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Killing a Nation to Rescue a Soldier



I am so tired of hearing Tel Aviv complain that certain Palestinian factions do no represent Israel’s right to exist. While some certainly may have this opinion, even Hamas leaders have stated that the fact is that Israel does exist. Meanwhile, Israel is once again waging a military campaign against he Palestinians that, in essence, is just one more battle in its attempt to prevent Palestine from ever existing again. Of course, Washington defends these acts by insisting that Israel has a “right to defend itself,” which seems to mean that its military forces can do whatever the hell they want. This also implies that the Palestinians really don’t have that same right.

If the true goal of the current Israeli military actions in Gaza is to rescue the Israeli Defense Forces recently taken prisoner, than there is no logic to the military destruction of Palestinian power plants. Not when those power plants provide forty-two percent of the electricity to the Palestinians. There is no logic in invading Gaza to retrieve one soldier in the Israeli Defense Forces, especially when such an action is more likely to lead to the soldier’s death. There is no logic in intimidating the president of Syria by buzzing his home with warplanes, especially if the reason for such an act is to retrieve one soldier in the IDF.

From where I sit, that soldier appears to have become one more pawn in Tel Aviv’s attempt to destroy forever the Palestinian hope of a homeland. Like expansionist armies everywhere, the foot soldier is never more than a pawn in the game of the rulers. Whether that soldier is being sent to give his life in battle for the power and profit of a few or whether he is kidnapped and held for ransom, that soldier is never more than a pawn. If Tel Aviv was truly only interested in saving the life of the corporal from France, they would negotiate some kind of prisoner exchange. This is what the Palestinian forces have offered and this is all they want.

This is why there is something more at play in Gaza right now. The much ballyhooed withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza last year has proven to be a sham. Not only does Tel Aviv control the borders and skies over that region, it also has freedom of movement both there and in the West Bank. The arrests of several elected Palestinians leaders on June 28, 2006 proves even further that the independent Palestinian nation we are told exists by Tel Aviv and its mentors in Washington, DC is nothing more than a sham. No wonder the majority of Palestinian civilians support taking the IDF soldier prisoner. After all, the Israeli government not only has thousands of Palestinians in its prisons, it also continues to kill civilians at an alarming rate, especially in light of Tel Aviv’s claims that it doesn’t mean to kill them.

Like Washington in Iraq, there seems to be a sense in Tel Aviv that their overwhelming firepower and monetary superiority will achieve victory over the desire of the people whose lands they occupy to rid themselves of the occupation. Also like Washington, this belief in victory has led the military and political forces in Israel to deny their expressed principles and condone murder, torture and terror. In a poor imitation of their gods, these two capitals attempt to reshape these lands in their own image, no matter how many they have to kill and imprison. The citizens of both Israel and the United States, meanwhile, either support this denial of their nations’ principles and even urge for more repression and war; or they vainly struggle against these acts carried out in their name, hoping that someday the great unwashed majorities in both nations will finally become appalled at bloodlust and pillage done in their name. Done so that they may live in their cities and suburbs in constant denial; secure in their belief that they will never answer for the crimes in which we are all complicit.

RON JACOBS is author of The Way the Wind Blew: a history of the Weather Underground, which is just republished by Verso. Jacobs’ essay on Big Bill Broonzy is featured in CounterPunch’s new collection on music, art and sex, Serpents in the Garden. He can be reached at:





Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at:

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