Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sometimes Ya Just Have to Shut 'Em Up (Part 2)

When in 1947 the newly-formed United Nations, at the behest of Britain and the USA, undertook to provide a homeland for the survivors of the holocaust, they accepted British recommendations about partitioning Palestine and creating defacto a population of 'Israeli Arabs' - some of whom remain to-day - much to the delight of the Zionist press who do regular 'Sally Fields' pieces about somebody 'really' liking them. The Palestinians had little input and were effectively shut-up by British authorities. They certainly were drowned out by the ensuing choruses of Hatikvah.

History, or at least the Hollywood version, recounts the story of how gallant, and decent and virtually defenceless little Israel had to fight an onslaught of Arab armies. Once again a significant part of this saga is hushed-up. Even before Israel was declared a state, weapons were flowing from supporters of Zionism all around the world to what would be the Middle East's longest battlefield. From Europe war surpluses were removed via Italy. From America the money came, along with surplus aircraft bought through central and south american sources, for there was an 'official' embargo. At least it worked to keep Palestinians unarmed.

Another part of the myth is citizen soldiers, untrained kibbutzniks and concentration camp survivors up against crack divisions, particularly the vaunted Arab Legion. In reality it was a trained and equipped force of 8th Army veterans - a division of Israelis who had fought with the British forces. Polish Army 'refugees' from Russia had been temporarily settled in Palestine - some of these trained soldiers took part as well. The Israeli 'citizens' made short work of Egyptian, Syrian and Lebanese forces. They couldn't crack that Arab Legion which took the west bank and held Jerusalem for Jordan. That would have to come later.

While those citizens were fighting the armies, another group of less well-trained citizens were 'doing a Dirlewanger'* on the Palestinians. Palestinian villages and enclaves in desirable areas were vacated, voluntarily or with force. 'Shrecklichheit' on a scale that would have pleased the Germanic soul was evident from the first altercations. Its results still inhabit Gaza and a number of other refugee camps.

Since then Israel has grown into the Arnold Schwarzenegger of the region, bulked by American dollars, Israel has a military apparatus that places in the world's top ten. It has taken on, and bested, all the armies of its neighbours and has only been unsuccessful in occupation and defense. In the offensive, Israel has excelled.

The latest interactions with armed 'terrorist' paramilitary groups have given Israel its first setbacks. The offensive against Hezbolleh last year and the offensive against HAMAS this year have only succeeded if the Israeli intention was to destroy real estate - and even that was limited. Neither military operation succeeded in eliminating the enemy. If some Israeli sources are to believed they are actually stronger now than before.

One of the reasons the Israelis haven't had the successes of yore is that protracted operations - and such have been all of Israeli's conflicts since the Yom Kippur exercise, give opportunity for the world to see more than the 'heroic' that we have become used to seeing. Since the Shatila Massacres the world has come to realize that Israeli 'wars' haven't only been bloody conflicts between fighting men, that there is an element of the killing fields at work, too. Having this repeated in other contentions with the PLO in their intifadas and strikes into Lebanon against a variety of foes, has led to the belief that IDF 'spokespersons' are not infallible. Indeed much of what the Israeli media have to say about their wars is questionable.

The last outing in Gaza was much a case in point - a real time, internet war was fought alongside that on the ground. The thrust however was different. A number of sources in Gaza, used modern telecommunications to relay on-the-spot reports which the IDF , which had it's own hack squad at work, could only answer with 'they're lying'. It took a Gazan doctor, who worked in an Israeli hospital going live on air for an Israeli news program to described how Israeli tank gunners had targetted his house and killed his children, to get the IDF pulled out of Gaza. All of a sudden it wasn't about killing bad guys. But then most of the world, reading post 9/11, knows that 'killing bad guys' is an synonymous with 'mayhem for civilians'.

The western media was filled with stories of such atrocity, countered by the 'shut-up' of "anti-semite". The Jewish organizations of free-world countries were more than active in defense of Israel. They still are.

To wit George Galloway, the outspoken Scots pol and defender of anything anti-Israeli. On a speaking tour of America, Galloway, who recently led a much publicized Gazan relief drive, and convoy, was slated to visit Montreal and Canada. That was until Canada Customs and Immigration, in a rare display of spunk, decided he was a hatemonger and forbade him entry. The Minister of such backed his mandarins, or vice versa, and refused to permit him entry. An opportunity for the study, and possible exposure of a radical position, was extinguished with a 'shut-up'. A recent Toronto university symposium on the topic of Israel was almost derailed through the efforts of two Canadian cabinet ministers. The Student Union sponsoring the symposium had its funding withdrawn. The event was perceived as anti-Israel by a pro Israel student group. Their religious/cultural organizations got 'on' to government to stop it.

Last week some Israeli soldiers stated that they had killed civilians in Gaza, had interfered with relief workers and deliberately destroyed or damaged property. In response the IDF punished one soldier on unspecified charges. They also countered that, not only did they not target civilians, they actually knew the names of most of the dead - who were 70 percent Hamas. Of the rest, half were questionable and the other half had died by misadventure.

The mention of white phosphorus, or deliberate demolition, brings statements of adherence to conventions of warfare in Israel, and howls of "anti-semite!" elsewhere.

If Israel has had any success in its recent adventures, it has been in putting the world on a defensive about criticism. This is changing, and the Israelis have done it to themselves this time. They have become the 'nazi' state they purport to abhor - war-like, racist, punitively discriminatory, militaristic, and a font of hate propaganda.

*Oskar Dirlewanger - leader of a gang of Nazi 'freebooters' in a criminal punishment regiment, notorious for his 'work' in putting down the Warsaw Rising. Later hung for war crimes.

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