SITUATION NORMAL:

Palestine Today: A Reality of Justice Denied

by Stephen Lendman
Thursday, 30 December 2010
Cast Lead, Gaza made a giant prison, and illegal settlements expose a lawless society and bogus democracy, arousing millions globally to demand justice.

On December 24, Mondoweiss co-editor Adam Horowitz wrote:

"Israeli military kills 20-year old Gazan for herding animals too close to buffer zone."

On December 23, Israeli forces shot and killed Salama Abu Harhish without warning while herding sheep and goats in Beit Lahya. Civilized nations don't murder nonviolent civilians in cold blood, this time leaving a widow and day-old unnamed baby.

What "democracy" thrives on violence, spurns peace, and wages preemptive wars like Cast Lead. Besides America, only Israel, a global menace like its Washington paymaster/partner, together with Britain the real axis of evil.

December 28 was Cast Lead's second anniversary, a three week continuing onslaught. Against Palestine, Israel's wars never end. The 2008-09 horror evoked memories of Franklin Roosevelt's December 8, 1941 moment, telling a joint session of Congress:

"Yesterday, December 7,1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan. The United States was at peace with that Nation, (and) look(ed) toward maintain(ing it) in the Pacific....I ask that the Congress declare that....a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire."

Historical analysis exposed America's real intent, its desire for war, its foreknowledge of the attack, its tracking of the Japanese fleet across the Pacific but not warning Pearl Harbor's commander to ensure surprise and public anger, and Roosevelt's imperial aims. Nonetheless, his powerful words expressed outrage about any nation attacking another preemptively, even if goaded to do it.

Electronic Intifada co-founder Ali Abunimah remembered Cast Lead in his December 27 article headlined, "The Gaza massacre and the struggle for justice," saying:

"It was not only a massacre of human bodies, but of the truth and of justice." Goldstone and other investigations uncovered irrefutable evidence of high crimes of war and against humanity - willful slaughter of nonviolent men, women and children.

Also targeted were schools, universities, hospitals, mosques, industrial and government facilities, police stations, fishing boats, agriculture and residential homes - all unrelated to military necessity in violation of fundamental international law.

Moreover, Israel was guilty of committing the "supreme international crime" against peace, an Israeli and American specialty though neither's been held accountable. As a result, justice remains denied, begging for redress.

Israel's attack was merciless. "The names of the dead fill 100 pages, but nothing can fill the void they left in their families....Two years after the crime, Gaza remains a giant prison....Israel's violence (continues) like its violence against Palestinians" throughout the Territories - sustained state terrorism against nonviolent civilians. It's "the logical outcome of the racism that forms the inseparable core of Zionist ideology and practice" that claims Israel belongs exclusively to Jews, no matter how many Palestinians have to die to prove it.

As a result, peace is consistently avoided, justice denied, and atrocities continue daily. Cast Lead highlighted Palestinian victimization, decades of occupation, besieged Gaza, persecuted Israeli Arabs, and the diaspora population prohibited from returning, a right enshrined in international law.

It also exposes a lawless society and bogus democracy, arousing millions globally to demand justice. Failure insults victims and the rule of law. Yet international community silence endorses rogue state lawlessness. Impunity encourages continuity, an endless cycle of persecution, violence, slaughter and destruction, seeking new pretexts to sustain it or inventing them when don't exist.

Israel's Self-Destructive Politics

Last March 16, Haaretz writer Bradley Burston headlined, "Israel's Titanic Moment: Does Obama Want Bibi's Head," saying:

Perhaps after years of trial and error, Hamas finally knows "the secret of how to bring down the Jewish state: Let the ship sink itself....One of the curses of endless war, is the tendency to become one's worst enemy," a skill Israel honed through years of practice, alienating Jews besides millions of others globally.

On December 28, Burston headlined, "Israel's government is turning into a settlement," saying:

Netanyahu works overtime for it, "letting Avigdor Lieberman and Arab-hating rabbis run wild, humiliating the United States in the settlement freeze fiasco, while exacerbating tensions with the Muslim world." His government thus meets five essential settlement criteria:

  1. it obstructs peace;
  2. denies fault for its absence;
  3. allies with religious extremists at the expense of secular Israelis, the majority;
  4. alienates allies and angers enemies; and
  5. does anything, even at extreme internal risk, "to avoid being dislodged."

Burston denounced Avigdor Lieberman, Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, for "drill(ing) new holes directly into (the) ship of state," a man Newsweek called "Israel's most popular politician." Interviewing him last October, Lieberman:

On that issue, he's right because Israel spurns it, choosing violence over diplomacy, democratic values and equal justice. Eventually it's self-destructive as Burston believes.

It's no surprise that Haaretz believes "Lieberman must go," a December 28 editorial calling him "an opportunistic figure competing in the guise of a diplomat for the leadership of the Israeli right wing." [An earlier article presented a profile of his ultranationalist extremism.]

Haaretz believes that "If Netanyahu expects to be taken seriously....he must dismiss Lieberman immediately." Israel needs a legitimate foreign minister, not a fractious lunatic vindicating Israel's adversaries. Perhaps he should dissolve his coalition and call new elections, though shuffling the deck won't matter, given the the loyal opposition's makeup - as belligerent and hard-line as Netanyahu at a time Israel's Knesset is its most extreme ever.

Besides an array of extremist passed or proposed legislation, it sanctions racism and violence, including the December 28 attacks against Beitin village. Sandwiched between Bet El and Ofra settlements, the main road between Beitin and Ramallah is closed, forcing residents to travel 30 minutes to the city, not five by the main road.

On December 28, hundreds protested and were attacked by Israeli forces, using rubber bullets, pepper spray, and high-velocity tear gas rounds fired, from close range, directly at protestors as well as into nearby homes.

Near Jerusalem, Palestinians protesting against Israel's Separation Wall were also attacked. Nine arrests were made, including international activists and an al Quds correspondent. After release, they got several days to leave the country.

Further, protestors against occupation and separation from Al Masara and other villages were assaulted. Together with international activists, they faced sound and tear gas bombs. Sixteen year old Ali Hamdan was struck in the chest and injured. Others suffered from inhilation effects. At Ni'lin's weekly anti-Wall protest, confrontations there occurred, as well as at Nabi Saleh where one protestor was shot 13 times with rubber bullets, was seriously injured and hospitalized.

On December 29, Haaretz writer Amira Hass headlined, "Israel's Qassam strikes on Gaza," saying:

Months ago, Israel's Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai warned of "a bigger shoah (genocide)" if Palestinians fired rockets in self-defense, responding to Israeli attacks. He now calls Gaza "an abscess, troublesome pus)" and gets away with it.

"What was he trying to convey," asked Hass? "That Israel needs to use radical surgery to fully remove the localized infection? Vilnai (like other Israeli hard-liners) renounced any Israeli responsibility for the volatility, placing all the blame on Hamas. 'Instead of worrying about its own people, Hamas is trying to conquer Jerusalem,' he said."

In fact, Israeli soldiers "nearly daily fir(e) on Gaza civilians, regularly wounding (or) killing them." Vilnai, however, claims "They started it, so we have the right to respond." Yet in January 1991, as GOC Southern Command, he signed an infamous military order, revoking exit permits granted years earlier. As a result, Gazans lost free movement under military closure, a policy deeply hardened today under siege.

"It was Vilnai's signature, not a persistent infection, that fated the Gaza Strip to be the world's largest and most overcrowded detention camp. And we, the Israelis, are its wardens," in violation of fundamental international law, ruthlessly spurned for over six decades.

A Final Comment

NGO Monitor (NGOM) is a Jerusalem-based pro-Israeli front group, disseminating propaganda and hate. It debases legitimate human rights organizations, independent journalists, other advocates for truth, equity and justice, and, on Cast Lead's second anniversary, the Goldstone and other reports exposing Israeli crimes of war and against humanity against Gazans.

Calling irrefutable evidence "unsupported allegations (and) false investigations," it demanded acknowledgement of "the degree to which (they're) unsupported."

By backing Israeli lawlessness, NGOM's audacity gives chutzpah new meaning. Moreover, it's staff defile the dead and injured, wanton destruction, and human misery. They represent a frontal attack on truth, decency, and reality of 1.5 million Gazans under suffocating siege, denied life, liberty, and for many the ability to survive. Punishing repression and daily assaults are shocking crimes, begging for redress, highlighted by remembering Cast Lead's slaughter. NGOM forgets and desecrates.


Stephen Lendman

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. His blog is sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to Lendman's cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



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This story was published in the Baltimore Chronicle on December 30, 2010.