FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Attack on the People of Gaza

by

When the facts cannot be contained within the prevailing intellectual framework (the conventional wisdom), honesty requires that the framework be modified.

According to the conventional wisdom, the purpose of Israel’s assault on Gaza is self-defense, i.e., to stop rocket fire and to destroy “terror tunnels”. However, the facts include repeated attacks on hospitals, an open air market, UN schools designated as safe refuges, playgrounds, zoos, Gaza’s only power plant, etc.) by means of high-tech “smart weapons”, and these attacks are inconsistent with the notion of self-defense. These are calculated, deliberate attacks on civilians and the numbers speak for themselves: about 80% of Israel’s victims are non-combatants, including at least (for now) 318 kids.

To make these facts comprehensible, the framework must be modified.

Assume that Israel’s paramount goal is, as articulated recently by PM Netanyahu (see http://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-finally-speaks-his-mind/), to permanently prevent the emergence of a viable Palestinian state, so that Israel can annex the land without the non-Jewish people. That is after all the core of the Zionist project. Achievement of that goal entails is the total destruction of Gazan civil society, meaning the permanent destruction of Gaza (and ultimately of Palestine as such) as a political entity. Some people have used the word “politicide” to describe this goal. See this.

Preemption of the possibility of a Palestinian state entails politicide of the Palestinian people, and politicide entails massive attacks on civilian infrastructure and civilians themselves, as we see every day in Gaza. Deliberate attacks on civilians make sense within the intellectual framework of politicide.

The problem is that international norms considered to be binding on Western-style liberal democracies prohibit deliberate attacks on civilians, and Israel wants to be considered a Western-style liberal democracy (even if it isn’t). The problem then becomes: How to deliberately attack civilians when international norms prohibit this?

Answer: Change international norms.

My hypothesis is that the real purpose of Israel’s attack on the people of Gaza – apart from the immediate goal of destroying the political entity formed by the Fatah-Hamas unity government (see http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/18/op…west.html?_r=1) – is to change international norms by repeatedly and openly violating those norms on the assumption that over time norms will change so as to accommodate the violations. This is why Israel commits its atrocities in broad daylight, barely even bothering with excuses or justifications.

Evidence for my hypothesis is found in statements of former senior Israeli military lawyer Daniel Reisner a few years ago:

‘What we are seeing now is a revision of international law,’ Reisner says. ‘If you do something for long enough, the world will accept it. The whole of international law is now based on the notion that an act that is forbidden today becomes permissible if executed by enough countries. If the same process occurred in private law, the legal speed limit would be 115 kilometers an hour and we would pay income tax of 4 percent. So there is no connection between the question ‘Will it be sanctioned?’ and the act’s legality. After we bombed the reactor in Iraq, the Security Council condemned Israel and claimed the attack was a violation of international law. The atmosphere was that Israel had committed a crime. Today everyone says it was preventive self-defense. International law progresses through violations. We invented the targeted assassination thesis and we had to push it. At first there were protrusions that made it hard to insert easily into the legal moulds. Eight years later it is in the center of the bounds of legitimacy.”

If this hypothesis is correct, then message being sent by Israel is roughly this:

“Go ahead and stop us – if you can. Because if you can’t or won’t, we will change the world. In particular, we will repeal (de facto if not de jure) those international norms of behavior that were adopted in the wake of the Holocaust, thus dragging the world back into the dark ages.”

Stella Roberts lives in Dallas, Texas.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
December 09, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nasty As They Wanna Be
Henry Giroux
Trump’s Second Gilded Age: Overcoming the Rule of Billionaires and Militarists
Andrew Levine
Trump’s Chumps: Victims of the Old Bait and Switch
Chris Welzenbach
The Forgotten Sneak Attack
Lewis Lapham
Hostile Takeover
Joshua Frank
This Week at CounterPunch: More Hollow Smears and Baseless Accusations
Paul Street
The Democrats Do Their Job, Again
Vijay Prashad
The Cuban Revolution: Defying Imperialism From Its Backyard
Michael Hudson - Sharmini Peries
Orwellian Economics
Mark Ames
The Anonymous Blacklist Promoted by the Washington Post Has Apparent Ties to Ukrainian Fascism and CIA Spying
Erin McCarley
American Nazis and the Fight for US History
Yoav Litvin
Resist or Conform: Lessons in Fortitude and Weakness From the Israeli Left
Conn Hallinan
India & Pakistan: the Unthinkable
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Nativism on the Left – A Realer Smith
Joshua Sperber
Trump in the Age of Identity Politics
Brandy Baker
Jill Stein Sees Russia From Her House
Katheryne Schulz
Report from Santiago de Cuba: Celebrating Fidel’s Rebellious Life
Nelson Valdes
Fidel and the Good People
Norman Solomon
McCarthy’s Smiling Ghost: Democrats Point the Finger at Russia
Renee Parsons
The Snowflake Nation and Trump on Immigration
Margaret Kimberley
Black Fear of Trump
Michael J. Sainato
A Pruitt Running Through It: Trump Kills Nearly Useless EPA With Nomination of Oil Industry Hack
Ron Jacobs
Surviving Hate and Death—The AIDS Crisis in 1980s USA
David Swanson
Virginia’s Constitution Needs Improving
Louis Proyect
Narcos and the Story of Colombia’s Unhappiness
Paul Atwood
War Has Been, is, and Will be the American Way of Life…Unless?
John Wight
Syria and the Bodyguard of Lies
Richard Hardigan
Anti-Semitism Awareness Act: Senate Bill Criminalizes Criticism of Israel
Kathy Kelly
See How We Live
David Macaray
Trump Picks his Secretary of Labor. Ho-Hum.
Howard Lisnoff
Interview with a Political Organizer
Yves Engler
BDS and Anti-Semitism
Adam Parsons
Home Truths About the Climate Emergency
Brian Cloughley
The Decline and Fall of Britain
Eamonn Fingleton
U.S. China Policy: Is Obama Schizoid?
Graham Peebles
Worldwide Air Pollution is Making us Ill
Joseph Natoli
Fake News is Subjective?
Andre Vltchek
Tough-Talking Philippine President Duterte
Binoy Kampmark
Total Surveillance: Snooping in the United Kingdom
Guillermo R. Gil
Vivirse la película: Willful Opposition to the Fiscal Control Board in Puerto Rico
Patrick Bond
South Africa’s Junk Credit Rating was Avoided, But at the Cost of Junk Analysis
Clancy Sigal
Investigate the Protesters! A Trial Balloon Filled With Poison Gas
Pierre Labossiere – Margaret Prescod
Human Rights and Alternative Media Delegation Report on Haiti’s Elections
Charles R. Larson
Review:  Helon Habila’s The Chibok Girls: the Boko Haram Kidnappings and Islamist Militancy in Nigeria
David Yearsley
Brahms and the Tears of Britain’s Oppressed
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail