POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY JONATHON SPYER IN THE GUARDIAN
Jonathon Spyer offers here a slightly rewritten press release from Israel’s Ministry of Truth.
Israel has "little choice but to pursue its current course..."? One truly does get tired of seeing such dishonest words published.
We should start by asking, just what is Israel's present course?
If we judge by its actions, and not by its flood of propaganda, Israel’s overall purpose is to make 1.4 million people they keep penned up in a tiny enclave so miserable they will leave.
After all, the Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Israel suggested only weeks ago that all the Palestinians should be rounded up and left in the Sinai Desert as their "state," and that is among the more charitable words of advice from prominent Israelis, some of whom have called the residents of Gaza "cockroaches" and "vermin."
Only a limited amount of such words manages to get world publicity because Israel maintains an apparatus as active as China's in limiting the reporting and distribution of adverse material outside Israel.
Israel holds most of the members of an elected government as prisoners. It threatens the assassination of the elected head of government. It controls money from outside, assistance for Gaza, which is not theirs to control. It controls all access and egress for these people. It plays dirty games like turning off electricity or stopping fuel transport.
It freely murders anyone regarded as a "militant," whatever it is that that word means. This includes measures like firing Hellfire missiles at apartment complexes were one suspected “militant” is suspected of residing, generally killing many innocent people. There are Israeli secret service agents disguised as Arabs who murder anyone they suspect as the opportunity arises, often making it look like the work of rival Palestinian parties.
It is all a nightmare.
Contrary to Mr Spyer, Hamas is no danger to Israel. It is incapable of being a serious threat. Mr. Spyer knows as well as I do that for years Israeli secret services actually subsidized Hamas to build it up as a rival to Arafat’s party. You don’t subsidize people who represent genuine threats.
No, Hamas, does not like Israel, and why should they? What has Israel ever done to win the friendship of any Palestinians? How would Mr Spyer behave towards someone who treated him and his family with the contempt and abuse Israel treats these people? It was a former Israeli Prime Minister who said if he were a Palestinian, he would be a terrorist.
People, and nations, who do not like each other do manage to live as law-abiding neighbors in countless places in the world. Over time, they may even learn to be friends.
But Israel has never made any effort this way. None. Why? Because what Israel truly wants is the real estate without its residents. It talks about peace while constantly, unrelentingly maintaining conditions for human misery. This genuinely is 1984 double-speak.
Gaza has always been a headache for the Israeli government, and it would love to see some kind of solution, but that does not mean what any normal person would call peace.
The Palestinians are supposed to come to a peace table having already made every concession Israel wants, including matters like recognizing Israel and recognizing it as a “Jewish state.” What would be left of any interest for Israel to negotiate, that being done?
Remember, time and again, Israel has gone for long periods simply ignoring situations it does not like, so long as those situations cause no anxiety to Israel.
First, it is common in international affairs to not recognize states: the U.S. has done it many times. Recognition is gained by some compromise. But Israel plays by different rules.
Second, how do you recognize a place that has set no borders? Even Israelis do not know what Israel is as a piece of geography. This ambiguity has been deliberate because Israel’s leaders have always desired to take more territory, as they do gradually, inexorably in the West Bank.
Third, what are the implications of formally recognizing Israel as a “Jewish state”? Do the limited number of Muslims and Christians living there now (about 19% of population) lose some of their legitimacy as citizens? In fact, many prominent Israelis in the past have advocated pushing these people out of Israel. Perhaps only international views have prevented this.
Let’s see, for once, some genuine steps towards peace taken by Israel. Perhaps starting by releasing the elected government they hold as prisoners? Then treating Palestinians as human beings? It’s amazing what a little human decency can do towards peace.