Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Avi Shlaim, "Israel and Gaza: rhetoric and reality," openDemocracy, January 7, 2009.

The only way to make sense of Israel's senseless war in Gaza is through understanding the historical context. The establishment of the state of Israel in May 1948 involved a monumental injustice to the Palestinians. British officials were aware at the time of the grave injustice perpetrated by one-sided American support for the Israelis. On 2 June 1948, Sir John Troutbeck wrote to foreign secretary Ernest Bevin that the Americans were responsible for the creation of a gangster state headed by "an utterly unscrupulous set of leaders". I used to think that this judgment is too harsh; but Israel's vicious assault on the people of Gaza, and the George W Bush administration's complicity in this assault, have reopened the question.

  A surreal situation thus developed - where a significant part of the international community imposed economic sanctions not against the occupier but against the occupied, not against the oppressor but against the oppressed.

I write as someone who served loyally in the Israeli army in the mid-1960s and who has never questioned the legitimacy of the state of Israel within its pre-1967 borders. What I utterly reject is the Zionist colonial project beyond the "green line". The Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza strip in the aftermath of the war of June 1967 had very little to do with security and everything to do with territorial expansionism. The aim was to establish "greater Israel" through permanent political, economic, and military control over the Palestinian territories. The result has been one of the most prolonged and brutal military occupations of modern times.

  The resort to brute military force is accompanied, as always, by the shrill rhetoric of victimhood and a farrago of self-pity overlaid with self-righteousness. In Hebrew this is known as the syndrome of bokhim ve-yorim ("crying and shooting").

Read the rest (and the comments) here => (A number of useful links are also available in the original.)
Recommend this Post

Sphere: Related Content