"Israel's Terror is not Unique" by Jamal

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"Israel's Terror is not Unique" by Jamal
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Israel’s Terror is not Unique

“Mowing the Grass”. That is how Israeli professors Efraim Inbar and Eitan Shamir have sociopathically described the calculated murder of around 1,400 civilians [1], including almost 400 children by the Israeli military during the latest conflict in Gaza.

This terrible euphemism, which is a commonly used term within the Israeli military, has finally caught the attention of pundits worldwide after the recent ongoing events in Gaza. But does this statement (and others like it) represent some new or unique sentiment within Israeli society? Society as a whole?

Are these sentiments something new historically? Internationally? Not at all.

All nation states across the history of human civilization, including so called “democracies”, by their very nature intrinsically resort to mass murder as a default military strategy. But we’ll get to that in more detail later.

The 2006 Israel-Lebanon War

Before all else, let’s go back in time to Lebanon during the summer of 2006.

In July of that year a conflict had broken out between Israel and Hezbollah. The catalyst of these events was the stupidity of the Israeli forces along the southern border with Lebanon.

Hezbollah, who were constantly on the lookout for chinks in the armor of the Israeli forces in the area, took advantage of events when a number of Israeli soldiers exited their vehicles outside of the range of contact with their command, as well as outside the range of covering fire.

To Hezbollah, who had been hard at work for at least six years building a network of secret underground bunkers, tunnels and minefields in the area and elsewhere, this meant it was go time. They were after all ordered by their superiors to immediately capitalize on any major vulnerability they witnessed.

The Israeli forces responded with a small-scale incursion, recklessly crossing the border and chasing Hezbollah fighters further into Lebanon.

It was during this operation when according to the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, a “Merkava tank drove over a powerful bomb, containing an estimated 200 to 300 kilograms of explosives, about 70 meters north of the border fence. The tank was almost completely destroyed, and all four crew members were killed instantly. Over the next several hours, IDF soldiers waged a fierce fight against Hezbollah gunmen…During the course of this battle, at about 3pm, another soldier was killed and two were lightly wounded.”

We now know a total of 8 Israelis died in pursuit of the Hezbollah fighters during these events. They drove directly into Hezbollah anti-tank minefields. The two survivors of these events were then taken by Hezbollah fighters. In truth it was hardly much of an abduction. The lack of adherence to operating procedure and the haste of the pursuit led directly to the resulting outcome.

The IDF had package-wrapped and gifted their soldiers over to the Hezbollah guerillas.

What happened afterwards (as has now become a pattern) was an extensive bombing campaign by the Israeli Air Force as well as other artillery. An air and naval blockade was implemented against all of Lebanon. Beirut, the supposed location of the Hezbollah high command as claimed by the Israelis, was bombed thoroughly.

Nearly 1,200 Lebanese civilians were killed, as well as 51 foreign civilians and 5 UN humanitarian workers. [2]

In reality, no major damage was inflicted on Hezbollah in any way during these murderous attacks on the Lebanese civilian population. Therefore the true intent and purpose of this campaign must be questioned critically.

According to one official in the US, whom the Israelis rely on extensively for logistical support, “perhaps only 7%” of Hezbollah military resources were compromised during the opening days of the bombing campaign while hundreds of civilians were killed, later adding that the targeting of high-ranking Hezbollah officials was “absolutely futile”. [3]

So what were the Israeli’s aiming to accomplish through these actions?

The Ongoing Israel-Gaza Conflict

Fast forward to July of 2014, almost 8 years later on the dot. What we see unfolding is almost exactly the same as the events of the 2006 Israel-Lebanon War, except with even more ruthlessness and brutality against the local civilian population. A population of 1.8 million Palestinians in an area the size of Brooklyn, New York, or in other words the largest open-air prison in the world. A ghetto of a magnitude unseen since Nazi-occupied Warsaw in WWII.

The recent conflict started when three teenage settlers were kidnapped and soon after killed in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister and Butcher-In-Chief Benjamin Netanyahu almost immediately declared, “Hamas was responsible, and Hamas will pay.”

Well at least he was right about the second part. Partially.

Hamas, a group intentionally confined to the Gaza Ghetto by the Israelis, immediately denied responsibility for the kidnappings, which took place near illegal Israeli Settlements in the West Bank. But as we know, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority just recently formed a unity agreement. So why would Hamas put this fragile agreement in jeopardy almost immediately through terrorist actions that would surely be guaranteed to destroy it?

Well, weeks after the bombing campaign of Gaza had already been underway (and hundreds of civilians had already been killed), the Israeli government reversed it’s position on the matter with Israeli Police spokesman finally admitting that the killers were most likely acting as a “lone cell”. [4]

So as Israeli journalist Sheera Frenkel aptly pointed out, the order of events were as follows.

A “lone cell” terrorist group kidnaps three Israeli settler teens in the West Bank. Hundreds of Palestinians in the West Bank are arrested. Revenge attacks severely injuring and killing innocent Palestinians, including children, follows. Violence erupts along the Gaza-Israel border. This eventually escalates into a full-scale invasion by the Israeli military. [5] An invasion which met never before seen resistance capabilities from Hamas.

As news outlet Reuters put it, “Using tunnels, mines, booby traps and snipers, Hamas fighters have inflicted record casualties on Israeli troops waging an offensive in the Gaza Strip, applying years of training in urban warfare with a new tactical acumen and suicidal resolve.

The Israelis say weapons and know-how supplied by Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah make Hamas a more formidable foe.” [6]

And of course what resulted from this is the unequivocal slaughter of thousands of Palestinian non-combatants through the air, land and sea, including hundreds of elderly, women and children. During these events Israel has repeatedly claimed Hamas militants and leadership are the real targets of the campaign, not civilians. Sound familiar?

Hamas, like Hezbollah in 2006, has been experiencing unprecedented success in their fight against the occupying Israeli forces. American news outlet CNN recently pointed out that Hamas “has developed what could be called commando tactics”. [7]

As the Times of Israel put it, “Hamas has demonstrated very effective command-and-control capabilities and resilience during this conflict. After over two weeks of fighting, Hamas still seems able to maintain communication lines between rocket units, ground units, and military leadership, as evidenced by each entity’s adherence to its operational plan — with each plan prepared and practiced over years.” [8]

Even the Israeli military itself has started to acknowledge the recent success of Hamas, with Israeli military spokesman Lt. Colonel Peter Lerner admitting that “They have undergone extensive training, they are well supplied, well motivated and disciplined. We have met a more formidable enemy on the battlefield”.

He continued, “We hope that if we break Shejaiya, then that will show them our determination. That is a real command center for them”. The massacre of Shejaiya did not work. [6] At the time of writing this, Hamas continues to put up a fight, vowing to continue until their demands are met.

And so, just like lines of changing direction form in a recently cut lawn, a pattern of premeditated, calculated murder is beginning to emerge in Gaza.

Mowing the grass, and seeing the lines

The millennial generation has only known Israeli military domination and occupation, along with the catastrophic and increasingly diminishing conditions of the Palestinian people. A time in history when Arab countries had the upper hand against the “Jewish democracy”, a time when the Israeli military was “the most moral” in the world has never been in their memories. It is a totally alien concept to them.

What this generation has witnessed is systematic violence against the Palestinian people, along with a similar systematic disregard for UN resolutions and other peace treaties by the Israeli government. This generation of Palestinians has seen their fathers beaten, their mothers and sisters embarrassed, and their homes defaced and destroyed.

Much like a killer not yet made responsible for their actions, there is a certain kind of bloodlust, a pattern, a method to the madness behind the actions of the Israel. And after these most recent events in Gaza, it could be argued that method is more apparent now than ever before.

Just as we’ve seen in the Lebanon War of 2006, as well as in other conflicts, Israel continues to use isolated incidents as a pretext for the mass murder of civilian populations.

In both the Israel-Lebanon War of 2006 and the most recent ongoing Gaza conflict we have witnessed Israelis acting in opposition to international law. In both wars, Israelis were kidnapped. This resulted in physical confrontations between opposing parties in both wars. In both situations, the Israeli government used the aforementioned events as an opportunity to launch major offensives. In both situations, the Israeli military overestimated their effectiveness in fighting Hezbollah, and in the most recent conflict, Hamas. In other words, victory did not come as easily and dominantly as usual, if it even came at all. The Israeli response was a massive bombing campaign, which killed at 1,200 civilian non-combatants in each instance.

It should be clear by now that when other military tactics prove to be ineffective, Israel defaults to a total war strategy, including but not limited to the indiscriminate shelling and mass murder of civilian non-combatants.

We should expect this pattern to continue. As Yonatan Abukasis, the Israeli father of teenager killed by Hamas projectiles in 2005 said, “We can wipe them out by pressing a button”.

Israel’s terror is hardly unique

Some pundits in the media have started to describe Israel as a “pariah state”, but it must be pointed out that the actions of the “Jewish democracy” are anything but unique in the face of modern human history.

In fact, far from being outside the international norms of behavior, total war and state-sponsored mass murder is the behavioral norm of the nation state, especially those referred to as “democratic”.

The victims of state violence are almost too great to list. Going as far back as just the American Civil War, 50,000 civilians were killed in that conflict, not to mention the over 600,000 soldiers who died. There were an estimated 8,000,000 people killed in the conflict between Belgium and the Congo between 1886 and 1908. During the Boxer Rebellion, which was suppressed by the USA, Britain, France and other countries at least 22,000 people were killed. In the conflict between Germany and Namibia in 1904, 65,000 people were killed. 250,000 people are said to have died in the Mexican revolution. And this whole short-list of events of course happened even before World War I.

During World War I alone, referred to as the “War for Democracy”, almost 7 million civilians were killed. During WWII, a staggering 30.5 million civilian non-combatants died as a result of the war. In whole the war killed 2.5% of Earth’s total population.

And since 1945 it is estimated that over 825,000,000 people have died in armed conflicts across the world. [9] A sickening amount of those deaths have been civilians. In many cases, like in the bombings of Dresden, Nagasaki, and Hiroshima during WWII (which by conservative estimates alone killed over 300,000 civilians), “democratic” countries like the United States and Great Britain were the culprits.

The “No State” Solution

What is the common identifier in all this death and destruction? It is the collection of social interactions, the organized bureaucracy in today’s modern society, which we call the state. It is the support of this repressive organization. It is put simply, nationalism.

The same kind of nationalism that blood is being shed for in Gaza. It is because of nationalism Hamas fires projectiles. It is because of nationalism that the Israeli military murders Palestinian children. It is not the military might of a given country that determines its ambitions.

Of course all countries don’t share the same size or military strength, but they do share the same imperialist policies. Even the smallest countries in the world, at the expense of their neighbors, do everything they can to become the greater nation.

It is because of this that it becomes impossible to make the false distinction between “aggressors” and “defenders”, between “oppressor” and “oppressed” states.

In reality, the relations of force between nations are equally opposed to each other on the world stage. Every country in the world tries its hardest to have the biggest and best economy, and they all act unrelentingly to mobilize their citizens in this effort. The state is the one socio-political entity strong enough to rope the masses into supporting this cause. It is only through the state that the ruling class can sustain the relations of production in modern capitalism.

Because of this stalemate the idea of a “two-state solution” in Israel/Palestine is a false hope. Even if Hamas and the Palestinian Authority were successful in obtaining a state based on the UN Partition Plan of 1947, even with the blessing of Israel, these entities would still be at odds on the international stage. Palestine would forever become economic rivals, not just with Israel, but also with Lebanon, with Jordan, with Egypt, with the rest of the Arab countries and with the whole world.

In addition, working class people in Palestine would have a brand new oppressor--- the emergent Palestinian ruling class that would use the new state and old capitalist social relations to exploit them. The only hope for the children of Palestine, and of the rest of the world, is not the humanitarian intervention of the Red Cross or Red Crescent, but the humanitarian intervention of the international revolutionary proletariat. It is because of these cold facts that we say no to a “one-state solution”, and no to the “two-state solution”.

What the world needs is a no state solution.

Jamal Rayyan
08/11/2014

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[1] United Nations Office for
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Criticism are welcome/needed!

Criticism is welcomed/needed! Not sure if the second half accomplished enough, so please feel free to share thoughts on how I could strengthen my arguments and the piece as a whole. Thanks comrades!

Alf
will comment

Hi jamal - thanks for this. The piece is a good basis for discussing the situation and I have a few comments from a first reading:

 - I think you are right to show that Israel has in 2006 and 2014 deliberately escalated the situation, although in the current conflict there is also an element of provocation by Hamas. The constant 'disproportionality' of the Israeli state is partly to do with reinforcing a reign of terror to discourage further attacks on its territory but I think it also has some strategic aims  - to undermine the new Hamas/PLO coalition and perhaps to strike a blow against a principal backer of Hamas -  Iran. This links the situation with the current US/Iran flirtation following the advance of ISIS in iraq, which the Israelis are not happy about

 - the point about the crimes of the  'democracies' and so on is very valid but I think it's necessary to show that there has been a spiral into barbarism in the course of capitalist decadence. Mass slaughter of civilians was not a feature of world war one and bombing cities was still seen as a bit shocking - by the second world war it had become the norm. Today its nearly always more civilians than soldiers who die in wars. 

 - the slogan 'no state solution' is a snappy one but it needs a bit of explanation, ie we are talking about a world wide workers revolution

 - it's important to denounce the atmosphere of terror against any dissident points of view in Israel, the growth of a 'pogrom' atmosphere ('death to the Arabs' chanted at demos and especially against the least sign of opposition to the war) while also showing its mirror image, the growth of anti-semitism (attacks on synagogues in France, 'death to the Jews' etc chanted at demos). The exacerbation of nationalism on both sides is deadly to any critical thought. 

Maybe others can add their comments. 

KT
Good

Agree with Alf: Jamal's writing and research is a good basis for a deeper discussion/article. Also agree with Alf's other points, particularly (and IMO) most importantly, the progression of state terror and the military slide towards barbarism that has gathered pace since WW1.

Two points to consider in addition 

- concerning the on-going corralling and attempted decimation of the Palestinian population, there needs  to be added a denunciation of the direct complicity of other Arab states and bourgeois factions in this process: eg the role of certain Lebanese factions in the Sabra and Shatila camp massacres of 1982, the role of Jordan, Saudi and, most evidently today, Egypt. This inclusion will indeed demonstrate that 'Israel's Terror is not Unique' and underlines that even the potential of a Palestinian state, however weak, is and has already been of great concern to surrounding Arab competitors - it's not something for a hypothetical future but part of history and today's reality;

- in the same sense, despite the absence of a formal state structure, there already exists, IMO, a Palestinian bourgeoisie. Indeed, I have encountered a Palestinian diplomat's family living in some luxury in London, though that is obviously anecdotal.

 

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In regards to decadence, I

In regards to decadence, I also felt the need to follow the lines of logic the comrades have suggested but need some help. Theory in that area is one of my weakest and I'm finding it very difficult to tie points in to this narrative without it seeming too out of place. Basically I want to avoid having a random few paragraphs which only explain decadence. I'd like to explain it through the lens of this conflict using its ongoing developments but I could really use help.

I agree with all points given by the comrades and want to thank them, and also Fred. He deserves credit for the humanitarian intervention line.

About the Palestinian bourgeoisie you guys really have to check out this documentary: http://vimeo.com/m/101819495

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A letter calling out for

A letter calling out for workers worldwide to show solidarity with Palestinian workers has been issued by Palestinian Trade Unions. ILWU in California has responded by planning a strike and port shutdown. More here:

West Coast Port Workers Block Israeli Cargo in Solidarity with Palestinian Workers

baboon
A few thoughts Jamal

A sound basis for a discussion.

I think that, although expressing its support for Hamas, Iran doesn't have the same relationship with the group as it had a year or two ago, though it's still supplying some weaponry. Hamas, big mistake, broke with Iran and threw its lot in with Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood and was much feted by the latter for its decision. Unfortunately  for Hamas the Muslim Brotherhood has been rejected and confronted by a very important local player, Egypt - which has worked hand in hand with Israel in the slow strangulation of Gaza as well as the policing of the Sinai Peninsula against Brotherhood elements. The US wavered a bit but came down strongly on the side of Egypt's General Isis' destruction of the MB, which in turn put Britain's nose out of joint because its policy looked to be the backing of the Brotherhood throughout the region. This is one of the points about decadence (and decomposition): whatever happens locally, while local tensions play a part, there are always wider imperialist rivalries in play. The US, the UK and the EU, despite certain centrifugal tendences and growing contradictions, are firmly in the camp of Israel whom they support as the major card in the region. Given the imperialist chessboard, they can't really do anything else. Another aspect of decadence/decomposition to this war is the targeted slaughter of civilians, it's insanity, the lack of economic rationale and the fact that it will make the situation ever more worse in the longer run.

Also in the context of decadence is the complete impossibility of any national liberation of the Palestinian people. In the unlikely event of any sort of Palestinian state proper emerging any change for the Palestinian masses would only be for the worse. In the meantime Palestinian "liberation" is not only a potent force for the bourgeoisie in the region but worldwide. There is a Palestinian bourgeoisie and although it's very closely tied to the interests of Israel (see the Wikileaks) it is still a bourgeoisie in its own right. Hamas is similar but on a smaller scale and, from what I've read, Hamas was becoming more discredited among the people of Gaza because of the effects of the Israeli and Egyptian blockade.

I'm not saying  that Israel undertook its actions to get the people of Gaza behind Hamas - which seems to have happened with the bombing, but, along with Alf, think that it took advantage of the Hamas rocket provocation for calculated reasons: one to reduce the power of Hamas and re-take a large number of prisoners (hostages and potential spies) and two, to lay waste to a large swathe of Gaza's border with Israel giving it a more secure buffer zone which Hamas was moving in on..

I agree that we need to be clearer on the "no state" solution. And a final point is that despite there not being the sort of Israel/Arab solidarity that we've seen, if only a small scale, before, thoughout this war there have been (even smaller) constant demonstrations by Israeli's against the war. This is despite the war fever whipped up by the Israeli media, despite it being personally risky to argue against the war on the streets (as some did) and despite the protests being illegal. The anti-Jewish attacks around the world, along with the actions of the Israeli state, serve to cover up and suppress these small beacons of light.

baboon
Footnote

Revelatory of the relations between Israel and the US, and revelatory also of how the US state functions, is the fact thatin mid-July,  a couple of days after its request, the Pentagon supplied the Israeli military with shells and other explosives that had been "used up" in the bombardment of Gaza. Israel didn't even make an emergency request, according to an anonymous defence official (Al-Jazeera) and the weapons were released from the Pentagon's "War Reserve Stock Allies Israel" (WRSAI) in Israel itself. Futher requests from Israel for more weaponry are being or have been processed. The Pentagon supplied these weapons immediatly and directly without recourse to the White House, Congress or the State Department.

Further on the west's relations with Israel, the EU, as it's done several times before, will foot the bill for, manage and supervise whatever reconstruction is to be done in the Gaza Strip.

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Does anyone have links to, or

Does anyone have links to, or could help demonstrate, the progression/slide towards militarism/barbarism since WWI and exactly how/when it's gained speed?

I've already begun reading a few articles on decadence/decomposition/barbarism but could use more. There's one article that focuses on the US and it's positions in East Timor/Chechnya/the first Iraq war/former Yugoslavia and that has been helpful. Anymore like it?

Also baboon, can you link to the info you mentioned about the close ties between the Palestinian bourgeoisie and the Israeli state? Thanks

baboon
wikileaks

http://warincontext.org/2010/11/29/wikileaks-reveal-palestinian-authorit.... Here's one Jamal but there are loads of them. Google "wikileaks on the relationship between the palestinian authority to israel" or something like that.

baboon
"Fig leaf!

I looked for, but couldn't find the quote from Wikileaks in which Palestinian Authority President Abbas begs Israel for help in providing him with the cover of a "fig leaf" in order to try to help his status as a defender of the Palestinian people. Abbas is certainly a member of the Palestinian bourgeoisie, but the PA, its army and police force tens of thousands strong, its various secret service agencies, are effectively an arm of the Israeli state.

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Hey guys, I've done some

Hey guys, I've done some edits but have been feeling less inspiried after coming across both the ICC and ICT articles. One thing neither article approached in much detail is the Palestinian bourgeoisie and it's collaboration with the Israeli state. I think if my piece is to offer anything I need to go back to the drawing board a little bit in regards to those angles.

Any additional ideas or links are welcomed, thanks.

Alf
I agree that a serious

I agree that a serious analysis of the Palestinian bourgeoisie would be very important, because 'the Palestinians' are nearly always referred to as an undifferentiated mass obscuring the class differences. Such an apporach would need to be historical - showing the imperialist alignments the Palestinian bourgeoisie has involved itself with from the first world war onwards (Britain against Ottomans, Germany against Britain, Russia against America, etc....) as well as the economic and political structure of this bourgeoisie. Also examples of struggles between Palestinian workers and these structures (eg the civil servants against Hamas a few years back)