Monday, January 26, 2009

The Price of Insisting that the Ends Justify the Means

In the Ames Tribune as the violence began to slow due to a supposed cease-fire.
By: Betsy & John Mayfield


The Israeli government's slaughter of the people in Gaza that has gone on, as of this writing, more than 19 days is a human made catastrophe of apocalyptical proportions, certainly to families of the more than 1,000 people who are dead because of it. In addition, when we hear that 4,000 plus people have been injured, we do not mean hurt with scratches or, even, internal injury like hematomas. We mean children, women and men forced to have multiple amputations. We receive photos of people sliced open with shrapnel or burned in the precise way phosphorus sears right down to the bone. We read physicians' accounts of patients faced with long term suffering because Israeli explosives are a new kind of slow killing machines: Dense Inert Metal Explosives or depleted uranium shelling that leads to cancer and slow, painful deaths. All the while, Israel claims that they are not targeting civilians; that destruction of Hamas is their goal and their right.

There are those in Israel and here in America who object to this kind of supposed reparation not only because it is a moral outrage against a helpless people, or that Israel is destroying itself in this tragic bargain with evil, but that the rationale for it is a lie. Israeli and Jewish writers continue to tell us with amazing consistency that this bombardment against the Palestinians, Hamas or ineffectual rockets of rebellion is just a cover for the real reason behind the onslaught. Jewish writers tell us that this is a result of Israel's determination to never, ever allow a Palestinian state to exist and to set the stage for endless war in the Middle East. You may not have heard of these writers, but they are world famous and they are all saying the same thing, this killing is about the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people, an act that will unite those who would continue violence rather than quell. Uri Avnery, Tom Segev, Ilan Pappe, Gideon Levy, Amira Hass beg us to understand what's behind the carnage. They are Jewish, they are Israeli, they have watched first hand as this battle has evolved. Foreign corresponds who join this choir include Chris Hedges, Robert Fisk, Justin Raimondo, Tony Karon, Joe Klein. American Jews of conscience who take more heat from Zionists in America than any of the rest of us are Harvard's Sara Roy, MIT's Noam Chomsky, NYU's Tony Judt, The Nation Magazine's Naomi Klein and Henry Siegman, Wisconsin's Jennifer Lowenstein, Chicago's Norman Finkelstein and the UN's Richard Falk. If these people of international note are willing to put themselves and their careers on the line to stop Israel's slaughter where are the rest of us?

The writers above tell us that the violence is not because of Hamas and their Qassam rockets. Why? The 85-year old, Jewish, Israeli writer, Uri Avnery, tells us that Israel's idea that "the state must defend it's citizens "is a ridiculous propaganda device since Israel is the occupier and oppressor not the occupied and oppressed. Why should Israelis be safe, but millions of Palestinians always face unimaginable danger and starvation every single day?

The idea that Israel has to defend itself against a hapless people, he tells us, "has been accepted as the whole truth" He adds, however, "War–every war–is a realm of lies." "The trouble is that propaganda is most convincing for the propagandist himself." Few mention that the Qassams are retaliation for a two-year Israeli siege that has caused a man-made human rights disaster for the million and a half inhabitants of the Gaza Strip. That Hamas held a two-year truce and for this received nothing from Israel but closed borders, continued incursions and killings and under-reported bombings. Do not the Palestinians and their elected government, Hamas, have a right to defend themselves?

For those who are indifferent to this horror, consider this: Whatever happens, even if this ends without a single Hamas member standing, Hamas wins. Writer Chris Hedges explains, "Hamas cannot lose this conflict." Israel, he tells us, is delivering a package of facts for the world to see, truckloads of maimed and dead. We cannot look away forever. The reality show comes in waves of truth that no lie can vanquish. Says Hedges, "Hamas fighters, armed with little more than light weapons, a few rockets and small mortars, are battling one of the most sophisticated military machines on the planet. . . The Israeli assault, by destroying Hamas as an [elected] governing force, has opened a Pandora's box of ills. Life will become a nightmare for most Palestinians and, in the years ahead, for most Israelis."

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