October 4, 2004
"Truth never damages a cause that is just."
(Swans - October 4, 2004) GRIM ANNIVERSARY: September 28, four years ago, is known as the beginning of the Palestinian second Intifada (uprising). During the first one, the "enlightened" Yitzhak Rabin, the "man of peace," had instituted a liberal policy known as breaking-bones ("We should break their hands and legs."). Its logic was irrefutable. Break the arms of kids and they won't be able to throw stones. It was that simple and genial. Liberals applauded. With Ariel Sharon and the second Intifada, the desperate (faced as they are with the hordes of evil barbarians ready to throw them all back to the sea) but always humanitarian, peace-loving Israeli careerist bureaucrats, shoot to kill in the first place and, to spare their population -- an ardent obligation of any government (cf. Georgie, another man of peace, freedom and democracy, and security, and safety, and have I missed something, anything?) -- build a friendly, neighborly "security fence."
NO, IT IS NOT A WALL, claims the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (note the word "foreign," just in passing). Actually the Ministry (is this a religious denomination?) has an entire Web site dedicated to the goodness of the enterprise. They even have a mission statement page, "Israeli Diplomatic Network: The Anti-Terrorist Fence." There's a picture montage of a bus with casual riders, and next to it, the picture of a destroyed, blown out bus...from which one can infer how essential the security fence is, for the survival of Israel...and by extension the Jewish people...in Israel and all over the world. Case in point, in between the two pictures is another one, that of the fence...a small and somewhat friendly wire-fence with wooden posts -- something entirely acceptable in the American landscape. "The fence that makes the difference" says the gracing title of the photographic montage. Fences are often electrified, of course... In America, the fences had to do with Indians and sheep and cattle. Who's the sheep, who's the cattle nowadays, I do not know. But I sure know who the Indians are in the Middle East landscape.
THE MISSION STATEMENT is quite clear: "This website covers the various aspects of the security fence project. Here you will find comprehensive information on the Israeli point of view, answers to Palestinian claims, background material and analyses which will help you get to the root of this complex issue and to understand the true nature of this fence: a temporary and reversible line of defense -- not a 'Berlin wall;' a necessary life-saving fence that takes into account humanitarian considerations -- not an 'apartheid wall.'"
OF COURSE, OF COURSE, Foreign (that word again) Minister Silvan Shalon is helping us to understand. Steal land (oops, sorry it was given by god -- so it's not stealing, just repatriation to the family estate), keep the Indians (oops, again sorry -- Palestinians) at bay, and keep repeating: It's just a fence; not a wall, for sure; not a Berlin Wall; not an Apartheid Wall; we, Israelis, are only defending ourselves against the barbaric savages; we, Israelis, would never treat people, even our worst enemies, those who want to throw us to the sea, literally, the same way they are treating us; we would never, ever treat them inhumanly; we, who have suffered so much along the ages -- much more than the Indians or the Blacks, or the down-trodden all over the world -- are very careful about the morality of our actions. It's only a simple fence and after all it can be disassembled (or relocated further inland...). End of story. Anyone daring to object with that enlightened explanation is an anti-Semite. Period.
JUST A FENCE, INDEED: I could not agree more with that depiction. Here is the proof in the pudding, as the saying goes. As one can see, it's a fence...only a friendly, neighborly fence...
Thanks to Nigel Parry and Electronic Intifada for the pictures;
you can read a fact sheet regarding this oh-so-friendly separation barrier
on Palestine Monitor. (Text and montage by the author.)
AND, FOR SURE, it's absolutely needed, because, see, Israelis are being killed -- repeat, Israelis are being killed.
INDEED THEY ARE: let's review the carnage and destruction... As of September 27, 2004 (it changes on a daily basis):
4,342 people have been killed, of which 3,334 were Palestinians and 1,008 Israelis. (Note: over 50 Palestinians have been killed since September 27... As said, it changes on a daily basis.)
Over 6,700 Israelis and 27,600 Palestinians have been injured.
One Israeli child has been killed for every six Palestinian children -- 620+ Palestinian children killed, 411 shot with live ammunition and 200 shot in the head, or neck, or face (strange, no?, how much we've heard about Beslan in the "liberal media" but not one peep about Palestinian children...). Break the arms and legs and a child can no longer throw stones. Kill him and he won't grow to become a..."terrorist." Simple, no?
One Israeli home has been destroyed by Palestinians and over 2,200 Palestinian homes have been destroyed by Israelis.
Over 60 new Jewish-only settlements have been built on stolen Palestinian land in the past four years (hey, it's not Palestinian land 'cause the Indians don't have written deeds and god gave the land of Eretz Ysrael to the good people of Israel, got it?), for a total of between 140 and 200 settlements (depending on who counts).
Thousands of hectares of Palestinian land have been appropriated by Israelis for the construction of the friendly barrier (you know, "the land without a people for a people without a land..."). Then again, what's another few thousands hectares in the big picture, when the settlers, many of whom come from America where supposedly they were landless, control about 2.3 million hectares, or 42 percent, of the West Bank.
Thousands and thousands of olive trees have been uprooted to give room to the humanitarian fence. As we all know, olive trees are inherently terroristic...since a terrorist could hide behind a tree. For more information regarding the deplorable and despicable and horrendous situation under which Palestinians live day in and day out and the rapidly worsening conditions due to the Israeli occupation and aggression, please visit Palestine Monitor.
FAIR MINDED, BALANCED, NEUTRAL liberals -- aren't liberals always fair minded and balanced and doesn't the famous "complexity" of the issue require objective and careful neutrality (cf. US media coverage of the conflict)? -- will quickly observe that the Israelis are acting in self-defense with much even-handedness, taking "into account humanitarian considerations." Breaking bones, destroying houses, uprooting trees, and a few "targeted" killings (aka assassinations) is a far milder treatment than the one inflicted upon Afghans and Iraqis by the defenders of freedom and democracy. Liberals will rightly point out that for each dead Israeli "only" three+ Palestinians loose their lives. In Iraq the ratio is of a different order, say 1 to 30...and Israel does not use DU in the "Territories" (hey, you wouldn't want to inject radioactivity in "Judea and Samaria," since it's your land for the taking -- or retaking as the story goes -- would you?).
IS NEUTERED synonymous with neutral...?
THE SAME LIBERALS, hands on their heart, a pained look on their face, sorrowed by their blatant but blinded hypocrisy, their digestion disrupted, interrupted in their afternoon nap, will advance peaceful solutions, propose more negotiations, more processes, more Mitchell or Tenet plans, more road maps. The latest innovative course of action they've come up with is to take the non-violent route...for the Palestinians. They and only they are asked to use non-violence to advance their cause, not the Israelis... For the Israelis, as we all know, only act in self-defense, always looking for a peaceful solution to this tragedy, this "complex issue." And we further know the dictum that if one wants peace, as Israel has been proclaiming for generations, one must prepare war... And how one crosses the line from war preparation to war mongering and war waging is a question best left to the theologians of doom.
NOW, I AM ALL FOR NON-VIOLENCE and wish the Palestinians had used this tactic in the past... Hold on, haven't they? That I know, there was no violence in the aftermath of Oslo, when Arafat was deemed worthy of collaboration. Did Rabin (1992-1995) freeze the settlements? Did Shimon Peres (1995-1996), Benjamin Netanyahu (1996-1999), and Ehud Barak (1999-2001) freeze the settlements? Did settlers stop settling and go back to Israel proper, within the Green line? Did Israel halt the construction of the by-pass network of roads that divides the West Bank in mini Bantustans? Did they cease and desist from uprooting trees, confiscating land, pilfering the aquifers? They did not, did they? Go one step further: The second Intifada began largely non-violently. Actually, the first suicide bombing occurred five months into the Palestinian uprising and after hundreds of Palestinian homes had been razed to the ground, some 340 Palestinians had been killed and many more injured.
MATTER OF FACTLY, non-violence is being used by Palestinians and Israelis alike in opposition to the Wall of Shame, right now. Ever heard of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM)? Here's part of their latest statement (9/28/04): "In the last two weeks hundreds of Palestinians, and dozens of internationals, including Israelis, have protested non-violently the destruction and theft of Palestinian lands for the construction of the Israeli Apartheid Wall found illegal by the International Court of Justice. The response to peaceful, non-violent resistance from the Israeli army and border police has been escalating violence in the form of beatings, arrests, tear gas, bullets and concussion grenades. Numerous injuries have resulted."
NON-VIOLENCE, too, was used by Rachel Corrie... It served her well, right?
QUESTIONS: Who attacks whom? Who kills whom? Whose houses are being destroyed? Whose trees are being uprooted? Whose land is being stolen? Whose water is pilfered? Who's the aggressor? Who's the aggressed? And, indeed, who is in greater need of a defensive "barrier?"
I WONDER whether history books will someday record Abu Dis or Qalqilyia like a latter-day ghetto of Warsaw; whether the so-called good people, the concerned citizens, the people of conscience in the West will wake up from their mental and moral hibernation and realize the extent of the tragedy that they let happen without muttering a word of condemnation or taking any action against this criminal, inhuman injustice; and whether Jewish people all over the world, but particularly in America, will ever rise up against the vile, brutal, sadistic, and racist policies the State of Israel has been conducting for so long in their good names.
ENOUGH SILENCE: Open your eyes and look, unplug your ears and listen, open your mouth and raise your voice in the name of justice.
In addition to Palestine Monitor,
Nigel Parry, Electronic Intifada,
and the International Solidarity Movement,
here are a few resources, in alphabetical order:
Almubadara - The Palestinian National Initiative
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
American Association for Palestinian Equal Rights
American Muslims for Jerusalem
Boycott Israeli Goods
Health Development Information and Policy Institute
If Americans Knew
Palestine Children's Welfare Fund
Palestine Media Watch
Palestine Olive Oil
Palestine Online Store
Palestine Red Crescent Society
Stop the Wall Campaign
Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees
US Campaign to End the Occupation
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
SALAAM PAIX PEACE SHALOM
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Gilles d'Aymery is Swans' publisher and co-editor.
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