Israel: Criminal and wretched

January 17, 2009

We have to state and repeat it: we are not witnessing a war in Gaza, but a massacre carried out by the third largest air force in the world against a defenceless civilian population.

We have to state and repeat it: the massacre in Gaza is not a "disproportionate" reaction to the rockets launched by militants of Islamic Jihad and other tiny Palestinian groups at Israeli localities close to Gaza, but an action that was premeditated and prepared a long time ago, as the majority of Israeli commentators have recognised.

We have to state and repeat it: these rockets are not, as certain European diplomats want us to believe, "unacceptable provocations", but rather responses, we should recognise quite harsh, to a savage embargo imposed by Israel, over at least one and half years, on 1.5 million residents in Gaza, including women, children and the elderly, with the criminal collaboration not just of the United States but also the European Union.

We have to state and repeat it: we are not dealing, as those who have a short or selective memory try to portray it, with a long overdue "act of self-defence" in the face of an unjustifiable Palestine aggression.

Ehud Barak confessed this without any hesitations: for months now, the Israeli army has been preparing itself to deal a blow against the "terrorist entity" called Gaza.

Logic of genocide

As United Nations Special Rapporteur in the Occupied Territories, Richard Falk, pertinently explained, when you define a zone populated by one and a half million human beings as a "terrorist entity", you are entering into the logic of genocide.

Just like the attack on Lebanon in 2006, the Israeli aggression is part of the global permanent and preventive war of the neoconservative strategists in power in Tel Aviv, and the White House for a few more months.

As its name indicates, this strategy is preventive, and it has no necessity for immediate and tangible pretexts: the democratic West is threatened by a global enemy that has been identified firstly as "international terrorism" afterwards as "Islamic terrorism" and finally transformed simply to Islam.

Huntington's "clash of civilisations" is not a description of international political reality, but rather the ideological framework of the offensive strategy of the US and Israeli neoconservatives commonly elaborated since the second half of the 80s.

In this war strategy, the Islamist threat has come to replace what the communist threat was during the Cold War: a global enemy that justifies a global war.

If the criminal bombing of Gaza enjoys a consensual support in Israel, and if the institutional left, particularly the party Meretz, has united its small voice to the warmongering choir led by Barak, it is precisely because it shares the world vision that holds Islam to be an existential threat that has to be neutralised in a decisive manner "before it is too late".

To the horror of the crime, we have to add the wretchedness of the immediate motives: in less than two months Israel will hold general elections, and the Palestinian victims are also electoral arguments.

The martyrs of Israeli attacks on Gaza are the subject of a media competition between Barak, Tsipi Livni and Ehud Olmert, to show who will be the most determined in their brutality.

Barak, the war criminal that leads the Labour Party, or better said what is left of it, was boastful this morning of having won four points in the polls.

Beyond the boundless cynicism that markets hundreds of innocent Palestinian victims against some dozens of thousands of votes, Barak demonstrates, once again, his political myopia: in the battle over who is more bestial, despite all his efforts, he will never be able to beat Benjamin Netanyahou, as voters will always prefer the original to a copy.

More so as the war chief finds himself today confronted with the same problem that transformed the war on Lebanon into an Israeli fiasco, a well known problem for all those that have initiated colonial wars: how do you end it?

'Finishing the job'

"We will not stop until we have finished the job" he announced with all the arrogance of the little chiefs. But when will the "job" be done?

When the population of Gaza and the West Bank agree to capitulate to the colonial dreams of the Israeli leaders and limit their national aspirations to a "Palestine state" reduced to a dozen reserves isolated from each other and fenced in by a wall?

If this is the "job" that Barak hopes to accomplish, the Israeli people must then be prepared for a war that is not only extremely long, but without an end.

And if the Jewish state is well armed for the blitzkrieg, above all when they are carried out by the airforce, it rapidly goes into crisis when it comes to a task that the Palestinians, just as all other victims of colonial oppression, are masters in.

That is what explains why less that a week after it had started, and despite the triumphalist declarations of politicians and military officials, the environment in Israel is already changing.

On December 27, only hours after the bombing of Gaza, a little over 1000 people protested spontaneously, manifesting our rage and shame.

There will be many more to demand international sanctions against Israel and putting Barak and company on trial in front of an international court. I am sure of that.

[Michel Warschawski is a journalist and a founder of the Alternative Information Centre in Israel. This article was first published in Portuguese on January 2 at]

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