When Did We Stop Caring About Civilian Deaths During Wartime?

I wonder if we are “normalising” war. It’s not just that Israel has yet again got away with the killing of hundreds of children in Gaza.

And after its own foreign minister said that Israel’s army had been allowed to “go wild” there, it seems to bear out my own contention that the Israeli “Defence Force” is as much a rabble as all the other armies in the region. But we seem to have lost the sense of immorality that should accompany conflict and violence. The BBC’s refusal to handle an advertisement for Palestinian aid was highly instructive. It was the BBC’s “impartiality” that might be called into question. In other words, the protection of an institution was more important than the lives of children. War was a spectator sport whose careful monitoring – rather like a football match, even though the Middle East is a bloody tragedy – assumed precedence over human suffering.

I’m not sure where all this started. No one doubts that the Second World War was a bloodbath of titanic proportions, but after that conflict we put in place all kinds of laws to protect human beings. The International Red Cross protocols, the United Nations – along with the all-powerful Security Council and the much ridiculed General Assembly – and the European Union were created to end large-scale conflict. And yes, I know there was Korea (under a UN flag!) and then there was Vietnam, but after the US withdrawal from Saigon, there was a sense that “we” didn’t do wars any more. Foreigners could commit atrocities en masse – Cambodia comes to mind – but we superior Westerners were exempt. We didn’t behave like that. Low-intensity warfare in Northern Ireland, perhaps. And the Israeli-Arab conflict would grind away. But there was a feeling that My Lai had been put behind us. Civilians were once again sacred in the West.

I’m not sure when the change came. Was it Israel’s disastrous invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and the Sabra and Chatila massacre by Israel’s allies of 1,700 Palestinian civilians? (Gaza just missed that record.) Israel claimed (as usual) to be fighting “our” “war against terror” but the Israeli army is not what it’s cracked up to be and massacres (Qana comes to mind in 1996 and the children of Marwahine in 2006) seem to come attached to it. And of course, there’s the little matter of the Iran-Iraq war between 1980 and 1988 which we enthusiastically supported with weapons to both sides, and the Syrian slaughter of thousands of civilians at Hama and…

No, I rather think it was the 1991 Gulf War. Our television lads and lasses played it for all it was worth – it was the first war that had “theme” music to go with the pictures – and when US troops simply smothered alive thousands of Iraqi troops in their trenches, we learned about it later and didn’t care much, and even when the Americans ignored Red Cross rules to mark mass graves, they got away with it. There were women in some of these graves – I saw British soldiers burying them. And I remember driving up to Mutla ridge to show a Red Cross delegate where I had seen a mass grave dug by the Americans, and he looked at the plastic poppy an American had presumably left there and said: “Something has happened.”

He meant that something had happened to international law, to the rules of war. They had been flouted. Then came Kosovo – where our dear Lord Blair first exercised his talents for warmaking – and another ream of slaughter. Of course, Milosevic was the bad guy (even though most of the Kosovars were still in their homes when the war began – their return home after their brutal expulsion by the Serbs then became the war aim). But here again, we broke some extra rules and got away with it. Remember the passenger train we bombed on the Surdulica bridge – and the famous speeding up of the film by Jamie Shea to show that the bomber had no time to hold his fire? (Actually, the pilot came back for another bombing run on the train when it was already burning, but that was excluded from the film.) Then the attack on the Belgrade radio station. And the civilian roads. Then the attack on a large country hospital. “Military target,” said Jamie. And he was right. There were soldiers hiding in the hospital along with the patients. The soldiers all survived. The patients all died.

Then there was Afghanistan and all that “collateral damage” and whole villages wiped out and then there was Iraq in 2003 and the tens of thousands – or half a million or a million – Iraqi civilians killed. Once more, at the very start, we were back to our old tricks, bombing bridges and radio stations and at least one civilian estate in Baghdad where “we” believed Saddam was hiding. We knew it was packed with civilians (Christians, by chance) but the Americans called it a “high risk” operation – meaning that they risked not hitting Saddam – and 22 civilians were killed. I saw the last body, that of a baby, dug from the rubble.

And we don’t seem to care. We fight in Iraq and now we’re going back to fight in Afghanistan again and all the human rights and protections appear to have vanished once more. We will destroy villages and we will find that the Afghans hate us and we will form more criminal militias – as we did in Iraq – to fight for us. The Israelis organised a similar militia in their occupation zone in southern Lebanon, run by a crackpot Lebanese army major. But now their own troops “go wild”. And the BBC is worried about its “impartiality”?

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Who Cares about Omar Khadr ?

Omar Khadr

Omar Khadr

Omar Khadr is probably the greatest shame on Canada, because two governments, the Liberals under Paul Martin and the Conservatives under Harper have both made the overt decision to leave him in prison. The case against him is insane.

He was a child, aged 15. He was in Afghanistan because his parents took him there. His father and mother are militant Muslims. He was in a building that US commandos suddenly attacked. When people in the building shot back, they bombed the building and blew it to bits. Then they approached the building, and a US soldier got killed by a hand grenade thrown from the ruins of the building. When they entered the ruins Omar was still alive, but, others were too. In a revised report, they made him the only one left alive. He has been charged with murder. He was shot at close range by bullets (plural).

The case is insane for several reasons:

1) He is a child soldier, which means he is a victim of war not a war criminal.

2) Evidence was changed to make him the only person by inference who might have thrown a hand grenade.There is no witness that he did.

3) Soldiers killed while attacking a house in a foreign country cannot be victims of murder. They are casualties of war.

4) People in a house being attacked by foreigners are engaged in self-defense.

full article: www.insight-info.com

Russia: US gave nod to Georgia

 

Wed, 13 Aug 2008 09:25:19 GMT  

Russia says that Georgia’s attack on the independence-seeking region of South Ossetia was likely executed with the United States’ approval.

“It is hard to imagine that (Georgian President Mikheil) Saakashvili embarked on this risky venture without some sort of approval from the side of the United States,” Russian Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, told Russia’s NTV television on Wednesday.

Meanwhile on the same day, an official in the delegation of French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Georgia’s president was “mad” to try to crush separatists in South Ossetia, and he fell into a “vulgar” trap that led to war.

“Saakashvili was mad enough to go in the middle of the night and bomb a city,” the official told reporters overnight on condition of anonymity. The result is “a Georgia attacked, pulverized, through its own fault,” he added.

“The Georgians fell into a vulgar trap. They thought that (Russian Prime Minister Vladimir) Putin would not retaliate in the middle of the Olympic Games,” the official said.

Contrary to Tbilisi’s expectations, Putin and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s reaction was too heavy-handed. “They sent in the Russian army and liquidated the opposing army,” the official added.

France’s Sarkozy — whose country holds the rotating presidency of the European Union — brokered an outline peace deal on Tuesday and the early hours of Wednesday to end fighting sparked by Tbilisi’s decision to regain control of South Ossetia by force.

Russia’s troops overran their Georgian enemy, forcing them out of South Ossetia and helping the separatists drive out Georgian forces in another independence-seeking region, Abkhazia, before moving further into Georgian territory.

Gravel: Take Bush to The Hague

 

Former Democratic candidate Mike Gravel says President George W. Bushshould be taken to The Hague for war crimes rather than being impeached.

Former Democratic presidential candidate Mike Gravel

 

In a Monday video conference with Press TV, the former Alaska senator said President Bush does not ‘deserve’ to be impeached for invading Afghanistan and Iraq, which has resulted in the loss of ‘millions of lives’.

“An Impeachment just means you would only take away his (Bush’s) presidency. Well, he is almost done (with) his presidency. What really needs to happen is that these people have to be held accountable for the crimes they have committed,” the 78-year-old Democrat said referring to the US president and Vice President Dick Cheney.

“If you impeach president and vice president, Nancy Pelosi is going to become president; that is not going happen,” Gravel added.

Gravel is an outspoken advocate of impeaching Bush and Cheney over the disinformation campaign they have led in support of their go-to-war policies.

“There is a lot of very good news that makes me tremendously hopeful that we as a nation are starting to wake up and insist our congressional representatives act to make impeachment happen now,” he had said in a statement in January after congressman Dennis Kucinich announced plans to introduce articles of impeachment against President Bush.

MD/AA 

The Perils of a Bankers War with Iran

The neocons are not going to get their war with Iran if it’s to be left to their traditional power centers in the Bush Administration to make the call: They’ve lost the Pentagon, and it’s abundantly clear that neither the uniformed brass nor Defense Secretary Gates have any interest in starting another catastrophic war. And the fact that they still have a solid ally in Vice President Cheney doesn’t mean much, because Cheney is far less influential five years into the Iraq debacle than he had been on its eve. Nor is there any significant support (outside of Israel) among U.S. allies for a confrontational path. Still, all is not lost for that merry little band of neocon bomb throwers who’ve spent the Bush tenure quite literally “setting the East ablaze.” There’s always the Treasury.

Well, its Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), dedicated to fighting the “war on terror” etc. via the international banking system. John McGlynn offers fascinating insights into a critical aspect of Bush Administration policy that has scarcely appeared on the radar of most mainstream media. In particular, he warns, FinCEN’s March 20 advisory warning the international banking community that
doing business with any Iranian bank, or bank that does business with an Iranian bank, runs the risk of falling afoul of the U.S. Treasury’s expansive interpretation and enforcement of UN sanctions and of anti-terror money laundering regulations adopted under the post-9/11 USA Patriot Act.

The beauty of this approach, from a neocon point of view, is that it completely skirts all those troublesome international diplomatic forums where the U.S. and its closest allies have failed to convince others to apply meaningful sanctions against Iran — most of the international community is skeptical over the claims being made by the U.S. of an imminent Iranian threat (as, of course, is the U.S. intel community, as last year’s NIE showed) and even more skeptical of the value of sanctions in resolving the issue, rather than in preparing the way for confrontation.

Nato Culture: Peace for the west and war for the rest

Summary: The Islamic revolution of Iran quickly spread Islamic Awakening. This movement brought about reactions in the west in both the intellectual and the practical arenas. On the intellectual side thoughts emerged which were given the title of the ‘clash of civilizations.’ Maybe Huntington’s sentence: “The future is for Islam and Islam will make the west fall,” clarifies which side will win for all of the politicians in the west.

 

Nato emblem

 

When the Second World War ended the powers that be established a temporary union so that they could benefit more from their victories in peace and divide the power better between each other. On the one side they wanted peace and on the other they were after more power and wealth by moving ahead of their adversaries. This caused the cold war between the East and the West.

 

During the cold war years, especially at the beginning, there was a sort of grouping between the East and the West. The Western countries sided with each other just like the Eastern countries did. The Liberal west with America at its head was more successful in taking out its socialist neighbors so that socialism would not influence the west.

 

The scholars of the liberal powers intellectually stood up to the socialists next to the military. They used the term modernization for this. This style of thought was sent to most third world countries. Most of these western scholars confessed in the 1990s that bringing modernization to the third world was not done completely. They only gave some thoughts and plans to the countries so that they would be on the way to modernization but would never get there. The reason behind this is that they did not want these countries to be competitors to America and to keep them forever reliant on the west.

 

Full article: http://www.insight-info.com

Chomsky: Israel is heading for destruction

The US intellectual Noam Chomsky believes Israel’s appetite for war on Iran and the Gazans will eventually lead to self-destruction.

noam chomsky

Source: www.insight-info.com

“I wrote decades ago that those who call themselves ‘supporters of Israel’ are in reality supporters of its moral degeneration and probable ultimate destruction,” the prominent linguist told CounterPunch.com in an interview.

“I have also believed for many years that Israel’s very clear choice of expansion over security, ever since it turned down [Egypt’s former President Muhammad Anwar] Sadat’s offer of a full peace treaty in 1971, may well lead to that consequence,” said the respected academician.

Chomsky made the remarks when asked by CounterPunch, ‘During the last few months, Israel has accentuated its attacks on Gaza and is talking of an imminent ground invasion. There is also a strong possibility that it is involved in the killing of the Hezbollah leader Mughniyeh and it is pushing for stronger sanctions (including military) on Iran. Do you believe that Israel’s appetite for war could eventually lead to its self-destruction?’

Replying to the same question, the historian Ilan Pappé, known for his anti-Zionist opinions and his analysis of Zionism in the colonial context, predicted that the Israeli regime would head to destruction, especially once the US withdrew its support.

“Yes, I think that the aggressiveness is increasing and Israel antagonizes not only the Palestinian world, but also the Arab and Islamic ones. The military balance of power, at present, is in Israel’s favor, but this can change at any given moment, especially once the US withdrew its support,” he opined.

The remarks come as Israeli deputy prime minister Shaoul Mofaz claimed on Friday that the Israeli regime would attack Iran should the country continue with its nuclear program.

Qoutes from Imam Khomeini

The principle slogan of the Islamic Republic

 

“The slogan ‘Not the east, not the west’ was the principle slogan of the Islamic revolution in the world of hunger and the impoverished. This is the established principle of Islamic nations and countries who, in the near future and with the help of Allah, will accept Islam as the only ideology leading to salvation – and they will not go back from this principle in the least.”

 

Sahifah Noor, v.20, p.114 (1987)

imam khomeini paris

 

The arrogant powers of the world are falling

 

“Muslims are not scared of the hollow commotion from the oppressive media. The castles, military, and political wings of the arrogant powers of the world are like spider-webs: weak and falling.”

 

Sahifah Noor, v.20, p.114 (1987)

 

Correcting the leaders of the Islamic world

 

“Muslims must think about training, controlling, and correcting the leaders of some countries. They must use advice or warnings to wake them up from their expensive sleep which is killing them and the interests of the Islamic nation. They must not be unaware of the danger of the hypocrites and those who work for the arrogant powers of the world. They should not sit on their hands and watch the destruction of Islam and the usurpation of their capitol, interests, and Islamic women.”

 

Sahifah Noor, v.20, p.114 (1987)

 

Facing the people who are after the world

 

“I will announce to the whole world with certainty that if those who are after the world want to face us in matters of religion we will stand up to their whole world. We will not sit until all of them are killed; until all of us are free or until we reach a larger freedom – martyrdom.”

 

Sahifah Noor, v.20, p.118 (1987)

 

Negation of immunity for Americans

 

With our whole existence we will stop the spread of immunity for Americans even if it means a serious war.

 

Sahifah Noor, v.20, p.232 (1988)

 

Changing the capitalist world

 

“Elite Muslims must diligently travel the road of changing the capitalist world and communism with their knowledge. All people after freedom must choose to slap the face of world powers, especially America, over slapping the people’s face who have been slapped in the Islamic world and the rest of the world.”

 

Sahifah Noor, v.20, p.118 (1987)

 

Islam will make the world powers abased

 

“I say with surety that Islam will make the world powers abased. Islam will remove huge obstacles both internally and externally and will overtake key positions in the world.”

 

Sahifah Noor, v.20, p.118 (1987)

 

There is no other path except war with America

 

“If Muslims do not seriously solve their issues with those who are after the world, or at least if they do not become a strong power in the world there will be problems. Right now, if America destroys an Islamic country with the excuse of protecting its interests who would stand up to him? There is no other path except fighting. The claws and teeth of the world powers, especially America, must be broken.”

 

Sahifah Noor, v.20, p.233 (1988)

 

The war between truth and falsehood

 

“Today the war between truth and falsehood; the war between the rich and the poor; the war between the weak and the arrogant; the war between the naked and the clothed has started. I kiss the hands of all who have stood up to fight throughout the world in the path of Allah and in the path of giving dignity to the Muslims. I give my sincere greetings to the free sparrows, to the dear nation, and those who love Iran.”

 

Sahifah Noor, v.20, p.234 (1988)

 

The world is thirsty for Pure Islam

 

“Today the world is thirsty for pure Islamic culture and the Muslims in a huge movement will quickly take over the white and red houses.”

 

Sahifah Noor, v.20, p.235 (1988)

 

There will be fighting as long as there is polytheism

 

“Our goal is to implement Islamic international goals in the world of poverty and hunger. We say that there will be fighting as long as there is polytheism and disbelief and as long as there is a fight we will be there. We do not have any [beef] between any city or nation. We have decided to raise the flag of ‘La ilaha ilallah.’”

 

Sahifah Noor, v.20, p.236 (1988)

Source: www.insight-info.com

U.S. veterans struggle with war stress

The latest and most comprehensive study of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars has concluded that nearly 1 in every 5 veterans is suffering from depression or stress disorders and that
many are not getting adequate care.

war veteran

The study shows that mental disorders are more prevalent and lasting than previously known, surfacing belatedly and lingering after troops have been discharged.

Rand Study: Nearly one in five of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffer depression or stress

An estimated 300,000 veterans among the nearly 1.7 million who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan are battling depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. More than half of these people,
according to the study conducted by the Rand Corp., are slipping through the cracks in the bureaucratic system, going without necessary treatment.

The Rand study underscores one of the lessons of modern counterinsurgency conflicts: Such wars may kill fewer troops than traditional fighting but can leave deeper psychological scars.

Screening techniques for stress disorders are vastly improved from previous wars, making comparisons with Vietnam, Korea or World War II difficult. But a chief difference is that in Iraq and Afghanistan all service members, not just combat infantry, are exposed to roadside bombs and civilian deaths. That distinction subjects a much wider swath of military personnel to the stresses of war.

“We call it ‘360-365’ combat,” said Paul Sullivan, executive director of Veterans for Common Sense. “What that means is veterans are completely surrounded by combat for one year. Nearly all of our
soldiers are under fire, or being subjected to mortar rounds or roadside bombs, or witnessing the deaths of civilians or fellow soldiers.”

Military officials praised the Rand study, saying that its findings were consistent with their own studies, and said it would reinforce efforts to try to improve mental health care. Veterans Affairs
officials, while questioning the study’s methodology, said their department had intensified efforts to find discharged service members suffering from mental disorders.

The Rand Study was undertaken for the California Community Foundation, which also has funded other programs for returning veterans. Lt. Gen. Eric Schoomaker, the Army surgeon general, said the study would help draw the nation’s attention.

“They are making this a national debate,” Schoomaker said.

The Army previously has said that an estimated 1 in 6 service members suffered from a form of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, a slightly lower rate than the Rand study found. In addition to current PTSD rates, the Rand study found that 19.5% of people who had served in Iraq or Afghanistan suffered a concussion or other traumatic brain injury during their combat tour, a number similar to Army estimates.

Taken together, the study shows that 31% of those who have served in combat have suffered from brain injury, stress disorder, or both.

Combat-related mental ailments and stress can lead to suicide, homelessness and physical health problems. But more mundane disorders can have long-term social consequences.

Full article

Cheerleading Genocide

With spectacular fanfare and a plethora of highlighted events, Israel celebrated its 60th birthday on 18 May 2008.

israel 60

According to an Israeli government website called Israelfestival.com, the festival included “non-stop entertainment, [a] fashion show, a variety of ethnic food for sale, Israeli folk dancing, arts and
crafts, Israeli and Jewish cultural and heritage pavilions and art exhibits”.

The centrepiece ceremony takes place in West Jerusalem and be attended by Israel’s political and military leaders as well as foreign dignitaries. Among those expected are US President George W Bush,
French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Israeli media and non-governmental organisations have already begun celebrations in earnest. For example, Israeli television has begun airing a new series called Shishim (meaning “60”), which looks back at the six decades since Israel was created in May 1948. The series, which began 31 March, is divided into six episodes, each devoted to one of the decades following the founding of the state.

Israel hopes that the high-pitched celebrations will serve as an opportunity to promote Israel and enhance its questionable standing abroad. “It is an opportunity to celebrate our achievements, our
successes, our national being,” boasted Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who was not yet born in 1948.

From the Zionist viewpoint, Israel is a story of success. Today, Israel is a political and military force to be reckoned with, even if its power is based on the patronage of foreign entities. A country of
no more than seven million people, including nearly 1.5 million non-Jews (mainly Palestinians), Israel more or less directs the politics and policies of world’s only superpower, the United States, thanks mainly to powerful Jewish lobbies in Washington.

The power of the Jewish lobby largely explains how massive American financial and military support is to Israel, which is measured in hundreds of billions of dollars. Were it not for this nearly unlimited
financial, economic, technological, political and military backing, Israel would never have been able to survive, especially given its predator tactics.

Israel, which has been mounting a vitriolic incitement campaign against Iran for its acquisition of nuclear technology, is a nuclear power on par with other established nuclear powers, and its military
supremacy — at least until summer of 2006 — has covered the vast bulk of the Middle East from Turkey to Iran and from North Africa to east and central Africa.

Economically, Israel is also a regional economic superpower, with a GNP bordering on $0.5 trillion. In fact, Israel is among a few pioneering states in the field of electronics and the development of
new generations of medicine, with Israeli pharmaceutical firms’ share of the world market reaching billions of dollars.

Notwithstanding all its success and achievements, Israel remains a state based on racism, apartheid and criminality against the Palestinian people whose homeland it seized and whom it is trying to
obliterate to this day. To be sure, Israel has failed. Palestinians remain, both as a human entity and as a national entity.

Israel, in order to achieve its goals, always sought to acquire, by hook or by crook, as much Palestinian land as possible while taking in as few Palestinian people as possible. The policies and tactics employed by Israel to achieve this goal are both blunt and insidious and amount to ethnic cleansing and the international crime of genocide. Israel has institutionalised racism, bulldozed hundreds of Palestinian towns and villages, shamelessly confiscated Palestinian land and property, including private homes, and recently built the so-called “Separation Wall” in the West Bank, aimed first and foremost at annexing to Israel as much Palestinian land as possible.

On top of all of this, Israel has perfected the practice of state-sponsored mass terror; a deliberate policy aimed at making Palestinian life as unbearable as possible with the ultimate goal of forcing Palestinians to leave their homes and land altogether. This is done in broad daylight; in full view of key world powers, such as the US, EU, Russia and China, which either keep silent or issue a few terse and innocuous words about the need to stick to a peace process that has form but very little substance.

Today, as Israel is getting ready to celebrate its 60th birthday, the massive theft of Palestinian land in the West Bank, especially in East Jerusalem and its surroundings, continues unabated. Against all odds, the Palestinian people have survived. Indeed, Palestinian resilience to Israeli oppression is legendary — a trait that continues to baffle and frustrate Israeli strategists. Perhaps it is this resilience that is encouraging influential Israeli political, military and religious leaders to openly call for genocide of the Palestinians.

Recently, Israel’s Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilnai threatened to “inflict a greater holocaust” on Palestinians. Similarly, a growing number of rabbis associated with the two largest religious camps in
Israel, the Haredi ultra-Orthodox religious sector and the national Zionist religious sector, issuing one edict after the other, permitting soldiers to murder at will Palestinian civilians, including children, on the grounds that in war all among the enemy population ought to be treated as combatants, including children.

One might imagine that this is exaggerated, but it is not. Recently Rabbi Yisrael Rosen, director of the Tsomet Institute, a religious seminary attended by Israeli settlers in the West Bank, declared: “All
of the Palestinians must be killed; men, women, infants, and even their beasts.” And the chief rabbi of the City of Safad, Shmuel Eliyahu, urged the state and the army recently to hang the children of
a Palestinian fighter who last month attacked the Merkaz Haarav Centre, run for Jewish settlers in West Jerusalem, killing eight pre-military Talmudic students in retaliation for the killing by the Israeli army of more than 130 Palestinians, most of them innocent civilians, in the Gaza Strip.

The mushrooming of fascist impulses is not confined to the religious sector. In March, the Israeli media quoted Knesset members and former cabinet ministers as threatening to extend discriminatory laws against non-Jews in ways reminiscent of Nuremberg Laws passed in Nazi Germany. One Israeli Knesset member reportedly told his Arab colleague: “the day will come when we will kick you out of this house.”

Such instances raise no eyebrows in a country where some rabbis, like David Batsri, openly teach that non-Jews are animals and donkeys. A recent opinion survey published this week showed that as many as 75 per cent of Israeli Jews support ethnic cleansing of Arabs from mandate Palestine — Israel proper and the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.
Understandably, the poll drew angry reactions from the Israeli Arab community. Jamal Zahalqa, an Israeli Arab Knesset member, suggested that Arabs are being treated in ways similar to the way Jews were treated in the Third Reich ahead of World War II.

“The hateful smell of racism and fascism is wafting everywhere in this country. You must know that we didn’t come to Israel from abroad… On the contrary; it was Israel that invaded us. We are the indigenous people of the land, and we receive our legitimacy from our belonging to this land, not from having Israeli citizenship,” he said.

Zahalqa described the poll as “additional evidence underscoring the growing rampancy of racism and fascism in Israel as a result of the ongoing waves of hate against everything and anything Arab.”

The fears of Zahalqa and other Israeli Arabs are real. Recently, hundreds of Arab residents from Jaffa, Lod and Ramleh took to the streets to protest against the planned eviction by the state of thousands of Arab residents from Jaffa. Authorities had issued warrants for the evacuation and destruction of hundreds of homes, claiming infringements on building regulations. The state also claimed that, “the families [had] lost the right to continue living in their homes, since these homes belonged to their parents … ”

“We are here and we won’t leave. We will either live on this land or die on this land. We will not let you touch our lands or our holy places,” said Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of the Arab movement in Israel. “All your rulings belong in the trashcan. We are not afraid of you. We will continue to live in our homeland,” he added.

Last year, Richard Falk, a renowned American Jewish professor of international law and practice, wrote an article entitled “Slouching toward a Palestinian holocaust,” in which he warned that Israel was moving towards the perpetration of a holocaust against the Palestinians. “Is it an irresponsible overstatement to associate the treatment of Palestinians with this criminalised Nazi record of collective atrocity? I think not,” said Falk.

Justifying the Israel-equals-Nazi analogy, Falk argued that developments in Gaza (the blockade against its estimated 1.5 million inhabitants), were especially disturbing because they expressed
vividly a deliberate intention on the part of Israel and its backers to subject an entire human community to life- endangering conditions of maximal cruelty. “The suggestion that this pattern of conduct is a holocaust-in-the-making represents a rather desperate appeal to the governments of the world and to international public opinion to act urgently to prevent these current genocidal tendencies from culminating into a collective tragedy,” Falk wrote.

In sum, from the standpoint of fascism, Israel has much to celebrate in terms of political and military achievements. But in terms of justice, morality and humanity, one struggles to name a country on
earth that so openly practices oppression and racism. As such Israel, on its 60th birthday, remains what it was when born six decades ago: a state built on blood, murder, theft and lies.

Is Israel about to change its ways? Don’t hold your breath, Israeli leaders might say. Unless, that is, you’re Palestinian.

in Ramallah

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