The Moral Legitimacy of Israel

On September 2, 2001, I sent off a letter to some 16 senators and 6 congressmen stating:

The conflict which is ongoing in the Middle East, which is more and more being referred to as a War, is too big and too dangerous to be ignored. Every American is potentially endangered by an increase in the violence. It is not that difficult to imagine a scenario in which a nuclear explosive devise came into play.

The Middle East problem is not going to disappear as long as Israel continues to occupy and subjugate the Palestinian people. The Palestinian people of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have been living under occupation, deprived of dignity and basic human rights for 34 years. When will it end, and how will it end? Treaties have been signed, but Jewish settlements continue to be built and the basic human rights of the Palestinian people continue to erode, along with their homes and property.

I wrote these line in an attempt to warn that American were endangered because of America’s year in – year out sponsorship of violence taking the form of our uncritical support of the aggressive policies of the Israeli government and for our passivity in the face of the continued occupation of Arab lands and of the transfer of those lands to the proprietorship of Israel. This violence could not be contained in the Middle East indefinitely but eventually had to intersect the lives of Americans, as it did on Sept 11. And this threat is not just in the past, but continues and grows stronger when each day brings further subjugation and humiliation of the Palestinians, and greater anger and frustration for the 300 million Arab people and 1.2 billion Muslims in that part of the world.

The letter was ignored.

Obviously, the danger has not abated since then, as the violence in the Middle East has grown exponentially since Sept 11 with an average of 2.2 Palestinians being killed per day; that’s approximately one killed every five hours. And in the last week, the rate of growth of the killings of Palestinians is as yet uncomputed. As I write these lines, Israelis have for the second time within the month invaded Ramallah and the major Palestinian cities of the West Bank and have taken over and largely destroyed Arafat’s compound, as I am sure you all know. I understand he is hold up in a few rooms with a machine gun at his side surrounded by other members of the Palestinian Authority and by unarmed internationals who have come to help shield him from injury or assassination. Sharon has indicated several times in the last month that he wants Arafat dead, and has been given a green light Cheney, but not, however, by Bush.

As we speak today, most of Ramallah has been without water for 6 days with only intermittent electricity. Doctors and medical personnel have been killed or wounded, ambulances have crushed by Israeli tanks, and those ambulances and medical personnel which have survived have been prevented from traveling to the wounded and dying. There are reports of unreclaimed corpses decaying in the streets and in peoples homes. There are widespread reports of small scale massacres. People are trapped not only in their homes, but is small sections of their homes which they deem to be the safest. For most people food is running out, caused in no small part because Israeli soldiers have looted the supermarkets. There are reports of Palestinian civilians being used as human shields by the IDF.

Plans for a massive invasion have appeared in the press for more than a week; the invasion was not a response to the wave of suicide bombing in Israel which began with the this past Wed, the first day of Seder, as is advertised by Sharon and the Israeli government é it was planned before.

In fact on Mon, March 24, the Washington Posted reported:

JERUSALEM, March 24 é As the United States tries to mediate a truce in the Middle East, Israeli military planners are preparing for a major assault on Palestinian cities, towns and refugee camps that would be broader and deeper than the offensive.

If the talks fail as Palestinian violence continues, there is widespread and growing support both in Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s government and in the army for what one official called a “comprehensive military confrontation” with the Palestinians.

This was three days before the suicide bombing in Netanya which occurred on the first day of Seder and took the lives of 22 Israelis. CNN does not seem to have noticed.

That Israel is only defending itself is a familiar line. Israel has managed to take over and control all of Palestine, but somehow, Israel is the victim. In 1946 é 48, Zionist armies, under the leader ship of Yatshak Shamir and Manachem Begin, massacred Palestinians in some 500 villages, including Dayr Yassin, on which the noble Albert Einstein has commented, with disgust. In the process, some 750,000 Palestinians were driven or fled from their homes into Gaza, the West Bank and surrounding Arab countries.

In the 1948 War, we are told that little David Israel was the subject of an unprovoked attack by an overwhelming Goliath Arab army. Israeli apologist fail to mention that the fighting took place on the Arab side of the line of demarcation separating the Israeli state from the Arab state as proposed by the UN Security Council Resolution which called for the creation of both states west of the Jordan River of about equal areas. Nor is it mentioned that the Israeli army out- numbered the Arab armies by about two to one, and also possessed superior equipment and fire power.

Similar remarks can be made about the 1967 War in which Israel attacked Egyptian forces in the Sinai and then Jordanian forces though Israel was never seriously threatened . The ’67 War was a war for the possession of all of Palestine and the Sinai, including Sharm -el éShek.

The June 1982 invasion of Lebanon, which took place in the diplomatic vacuum created by the departure of President Carter from office, was Sharon’s war, and was an effort to destroy the PLO.. Within a nine month period preceding the invasion, there had been no rocket attacks on Israel from across the Lebanese border owing to a ceasefire worked out by US Envoy Phillip Habib The war in Lebanon was a war for the possession of the West Bank and the occupied territories and had nothing whatsoever to do with Israeli security as advertised by the Israeli government.

Commentators have spoken to the failure of Sharon to have clear objectives and an exit strategy for the current invasion. The objectives are clear to him, and there is no exit strategy because there is no exit intention, though the Israelis may be forced to exit. The objective is to crush the Palestinians along with the Palestinian Authority, to induce as much suffering as possible for the Palestinians, to eliminate Arafat, if Sharon can get away with it, and to consolidate Israel’s hold on the land so deeply coveted by every true Zionist, of which Sharon is certainly one.

To the point that Israel is always the victim, even while it is expanding its frontiers as it crushes its Palestinian victims, I would like to add that as a racist, apartheid state, founded on terrorism, massacres and ethnic cleansing, it has no moral right to exists. Israel’s leaders who have been its heads of state é Begin, Shamir, Sharon, etc are not George Washingtons and Thomas Jeffersons é are terrorists who thrived on massacres of defenseless Palestinians. Together they have as much blood on their hands as some of those in the upper levels of the Third Reich. And because of its history of brutality driven by a vision of racial purity and racial superiority, it has no more right to exist than did Apartheid South Africa and Rhodesia.

What is happening now has nothing to do with fighting terrorism. The decision by Sharon for a final solution of the Palestinian problem is a major push for the fulfillment of the Zionist program to create an exclusively Jewish state in ALL of Palestine. That has always been Sharon’s program and that expansion is intrinsic to Zionism and to the Jewish state. Expansion into all areas of Palestine has occurred as much under Labor governments as under Lukud. Twice as many Jewish settlers moved into the occupied territories under Barak than under his Lukud predecessor, Natanyahu.

Liberals who called for the dismantling of the state of South Africa because it was based on White supremacy need to explain their slavish devotion to the maintenance of a racially pure Israel.