Cartoons and Delusions
At least 76 Palestinians have been killed by the Zionist occupation in the last three days, 17 of them children. Three Israelis have been killed. Before I go any further I’d like to explain something which shouldn’t need explaining. A scorecard like 76 to three will not make the Palestinians surrender. On the contrary, it will make them fight with more commitment and devotion. For decades Israeli Jews have been working on the assumption that the more disproportionate the casualties, the more massacres they perpetrate, the more terror they strike into the hearts of the defeated, the closer their ultimate victory comes. The murder-them-into-submission theory has of course been proved wrong again and again. Their invasion of South Lebanon in 1978 and their blitzkrieg of 1982 created Hizbullah, the most effective and intelligent fighting force in the Arab world’s modern history. As for the Palestinians, through the long decades of their dispossession they have grown in resilience, toughening until, by the outbreak of the Second Intifada, they had lost their fear. Occupied Palestine is certainly exhausted. Unsurprisingly, given the murderous international campaign directed against it, the political leadership is splintered. But this fact remains: Palestinian fearlessness and will to resist is now an unchangeable reality.
Because of the traumatic history of Jews in Europe, Jewish Israeli insanity is in some way understandable. But not so the racist sickness of Zionism’s Western supporters. During the relentless siege of Gaza, Hollywood stars including Sylvester Stallone have held fund-raising concerts for the Israelis of Sderot. Western governments have condemned the killing of the one Israeli in Sderot and remained silent (like the Arab clients) over the death and starvation in Gaza. Tony Blair, the liar and war criminal so unwisely and provocatively appointed ‘envoy to the peace process’, regrets the loss of Palestinian life, but blames it on the Palestinians. For this ugly collection of imperialists, evangelical Christians and ethnic supremacists, and for the ignorant millions lulled by their ‘free media,’ one set of people are clearly worth more than another set of people. Nothing new here. This has always been the key assumption underlying the Zionist project.
To reiterate: the Israelis, though criminally misguided, have some kind of psychological excuse. The Europeans and Americans who provide political, economic and military support, and who don’t have to live in the region, do not.
This escalation comes in the context of the international strangulation of Gaza to punish it for democratically choosing a resistance movement. On Wednesday Israel assassinated a group of Hamas men. In response, the Palestinians unleashed a barrage of homemade Qassam missiles on the nearby Israeli town of Sderot. Unusually, the missiles claimed a victim. Israeli Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilnai then threatened the Palestinians with “a greater holocaust.” On the 10th of February Cabinet Minister Meir Sheetrit had announced: “We must take a neighborhood in Gaza and wipe it off the map.” Most of the Western media is keeping quiet about these genocidal threats. When Iranian President Ahmedinejad was misquoted as calling for Israel to be ‘wiped off the map’ (he actually quoted Khomeini’s opinion that the Zionist regime – not the Israeli Jewish people – would be wiped from the page of time, that is, that an unjust power structure would fall) this was taken almost as casus belli in Washington and Tel Aviv. Israel’s threats are now being put into action. The death toll, including two Israeli soldiers, rises as I type.
Why then does the resistance continue the Qassam fire, which the tame Egyptian foreign minister recently called “cartoonish”? Critics say that it only provides an excuse for heavier Israeli repression. The resistance would argue that Israel doesn’t need an excuse, and that it is necessary to create a balance of terror as a deterrent to Israeli violence. (Notice how the Palestinians are called ‘terrorists’ when they use their bodies as weapons delivery systems; when they stop that tactic and use missiles, like the Israeli army, they are still called terrorists.)
Zionists and their supporters also claim that Israel no longer occupies Gaza. The resistance would correctly respond that despite the pullout of ‘civilian’ settlers, Gaza is surrounded by Israeli forces by land and sea, and is under the tightest of economic sieges. Besides, Gaza is only one part of occupied Palestine. The resistance has made a political decision to resist as best it can until Palestine is liberated, or until there is a real peace process rather than the theatre we’ve watched since 1973.
It should also be remembered that Hamas has called consistently for a cessation of attacks on civilians on both sides. Activists need to repeat constantly the realities of the conflict, that Hamas is much closer to a recognition of Israeli Jewish rights than Israel is to a recognition of Palestinian rights. Activists need to constantly repeat themselves because they are drowned out by the Zionist propaganda machine. I’m not an activist, and I won’t endlessly repeat myself. But I wrote about Hamas here: http://qunfuz.blogspot.com/2007/06/palestines.html
Since yesterday three American warships have been patrolling the coast of Lebanon. Hassan Nasrallah described the recent assassination of Imad Mughniyeh as an Israeli pre-emptive strike, to remove this Hizbullah asset from the battlefield before a wider conflagration. The Saudis have just called on their citizens to leave Lebanon. This could be just another day in the Empire’s Middle East, or this could be the start of a major war. It may include Syria this time, even Iran. It is certain that Israel and the US want to restore the deterrent power they lost when Hizbullah defeated them in 2006.
There is a depth to Palestine of 300 million Arabs and a billion and a half Muslims. Arab leaders may be puppets, or corrupt dictators, or a combination of both, but the depth remains, and will remain. Unlike American power, it is not a passing phenomenon in the region. Hamas is tremendously outgunned, but its missiles are being steadily improved, with a steadily increasing range. Its developing fighting techniques mean that Israel must take some casualties whenever they enter Gaza. Hizbullah cannot be moved from the north. And the world is turning. We’re waiting for the rush to give up the fallen dollar. New alliances are rising, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which brings together China, Russia and the central Asian states. Iran is an observing member. When the US asked to join, it was turned down.
What seems really cartoonish are Zionist delusions of final victory.