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[casi] !OT Israel/Palestine [a parallel politic]

This is off topic for casi: it's not about Iraq. But why, when I read it,
does my mind keep jumping to Iraq? Why do I have to keep reminding myself
-- no, they are talking about Palestinians, not Iraqis? Why do I keep
reading "Israel" and thinking "US"? Why do I get a feeling this is an
Iraq prognostication?

Maybe because it isn't so much the British which are joined at the hip
with the US, but Israel. Maybe because the monsters -- Perle, Freith, and
company -- who have determined US policy are the same ones who wrote the
"Clean Break" Israeli policy. Maybe because this is just another head of
the same dragon...


Date: Thu, 24 Jul 2003 23:23:56 -0400
Subject: Israel/Palestine: Two Commentaries from Ha'aretz
Message-ID: <>

Primordial illogic and primitive cruelty

By Amira Hass,
Haaretz, 23 July 2003

There is nothing more logical than setting arbitrary
times of day when a Palestinian is allowed to leave his
home and come back to it. There is nothing more logical
than forbidding him to leave his field in a pickup
truck to take his crops straight to market. It is
logical to forbid him to receive guests, to take a
donkey-drawn wagon, to ride a bicycle, to visit his
parents a few kilometers away - or to bring a goat into
his house "without coordination" so as to provide some
fresh milk for his children.

There is nothing more logical than to fence the
Palestinian into his village, neighborhood, and land,
with an electronic barrier, and then set a minimum age
to leave,. It is logical to appoint 19-year-old
soldiers to watch the gate, which is sometimes opened
on time and sometimes not, and to impose the rules -
29-year-olds are not allowed out, 30-year-olds are,
pregnant women are allowed out, non-pregnant woman are

It is logical to forbid all crossing when the Shin Bet
suddenly requires it, leaving outside a 65-year-old man
who went out to buy something a kilometer and a half
away, or a young man who went for dental treatment, or
a mother whose children stayed at home because only
children under the age of 21 are allowed out.

It is so logical to forbid a Palestinian to go to the
beach 300 meters from his home, and to prevent half a
million people from nearby towns from going to the
beach. It is so logical. After all, that's what army
commanders and soldiers do, day in and day out, hour by
hour, in Gaza, in the Siafa area in the north and the
Mawassi in the center of the Strip.

It's logical, because the IDF's mission in the heart of
Gaza - which it did not leave in 1994, despite the Oslo
legend - is to guarantee the safety and security and
lives of Israelis whose government continues to
encourage in moving to occupied territory. It is
logical because Israeli governments since the 1970s and
on, Labor and Likud, decided to settle Jews in the main
open areas in the narrow Gaza Strip, in the prettiest
area of dunes and on the most spectacular beach, in an
area blessed with fresh water compared to the rest of
the Gaza area.

It is logical to lock people up in their homes and
villages, and to sabotage the farming of their land
because it is logical to subsidize the Jewish
settlement in the land of the forefathers of Gush Katif
and northern Gaza. It is logical to connect Jewish
settler homes to electricity and water while forbidding
Palestinian neighbors from connecting to the
electricity grid and the water and sewage lines.

It sounds cruel to lock people up in their homes and
uproot their groves and orchards that they spent
decades nurturing. But it's a logical cruelty, Israel
is convinced, if that is what it takes to foil the
cruelty of others - to prevent an armed Palestinian
attack on a nursery school or a plant nursery or to
plant a landmine on the route of a tank that is
patrolling to protect the nursery school and the plant

During the Oslo years, many good Israelis made do with
the logical thought that "eventually" the settlements
in Gaza would be dismantled. Logic and policy are two
different things. Meanwhile, even before the bloodshed
broke out in September 2000, the settlements in Gaza
expanded, their infrastructures were improved and their
security required the army to dictate various Draconian
prohibitions of movement for a million Palestinians.

The northern Gaza Strip, with its minuscule
settlements, was cut off from the rest of the strip and
de facto annexed to Israel. Palestinian representatives
tried to speak to the logical minds of their Israeli
counterparts at the negotiating table. It didn't work.
On the contrary, the number of settlements in Gaza only

With subsidizes and expanding infrastructures and good
roads and an expanding market for their worm-free
lettuce - why should they leave? And why should the
government dismantle the settlements when the
Palestinians themselves signed the agreements that did
not require the settlements to be dismantled? The quiet
that most Palestinians kept most of the time proved to
Israelis that it was possible to get peace with the

That quiet relieved the Israelis of the duty to deal
with the primordial illogic, the primordial cruelty -
establishing the settlements. The governments used the
Palestinian quiet to continue developing the
settlements. And after September 2000, what the appeals
to logic did not accomplish, the armed attacks
certainly won't accomplish. After all, Israel will
never give in to terror.

Even before any Qassam rockets were fired at Sderot,
the army shot to death people who dared approach
settlements and the fortifications that protect the
settlements. Some were armed, but many were simply
shepherds and peasants and their stone-throwing
children. All the farmland around the settlements was
shaved down to nothing - raked, flattened and
demolished, to improve the vision of soldiers
preserving the settlements. How logical.


Our foppish self-righteousness
By Shulamit Aloni, Ha'aretz, 23/07/2003
(Aloni is a former member of Israel's knesset)

Since the start of the intifada, more than 800
Israelis, mostly civilians, have been killed by
Palestinians. We, justifiably, call it "murder." Some
were killed by suicide bombers and the rest with other
instruments of death. At the same time, more than 2,200
Palestinians have been killed by Israelis - some as
armed suspects, and almost all from soldiers' fire. We
don't call these casualties "murdered."

But perhaps these deaths should also be referred to as
murders. All the instruments of death that came from
the sky, and the tanks, and the snipers were aimed at
"the enemy" as the chief of staff says, or in "wartime
operations" as Judge Advocate General Menachem
Finkelstein says; and so there's no need to interrogate
soldiers and prosecute the killers of civilians.
Furthermore, adds the law-abiding JAG, "It is
impossible to conduct 2,000 investigations into 2,000
deaths" (Haaretz, July 10).

But he didn't conduct investigations when there were
only 50 cases of murdered Palestinians or when there
were 100. So why put murderers and abusers on trial now
when there are so many? Wait, he did, finally, find
eight cases to investigate, for shooting incidents.

And of course, there's no comparing Jewish blood to
Palestinian blood. Palestinians, after all, use the
terrible weapon of suicide; while on our side,
everything is aesthetic and elegant: Bombs fall out of
the sky and the pilot goes home safely; the tanks fire
flechettes; and our skilled snipers always hit their
target. Of course, nobody ever asks which target.

We fight the "enemy" and a large number of the
"murders" are acts of war. Of course they - the
Palestinians - aren't fighting an enemy; they are
fighting an enlightened occupation that has anted to
give them sovereignty for the last 36 years, but has
found it difficult to do so because they are living on
land that was ours 1,900 years ago and we want it only
for ourselves.

Or maybe we are a greedy occupier, looting their land
(at least as far as they are concerned), uprooting, and
demolishing, and expelling, and breaking into their
homes. And still, we aren't an enemy; and still, we
think it's an enlightened occupation; and our chief of
staff is doing everything he can to sear into the
consciousness of the occupied that they should love the
occupier who holds them prisoners in their homes until
they are hungry, until they are completely humiliated -
and all for the sake of getting them to finally
understand who are the masters of the land and who are
the servants.

Everything I've written here is known by everyone, but
forbidden to state aloud because it is not patriotic.
After all, everything we are doing is so our enemies
won't bring another Holocaust down upon us. That's how
it is explained to us - over and over again.

And how can our enemies bring down another Holocaust
upon us? That, apparently, must not be asked. After
all, we have peace with Egypt and Jordan, and Iraq is
no threat, and Iran is the entire world's problem.

So, who are we afraid of? The Palestinians? Isn't that
a bad joke? But we aren't allowed to say that because
our Jewish paranoia is very serious, and the public
relations people of the army and the greedy of the
Greater Land of Israel know how to manipulate it very

And that's the reason we are allowed to kill them and
assassinate them and murder them without any indictment
or trial, to arrest their patriots without any
explanation, any trial and without any time limit. And
of course, some are arrested for bargaining purposes,
just like the terrorist gangs do.

If indeed someone in our government wants to bring an
end to the killing and put an end to the sowing of
death, they must free the Palestinian prisoners - not
the thieves and burglars, but those we declared "the
enemy," thereby justifying the killing of hundreds and
thousands of them - including those about whom it is
said they have blood on their hands. Does not the
sniper or pilot who sows death have blood on his hands?

Our foppish self-righteousness; the utter insensitivity
of the JAG who is concerned with chasing after draft
dodgers but finds it difficult to prosecute murderers
because there are so many; we, apparently are allowed
everything, for we are "the ultimate victims," even
when we are the occupiers and we have the power.

Enough! The occupation is too expensive, too demanding,
too destructive. Let the political prisoners go - the
old and the new. Give a chance to an end to the murders
and the building of calm; and in its wake, give peace a
chance. It would be worthwhile for once to try the
power of generosity and goodwill and sincerity.


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