“There is no middle path here — either the Gazans and their infrastructure are made to pay the price, or we reoccupy the entire Gaza Strip.”
This is how a cocky Gilad Sharon, former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon’s son, justified his country’s current bombardment of Gaza. It doesn’t matter that the tiny strip of land, with a fabulous history dating back to several thousand years, is the most thickly populated place in the world where even a stray bullet can kill.
Most of the western media call it a Gaza-Israel conflict or war; but in reality it is a brutally excessive use of military force by Israel. Gilad’s “flatten Gaza” war-cry betrays Israel’s unquestioned ideology; the crude rockets that Hamas sends to southern parts of the country are just a ruse.
It’s always been a one-sided affair. Last time, when Israel raided Gaza, about 1,400 Palestinians died along with a few Israelis.
Israelis are obviously peeved that people in West Bank and Gaza don’t get it despite the most brutal replies to the latter’s crude missiles, silly incursions and kidnaps — that their sovereignty is strictly conditional. When Americans underwrite Israel’s sense of right and wrong, nobody can do a thing. The default interlocutor, the UN, has absolutely no chance.
Israeli rulers and the hawks feel that the people of Gaza deserve the pain and destruction because they elected Hamas and hence they are no different from the militiamen firing rockets. As Gilad imprudently argues, they should be pulverised so that they are scared to raise their hand again against Israel. And maximum damage has to happen before the nuisance of international pressure slows it down. Hence, the excessive force to hit hard early.
How can one otherwise explain such a massive deployment of brutal force against a population that is roughly half the number of people of a small Indian city such as Chandigarh? — bombs and missiles from the air (drones, apaches, F-16s), shelling from the sea (across a beach that is far shorter than one normally sees in India) and tank-fire from anywhere possible.
A remote controlled warfare that explodes everything that is civilian — houses, schools, hospitals, media offices (including Russian and Italian TV bureaus, Sky TV, Palestinian news agency etc.) and administrative infrastructure.
Unfortunately, since it has happened too often, the theatre of war and the policy responses have been gnawingly predictable: members of civil rights groups, international organisations and some media outfits will risk their lives and expose the gruesome impact of the one-sided war, Israel will thumb its nose, the poster-boy of peace Barack Obama will justify Israel’s right to self-defence, some Europeans will call for restrain, and American cronies in the region will play their double-games.
Once the bloodbath is over, it is back to routine even as the traumatised, limbless and maimed Gazans pick up the threads. All it will take to provoke a repeat of the apocalyptic Zionist force will be a crude rocket from anywhere in Gaza.
The self-righteous words of Israeli defence minister, Ehud Barak clearly shows that there is no solution to the problem other than the grand vision of Gilad: “The provocations we have suffered and the firing of rockets to the southern settlements within Israel have forced us to take this action. I want to make it clear that Israeli citizens will not suffer such actions. The targets are to hit the rockets and to harm the organisation of Hamas.”
When Israelis don’t distinguish between Hamas and the civilians (who elected them), the target is one and the same.
Now read Noam Chomsky:
"The incursion and bombardment of Gaza is not about destroying Hamas. It is not about stopping rocket fire into Israel, it is not about achieving peace. The Israeli decision to rain death and destruction on Gaza, to use lethal weapons of the modern battlefield on a largely defenseless civilian population, is the final phase in a decades-long campaign to ethnically-cleanse Palestinians.
Israel uses sophisticated attack jets and naval vessels to bomb densely-crowded refugee camps, schools, apartment blocks, mosques, and slums to attack a population that has no air force, no air defense, no navy, no heavy weapons, no artillery units, no mechanized armor, no command in control, no army… and calls it a war.
It is not a war, it is murder. When Israelis in the occupied territories now claim that they have to defend themselves, they are defending themselves in the sense that any military occupier has to defend itself against the population they are crushing. You can't defend yourself when you're militarily occupying someone else's land. That's not defense. Call it what you like, it's not defense.”
Sadly, we can only go through the motions of drab international diplomacy when it comes to utterly helpless people in Gaza (and West Bank) — moral outrage over indiscriminate bombing of innocent civilians, the heart-rending scenes from familiar places such as Shifa hospital and calls for restoring the sovereignty of Palestinians in West Bank and Gaza.
Israel is obviously irritated by peace-talks, which they know are nothing but speed-breakers that will stand in for the mirage of lasting solutions. As long as America underwrites the Israeli brutality over a few thousand people who are proud of their culture and history, nobody can stop them.
It isn’t even funny that America is ruled by a Nobel peace prize-winner.
First Published On : Nov 19, 2012 13:50 IST