sense, as do the accompanying lies about how "there is no partner for peace." It is hard to think of another way to take over land where you are not wanted.
Similar reasons underlie Israel's preference for expansion over security. Its violation of the ceasefire on November 4, 2008 is one of many recent examples.
When Israel broke the June 2008 ceasefire on Nov. 4, Amnesty International reported that the June 2008 ceasefire "has brought enormous improvements in the quality of life in Sderot and other Israeli villages near Gaza, where before the ceasefire residents lived in fear of the next Palestinian rocket strike. However, nearby in the Gaza Strip the Israeli blockade remains in place and the population has so far seen few dividends from the ceasefire. Since June 2007, the entire population of 1.5 million Palestinians has been trapped in Gaza, with dwindling resources and an economy in ruins. Some 80 percent of the population now depend on the trickle of international aid that the Israeli army allows in."74 But the gains in security for Israel towns near Gaza were evidently outweighed by the felt need to deter diplomatic moves that might impede West Bank expansion, and to crush any remaining resistance within Palestine.
The preference for expansion over security has been particularly evident since Israel's fateful decision in 1971, backed by Henry Kissinger, to reject the offer of a full peace treaty by President Sadat of Egypt, offering nothing to the Palestinians - an agreement that the US and Israel were compelled to accept at Camp David eight years later, after a major war that was a near disaster for Israel. A peace treaty with Egypt would have ended any significant security threat, but there was an unacceptable quid pro quo: Israel would have had to abandon its extensive settlement programs in the northeastern Sinai. Security was a lower priority than expansion, as it still is.75
Quote:What about the Palestinians? Well they don't have any wealth. They don't have any power. It therefore follows, by the most elementary principles of statecraft, that they don't have any rights. That's like adding two and two and getting four. In fact, they have negative rights. The reason is that their dispossession and their suffering elicits protest and opposition in the rest of the region, so they do not exactly count as zero but rather as harmful. Well, from these considerations, it's pretty straightforward to predict US policy for the last roughly 30 years. Its basic element has been and remains an extreme form of rejectionism. Now I have to explain here that I'm using the term in an unconventional way - namely in a non-racist way. The term, "rejectionist," is used conventionally in an purely racist sense in Western discourse: the term refers to those who reject the national rights of Jews. They're called "rejectionist" (as they are). But if we use it in a non-racist sense, then the term refers to those who reject the national rights of one or the other of the competing forces in the former Palestine. So those who reject the national rights of Palestinians are rejectionists. And the US has led the rejectionist camp in the non-racist sense for the last thirty years. In fact, it is the only significant member of the rejectionist camp that it has led, and still does.
The '67 war was dangerous; it came very close to nuclear confrontation. And it was agreed that there has got to be some diplomatic settlement. The diplomatic settlement that was proposed, by the United States primarily, and the other great powers, was called UN 242. Notice that it was explicitly rejectionist. It calls for recognition of Israel's right to live in peace and security within recognized borders, but says nothing about rights of the Palestinians, apart from a vague allusion to the problem of refugees. UN 242 calls for a settlement among existing states of the region. The agreement was, to put in simple terms, that there should be full peace in return for full Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories. That's UN 242. And it was official US policy at the time. Withdrawal could involve marginal and mutual adjustment of borders; perhaps straightening a crooked border here and there. But nothing more. And of course any settlement or development within the occupied territories is barred. There is no dispute over the fact that it would be in violation of the Geneva Conventions. On this, world opinion is unanimous, apart from Israel and the US. And in this case the US has been unwilling to articulate publicly its antagonism to international law and the Conventions that were established to bar crimes of the kind carried out by the Nazis, so it abstains from resolutions that pass unanimously apart from Israeli objection and US abstention.
The US held to this interpretation of UN 242 until 1971. In 1971, a very important event took place. President Sadat had taken power in Egypt, and he offered a settlement in terms of UN 242 - in terms of official US policy: full peace in return for full Israeli withdrawal. In fact his stand was even more forthcoming: he offered full peace in return for Israeli withdrawal from Egyptian territory, leaving open the status of the occupied territories and the Golan Heights. Of course, his proposal also was firmly rejectionist, saying nothing about the Palestinians. Well, the US had a choice-was it going to accept that or was it going to reject UN 242? It was understood that Sadat's proposal was, as Israel put it, "a genuine peace offer"- a "milestone on the path to peace" as Yitzhak Rabin, then Israeli Ambassador to the US, describes it in his memoirs. The US had a decision to make. There was an internal confrontation. Henry Kissinger won out, and Washington adopted his policy of "stalemate": No negotiations, just force. So the US effectively rejected UN 242 in February 1971 and insisted that it means "withdrawal insofar as the US and Israel decide." That's the operative meaning of UN 242 under US global rule since 1971.
Officially, the US continued to support UN 242 until Clinton. He is the first president to declare that US resolutions are inoperative. But until then, at least verbally, the US accepted UN 242. That was only words, however. In practice the US following the Kissingerian interpretation. For every president, UN 242 in practice meant partial withdrawal as Israel and the United States determine. Carter, for example, forcefully reiterated US support for UN 242 and continues to do so, but also increased aid to Israel to about half of total US aid (as part of the Camp David settlement), thus ensuring that Israel could proceed to integrate the occupied territories within Israel and to prevent any meaningful fulfillment of UN 242 (and to attack its northern neighbor), exactly as was predicted, and as it did.
The rejectionist commitments of the international system changed by the mid 70s. By the mid 70s, an extremely broad international consensus, in fact essentially everyone, came to accept Palestinian national rights alongside of Israel. In January 1976, the Security Council debated a resolution, which included the wording of 242 but added Palestinian national rights in the territories from which Israel would withdraw. The US vetoed it, and therefore it's vetoed from history, so you can't even find it in history books with rare exceptions. The same is true of the events of February 1971. With diligent search one can discover the facts, but they have efficiently been removed from historical memory.
This continued. I won't run through the whole record. The US vetoed a similar Security Council Resolution in 1980, and voted against similar General Assembly resolutions year after year, usually alone (with Israel), occasionally picking up some other client state. Recall that a unilateral US rejection of a General Assembly resolution is, in effect, a double veto: the resolution is inoperative, and it is vetoed from history, rarely even reported. Washington also blocked other negotiating efforts: from the European and Arab states, the PLO, in fact any source. And so things continue up until the Gulf War.
This process of preventing a peaceful diplomatic settlement has a name, exactly the one that one would expect in the age of Orwell: it is called "the peace process."
The Gulf War changed things. At that point the rest of the world realized that the US is making a very clear statement: the US is going to run this area of the world by force, so get out the way. That was the understanding throughout the world. Europe backed off. The Arab world was in total disarray. Russia was gone. No one else counts. The US immediately moved to the Madrid negotiations, where it could unilaterally impose the US rejectionist framework that it had protected in international isolation for 20 years.
That leads in various paths to Oslo, and the White House lawn on September 13, 1993, where the Declaration of Principles (DOP) was accepted with much fanfare in what the press described as "a day of awe," and so on. The DOP merits a close look. It outlines clearly what is coming, with no ambiguity. For what it's worth, I don't say this in retrospect: I wrote an article about it at once, which appeared in October 1993. There have been few surprises since.
The DOP states that the "permanent status," the ultimate settlement down the road, is to be based on UN 242 and UN 242 alone. That's very crucial. Anyone with any familiarity with Middle East diplomacy knew on that day exactly what was coming. First, UN 242 means "partial withdrawal, as the US determines"; the Kissingerian revision. And "UN 242 alone" means UN 242 and not the other UN resolutions which call for Palestinian rights alongside Israel. Recall that 242 itself is strictly rejectionist. The primary issue of diplomacy since the mid-1970s had been whether a diplomatic settlement should be based on UN 242 alone, or UN 242 supplemented with the other resolutions that the US had vetoed at the Security Council, and (effectively) vetoed at the General Assembly. And the second issue was whether 242 would have the original interpretation, or the operative US interpretation after it rejected Sadat's 1971 peace offer. In the DOP, the US announced firmly and clearly that the permanent settlement would be based on UN 242 alone, keeping to Washington's unilateral rejectionism: anything else is off the table. And since this is a unilateral power play, 242 means "as the US decides." There was no ambiguity. One could choose to be deluded - many did so. But that was a choice, and an unwise one, particularly for the victims.
So matters continue. One can't really accuse Israel of violating the Oslo agreements, except in detail. It continued to settle the occupied territories and integrate them within Israel. That means you and I did it, because the US funds it knowingly, and the US provides crucial diplomatic and military support for these gross violations of international law. The successive agreements spell out the details. They are worth a close look. I reviewed the main one in print in 1996, if you happen to be interested. The details are striking, including the purposeful humiliation built into them. And they have been fairly closely implemented.
Looking very closely, through a powerful microscope, we can discern a difference between the two main political groupings in Israel (as in the US). There is, however, a noticeable difference in the US attitude towards them, but the reason is a difference of style more than substance. So take the man who was just appointed two or three days ago as the minister of defense, Ben Eliezer-he's described now as a "Labor hawk." He was the housing minister under Shimon Peres, hailed as the Labor dove. In February 1996, towards the end of Peres's term, the peak of "dovishness," he announced an expanded settlement program in the territories-I'll read it because it's essentially was happening now. This was February 1996. He said, "It is no secret that the government's stand, which will be our ultimate demand, is that as regards the Jerusalem areas - Ma'ale Adumim, Givat Ze'ev, Beitar, and Gush Etzion - they will be an integral part of Israel's future map. There is no doubt about this." He also announced the building of what Israel calls Har Homa, that's the last section around Jerusalem, mostly expropriated from Arabs. That was put on hold under the Netanyahu government because of strong international and domestic opposition. But the Peres project was picked up again by Barak, and proceeded with no protest. A look at the map will explain what this means. The "Jerusalem area," so defined (as it had already been by Yitzhak Rabin, after Oslo), effectively partitions the West Bank: the city of Ma'ale Adumim was developed primarily for this purpose, and addition of other parts of the "Jerusalem areas" merely firms up the effective partition.
Ben-Eliezer also explained in February 1996 that Labor "builds quietly," with the full protection of the Prime Minister, not ostentatiously like the rival Likud coalition. the Prime Minister can be Rabin, Peres, Barak (who broke all records in construction) or anyone else, but "we build quietly": that's the crucial phrase. And that is the reason why the US always prefers Labor to Likud. Labor does it quietly. They're the "doves." Likud tends to be arrogant and noisy about it, and that makes it harder to pretend that we don't know what we're actually doing. So Labor's always preferable.
The reason traces back to different electoral constituencies. Labor is the party of managers, professionals, intellectuals-generally the more secular and Westernized sectors who understand very well the norms of Western hypocrisy-and are therefore easier to deal with, hence more admired in the West. The policies differ somewhat; as noted, Labor has often been more aggressive in construction (and also military actions) than Likud, sometimes the reverse, but that is secondary.
Without going into the details, you'll notice that in all of the current discussion about the remarkable negotiations and the "forthcoming" and "generous concessions" of Clinton and Barak, there are some notable omissions. One is maps. Try finding a map in one of the US newspapers describing what's happening. Well, the reason there aren't any maps, I suppose, is because what's being implemented under the Camp David proposal, and Clinton's last plan and Barak's plan, is pretty much what Ben Eliezer described. The places I mentioned are pretty much those being incorporated within Israel, along with others. A second crucial omission is that there cannot be "generous concessions" because there cannot be territorial concessions at all, any more than when Russia withdrew from Afghanistan or Germany from occupied France.
What's called "Jerusalem" extends extensively in all directions, separating Ramallah to the north from Bethlehem to the south, and effectively partitioning the West Bank. Ma'ale Adumim is called in the US press "a neighborhood of Jerusalem"; in fact, it is a city constructed by the US and Israel, primarily during the Oslo period, well to the east of Jerusalem. Its planned borders are supposed to reach to a few kilometers from Jericho. Jericho itself is now surrounded by a seven-foot deep trench to prevent people from getting in and out-and the same is planned for other cities. That means that the "Jerusalem" salient effectively bisects the West Bank, separating the Palestinian sections into two enclaves; and the whole Palestinian region is separated from the traditional center of Palestinian life in Jerusalem (now vastly expanded, with Israeli settlement only). There's another salient to the North, which effectively separates the northern and central regions. Discussion of Gaza is vague, but judging by settlement and development patters, something similar is probably planned. Remember that all the settlements are within vast infrastructure projects designed to integrate them within Israel and remove West Bank Palestinians from sight, contained within their enclaves.
These are the forthcoming and generous concessions. They're well understood. I'll just end with the comment by one of the leading Israeli doves, Shlomo Ben-Ami, who was the chief negotiator under Barak and is indeed a Labor dove-pretty much at the extreme. In an academic book written in 1998 in Hebrew, just before he entered the government, he pointed out, perfectly accurately, that the goal of the Oslo negotiations is to establish a situation of "permanent neocolonial dependency" for the occupied territories. In Israel, it's commonly described as a Bantustan solution-if you think about South African policy, it's similar in essentials.
It's worth noting that among the leading supporters of this solution have been Israeli industrialists. About ten years ago, before the Oslo agreement, they were calling for a Palestinian state of roughly this kind-and for quite good reasons. For them, a permanent neocolonial dependency makes a lot of sense. Kind of like the US and Mexico or the US and El Salvador, with maquiladoras, assembly plants, along the border on the Palestinians side. This offers very cheap labor and terrible conditions, and there is no need to worry about pollution and other annoying constraints on profit making. And the people don't have to be brought into Israel, always dangerous. Who knows? Some of those derided as "beautiful souls" might see the way they are treated and call for minimally decent working conditions and wages. It is far better for them to be across the border, in their own "state," like Transkei. Not only does that relieve the threat of protection of human rights and improve profits, but it is also a useful weapon against the Israeli working class. It offers ways to undermine their wages and benefits. And furthermore it offers means to break strikes, a device commonly used by US manufacturers, who develop excess capacity abroad that can be used to break strikes here: the Caterpillar strike a few years ago is an illustration. For example, there was an effort to privatize the ports and the Israel union went on strike. Industrialists had a problem. They could use an Egyptian port or a port in Cyprus to break the strike, but they're too far away. On the other hand, if they had a port in Gaza, that would be ideal. With the collaboration of the authorities in the neocolonial dependency, port operations could be transferred there. The strike of Israeli workers could be broken, and the ports transferred to unaccountable private hands. That's a good reason to be in favor of a Palestinian state in a condition of permanent neocolonial dependency. The story should be familiar in Toledo...
...I think we tend to underestimate the effectiveness of violence. If you look over history, violence usually succeeds. And there's no evidence that Oslo isn't working. Oslo is what Shlomo Ben-Ami described-an effort to create a permanent neocolonialist dependency in the occupied territories. And I think that may well work. It's true that there's a level of resistance that the US and Israel aren't happy about, but they've got plenty of means of violence that they can use to suppress it and there's a limit to what flesh and blood can endure. There really is a limit. That's what rulers have understood all through history. And it usually works. If we allow it - we, you and I, the people in the United Sates - if we allow it to proceed it may well work again. One can think of all kinds of tactics, like what was just done for Jericho: that could be done for every Arab city. Every Arab city in the West Bank can be surrounded by a huge moat, which will prevent people from getting in and out. The US can send more helicopters to carry out more assassinations and attack more civilian concentrations, relying on the US press not to mention any of this, just as they haven't mentioned it in the last six months. The long-term goal could be pretty much what Israel has assumed all along - even more dovish Israelis like Moshe Dayan, who of all the Israeli leaders, was maybe the one most sympathetic to the Palestinians. His view thirty years ago-in internal cabinet discussions-was: don't give them anything; we should treat them like dogs and those who are able to will leave and after that we'll see what happens.
That's been known for fifteen years. It ought to be well understood-it's in released documents, and has been cited in dissident publications here. And it is the policy. Incidentally it's a policy that fits very well with Jewish history, which shouldn't be ignored. Jews know their own history. Like others here, I studied it when I was a kid, taught it to children later, and in Israel particularly it's very well known. Think about the Roman exile-what did it actually do two thousand years ago? Did they take the whole population out of Palestine? No. They took out the elites. They left the peasants. The peasants just stay. They stay, they suffer, they endure. Conquerors come, other conquerors replace them, and they adapt. They survive somehow. The elites are gone - that's called an exile. Why can't that happen again? The unpleasant fact is that violence usually works unless it's constrained from within. There's no force from outside the United States that can constrain it. There is a force inside the United States that can constrain it. If we don't, I suspect that Oslo will work. It's not going to be pretty, but I don't see any reason to doubt that it will work.
"...If the rhetoric is essential to the philosophy, then there is something wrong with the philosophy. Your massive intellect should be able to describe your philosophy without continually referring to your special rhetoric..."
- Yael The Great