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Thoughts on Israel’s attack on Gaza

Robert Maier
Sunday 4 January 2009

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I always wonder what is Israel’s goal with Palestine. Are their actions sane? Do they study history? Could Israeli leaders want to promote genocide and apartheid as their solution? But how can that be carried out? Recent history shows that the Israeli government wants to control all the land occupied by the Palestinians. It has introduced illegal settlements, destroyed Palestinian homes, and occupied others. It has set up a blockade of Gaza by land and sea, even for basic relief supplies. It refuses to allow an independent press to report on their actions in Gaza.

The Gaza population lacks food, employment, equal protection, business opportunities, medical care, proper education, communications, shelter, and utilities. The Israeli government has built arbitrary fences and walls and armed checkpoints denying Palestinians travel or access to their lands on the other side of these fences. It has stripped Palestinians of dignity through mistreatment by military, and denial of basic human rights and justice.

All of these realities have been documented for years in print, documentaries, TV news reports, eyewitness presentations and more. The complete picture sadly reflects Darfur, South African apartheid, English treatment of Irish Catholics, European treatment of Native Americans in the Americas, the Catholic church’s treatment of Protestants during the reformation, Mao’s cultural revolution, Sadam Hussein’s treatment of the Kurds, the Taliban’s treatment of women, and too many similar sad events in world history. It even reminds me of the Polish ghettos Nazi Germany created for Jewish people during World War II.

When people are treated like this, they react desperately. Perhaps the pathetic rockets fired from Gaza into Israel are acts of collective insanity, sent by people with no food, medicine, electricity, or clean water; people who can only lash out mindlessly against their tormentors. If so, then a very possible outcome will be the deaths and injuries of many thousands of Palestinians. It will only end when the streets of Gaza run so deep with blood that the U.S., which donates the billions of dollars worth of sophisticated killing machines used by the Israeli army, cuts off the arms flow. How many must be killed and maimed before that happens?

Looking at the targets—government offices, police, communications, it does seem that the Israeli government wants to destroy all elements of the Hamas government and replace it with Abbas’ government in the West Bank—which has been much more compliant to Israeli aims, but of little assistance to the Palestinian people. After the terrible destruction and carnage in Gaza, the people will have no choice but to accept a government whose primary beneficiary will be Israel.

Perhaps this could lead to an improvement—although history shows probably not. Palestinians have been treated as an underclass for so long, there is little indication that the Israeli government will finally treat them with justice, without enormous global pressure. It has taken the United States more than 300 years to officially recognize the equality of African-Americans—and even today, racism flows through American culture. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is only sixty years old. And will the Palestinians want revenge for the thousands of casualties they will suffer? There could be a very long road ahead.

So what is the aim of the Israeli government? Does it want all Palestinians to convert to Judaism, and thus be allowed human rights? Does it want Palestinians to emigrate en masse to Iran or Iraq or other Arab countries, the way England pushed its bothersome excess populations in Wales, Scotland, and Ireland to the U.S. in the 19th century? Does it want to create un-armed, un-educated, soul-less and dependent reservations like the U.S. did with Native Americans? Will it continue to ignore basic human rights issues like South Africa did with its shameful apartheid ghettos until the world turns it into a pariah, withholding trade, investment, and armaments?

Maybe the Israeli government doesn’t have a plan. Although the American media doesn’t recognize it, Israel itself is divided with militant Zionists on one side and those who seek fair and just relations with Palestine. Perhaps as the horrors mount in this attack on Gaza, the world will demand better treatment of Palestinians, and the Israeli government will see the light and suddenly comply.

This sounds simple, but there are many possible hidden players. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict provides benefits for some powerful players. U.S. arms manufacturers make many billions selling helicopters, fighter jets, and other equipment to Israel (ironically paid for by tax dollars from U.S. citizens—or rather loans made to the U.S. by Asia and the European Union). Militant Islamist extremists and governments benefit from the running sore of Palestine to gain support from the Arab/Islamic Street, which is horrified by what is sold to them as a religious pogrom. Certain Israelis are kept in power and reap great benefits through their militarism from a frightened Israeli civilian population.

This is a grand game where the average citizen can only be a bystander. The best thing is to become educated about the events and their roots—to follow the money, from oil, from arms, bribes, kickbacks, and consultancies. This is much deeper than “bad Hamas terrorists” firing random rockets into an innocent Israel.

Kabulpress English pages editor, writer, video producer and educator.

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