Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Other Israel

Among the few people with the courage to give official Israeli policy the lambasting it deserves are some Israelis themselves. Possibly the one thing that can be said for Israel at this time is that it is still an open enough society to permit its members (at least those of its inhabitants that it recognises as full members) to speak freely. But don't expect them to be given much space in the mainstream American media. (See for example this egregious opinion piece in the NYT that basically says 'bomb the shit out of Lebanon and about time too.') I want to look for this other Israel - the Israel that can speak truth to power, that can take the log out of its own eye - because I know it exists.

For a start, read Tanya Reinhart, on how the Gaza re-invasion has been in the offing for months and on the stupidity of thinking that Gaza disengagement can be the end of the story: 'one cannot let Gaza free, if one wants to keep the West Bank. A third of the occupied Palestinians live in the Gaza Strip. If they are given freedom, they would become the center of Palestinian struggle for liberation, with free access to the Western and Arab world.' And they would be right to become so.

Kathleen Christison: 'those who devise and carry out Israeli policies have made Israel into a monster, and it has come time for all of us -- all Israelis, all Jews who allow Israel to speak for them, all Americans who do nothing to end U.S. support for Israel and its murderous policies -- to recognize that we stain ourselves morally by continuing to sit by while Israel carries out its atrocities against the Palestinians...Those who continue to support Israel, who make excuses for it as it descends into corruption, have lost their moral compass.' [The author is a former CIA political analyst and has worked on Middle East issues for 30 years.]

Gilad Atzmon makes some unpleasant comparisons and foregrounds the key moral argument: 'Although, both Palestinian militants and Hezbollah were originally targeting legitimate military targets, Israeli retaliation was clearly aiming against civilian targets, civil infrastructures and mass killing directed against an innocent population. It doesn't take a genius to realise that this is not really the way to win a war or confront that particular sort of combat known as guerrilla warfare...this time it was Israeli soldiers and pure military posts that were targeted. In other words, it is rather impossible to dismiss the fact that Palestinian militants and the Hezbollah were actually operating as legitimate resistance paramilitary groups fighting a colonial army and occupation forces.' [The author was born in Israel and served in the Israeli military.]

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