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Aug 272014

An article posted earlier this month, “Outrage” by Noam Chomsky dated August 14, 2014 (https://chomsky.info/articles/20140814.htm; obtained on 8-26-2014) ended the following way :

“There has been ample reporting of the exploits of the self-declared Most Moral Army in the World, which should receive the Nobel Peace Prize according to Israel’s Ambassador to the US. By July 26, over 1000 Palestinians had been killed, 70% of them civilians including hundreds of women and children. And 3 Israeli civilians. By then, large areas of Gaza had been turned into rubble. During brief bombing pauses, relatives desperately seek shattered bodies or household items in the ruins of homes. Four hospitals had been attacked, each yet another war crime. The main power plant was attacked, sharply curtailing the already very limited electricity and worse still, reducing still further the minimal availability of fresh water. Another war crime. Meanwhile rescue teams and ambulances are repeatedly attacked. The atrocities mount throughout Gaza, while Israel claims that its goal is to destroy tunnels at the border.

Israeli officials laud the humanity of the army, which informs residents that their homes will be bombed. The practice is ‘sadism, sanctimoniously disguising itself as mercy,’ in the words of Israeli journalist Amira Hass: ‘A recorded message demanding hundreds of thousands of people leave their already targeted homes, for another place, equally dangerous, 10 kilometers away.’ In fact, there is no place in the prison safe from Israeli sadism, which may even exceed the terrible crimes of Operation Cast Lead in 2008-9.

The hideous revelations elicited the usual reaction from the Most Moral President in the World: great sympathy for Israelis, bitter condemnation of Hamas, and calls for moderation by sides.

When the current episode of sadism is called off, Israel hopes to be free to pursue its criminal policies in the occupied territories without interference, and with the US support it has enjoyed in the past: military, economic, and diplomatic; and also ideological, by framing the issues in conformity to Israeli doctrines. Gazans will be free to return to the norm in their Israeli-run prison, while in the West Bank they can watch in peace as Israel dismantles what remains of their possessions.

That is the likely outcome if the US maintains its decisive and virtually unilateral support for Israeli crimes and its rejection of the longstanding international consensus on diplomatic settlement. But the future will be quite different if the US withdraws that support. In that case it would be possible to move towards the “enduring solution” in Gaza that Secretary of State Kerry called for, eliciting hysterical condemnation in Israel because the phrase could be interpreted as calling for an end to Israel’s siege and regular attacks. And – horror of horrors – the phrase might even be interpreted as calling for implementation of international law in the rest of the occupied territories.

It is not that Israel’s security would be threatened by adherence to international law; it would very likely be enhanced. But as explained 40 years ago by Israeli general Ezer Weizman, later President, Israel could then not ‘exist according to the scale, spirit, and quality she now embodies.’

There are similar cases in recent history. Indonesian generals swore that they would never abandon what Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans called ‘the Indonesian Province of East Timor’ as he was making a deal to steal Timorese oil. And as long as they retained US support through decades of virtually genocidal slaughter, their goals were realistic. In September 1999, under considerable domestic and international pressure, President Clinton finally informed them quietly that the game was over and they instantly withdrew – while Evans turned to his new career as the lauded apostle of ‘Responsibility to Protect,’ to be sure, in a version designed to permit western resort to violence at will.

Another relevant case is South Africa. In 1958, South Africa’s foreign minister informed the US ambassador that although his country was becoming a pariah state, it would not matter as long as the US support continued. His assessment proved fairly accurate. Thirty years later, Reagan was the last significant holdout in supporting the apartheid regime. Within a few years, Washington joined the world, and the regime collapsed – not for that reason alone of course; one crucial factor was the remarkable Cuban role in the liberation of Africa, generally ignored in the West though not in Africa.

Forty years ago Israel made the fateful decision to choose expansion over security, rejecting a full peace treaty offered by Egypt in return for evacuation from the occupied Egyptian Sinai, where Israel was initiating extensive settlement and development projects. It has adhered to that policy ever since, making essentially the same judgment as South Africa did in 1958.

In the case of Israel, if the US decided to join the world, the impact would be far greater. Relations of power allow nothing else, as has been demonstrated over and over when Washington has demanded that Israel abandon cherished goals. Furthermore, Israel by now has little recourse, after having adopted policies that turned it from a country that was greatly admired to one that is feared and despised, policies it is pursuing with blind determination today in its resolute march towards moral deterioration and possible ultimate destruction.

Could US policy change? It’s not impossible. Public opinion has shifted considerably in recent years, particularly among the young, and it cannot be completely ignored. For some years there has been a good basis for public demands that Washington observe its own laws and cut off military aid to Israel. US law requires that ‘no security assistance may be provided to any country the government of which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.’ Israel most certainly is guilty of this consistent pattern, and has been for many years. That is why Amnesty International, in the course of Israel’s murderous Cast Lead operation in Gaza, called for an arms embargo against Israel (and Hamas). Senator Patrick Leahy, author of this provision of the law, has brought up its potential applicability to Israel in specific cases, and with a well-conducted educational, organizational, and activist effort such initiatives could be pursued successively. That could have a very significant impact in itself, while also providing a springboard for further actions to compel Washington to become part of ‘the international community’ and to observe international law and norms.

Nothing could be more significant for the tragic Palestinian victims of many years of violence and repression.”


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Louis DeCola, Jr.  © 2014                                    The Hygiology Post ®