Only Shrinks Can Explain Israel’s Behavior

Our wild world of crime has recently been sent for observation. From the bodyguard of the IDF Chief of Staff to the killers of their own children – all have been sent for observation. The time has come, as is the custom around here, to send the country for observation, too. Maybe with ongoing treatment from specialists, the diagnosis that will save us can be made.

There are numerous reasons for the observation. A long series of acts that have no rational explanation, or really any explanation whatsoever, raise the following suspicions: a loss of touch with reality; temporary or permanent insanity, paranoia, schizophrenia and megalomania; memory loss and loss of judgment. All of this must be examined, under careful observation.

The psychiatric specialists might be so kind as to try to explain how a country with leaders committed to a two-state solution continues to direct huge budgets toward building more settlements in territories it intends to vacate in the future. What explanation could there be, if not from the psychiatric realm, for a 10-month halt to residential construction in the settlements, to be immediately followed by more construction? How can a country be so tightfisted when it comes to healthcare spending on its citizens, whose poor are getting poorer – and yet when a portion of the roads in the West Bank are already deemed as dangerous, they build more and more roads there leading from nowhere to nowhere?

They should explain how the state prosecutor can announce his intention to expropriate more privately-owned Palestinian land at the settlement of Ofra – the “largest illegal settlement in the territories” (in the words of the defense minister’s adviser on settlement issues) – when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in his address at Bar-Ilan University last year, explicitly committed not to do so, and President Shimon Peres did more of the same in a meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

They should explain what lies behind the decision to examine annexing Highway 443, which runs through the West Bank, as Israeli territory – as a way of defeating the recent High Court of Justice ruling opening it to Palestinian motorists. How can a country that preaches the rule of law dare outfox the High Court through “bypass” laws? And how have an insignificant minority – the settlers – sown fear and managed to extort the country for so many years?

Psychiatric specialists should make clear how a country that’s been dealt a report as potentially disastrous for it as the Goldstone report can so adamantly and stubbornly refuse to convene the commission of inquiry the report provides as an escape clause. How can a nation that has so desperately fought for its international image and standing, and which is so dependent on the world’s benevolence, appoint such a thuggish and violent figure as Avigdor Lieberman as its No. 1 diplomat? Half the world is closed to the foreign minister and we suffer the consequences.

Why didn’t Israel consider presenting, even through some illusion, a nicer face to the world than Lieberman’s threatening visage? Why doesn’t a country so ostracized by so much of the world not ask itself, even for a moment, what part it played in shaping that position of isolation, from which it simply attacks and points fingers at its critics? How can a society which has already existed with a cruel occupation in its backyard for two generations refuse to deal with it, continue feeling so good about itself and evade any kind of self-examination or even an inkling of moral equivocation?

What kind of explanation can be given for the fact that a nation with a clear secular majority has no system for civil marriage, no buses or trains operating on Shabbat? How in such a country are wealthy municipal governments required to transfer funds to religious councils, of all places, rather than other needs? How can a country that has to deal with a domestic Arab minority which has maintained surprising loyalty to the country for more than 60 years do everything to put it down, humiliate and exclude it, treat it unfairly and engender a sense of frustration and hatred within it?

Can it be rationally explained how a country, to which all of the Arab nations have presented a historic peace proposal, refuses to even discuss this? It is a country that the president of Syria (whose major ally, Iran, is threatening Israel) is begging to come to a peace agreement with, yet it remains insistent in its refusal. Only psychiatric experts could possibly explain how the continued occupation of the Golan Heights and the missed opportunities for peace relate to security or logic. At the same time, they should try to explain the connection between the sanctity of historic sites and sovereignty over them. And above all, they should clarify how such a smart and talented society participates in this march of folly without anyone objecting.

True, it’s a difficult case to figure out – all the more reason to recommend the country be sent for observation.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
March 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Michael Uhl
The Tip of the Iceberg: My Lai Fifty Years On
Bruce E. Levine
School Shootings: Who to Listen to Instead of Mainstream Shrinks
Mel Goodman
Caveat Emptor: MSNBC and CNN Use CIA Apologists for False Commentary
Paul Street
The Obama Presidency Gets Some Early High Historiography
Kathy Deacon
Me, My Parents and Red Scares Long Gone
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Rexless Abandon
Andrew Levine
Good Enemies Are Hard To Find: Therefore Worry
Jim Kavanagh
What to Expect From a Trump / Kim Summit
Ron Jacobs
Trump and His Tariffs
Joshua Frank
Drenched in Crude: It’s an Oil Free For All, But That’s Not a New Thing
Gary Leupp
What If There Was No Collusion?
Matthew Stevenson
Why Vietnam Still Matters: Bernard Fall Dies on the Street Without Joy
Robert Fantina
Bad to Worse: Tillerson, Pompeo and Haspel
Brian Cloughley
Be Prepared, Iran, Because They Want to Destroy You
Richard Moser
What is Organizing?
Scott McLarty
Working Americans Need Independent Politics
Rohullah Naderi
American Gun Violence From an Afghan Perspective
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
Why Trump’s Tariff Travesty Will Not Re-Industrialize the US
Ted Rall
Democrats Should Run on Impeachment
Robert Fisk
Will We Ever See Al Jazeera’s Investigation Into the Israel Lobby?
Kristine Mattis
Superunknown: Scientific Integrity Within the Academic and Media Industrial Complexes
John W. Whitehead
Say No to “Hardening” the Schools with Zero Tolerance Policies and Gun-Toting Cops
Edward Hunt
UN: US Attack On Syrian Civilians Violated International Law
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Iraq Outside History
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: The Long Hard Road
Victor Grossman
Germany: New Faces, Old Policies
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
The Iraq Death Toll 15 Years After the US Invasion
Binoy Kampmark
Amazon’s Initiative: Digital Assistants, Home Surveillance and Data
Chuck Collins
Business Leaders Agree: Inequality Hurts The Bottom Line
Jill Richardson
What We Talk About When We Talk About “Free Trade”
Eric Lerner – Jay Arena
A Spark to a Wider Fire: Movement Against Immigrant Detention in New Jersey
Negin Owliaei
Teachers Deserve a Raise: Here’s How to Fund It
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
What to Do at the End of the World? Interview with Climate Crisis Activist, Kevin Hester
Kevin Proescholdt
Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke Attacks America’s Wilderness
Franklin Lamb
Syrian War Crimes Tribunals Around the Corner
Beth Porter
Clean Energy is Calling. Will Your Phone Company Answer?
George Ochenski
Zinke on the Hot Seat Again and Again
Lance Olsen
Somebody’s Going to Extremes
Robert Koehler
Breaking the Ice
Pepe Escobar
The Myth of a Neo-Imperial China
Graham Peebles
Time for Political Change and Unity in Ethiopia
Terry Simons
10 American Myths “Refutiated”*
Thomas Knapp
Some Questions from the Edge of Immortality
Louis Proyect
The 2018 Socially Relevant Film Festival
David Yearsley
Keaton’s “The General” and the Pernicious Myths of the Heroic South