Thursday, February 26, 2009

Is Israel a Terrorist State While Playing the Role of Victim

Update: 11:05, Feb. 26, 2009

Gaza still under Siege
Israel is a terrorist state
Chris Hedges and Noam Chomsky on Israel and the Palestinians
Imminent Propaganda Media Blitz to soften the public up for an attack on Iran
Some videos Obama, Biden and Clinton should watch but are they too fanatically committed to defending Israel.It seems the height of hypocrisy that they claim to believe in democracy and human rights etc.

Israeli Military Shoot Gaza Farmer - Feb. 20, 2009 Information Clearing House

Israeli forces shot a twenty year-old Palestinian farmer as he worked his land in the village of Al-Faraheen, east of Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip.

International Human Rights Activists were accompanying the group of farmers at the time as they worked approximately 500m from the Green Line.

Mohammad al - Breem, 20, was shot in the right leg as the farmers, together with the international Human Rights Activists, attempted to leave the area having worked on their land for 2 hours in full view of the Israeli forces situated along the Green Line.

As the farmers were loading up the parsley and spinach from the agricultural lands shots were fired from Israeli forces on the border. Mohammad was shot in the right leg and evacuated, while still under fire, to hospital.

International Human Rights Activists have repeatedly witnessed Palestinian farmers being shot at by Israeli forces as they attempt to work on agricultural land situated within 700m of the Green Line.

On Tuesday 27th January 2009, in Al Faraheen, Israeli forces shot at several farmers, killing a 27 year old farmer.

And on the problem of the Settlement Movement & the fragmenting of the West Bank.

1 of 2 CBS: Israeli settlers trying to prevent peace deal- Jan. 26, 2009

These checkpoints in the West Bank are an egregious human rights violation turning the West Bank into an open air prison.They have nothing to do with Israel's security.

West Bank Security Checkpoints

A video clip that dramatically portrays the meeting of Israeli solders and Palestinians at controversial West Bank security checkpoints. This clip is the second of a series taken from "Land of the Settlers", the acclaimed documentary developed by Chaim Yavin, Israel's premier news anchor.

While the State of Israel claims to speak for and represent not just Israeli Jews but all Jews around the world but it is not true that all Jews support the current State of Israel as this open letter to the President of Israel indicates:

" Erase my grandfather's name at Yad Vashem:To the President of the State of Israel and the Director of the Yad Vashem Memorial " By Jean-Moïse Braitberg February 23, 2009 "Le Monde"

-- Mr. President of the State of Israel, I am writing to you to intervene with the appropriate authorities to withdraw, from the Yad Vashem memorial dedicated to the memory of Jewish victims of Nazism, the name of my grandfather, Moshe Brajtberg, gassed at Treblinka in 1943, and those of other members of my who family died during deportation to various Nazi camps during World War II. I ask you to honor my request, Mr. Chairman, because what took place in Gaza, and more generally, the injustices to the Arab people of Palestine for sixty years, disqualifies Israel to be the center of the memory of the harm done to Jews, and thus to all humanity.

You see, since my childhood, I lived in amongst survivors of the death camps. I saw the numbers tattooed on their arms, I heard the story of torture; I knew the impossible grief and I shared their nightmares. I was taught that these crimes must never happen again, that never again must man, because of ethnicity or religion despise other man, mock his Human Rights of living a safe, dignified life, without barriers, and hope, so remote be it, of a future of peace and prosperity.

As this next article points out it is a bit odd and disingenuous of Israel to act like a powerless victim when in fact Israel has the greatest military force in the Middle East .And further Israel has not been reluctant to use that military force whenever it felt it to be necessary. On the other hand the Palestinians are poorly armed and in Gaza they live in an impoverished land under siege of the Israelies .

" A Message to Israel: Time to Stop Playing the Victim Role " by Philip Slater Huffington Post Jan. 7, 2009

I can understand that after centuries of persecution it's satisfying for a Jewish state to be the aggressor for a change, but there's a codicil that goes with that role. You don't get to act like a victim any more. "Poor little Israel" just sounds silly when you're the dominant power in the Middle East. When you've invaded several of your neighbors, bombed and defeated them in combat, occupied their land, and taken their homes away from them, it's time to stop acting oppressed. Yes, Arab states deny your right to exist, threaten to drive you into the sea, and all the rest of their futile, helpless rhetoric. The fact is, you have the upper hand and they don't. You have sophisticated arms and they don't. You have nuclear weapons and they don't. So stop pretending to be pathetic. It doesn't play well in Peoria.

(Yes, I know, we Americans should talk--always trembling in our boots about terrorists and 'rogue states' and 'evil empires' when we have enough nukes to blow up entire continents, and spend more on arms in an hour than most of the world's nations spend in a year. But just because we're hypocrites and Nervous Nellies doesn't mean you have to be).

Calling Hamas the 'aggressor' is undignified. The Gaza strip is little more than a large Israeli concentration camp, in which Palestinians are attacked at will, starved of food, fuel, energy--even deprived of hospital supplies. They cannot come and go freely, and have to build tunnels to smuggle in the necessities of life. It would be difficult to have any respect for them if they didn't fire a few rockets back.

The Israel lobby has a hissy fit when anyone points out that Israel has been borrowing liberally from the Nazi playbook, but to punish a whole nation for the attacks of a few--which Israel has been doing consistently in Gaza--is a violation of international law--a law enacted in response to the Nazi practice. And please, spare us the hypocrisy--borrowed, I'm ashamed to admit, from my own government--of saying 'every effort is made to avoid civilian casualties'. When you drop bombs on a crowded city you're bombing civilians. Bombs don't ask for ID cards. Bombs are civilian killers. That's what they do. They're designed to break the spirit of a nation by slaughtering families. They were used all through World War II by all sides for that very purpose. And that's what they're intended for in Gaza.

Chris Hedges argues that Bibi Netanyahu who is to be the new Prime Minister of Israel is possibly planing an attack on Iran as he ups the rhetoric to get President Obama's approval .For several years now the Israelis and Americans having trying to convince the world that Iran is an imminent threat to Israel and should be seen as an enemy of the West which must be contained. As Hedges claims we will soon see a barrage of news items and statements by various political leaders and various Middle East experts in the media explaining how dangerous Iran really is. This would be similar to the Propaganda campaign we were treated to in the run up to the invasion of Irawq or Israel's attack on Lebanon and their recent attack on Gaza. Hedges even suggest that the Mossad may be involved in the assassination of a nuclear scientist working in Iran. This is not all that shocking since the Mossad has been involved in a number of assassinations over the years. The Zionist movement in Israel has a history of assassinations which began in 1924 with the assassination of an anti-Zionist Israeli Jew, Jacob Israel DeHaan, whom they believed to be a threat. ( see Rabkin, A Threat From Within,2006)The Zionist Jews believed that any questioning of the Zionist Goals was illegitimate .

" A Choice Between Peace and Peril " by Chris Hedges TruthDig Feb. 23,2009

Bibi Netanyahu’s assumption of power in Israel sets the stage for a huge campaign by the Israeli government, and its well-oiled lobby groups in Washington, to push us into a war with Iran.

Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program, according to U.S. and European intelligence agencies. But reality rarely impedes on politics. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama, along with Netanyahu, all talk as if Iran is on the brink of dropping the big one on the Jewish state.

Netanyahu on Friday named Iran as Israel’s main threat after he was called to form a new government following the Feb. 20 elections.

“Iran is seeking to obtain a nuclear weapon and constitutes the gravest threat to our existence since the war of independence,” Netanyahu said at a ceremony at President Shimon Peres’ official residence. “The terrorist forces of Iran threaten us from the north,” the presumptive prime minister said in reference to Lebanon and Syria, where Israel says Tehran supplies arms to Hezbollah and Hamas. “For decades, Israel has not faced such formidable challenges.”

Netanyahu, whose arrogance is as outsized as his bellicosity, knows that for all his threats and chest thumping Israel is incapable of attacking Iranian targets alone. Israel cannot fly its attack aircraft over Iraqi air space into Iran without U.S. permission, something George W. Bush refused to grant, fearing massive retaliatory strikes by Iran on American bases in Iraq. Israel’s air force is not big enough to neutralize the multiple targets, from radar stations to missile batteries to Revolutionary Guard units to bunkers housing Iran’s Soviet- and Chinese-made fighter jets and bombers, and also hit suspected nuclear targets. The only route to a war with Tehran for the Israeli military is through Washington.

Netanyahu’s resolve to strike Iran means that we will soon hear a lot about the danger posed by Iran—full-page ads in American newspapers from Israel lobby groups have appeared in the past few days. Allowing this rhetoric to cloud reality, as we did during the buildup to the war with Iraq, would shut down the best chance for stability in the Middle East—a negotiated settlement with Iran. This may not finally stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, but a stable relationship with Iran would do more to protect Israel and our interests in the Middle East than massive airstrikes and a war that would bleed into Iraq and Lebanon and see Iranian missiles launched against Israeli cities.

... There is a lot riding on whom President Obama names as his special envoy to Iran. If, as expected, it is Dennis Ross, a former official of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, we will be in deep trouble. Ross, who is expected to be placed in charge of the Iranian portfolio this week, is a vocal supporter of Israel’s call for increased pressure on Iran. He is distrusted, even despised, in the Muslim world and especially in Tehran. With good reason, he is not viewed as an impartial broker.

Ross has called for more draconian sanctions against Iran, something Russia or the five companies that provide Iran’s refined petroleum products are not likely to support. (The companies include the Swiss firm Vitol, the French giant Total and the Indian firm Reliance.) Ross backs the covert support for proxy groups and, I would assume, the alleged clandestine campaign by Israel’s intelligence agency, Mossad, to assassinate Iranian nuclear scientists. Mossad is rumored to be behind the death of Ardeshire Hassanpour, a top nuclear scientist at Iran’s Isfahan uranium plant, who died in mysterious circumstances from reported “gas poisoning” in 2007, according to the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph. “Other recent deaths of important figures in the procurement and enrichment process in Iran and Europe have been the result of Israeli ‘hits,’ intended to deprive Tehran of key technical skills at the head of the program, according to the analysts,” the paper reported.

It remains unmentioned that Israel, which refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty—signed by Iran—is in possession of 200 to 300 nuclear warheads, perhaps the single most important factor in the Middle East nuclear arms race.

“For the US to shape a peaceful relationship with Iran will be difficult under any circumstances,” Stephen Kinzer, author of “All the Shah’s Men,” wrote recently. “If the American negotiating team is led by Ross or another conventional thinker tied to dogmas of the past, it will be impossible.”

Obama has an opportunity to radically alter the course we have charted in the Middle East. The key will be his administration’s relationship with Iran. If he gives in to the Israel lobby, if he empowers Ross, if he defines Iran as the enemy before he begins to attempt a negotiated peace, he could ignite a fuse that will see our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan evolve into a regional conflagration. This may be the most important decision of his presidency. Let’s pray he does not blow it.

Chomsky argues Israel is a terrorist state and also accuses obama of giving the green light to Israel's attack on Gaza. At the time Obama was not the president so would he have been able to prevent or at least been able to shorten the conflict to save at least a few lives.
So the question would be how much did obama know and when was he made aware of Israel's attack or did he not learn about it after it was a fait accompli . For instance we know Israel had been preparing for the invasion of Gaza for at least six months beforehand.

Chomsky also claims Hamas would be willing to agree to a peace agreement for a number of years . Why is it these proposals by Hamas are never even considered.

One of the other issues is that Israel is still aiding in the building up of the Settlements. The Settlements were supposed to have been removed decades ago but instead they increase. These settlements are cities in the middle of Palestinian lands in the West Bank and the way Israeli policies are these Settlements have a negative impact on the Palestinian people . It turns the West Bank into a number of Arab Bantustan lands. As Israeli leaders have argued since the birth of the state that the Settlements and outposts were the first line of defense for Israel. After the borders of Israel were changed drastically after the Six-Day War in 1967 the Settlements moved further out and closer to these new borders . Once Settlements are established they become what Israel calls Facts on the Ground and therefore become part of any negotiations with the Palestinians and the neighboring countries.

He argues that Israel and the US are not interested in resolving the conflict by peaceful means but rather hope to starve and push the Arabs out of these areas or at least make sure they are no longer a threat by denying them any real form of self-determination.

Israel is a Terrorist State by Definition: Chomsky" an excerpt of Professor Chomsky’s interview with Christiana Voniati, who is head of International News Department POLITIS Newspaper, Nicosia, Cyprus.By Christiana Voniati February 21, 2009 "Countercurrents"

...Chomsky: Well for several years Hamas has been very clear and explicit, repeatedly, that they favor a two state settlement on the international border. They said they would not recognize Israel but they would accept a two state settlement and a prolonged truce, maybe decades, maybe 50 years. Now, that’s not exactly the international consensus but it’s pretty close to it. On the other hand, the United States and Israel flatly reject it. They reject it in deeds, that’s why they are building all the construction development activities in the West Bank, not only in violation of international laws, US and Israel know that the illegal constructions are designed explicitly to convert the West Bank into what the architect of the policy, Arial Sharon, called bantustan. Israel takes over what it wants, break up Palestine into unviable fragments. That’s undermining a political settlement.

So in deeds, yes of course they are undermining it, but also in words: that goes back to 1976 when the US vetoed the Security Council resolution put forward by the arab states which called for a two state settlement and it goes around until today. In December, last December, at the meetings of the UN’s General Assembly there were many resolutions passed. One of them was a resolution calling for recognition of the right of self-determination of the Palestinian people. It didn’t call for a state, just the right of self-determination. It passed with 173 to 5. The 5 were the US, Israel and a few small pacific islands. Of course that can’t be reported in the US. So they are rejecting it even in words, as well as –more significantly- in acts. On the other hand, Hamas comes pretty close to accepting it.

Now, the demand which Obama repeated on Hamas is that they must meet three conditions: they must recognize Israel’s right to exist, they must renounce violence and they must accept past agreements, and in particular the Road Map. Well, what about the US and Israel? I mean, obviously they don’t renounce violence, they reject the Road Map – technically they accepted it but Israel immediately entered 14 reservations (which weren’t reported here) which completely eliminated its content, and the US went along. So the US and Israel completely violate those two conditions, and of course they violate the first, they don’t recognize Palestine. So sure, there’s a lot to criticize about Hamas, but on these matters they seem to be much closer to –not only international opinion- but even to a just settlement than the US and Israel are

...Chomsky: Well, Hamas is accused of using human shields, rightly or wrongly. But we know that Israel does it all the time. Is Israel a terrorist state? Well yes according to official definitions. I mean, one of the main things holding up cease fire right now is that Israel insists that it will not allow a cease fire until Hamas returns a captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit - he’s very famous in the West everybody knows he was captured. Well, one day before Gilad Shalit was captured, Israeli forces went into Gaza City and kidnapped two Palestinian civilians (the Muamar Brothers) and brought them across the border to Israel in violation of international law and hid them somewhere in the huge Israeli prisons. Nobody knows what happened to them since.

I mean, kidnapping civilians is a much worse crime than capturing a soldier of an attacking army. And furthermore this has been regular Israeli practice for decades. They’ve been kidnapping civilians in Lebanon or on the high seas…They take them to Israel, put them into prisons, sometimes keeping them as hostages for long periods. So you know, if the capturing of Gilad Shalit is a terrorist act, well, then israel’s regular practice supported by the US is incomparably worse. And that’s quite apart from repeated aggression and other crimes. I don’t like Hamas by any means, there is plenty to criticize about them, but if you compare their actions with US and Israel, they are minor criminals.

...Voniati: Though of Jewish decent, you have been repeatedly accused of anti-Semitism. How do you respond?

Chomsky: The most important comment about that was made by the distinguished statesman Abba Eban, maybe 35 years ago, in an address to the American people. He said that there are two kinds of criticism of Zionism (by Zionism I mean the policies of the state of Israel). One is criticism by anti-Semites and the other is criticism by neurotic self-hating Jews. That eliminates 100% of possible criticism. The neurotic self-hating Jews, he actually mentioned two, I was one and I.F. Stone, a well-known writer was another). I mean that’s the kind of thing that would come out of a communist party in its worst days. But you see, I can’t really be called anti-semite because I’m jewish so I must be a neurotic self-hating Jew, by definition. The assumption is that the policies of the state of Israel are perfect, so therefore any kind of criticism must be illegitimate. And that’s from Abba Eban, one of the most distinguished figures in Israel, the most westernised … praised, considered a dove.

and :

" What Journalists Get Wrong About Gaza " by By Katia Bachko, Columbia Journalism Review. Posted February 21, 2009.

Veteran Middle East reporter Paul McGeough shares insights about covering conflict in Gaza.

...People keep repeating that Hamas’s charter is opposed to the existence of Israel. Yes it is, but Hamas has not stood by its charter for the best part of the last ten years. Hamas has recognized the Oslo peace process, which it said it would oppose. It has taken part in democratic elections, which it has won. It has de facto recognized the two-state solution by seeking to be elected as the government of the Palestinian Authority. It has not struck outside historic Palestine; it never has. So to dismiss it as a terrorist group that has to be stamped out misses entirely the point of its position in Palestinian society.

That Fatah wants to have Hamas taken out? Absolutely. I think if you look at the history of the last twenty years of Palestinian affairs, Fatah is the faction that consumed itself. It thrived on corruption. It represented so much of what is bad about the exercise of power in Arab societies. It wasn’t democratic; it was bullying. It was venal. And Palestinians -- who, you would have to say, are one of most democratically inclined Arab societies in the region -- could see that. They could see that you didn’t get a job unless your family was Fatah. You didn’t get the house. You didn’t get the car. You didn’t get your snout in the trough unless you were Fatah.

It ( fatah) was so corrupt that Hamas was able to run on the ticket of anti-corruption, working amongst the grassroots of Palestinian society, delivering at a grassroots level, and earning political credibility not just in terms of handing stuff out, but also in terms of being disciplined, being controlled, being articulate, and standing up, and being seen to stand up for Palestinians when nobody else would.

...Let’s not be churlish about this, call it terrorism. Rather than describe Hamas as a terrorist group, I would say they’re a group that uses terror as a weapon and I think there’s a significant difference there. You’ll find a lot of Israeli commentators, amongst others, can understand and make in their writing. There is a difference there.

But the Palestinian attitude to terror as a weapon is dictated by their sense of the ability to achieve a settlement. If they think there’s a chance that there can be a negotiated settlement, as they did in the aftermath of the Oslo accords in the mid-1990s, their view of violence falls. But it’s when they see their land being taken, when they see their water resources being consumed, when they see Gaza being converted into a prison, they believe in violence. It’s a part of the world where all sides are very familiar with the notion of revenge and vengeance.

One of the kernel issues in the Gaza crisis at the moment is the fact that Gilad Shalit, the Israeli corporal, is a prisoner of Hamas in Gaza. Palestinians laugh when they read or hear that Israel is going to war for one man when there are 11,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails...

...Look at some of the names of the people who before and after the recent Gaza crisis have said that Hamas has to be allowed a seat at the table, Hamas had to be brought into the negotiating process. You’re talking about people like Efraim Halevy, former head of Mossad. Not a fly-by-night or a shallow man. He makes a very clear and careful distinction between Hamas as national patriots, as opposed to an Al Qaeda-type terrorist group. People like Tony Blair this week, people like Colin Powell before this whole crisis, people like Prince prince Turki Al-Faisal, former head of Saudi intelligence, who is not a lightweight in the region.

also see:

Rabkin, Yakov M. A Threat From Within A Century of Jewish Opposition to Zionism, pub. 2006

Dan, Uri : To The Promised Land( The Birth of Israel ) ,Pub. 1987

Fait Accompli:An accomplished fact; an action which is completed before those affected by it are in a position to query or reverse it
and so it goes,

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