Tuesday, January 6, 2009

State Terrorism

Anyone with even a modicum of political or historical knowledge must be struck by the fact that what is happening in Gaza right now, while justified as a “response against terrorism,” is itself better described as state terrorism by the two states, Israel and the United States, who complain most about terrorists. Israel, in fact, came into being as a terrorist state: its secret organizations like Irgun, once headed by former prime minister Menachem Begin, carried out devastating terrorist attacks not only against Palestinian civilians but also against British forces trying to maintain order in what was then Palestine. Since 1967, the Israeli state has carried out a more disguised, but no less destructive form of terrorism in the form of military actions against a people under occupation, a people stripped of the means to defend themselves. This has gone on ever since, to a greater or lesser degree, and now, with the Gaza invasion, to a degree and with an openness that is breathtaking. American news media describe this as a “war.” But a war is a contest between armed powers. Gazans have nothing to combat Apache helicopters, F-16 jets, drones, tanks, artillery, naval warships, and, always in reserve, Israeli nuclear weapons. All they have is defiance, and a few pathetic home-made rockets without guidance systems—this to defend the most densely inhabited area in the world, a roughly 5 mile by 1 mile stretch of land packed with 1.5 million people, nearly 50% of whom are children. To call this a war is an absurdity, pure propaganda. It is aggression, it is massacre, it is collective punishment of an entire civilian population in the hopes that these besieged civilians will demand that their elected leaders, Hamas, stop their firing of rockets.

But all this has been said before. So here are some documents to present some other voices, including a voice from the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz (Israelis get much more forthright and honest reporting about what their government does than a U.S. population served, or rather dis-served by a craven, intimidated media).

Associated Press, Jan. 6, 2008:
GAZA CITY, Gaza – An Israeli bombardment struck outside a U.N. school where hundreds of Palestinians had sought refuge on Tuesday, the U.N. and Palestinian medics said, killing at least 30 people — many of them children whose parents wailed in grief at a hospital filled with dead and wounded.

Disinformation, secrecy and lies: How the Gaza offensive came about
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent, 12/28/08.

Long-term preparation, careful gathering of information, secret discussions, operational deception and the misleading of the public - all these stood behind the Israel Defense Forces "Cast Lead" operation against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, which began Saturday morning.

The disinformation effort, according to defense officials, took Hamas by surprise and served to significantly increase the number of its casualties in the strike.

Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago, even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas.

Phyllis Bennis, Institute for Policy Studies, Dec 28, 2008.

The United States remains directly complicit in Israeli violations of both U.S. domestic and international law through its continual provision of military aid.

The current round of airstrikes have been carried out largely with F-16 bombers and Apache attack helicopters, both provided to Israel through U.S. military aid grants of about $3 billion in U.S. taxpayer money sent to Israel every year. Between 2001 and 2006, Washington transferred to Israel more than $200 million worth of spare parts for its fleet of F-16's. Just last year, the U.S. signed a $1.3 billion contract with the Raytheon corporation to provide Israel with thousands of TOW, Hellfire, and "bunker buster" missiles. In short, Israel's lethal attack today on the Gaza Strip could not have happened without the active military support of the United States.

Israel's attack violated U.S. law - specifically the Arms Export Control Act, which prohibits U.S. arms from being used for any purpose beyond a very narrowly-defined set of circumstances: use inside a country's borders for self-defense purposes. The Gaza assault did not meet those criteria. Certainly targeting police stations (even Israel did not claim Gazan police forces were responsible for the rockets) and television broadcast centers do not qualify as self-defense. And because the U.S. government has confirmed it was fully aware of Israeli plans for the attack before it occurred, the U.S. remains complicit in the violations. Further, the well-known history of Israeli violations of international law means U.S. government officials were aware of those violations, provided the arms to Israel anyway, and therefore remain complicit in the Israeli crimes.

The U.S. is also indirectly complicit through its protection of Israel in the United Nations. Its actions, including the use and threat of use of the U.S. veto in the Security Council and the reliance on raw power to pressure diplomats and governments to soften their criticism of Israel, all serve to protect Israel and keep it from being held accountable by the international community.

To sum up: Israel has attacked civilians, including, most recently a UN school, killing children seeking refuge there. Israel had this operation planned well before the so-called “ceasefire” it entered with Hamas, the breaking of which by Hamas’ rocket fire it contends gave it the right to attack Gaza (not so incidentally, it was Israel which broke the truce when, on November 4, its army entered Gaza and carried out a raid which killed 5 militants; Hamas rocket fire into Israel followed). In truth, then, Israel had the operation planned all along, and provoked Hamas into a response, to justify the operation. All of this amounts to illegal, criminal attacks against a civilian population. Since the United States has actively aided Israel in these illegal acts, it too is guilty of the violations (too soft a word for the killings, maimings and absolute terror taking place), they represent.

Indeed, all of us who are United States taxpayers are likewise complicit for it is our tax dollars that are making this invasion possible, our representatives in Congress and the Oval Office who knowingly aid and abet such criminality. If we agree that this is the case, we can do no less than contact our representatives, today, to demand an immediate and permanent end to policies that support the calculated slaughter of innocents.

Lawrence DiStasi

No comments:

Post a Comment