FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Delusional Expectations

At this writing, Israel has killed six hundred civilians in Lebanon, including more than one hundred children, and killed another one hundred and fifty in Gaza. It has created hundreds of thousands of refugees and destroyed enough bridges and power stations and apartments to create misery for years to come.

Nothing is more dishonest than attempting to justify this barbarism with “Islamist fundamentalists declare their goal openly to destroy the state of Israel and kill Jews.”

There is no possibility that Israel can be destroyed by Islamic fundamentalists: the notion is simply a fantasy. This is so not just because of Israel’s ready willingness to bomb and kill, but because of great-power guarantees. It is so also because no Arab state believes any longer that Israel,s destruction is a sensible or possible goal, despite their leaders, public rhetoric. And it is true because the enemies Israel claims are so threatening, organizations such as Hezbollah or Hamas, are militarily weak by any rational standard of calculation.

Israel began by moving into a bad neighborhood, and everyone involved understood this from the beginning, yet Israel behaves as though it should be normal to enjoy a pristine Disney-like suburb with white-picket fences. It reacts to activities in the bad neighborhood that disturb its fantasy with ferocious indignation. Israel’s destructive behavior is explained largely by this delusional expectation.

If Israel had spent half the resources it has spent on war over the last fifty years instead on helping its neighbors and building up their economies, the region would be a far better place today. And if Israel had been willing to make reasonable concessions to the needs of others in the region, there might well be lasting peace today.

The irony of Israel,s current destructive behavior is that a healthy, prosperous Lebanon is in Israel,s long-term interest, just as it is in Israel,s interest to have all of its neighbors prosperous and flourishing.

But, instead, Israel,s response to any provocation from any gang or individual is always war and maintaining “the iron wall” – an early Zionist phrase that has provided the foundation of Israeli policy for over half a century – against all outsiders with disregard for their interests or needs.

Deception is an important tool in any war, and Israel,s extensive use of it shows us how it regards neighbors and others it should have cultivated as friends. Look at the bombing of a UN observation post in Lebanon, killing four unarmed UN workers. Israel says it was an accident, but the post had been there for years, and it was well marked. Moreover, the UN workers were killed in a bunker, meaning that a certain kind of munition had to be used to kill them. According to a BBC report, the UN peacekeepers had contacted Israeli forces ten times about artillery shelling in the hours before they were hit by a precision-guided missile. How possibly can this have been an accident?

Could the failed international conference in Rome where proposals for an immediate cease-fire and an international force in Southern Lebanon were advocated have provided Israel,s motive? The cease-fire proposal was quickly killed by the United States to give Israel more bombing time. Was the proposal for an international force the target of Israel,s attack? Who would commit observers or troops if this is what would happen to them? We know Israel does not want outside interference in Lebanon. More broadly, Israel has shown intense hostility towards the UN for years, perhaps one of its closest bonds with Bush,s mob.

There is some evidence that the Israeli soldiers kidnapped at the beginning of the current bombardment were actually kidnapped inside Lebanon on a provocative mission. I have no idea whether this true, but it is far from improbable. The kidnapping has certainly provided an excuse for bombing the hell out of southern Lebanon.

Israel,s many past deceptions naturally enough leave one uncomfortable about any of its official statements on any important matter. First was the covert creation of a nuclear arsenal, a fact not acknowledged to this day. Then there was Israel,s secret assistance to apartheid South Africa, including still-unacknowledged assistance in creating and testing a nuclear weapon. There was Israel,s manipulation of events leading to the Six Day War, a war Israel knew it could handily win for great gains (see my March, 2003, article, Was Einstein Right? ). There was Israel,s attempt to sink the U.S.S. Liberty, an American spy ship, during the Six Day War, an event never meaningfully explained but likely intended to prevent evidence of atrocities against captured Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai being recorded. A large group of Israeli spies was arrested after 9/11, but their extensive activities in the United States leading up to that event have never been explained. Only a few weeks ago, before its attacks on Lebanon and Gaza, Israel mounted an effort claiming the munition which wiped out a Palestinian family on a Gaza beach belonged to someone else, when in fact a collected scrap of casing clearly showed its American origin, a type of munition not made available to anyone else in the region.

All gangs and individuals who rudely remind Israel that it really does live in a bad neighborhood are simply flattened, but flattening the perpetrators is never enough. Always Israel takes the lives of innocents and destroys their property, believing that such ruthlessness eventually will intimidate everyone around into a zombie-like peace, but this is simply another delusion.

The logic of Israel,s behavior taken to its limit would have a two- or three-hundred mile perimeter around Israel,s border (whatever that is) bulldozed and paved over. This would certainly provide complete security, but it is utter fantasy, just as impossible as the destruction of Israel.

What is the solution in the Middle East? It is found in so simple an act as Israel,s dealing fairly with its neighbors and negotiating to sort things out. Israel has never yet done this. It presents only an iron wall, bristling with weapons. When breakthroughs do come, as with the Oslo Accords, Israel,s establishment quietly ignores them or works actively against them while still talking about peace.

Israel has all the advantages. It has advanced weapons. It has great-power guarantees. It has billions of dollars in assistance every year. It has unmatched access to American intelligence and government. By comparison, Hamas and Hezbollah are pretty anemic forces.

Organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas owe their very existence to Israel’s past behavior. Hezbollah flourished as a guerrilla force opposing Israel’s previous invasion of Lebanon and its long-term partial occupation. It served also as an important charity in the midst of chaos. Hamas was created with the deliberate help of Israeli intelligence, intending to create a rival for the PLO and introduce instability into Palestinian politics. When Hamas was elected recently as part of the government of Palestine, it was only after innumerable excuses from Israel for not meeting with Abbas and after imprisoning and threatening Arafat for several years before his death. How are Palestinians to deal with an Israel that always has an excuse for not negotiating, for not even speaking, to its government? Israel has now kidnapped the cabinet of an elected government, but this is quietly supported by Bush,s democracy-loving mob.

Israel wants us to accept the simplistic assertion that organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas are proof of Islamist determination to destroy Israel. So long as this is the accepted view, greatly over-simplifying a truly complex situation, there can be no understanding and no sensible approach to peace. Refusing even to talk with the democratically-elected Hamas government and cutting it off from all connections and revenues was an act of war in response to party slogans. You can’t build peace on fantasy.

I said Israel could not be destroyed by anyone, but there is an important exception to that statement: Israel could well be destroyed by itself.

JOHN CHUCKMAN lives in Canada.

 

 

More articles by:

John Chuckman lives in Canada.

Weekend Edition
July 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Atwood
Peace or Armageddon: Take Your Pick
Paul Street
No Liberal Rallies Yet for the Children of Yemen
Nick Pemberton
The Bipartisan War on Central and South American Women
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Are You Putin Me On?
Andrew Levine
Sovereignty: What Is It Good For? 
Brian Cloughley
The Trump/NATO Debacle and the Profit Motive
David Rosen
Trump’s Supreme Pick Escalates America’s War on Sex 
Melvin Goodman
Montenegro and the “Manchurian Candidate”
Salvador Rangel
“These Are Not Our Kids”: The Racial Capitalism of Caging Children at the Border
Matthew Stevenson
Going Home Again to Trump’s America
Louis Proyect
Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders and the Dilemmas of the Left
Patrick Cockburn
Iraqi Protests: “Bad Government, Bad Roads, Bad Weather, Bad People”
Robert Fantina
Has It Really Come to This?
Russell Mokhiber
Kristin Lawless on the Corporate Takeover of the American Kitchen
John W. Whitehead
It’s All Fake: Reality TV That Masquerades as American Politics
Patrick Bobilin
In Your Period Piece, I Would be the Help
Ramzy Baroud
The Massacre of Inn Din: How Rohingya Are Lynched and Held Responsible
Robert Fisk
How Weapons Made in Bosnia Fueled Syria’s Bleak Civil War
Gary Leupp
Trump’s Helsinki Press Conference and Public Disgrace
Josh Hoxie
Our Missing $10 Trillion
Martha Rosenberg
Pharma “Screening” Is a Ploy to Seize More Patients
Basav Sen
Brett Kavanaugh Would be a Disaster for the Climate
David Lau
The Origins of Local AFT 4400: a Profile of Julie Olsen Edwards
Rohullah Naderi
The Elusive Pursuit of Peace by Afghanistan
Binoy Kampmark
Shaking Establishments: The Ocasio-Cortez Effect
John Laforge
18 Protesters Cut Into German Air Base to Protest US Nuclear Weapons Deployment
Christopher Brauchli
Trump and the Swedish Question
Chia-Chia Wang
Local Police Shouldn’t Collaborate With ICE
Paul Lyons
YouTube’s Content ID – A Case Study
Jill Richardson
Soon You Won’t be Able to Use Food Stamps at Farmers’ Markets, But That’s Not the Half of It
Kevin MacKay
Climate Change is Proving Worse Than We Imagined, So Why Aren’t We Confronting its Root Cause?
Thomas Knapp
Elections: More than Half of Americans Believe Fairy Tales are Real
Ralph Nader
Warner Slack—Doctor for the People Forever
Lee Ballinger
Soccer, Baseball and Immigration
Louis Yako
Celebrating the Wounds of Exile with Poetry
Ron Jacobs
Working Class Fiction—Not Just Surplus Value
Perry Hoberman
You Can’t Vote Out Fascism… You Have to Drive It From Power!
Robert Koehler
Guns and Racism, on the Rocks
Nyla Ali Khan
Kashmir: Implementation with Integrity and Will to Resolve
Justin Anderson
Elon Musk vs. the Media
Graham Peebles
A Time of Hope for Ethiopia
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Homophobia in the Service of Anti-Trumpism is Still Homophobic (Even When it’s the New York Times)
Martin Billheimer
Childhood, Ferocious Sleep
David Yearsley
The Glories of the Grammophone
Tom Clark
Gameplanning the Patriotic Retributive Attack on Montenegro
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail