Ongoing rape of the Palestinian people - John Honore
The capture of the Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, has led once again to an Israeli invasion of Gaza, the further killing of civilians and the destruction of the Gaza Strip’s civic infrastructure. The Israeli army has bombed roads and bridges, destroyed the electricity grid and arrested nearly a third of the members of Hamas’s West Bank government. Now an assault on Lebanon threatens once again to endanger the whole of the Middle East in a war of attrition.
When does a half-truth become a lie? George W. Bush responds to Israel’s incursion into Gaza with the remark that “Israel has the right to defend itself”. On Lebanon, he replies, “Whatever Israel does should not weaken the Siniora government in Lebanon”. Bush’s War on Terror must proceed. The implacable hatred in the soul of Ehud Olmert revealed itself when he stated to the Israeli Cabinet: “I take personal responsibility for what is happening in Gaza. I want nobody to sleep at night in Gaza. Nobody dies from being uncomfortable”. The half-dead ghost of Ariel Sharon seems to be at Olmert’s shoulder, calling to mind Sharon’s massacre of women and children in the refugee camps of Lebanon over 20 years ago.
The state of Israel is a political construct which has deprived Palestinians of sovereignty over that land. There are two factors which undermine Israel’s legitimacy. Firstly, Israel is defined as a Jewish state which ipso facto deprives Palestinians of many basic rights and excludes them from rights to common land. Secondly, the legitimacy of Israel cannot be grounded on a mythical sacred origin or on the genocide of the Holocaust. Palestinians have been rendered homeless by colonisation, not by the legitimacy of Zionist claims to a homeland for Jews.
The two-state solution is not working. Why should Hamas recognise Israel’s ‘right to exist’ if Israel is seen to be eliminating Palestinian sovereignty altogether? For decades, Israel has been expelling the Palestinians from their homes and confining them to cantons. Prime Ministers Sharon and Olmert have declared that this open policy of ethnic cleansing is inherent in its ‘right to exist’.
Israel has passed from defence to conquest and by so doing has alienated the entire Middle East. It practises state terrorism which can be defined as random violence against non-combatants. Under the rubric of War on Terror and with American financial and military support, Israel continues its strategy of destruction which allows it to raise the level of violence against Palestinian society and in the disputed borders with Lebanon.
Terrorism breeds retaliation of the same kind. Because no one in the Middle East can match the military might of Israel, the response can only be one of isolated forays, sometimes suicide bombings and now the capture of an Israeli soldier. Israel responds with a vicious cycle of civilian massacres that is contrary to all aspects of human rights as laid down in the Geneva Convention.
The United Nations should be first among mediators : its own integrity is at stake. However, John Bolton, United States representative at the UN, continues to block any action against Israel as the US has done for the past 30 years. It is the only country which shields Israel from public opprobrium, and this protection is becoming an obscene counter-productive alliance at the heart of American foreign policy.
Israel should be subject to economic sanctions and a world wide boycott of its exports until a cease-fire is negotiated under the terms of an immediate United Nations Security Council Resolution which the US must not veto. If it did veto such a resolution against Israel, it would again antagonise every country in the Middle East.
The lies, the terror, the domination and injustice that sustains Israel’s occupation of Gaza and its incursions into neighbouring states cost Jewish as well as Palestinian blood. Do the Israelis really believe that by killing whole families in a blood bath of retaliation, all will be resolved? Generations of Arabs and Muslims will remember.