January 06, 2009
On Gaza-2: Countering the myths
Mustafa Barghouthi, Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative, in an article well-worth reading titled Palestine's Guernica and the Myths of Israeli Victimhood painstakingly tries to refute all the reasons given by apologists for Israel's actions to justify this latest assault on the Palestinians. Those myths, which the mainstream media and both democratic and Republican politicians in the US tend to repeat uncritically, consist of the following:
- Israelis have claimed to have ended the occupation of the Gaza Strip in 2005.
- Israel claims that Hamas violated the cease-fire and pulled out of it unilaterally.
- Israel claims to be pursuing peace with 'peaceful Palestinians'.
- Israel is acting in self-defense.
- Israel claims to have struck military targets only.
- Israel claims that it is attacking Hamas and not the Palestinian people.
- Israel claims that Palestinians are the source of violence.
Like nearly all durable myths, they do contain factual elements but these are merely used as scaffolding to create a propaganda edifice designed to hide the truth. Interestingly, Barghouthi's article was published on the allegedly 'liberal' Huffington Post website with an extraordinary disclaimer not usually given for other writers, in which they essentially disowned him. As Jeremy Sapienza comments;
HuffPo runs all kinds of commentary from all over the political spectrum (or at least its leftish side), but only those who dare speak against the sainted Israelis seem to require an editorial explanation that resembles an apology.
Justin Raimondo follows the money to the people from whom Arianna Huffington, the politically opportunistic creator of the site, gets her substantial support and argues that the website did this because its financial backers would not take kindly to anyone breaking the media consensus in the US that Israel is always the innocent party.
Jennifer Loewenstein makes the crucial point that is necessary in order to understand why every year or two ones sees these violent flare ups in that region. The reason is that Israel has no intention whatsoever of ever giving the Palestinians a viable nation of their own based upon agreed international frameworks. So they will regularly create these conflagrations in order for US and European public consumption, to argue that the elected leaders of the Palestinians should not and cannot be negotiated with.
In a recent talk given at Case, the noted scholar on the Israel/Palestine question Norman Finkelstein made the same point, that it should not surprise anyone that Israel regularly declares that some incident is an intolerable provocation and unleashes its massive military power (underwritten by the US taxpayers) on the hapless population. These regular assaults should not be seen as reactions to events. They are, in fact, standard policy.
Jonathan Hari provides evidence to support the view that Israel has no intention of allowing a viable Palestinian to be created:
The Israeli government did indeed withdraw from the Gaza Strip in 2005 – in order to be able to intensify control of the West Bank. Ariel Sharon's senior adviser, Dov Weisglass, was unequivocal about this, explaining: "The disengagement [from Gaza] is actually formaldehyde. It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so that there will not be a political process with the Palestinians... this whole package that is called the Palestinian state has been removed from our agenda indefinitely."
Richard Silverstein over at Tikun Olam in a post titled Gaza: The Horror suggests that the Gazans are merely disposable pawns in Israeli politics.
It is an Israeli Shock and Awe (and you remember how that turned out). Ehud Barak has prepared a veritable 12 course feast of blood, gore, and mayhem for Gaza. It is Barak’s ultimate political play for the coming elections. If he wins, then he helps Labor maintain its ever-fainter role in Israeli national politics. If he fails, then he and Labor sink together.
Whatever the reason, what is happening in Gaza is an unspeakable atrocity, on top of the unspeakable atrocities that all the Palestinians have been experiencing in both the West Bank and Gaza over these many years.
POST SCRIPT: But can he get the Senate also under his thumb?
Now that Al Franken has been declared the winner of the Minnesota US Senate election, can we hope to see policy speeches set to rock music?