The Israeli invasion of West Bank and Gaza is a declared war. CBS, Reuters, and all other foreign journalists were arrested and taken out of town, while IDF (Israeli Defense Force) tanks blasted their way in and captured Yassir Arafat’s Ramallah headquarters. I trust you’ve seen press reports of mass arrests, involving thousands of “suspected terrorists.” But here are some eyewitness details of the Israeli invasion, flashed by the world’s top wire services, before their West Bank correspondents were expelled:
(Guardian/Observer): What happened on the third floor of the Cairo-Amman bank at midnight on Friday during Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian city of Ramallah can only be surmised. But in the few minutes after Israeli soldiers stormed the Palestinian position, five men were wounded and five men were put to death by the Israelis, each with a single coup de grace administered to the head or throat.
(Agence-France Presse): The Israeli army used Palestinians as a “human shield” early Tuesday to approach a building housing the headquarters of the Palestinian security service in Ramallah, a Palestinian official said. Israeli soldiers forced some 60 Palestinians to walk in front of tanks as they approached the building of Colonel Jibril Rajub’s preventive security service building.
(Associated Press): Israeli troops on Sunday fired on a group of Palestinian policemen attempting to surrender, killing five and injuring several more at a building near the center of Ramallah, a policeman in the building and Palestinian officials said.
(Washington Post): Something nasty happened on the fourth floor of the British Council building on a hilltop in downtown Ramallah. The bodies of five Palestinian police officers lay on their backs and sides. They had been shot in the head or neck, yet most of the blood on the wall near them was splattered no more than two or three feet high, according to a reporter who saw the scene.
Before he was arrested, a Reuters correspondent reported the summary execution of six Arafat guards who were wounded in battle, then murdered. Israel’s long-standing policy is not to apprehend Palestinians suspected of “terrorism” — but simply to shoot them dead on sight. In the past, Israeli commandos used bombs and rockets to murder “targeted” Palestinian leaders, killing dozens of low-ranking Intifada volunteers.
Impatient to kill hundreds, not just dozens, Ariel Sharon has launched his Final Solution, consisting of conquest, martial law occupation, and street-by-street interrogation and torture, until every suspected Palestinian rebel is dead.
Surrounded by IDF tanks and troops — his Palestianian Authority headquarters forces crushed in battle — Yassir Arafat has been offered the choice of exile or death. I think he will choose martyrdom. And so will many more. Israel has cut off negotiations and called up 20,000 reserve soldiers for war, to be waged exclusively in Palestinian towns and villages, destroying what little Arab industry and commerce still exists. Millions of civilian Palestinian men, women, and children are being held by the throat and threatened with prison, penury, or summary execution.
The U.S.-Israeli relationship is 54 years old. Israel was created by Harry Truman. With a stroke of his pen, over the objections of Secretary of State George Marshall, Truman unilaterally recognized “the Jewish State” (as it was then known) to win the endorsement of Jewish political leaders, editors, and rabbis in the U.S. presidential election of 1948. Not only did Truman recognize the defacto partition of Palestine by force, he also rushed through Israel’s application for membership in the United Nations. Israel thus became the only nation in history recognized by the U.S. and admitted to the U.N. without defined territorial borders.
Consider what that means: a nation-state without defined borders? In 1947, it meant Zionist terrorism, aimed at forcing British mandarins from office and large communities of Arabs from their homes. In 1967, it meant war and bombardment, driving thousands into refugee camps that still exist. Supremely equipped and superlatively ready for any battle, conventional or nuclear, there is nothing in law or practical reality to prevent Israel from expanding its elastic territorial sovereignty again. I think this is what Sharon intends to do — to conquer Palestine and dare the Arab League to fight another war with mighty Zion, which everyone knows Israel will win, as usual.
There’s a glaring disconnect in this conventional wisdom, because the Palestinians are suffering horrific consequences now and Arab terrorists do not see why armageddon would be worse than bitterly-hated Jewish tyranny.
I have little hope that the Israeli public will wake up. The Israeli public, in its fear and confusion, have made a decision, aided by the politicians and mass media, to go to sleep and wake up only “after it is all over.” — Assaf Oron, Israeli-born ‘refusnik’ peace activist, see
I have no particular opinion about the Jewish vs. Palestinian struggle, except that I would rather not be a part of it in any way, shape or form... I have no opinion on the religious-based conflicts between Middle Eastern nations. It’s not that I think one [group] has more or less right to exist than another. Frankly, I *don’t care*. What I object to is being forced to take sides in someone else’s fight, and therefore having the occassional jet liner thrown in my face. — Nathan Freeman, see
The situation is such that everyone in Israel and the U.S. has turned a blind eye to the tragedy that will unfold directly ahead. It is impossible to fashion or resuscitate a peace deal now, and Bush knows it. War on terrorism sounds fine, as an expedient lie. But no one in the palaces of the Middle East or in the capitals of Western Europe believes that Israel’s invasion of the Palestinian territories is “anti-terrorist.” Orwellian Newspeak only plays in the States, where the Average Joe American Post-911 doesn’t give a darn what happens to Arabs, but would prefer to punish “Islamic extremists” severely and repeatedly.
Israel didn’t get a green light from Washington. They saw that the lights were out and there was nobody home at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, except a dull-witted figurehead executive whose razor-thin electoral victory resembled Truman’s in ’48, courtesy of a few thousand Florida ballots mailed from Tel Aviv.
My own take on this is that the State of Israel has clearly forefeited whatever claim it once had to lawfully exist. No state can be allowed to assert “undefined borders,” and no state validates itself by waging war on a subjugated and disenfranchised ethnic enclave. I cannot condemn people who blow themselves up — an act of final, irrational despair against an unbeatable foe. Suicide is only one notch below apathy, so the tragedy of September 11 is at least partly a product of self-inflicted American blindness.
Why on earth we gave so much power to incompetent politicians and bureaucrats, I will never understand — except as further evidence of U.S. apathy.
Roughly half of all eligible American voters have shrugged their shoulders and given up on the electoral political process, preferring instead to indulge whatever toys they can afford, usually max-ing out a dozen credit cards before it dawns on them that perpetual indebtedness is no fun. That’s the buzz today — No Fun. No jokes at the metal detectors, which are everywhere: office buildings, landmarks, airports, schools, hospitals, stadiums (are Sunday Schools and churches next?)
America is beginning to look and act a lot like Israel, on a much, much larger scale. The Cheney-Rumsfeld bombardment and invasion of Afghanistan — and now, openly talking about doing the same thing in Iraq — sounds like “undefined U.S. borders” to me.
Where did America get the idea that it was legally empowered to conquer and occupy Israel’s enemies? The U.S. Constitution doesn’t authorize anyone but Congress to declare war, and I don’t think the intellectual legacy of our Founding Fathers condones rearranging the Middle East at our sole option and pious discretion. There was supposed to be a Jeffersonian separation of synagogue and state in the Land of The Free.
If we cut off U.S. funding, the Israeli army and Zionist-American squatters will have to go home. They indeed must. The grisly alternative is more and more death, drawing America into a much more gruesome and costly human tragedy than Vietnam.
Invading Iraq is sheer lunacy, yet that’s what the Bush Administration contemplates for no particular reason, except that they want to be seen to be doing something big in retaliation for 911. Unable to locate, capture or kill Osama bin Ladin, and with nothing left to bomb in Afghanistan, U.S. forces are gathering in the Gulf for a big strike on Israel’s unrepentent regional enemy and patron of the Intifada uprising.
Congress must stop this looming disaster, by cutting off funds to Donald Rumsfeld, as well as Ariel Sharon. And they better do it fast, else history will reflect that we sanctioned a War of Terror, its crimes against humanity a matter of indifference to rich Americans.