FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Netanyahu’s War on Transcendence 

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has closed the only crossing point for commercial goods to enter and leave the Gaza Strip.  He is unhappy that Palestinian protestors have deployed incendiary kites. Rather than address the illegal blockade which gave rise to the protests, Netanyahu has decreed that Gazan Palestinians will be permitted no trade, no shops and no goods to buy, as if he bestows those things as favours.  Gazans will henceforth line up to receive only those humanitarian relief which Netanyahu approves on a case by case basis.

Two million Gazan Palestinians are living in his War of the Worlds fever dream.

I lived and worked in Gaza 2011 – 2015.  I do not speak for anyone there, but I do speak with a wrenching fear for the community that Netanyahu is trying to break.

I have always refused to refer to Gaza as an open-air prison.  Prisons are permanent institutions in our societies. Individuals are convicted and sentenced to prison for a time, and we debate the policies of their treatment. Gaza is a ghetto, an ethnic enclosure where babies are born into open-ended confinement.  Whole communities are condemned to carve out their family and collective lives in a ghetto.  In essence, a ghetto deems a people to be less than human, deserving of less than the rights of humans.

A ghetto is, by definition, a crime.  When we call Gaza a ghetto, we begin by acknowledging that the occupation and blockade are massive crimes, inexcusable and escalating.  To wonder at the life that Gaza built within its walls, is emphatically not a way of accepting the regime that they are trying to survive.

The West Bank’s fragmentation made for constant friction with Israel’s occupying forces. Gaza was the antithesis.  The threat was pervasive.  The horizon was a concrete wall, and the sea flowed as far as the gunboats.  Drones hovered and buzzed overhead.  The occupation was all around, but not between, Gazans.  They were squeezed together in a miniature, complex world, one marathon in length.  In response, they made exceptional choices about how they would share their space.

Several elements seemed constitutive of Gaza’s collective life:  their love of education, their families, their stubborn family-owned shops, their mutual assistance, and their resistance.  None of those things could be taken for granted. Two million other people might have responded to their ghettoization differently, and Gaza might have felt like a jungle of all against all.

Instead, Gazans built universities, and observed special noise by-laws on exam days.  Strollers along the beach met every electricity cut with a defiant cheer, night after night.  Under attack in 2012 and 2014, my colleagues called and offered to drive through the bombardments, to bring me to their homes because bombs were less frightening in rooms full of family.  After each military assault, parents struggled to live with their inability to protect their children – and then it normalized into their gnawing inability to provide their children with basic human entitlements like clean water, safety and the prospect of a peaceful life.

This year, these constitutive heartbeats of Gaza have come under fire from Netanyahu, Trump, and their enablers.  Defunding UNRWA jeopardizes the education, public sector and emergency services available to the two-thirds of Gazans who are registered refugees.   There is less electricity, less liquidity, less economic activity, less of everything for more people in the same space.  Over 130 protestors have been killed, and more Gazans have been wounded than Gaza has hospital bed.

Now Netanyahu has ended trade.  One man is emptying the shelves of two million human beings.  The royal prerogative, the terror of it: he is dismantling a community before our eyes.  In broad daylight, he is trying to bury it alive.

Whether or not he has gone clinically mad, Netanyahu must be calculating that he can get away with it in our disrupted moment.  Gaza matters disproportionately to the present disruption.  Two galloping processes meet on its field of protest.  Illiberal power is dispensing with law and the rights of humans, dismantling protections and cultivating resentments.  Grassroots resistance is weaving together the structure of oppression, and realizing new alliances.

Gaza is just one little vortex.  Yet the blockade’s gross power disparities and fierce resistance have also made it the proving ground for a malevolent biopolitical control.   Gaza matters for its own sake, and it matters again as a bellweather.  That which is gotten away with in Gaza, will surface again where other walls are built, where surplus people are warehoused, and where other protestors dig their heels in.   We have seen, over and over, that Gaza’s densely populated neighbourhoods are the testing sites for strategies of asymmetrical urban assault.

My rage in Gazans’ place would be boundless.

I also rage as a Jew.   I am incredulous that mainstream Jewish institutions are willing to use this ugly global moment to get the dirty work of nationalism done.   Too many of our temples give religious cover to racism and violence.  Public discourse is learning to distinguish between Judaism and Zionism, and it’s past time for Jews to do the same:  the occupation is not a religious experience.

Netanyahu is slavering for the next pretext to throw his bombs at two million trapped people.   I don’t know if he can be stopped, and neither can I imagine how to live in the world he signals.

More articles by:

Marilyn Garson worked with communities affected by war from 1998 – 2015.  She now writes from New Zealand.  Her blog is Transforming Gaza, and you can follow her on Twitter @skinonbothsides 

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
March 27, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
Bailouts for the Rich, the Virus for the Rest of Us
Louis Proyect
Life and Death in the Epicenter
Paul Street
“I Will Not Kill My Mother for Your Stock Portfolio”
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The Scum Also Rises
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Stimulus Bill Allows Federal Reserve to Conduct Meetings in Secret; Gives Fed $454 Billion Slush Fund for Wall Street Bailouts
Jefferson Morley
Could the Death of the National Security State be a Silver Lining of COVID-19?
Kathleen Wallace
The End of the Parasite Paradigm
Ruth Hopkins
A Message For America from Brazil’s First Indigenous Congresswoman
Anthony DiMaggio
Misinformation and the Coronavirus: On the Dangers of Depoliticization and Social Media
Andrew Levine
Neither Biden Nor Trump: Imagine Cuomo
David Rosen
God’s Vengeance: the Christian Right and the Coronavirus
David Schultz
The Covid-19 Bailout: Another Failed Opportunity at Structural Change
Evaggelos Vallianatos
In the Grip of Disease
Edward Leer
Somebody Else’s World: An Interview with Kelly Reichardt
Robert Fisk
What Trump is Doing in the Middle East While You are Distracted by COVID-19
Daniel Warner
COVID-19: Health or Wealth?
Thomas Klikauer – Norman Simms
Corona in Germany: Hording and Authoritarianism
Ramzy Baroud
BJP and Israel: Hindu Nationalism is Ravaging India’s Democracy
Richard Moser
Russia-gate: the Dead But Undead
Ron Jacobs
Politics, Pandemics and Trumpism
Chris Gilbert
Letter From Catalonia: Alarming Measures
Richard Eskow
Seven Rules for the Boeing Bailout
Jonathan Carp
Coronavirus and the Collapse of Our Imaginations
Andrew Bacevich
The Coronavirus and the Real Threats to American Safety and Freedom
Peter Cohen
COVID-19, the Exponential Function and Human the Survival
César Chelala - Alberto Luis Zuppi
The Pope is Wrong on Argentina
James Preston Allen
Alexander Cockburn Meets Charles Bukowski at a Sushi Bar in San Pedro
Jérôme Duval
The Only Oxygen Cylinder Factory in Europe is Shut down and Macron Refuses to Nationalize It
Neve Gordon
Gaza Has Been Under Siege for Years. Covid-19 Could Be Catastrophic
Alvaro Huerta
To Survive the Coronavirus, Americans Should Learn From Mexicans
Prabir Purkayastha
Why the Coronavirus Pandemic Poses Fundamental Challenges to All Societies
Raouf Halaby
Fireside Chatterer Andrew Cuomo for President
Thomas Drake
The Sobering Realities of the American Dystopia
Negin Owliaei
Wash Your Hands…If You Have Water
Felice Pace
A New Threat to California’s Rivers:  Will the Rush to Develop Our Newest Water Source Destroy More Streams?
Ray Brescia
What 9/11 Can Teach Us About Responding to COVID-19
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
The Covid-19 Opportunity
John Kendall Hawkins
An Age of Intoxication: Pick Your Poison
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Propaganda Virus: Is Anyone Immune?
Nicky Reid
Fear and Loathing in Coronaville Volume 1: Dispatches From a Terrified Heartland
Nolan Higdon – Mickey Huff
Don’t Just Blame Trump for the COVID-19 Crisis: the U.S. Has Been Becoming a Failed State for Some Time
Susan Block
Coronavirus Spring
David Yearsley
Lutz Alone
CounterPunch News Service
Letter from Truthdig’s Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer to the Publisher Zuade Kaufman
CounterPunch News Service
Statement From Striking Truthdig Workers
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail