July 03, 2008

On Hasbara and Brotherhood

Yesterday a Palestinian construction worker from Occupied East Jerusalem drove an earth moving bulldozer down the main street of West Jerusalem, causing havoc and killing three people. It was a horrific scene.

Hussam Duwiyat, 30, from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Zur Baher, was shot dead by security forces after stealing a bulldozer from the construction site where he was working and driving it into a bus and a number of cars on Jaffa Street in downtown Jerusalem. Three people were killed and dozens were wounded. ( Haaretz, July 3rd, 2008)

But this rare horrific scene in West Jerusalem was no more horrific than scenes that Palestinians experience daily under occupation. Here's one randomely chosen example, not even particularly gruesome as these scenes go:

15 Israeli tanks entered the village of 'Izbet 'Abed Rabba, west of Beit Hanoun and east of Jabaliya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, with aerial cover provided by the Israeli Air Force. Upon entry to the village, Israeli ground forces engaged in random gun fire despite not being fired upon. At approximately 9:15 am, 17-year-old Hamdi Salemeh Khader was riding his bicycle on al-Karama Road near the local cement factory when he was shot twice... by machine gun fire emanating from the tanks, killing him instantly (Al Haq, 19th May 2008 )

What's the difference? I'd say the difference is this. On one side--an act of anger by a fed-up man who lived all his short life as an untermensch under Israeli Apartheid. On the other side--an organized crime, funded by a budget, sustained by international support, and carried out in cold blood and professionalism by trained agents of the state, with clear orders and a chain of command that goes all the way up to Israel's "democratic" sovereignty.

For reasons that escape me, Israelis expect to carry out the latter and yet be sheltered from the former. This is not how it works.

Truly revolting, however, is the rush of Israel's Hasbara machine to make a lemonade from the bloody lemons Israel willfully cultivates. The blood was still warm on the asphalt when Israel's representative at the U.N. asked the Security Council to condemn the deed. Now the Security Council is not responsible for repairing your dishwasher or preventing theft of heavy machinery. Its functions are outlined on the UN. website. Which of them does Israel perceive as relevant to what happened yesterday in Jerusalem?
# to investigate any dispute or situation which might lead to international friction;
# to recommend methods of adjusting such disputes or the terms of settlement;
# to determine the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression and to recommend what action should be taken
The security council has already investigated the "situation" many times, and recommended that Israel end the occupation and return to its 1967 borders. Yasser Arafat agreed to that. Mahmoud Abbas agrees to that. Hamas agrees to that. Syria agrees to that. Only Israel doesn't agree. What more investigation and recommendation does Israel want?
# to call on Members to apply economic sanctions and other measures not involving the use of force to prevent or stop aggression;
I assume Israel isn't demanding to be boycotted. So what is it demanding? Sanctions on Gaza? Been there, done that! Does it want to extend the siege of Gaza to Occupied East Jerusalem? Even the Security Council can see that this would seal the fate of the Palestinian Authority.
# to take military action against an aggressor
Perhaps that's it. Israel wants an international force assembled and sent to destroy the house of Duwitat's family and also perhaps rough up his sister-in-law and beat his father. but why? Are the Border Police on mass vacation? Surely Israel doesn't need international help to carry out one more human rights violation.

I do harbor a nagging suspicion that the real power of the Security Council Israel wishes to invoke is:
# to recommend the admission of new Members;
Israel would like to see the village of Sur Baher accepted as a full new member of the United Nations, so it can invade and annex it in a defensive, existential future war.

Mind you, Israel rushing to the Security Council to whine about Palestinian violence is like Al Capone going to court to sue over a stolen bottle of Whiskey. This is the state that shamelessly argued in front of the International Court of Justice that NONE of the treaties establishing international law applies to its actions in the Occupied Palestinian territories. That's right: None. The IV Geneva convention doesn't apply, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights also do not apply. In fact, there is not a single piece of international law that Israel accepts to be bound by in its treatment of Palestinians. It so pissed the ICJ that it lectured Israel that "a treaty must be interpreted in good faith in accordance with the ordinary meaning to be given to its terms in their context and in the light of its object and purpose." This comes close to saying Israel's legal arguments are so much rotten sophistry that even presenting them in court might be unethical.

Should we have a special convention against the reckless driving of Bulldozers in civilian areas? There are good reasons to believe Israel would refuse to sign it.

But the Hutzpa of Israel's U.N. representatives is dwarfed by Bradely Burston, who is paid by Haaretz to put the daily lipstick on the Israel's porcine face.

No sooner the attack happened, Burston sat to his keyboard and wrote an invective against....boycott activists in the U.S. Yes that's right. The way to end violence in Jerusalem is to attack a global non-violent grassroots initiative, led by Palestinians who support non-violence, and intended to force Israel to respect international law. Burston btw "supports" international law. He just doesn't want Israel to be forced to live by it. I'm sure AL Capone also was in favor of law and order as long it was kept optional.
I would like to hear them now. Just once. I would like them to divest from terrorism. Not understand it as the natural outgrowth of the crimes of occupation. For once, I would like my sisters and brothers on the left to be every bit as hard on their comrades the Palestinians for taking a bulldozer and crushing Jews, as they are on Israel for bulldozing homes.

Dear Bradely, you may be many things, but you're not on the left and you're neither my brother nor my sister.
Being to the left of Shaul Mofaz doesn't count as being on the left. As for brotherhood, you use this word in vain. If you were my brother you wouldn't have said "their comrades the Palestinians." You would have at least said "my Palestinian comrades." You could go to Bilin occasionally to see how brothers and sisters behave. here's a picture for your instruction.

But let's go over all the half truth you peddle.
On a quiet and clear morning in Jerusalem, a woman is driving toward the heart of the city, her infant with her in the car. There is nothing to fear....It is not a military area, it is not a sector of occupation, it is not a settlement
Allow me to parse this gem. You build an Apartheid city in an Apartheid state, with zones for Jews and zones for Palestinians, with laws for Jews and laws for Palestinians, with budgets for Jews and a middle finger for Palestinians, with rights for Jews and prisons for Palestinians. You build as many Jewish homes as you can and destroy as many Palestinian homes as you cam. You crowd Palestinians in ghettos and build walls and checkpoints around them. You declare the zones where Palestinians live as 'war zones' and 'closed military areas' in which life is cheap and nobody, neither Palestinians nor Western visitors, can have any expectation of safety. And then you pump yourself with moral indignation when violence refuses to respect the neat boundaries of the Apartheid system you designed?

Except for the man behind the wheel of a bulldozer, who has taken it upon himself to kill Jews. Not Israeli security force personnel, not occupation troops, not the Shin Bet. Jews. Women and children and the elderly and the infirm. Jews who may be in favor of an independent Palestinian state. Jews who have nothing against Arabs. Jews who may work to end the occupation. Jews.

Again. You build a state in which "Jewish" means privileged. You make sure every official document contains enough information to determine whether one is or isn't Jewish. That way you can be sure that soldiers, employers, landlords, bank tellers, mortgage brokers, municipality clerks, policemen, and everyone who needs it can easily discriminate against the right people. And then you're shocked that one of those who lived all their lives as a lesser human being for the sole reason that they were not Jewish might lump people together as Jews instead of judging them each as a unique individual? I mean really, where would he get such a crazy idea?
I would like to hear them now. Just once. I would like them to divest from terrorism....
Sorry to disppoint, but analogies need to have some minimal basis in reality. The IDF uses bulldozers and Hussam Duwiyat used a bulldozer. They also both use tooth brushes, and that's an equally specious analogy. the IDF buys its bulldozers and plans how to use them as a weapon against civilians. Caterpillar sells the IDF a weapon that the IDF uses to commit crimes. Western governments are complicit in the funding and permitting of these sales which are illicit. Churches own stocks in these companies and therefore receive profits from these crimes. That is why they can divest from them. They cannot divest from Hussam Duwiyat because they never invested in him. The demand to "divest from terrorism" is idiotic. I am sure you are not stupid, but you should respect your readers more.
...Not understand it as the natural outgrowth of the crimes of occupation.
Sorry no can do. You cannot wish away reality. The violence of the occupation indeed engenders more violence, such as what happened yesterday. That you could even suggest that it doesn't speaks volumes about the intellectual Jurassic park in which you live. You need to get out more.

No comments:

Post a Comment