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Pariah State Lashes Out

Like most of the rest of the 'reality-based' world, I am outraged and sickened by the atrocities Israel is committing in the Middle East. I don't know which sickens me more, Israel's outrageous crimes (against both the Palestinians and the Lebanese), the deafening silence greeting their crimes, or the wall of propaganda that blames the victims and exonerates the psychopath.

The pariah state of Israel is out of control, gleefully hoping to kickstart WWIV to the rapturous joy of both BushCo's neocon hawks and the Rapture Ready™ crowd.

I began an article sometime ago about Israel's obvious and criminal intent at "ethnic cleansing" — including speculations about Sharon moving Jewish settlers out of Gaza the easier to effect this cleansing — but I little expected them to use some lame excuse to deliberately bomb the shit out of a sovereign nation, trash its infrastructure, and indiscriminately kill civilians. It's like a parent burning down an elementary school in session because he's pissed that his house was egged one too many times by some truants — he was going to burn it down anyways, and just wanted a good excuse.

There are so many things to comment up, like the bogus complaint "they're launching rockets made in Syria and Iran" from the "don't sue the gun-manufacturers for gun-related crimes" crowd (not to mention "this Israeli weapon brought to you by Murkan tax dollars!"), but I just don't have the heart nor will to write it. I'm too sickened by the whole thing. I'll just steal the thoughts of others...

Mike Whitney

Israel's Shameful attack on Gaza

The account of Palestinian suffering and victim-hood rarely finds its way into the mainstream press, but in the present case, it has been completely ignored. In fact, none of the media provide any context for the current invasion at all. Israel's blockade of food and lethal provocations have been going on for months, and yet, the accounts from Gaza would have the reader believe that history began on the day that the Israeli soldier was captured.
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...UN special-rapporteur, John Dugard is headed off to Gaza to investigate the Israeli military's "disproportionate use of force against civilians". Dugard said, "It is clear that Israel is in violation of the most fundamental norms of humanitarian law and human rights."

His comments have not appeared in any American newspaper.

Virginia Tilley

Starving in the Dark

Wednesday, Israeli war planes repeatedly bombed and utterly demolished Gaza's only power plant. About 700,000 of Gaza's 1.3 million people now have no electricity, and word is that power cannot be restored for six months.

It is not the immediate human conditions created by this strike that are monumental. Those conditions are, of course, bad enough. No lights, no refrigerators, no fans through the suffocating Gaza summer heat. No going outside for air, due to ongoing bombing and Israel's impending military assault. In the hot darkness, massive explosions shake the cities, close and far, while repeated sonic booms are doubtless wreaking the havoc they have wrought before: smashing windows, sending children screaming into the arms of terrified adults, old people collapsing with heart failure, pregnant women collapsing with spontaneous abortions. Mass terror, despair, desperate hoarding of food and water. And no radios, television, cell phones, or laptops (for the few who have them), and so no way to get news of how long this nightmare might go on.

But this time, the situation is worse than that. As food in the refrigerators spoils, the only remaining food is grains. Most people cook with gas, but with the borders sealed, soon there will be no gas. When family-kitchen propane tanks run out, there will be no cooking. No cooked lentils or beans, no humus, no bread the staples Palestinian foods, the only food for the poor. (And there is no firewood or coal in dry, overcrowded Gaza.)

Tanya Reinhart

The IDF is Hungry for War

...To control the West Bank, Israel needs full control Gaza. The new form of control Israel has developed is turning the whole of the Strip into a prison camp completely sealed from the world.

Besieged occupied people with nothing to hope for, and no alternative means of political struggle, will always seek ways to fight their oppressor. The imprisoned Gaza Palestinians found a way to disturb the life of the Israelis in the vicinity of the Strip, by launching home-made Qassam rockets across the Gaza wall against Israeli towns bordering the Strip. These primitive rockets lack the precision to focus on a target, and have rarely caused Israeli casualties; they do however cause physical and psychological damage and seriously disturb life in the targeted Israeli neighborhoods. In the eyes of many Palestinians, the Qassams are a response to the war Israel has declared on them. As a student from Gaza said to the New York Times, "Why should we be the only ones who live in fear? With these rockets, the Israelis feel fear, too. We will have to live in peace together, or live in fear together."
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...In Israel's view, the Palestinians elections results is a disaster, because for the first time they have a leadership that insists on representing Palestinian interests rather than just collaborating with Israel's demands.

Since ending the occupation is the one thing Israel is not willing to consider, the option promoted by the army is breaking the Palestinians by devastating brutal force. They should be starved, bombarded, terrorized with sonic booms for months, until they understand that rebelling is futile, and accepting prison life is their only hope for staying alive. Their elected political system, institutions and police should be destroyed. In Israel's vision, Gaza should be ruled by gangs collaborating with the prison wards.

The Israeli army is hungry for war.

Robert Dreyfuss

Neocons Rise From Mideast Ashes

First, Israel's actions in no way can be seen as a legitimate response to the small-scale attacks from Hamas and Hezbollah. Instead, what Israel has done has used the pretext of those pin-prick attacks — a couple of border raids and a handful of errant rockets — to launch a strategic attack whose goals are to crush Hamas and the remaining institutions of Palestinian self-rule and decapitate and destroy Hezbollah politically and militarily in Lebanon.

Second, it's clear that Israel would never have launched this war without having made the calculation that it would win the support of the United States. The rest of the world is solidly aligned against Israel's outrageously disproportionate attacks, but none of that matters...

Third, by invading and bombing Lebanon and acting brutally to crush the Palestinian Authority, Israel has created a unified field theory of the Middle Easts crises, uniting the escalating world showdown with Iran, the unraveling civil war in Iraq, the crisis over Syrias role in Lebanon, and the Arab-Israeli conflict itself into one big tangle. To be sure, all of those conflicts were always linked. But now they are as one. And in each case, the United States now faces a huge dilemma.

Uri Avnery

The Real Aim

THE REAL aim is to change the regime in Lebanon and to install a puppet government.

That was the aim of Ariel Sharon's invasion of Lebanon in 1982. It failed. But Sharon and his pupils in the military and political leadership have never really given up on it.

As in 1982, the present operation, too, was planned and is being carried out in full coordination with the US.

As then, there is no doubt that it is coordinated with a part of the Lebanese elite.

That's the main thing. Everything else is noise and propaganda.
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The calculation now is that if the Israeli Air Force rains heavy enough blows on the Lebanese population - paralysing the sea- and airports, destroying the infrastructure, bombarding residential neighborhoods, cutting the Beirut-Damascus highroad etc. - the public will get furious with Hizbullah and pressure the Lebanese government into fulfilling Israel's demands. Since the present government cannot even dream of doing so, a dictatorship will be set up with Israel's support.

That is the military logic. I have my doubts. It can be assumed that most Lebanese will react as any other people on earth would: with fury and hatred towards the invader.

Aljazeera Interview with As'ad AbuKhalil

'Lebanon crisis an international conspiracy'

Aljazeera: What are Israel's goals? What are Hezbollah's goals?

As'ad AbuKhalil: I think that Israel often acts in revenge. The Zionist movement is a vengeful movement; it always has been.

It wants not only to implement UNSC 1559 to disarm Hezbollah, but it also wants, as it did in 1982, to pave the way for the installation of American puppets as rulers of Lebanon. These plans never work: All grand plans for Lebanon strike the rocks of deep sectarian divisions in the country.
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Aljazeera: Dozens of civilians have been killed on both sides but there has been little movement in the international community. Is there a feeling that mediation or efforts to bring about a ceasefire will be fruitless?

As'ad AbuKhalil: The silence of the so-called international community, which has been under the control and in the service of the US government since the end of the Cold War, has been most painful for those in Lebanon who have been told in the last two years that the international community cares about Lebanon and its people. Now people know better.

I do believe that the same racist impulse that considers Israeli lives worth more than Arab lives is at play here. I have no doubt that the lives of Arabs never meant much for the descendants of colonial powers in the region.

And it is important that we don't allow Israeli propaganda to present an image of symmetry between the two sides: There is no symmetry between the two sides in this conflict.

Not only in terms of Israeli military superiority, but also in terms of massive killings by Israel of largely innocent civilians.
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Aljazeera: As the main power-broker in the Middle East, what role can the US play to end the violence?

As'ad AbuKhalil: You have to be either ignorant or foolish or both to consider the US interested in ending the current conflict. The US has clearly endorsed an unconditional Israeli aggression on Lebanon and Palestine. The US will leave it to Israel to decide not only the manner of killing of Arabs, but even to determine the number of Arabs that Israel wishes to kill.

Marjorie Cohn

Israel Creates Humanitarian Crisis

Hundreds of Israelis protested outside Olmert's home, denouncing the government as war criminals and demanding an end to the Gaza invasion. "We call for our government to stop targeting Palestinian civilians — the targeting of civilians is a war crime — and start negotiating with the elected Palestinian leaders, not to arrest them," said Yishai Menuhin, a spokesman for the peace group Yesh Gvul.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz commentator Gideon Levy also criticized the Israeli actions. He wrote, "A state that takes such steps is no longer distinguishable from a terror organization."

Kathleen Christison

Atrocities in the Promised Land

A nation that mandates the primacy of one ethnicity or religion over all others will eventually become psychologically dysfunctional. Narcissistically obsessed with its own image, it must strive to maintain its racial superiority at all costs and will inevitably come to view any resistance to this imagined superiority as an existential threat. Indeed, any other people automatically becomes an existential threat simply by virtue of its own existence. As it seeks to protect itself against phantom threats, the racist state becomes increasingly paranoid, its society closed and insular, intellectually limited. Setbacks enrage it; humiliations madden it. The state lashes out in a crazed effort, lacking any sense of proportion, to reassure itself of its strength.

The pattern played out in Nazi Germany as it sought to maintain a mythical Aryan superiority. It is playing out now in Israel. This society no longer recognizes any boundaries, geographical or moral, wrote Israeli intellectual and anti-Zionist activist Michel Warschawski in his 2004 book Towards an Open Tomb: The Crisis of Israeli Society. Israel knows no limits and is lashing out as it finds that its attempt to beat the Palestinians into submission and swallow Palestine whole is being thwarted by a resilient, dignified Palestinian people who refuse to submit quietly and give up resisting Israels arrogance.

Kaveh L Afrasiabi

Israel's path to total war

One of the most malignant aspects of the new chapter in the Arab-Israeli conflict is the myth of Israel as the assaulted party, lavishly propagated by the White House and the infinite pro-Israel pundits in the US media, including the editors of the New York Times, who have labeled Israel's blatant aggression against the nation of Lebanon as "legally and morally justified".

M. Shahid Alam

Israel, the US and the New Orientalism

What makes this repackaged Orientalism new are its intentions, its proponents, and the enemy it has targeted for destruction. Its intention is to mobilize the United States behind a scheme to balkanize the Middle East into ethnic, sectarian and religious micro states, a new system of client states that would facilitate Israel's long-term hegemony over the region...
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...Anstruther MacKay, military governor of part of Palestine during World War I, wrote that the Zionist project would "arouse fierce Moslem hostility and fanaticism against the Western powers that permitted it. The effect of this hostility would be felt through the Middle East, and would cause trouble in Syria, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and India. To this might be ascribed by future historians the outbreak of a great war between the white and the brown races, a war into which America would without doubt be drawn (italics added)." We are now living in the future predicted by Gibbons and MacKay. The Islamicate resistance has been slow in developing but now its has spread in one form or another beyond Syria, Mesopotamia, Egypt and India to the farthest corners of the Islamic world--and even into the Islamic diaspora in the West.
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History is the ally of tormented peoples; they can tell it as it was. It is the tormentors who deny their history; they have to make it up to deny the torments they have inflicted. They must speak constantly, unremittingly of the need to put down insurgencies, terrorist attacks, threats to world peace, and violence against the civilized order. We too must constantly revisit the history of Western depredations over the past four centuries to connect the world's present miseries to this infamous history. Only a deepening consciousness of this history, constantly renewed, carries hope that the powers that use stealth to manufacture terror can be stopped.

Michael Lerner

Israel in Gaza; Israel in Lebanon

Who are Israel's friends and the friends of the Jewish people? Those who support [the] path toward peace and reconciliation. Who are its enemies? Those who encourage it to persist in the fantasy that it can "win" militarily or politically. Just as the objective enemies of America in the 1960s were those who egged it on to persist in the Vietnam war, and those who were its objective friends were those of its citizens who actively opposed that war, so similarly today the friends of the Jewish people are those who are doing everything possible to restrain it from cheerleadng for Israel's militarist adventures and refusal to treat the Palestinians as equally entitled to freedom and self-determination as the Jewish people.

Who are Palestine's friends? Those who encourage a path of non-violence and abandoning the fantasy that armed struggle combined with political isolation of Israel will lead to a good outcome for Palestinians. Who are its enemies? Those who preach ideas like "one state solution" or global economic boycott without offering the Jewish people a secure state in Palestine--paths that will never produce anything positive but continued resistance by Israel and world Jewry.