Thursday, May 17, 2018

Murder as a Way to Make a Political Point

Gaza is a small, densely populated sliver of land whose 1.8 million inhabitants have been suffering under an Israeli blockade for the past 11 years (with Egyptian cooperation). Half of Gaza’s population is under 16 years of age. The unemployment rate is 44%. Knowledgeable people call it an open air prison controlled by Israel. It is a prison for children without hope.

Here is Noam Sheizaf, writing in Slate in July 2014.
“I[I]f I had to explain the whole thing briefly, I would use the following metaphor: We’ve built two giant prisons. Let’s call them “West Bank Prison” and “Gaza Prison.” The West Bank Prison is similar to a minimum-security facility, where prisoners get to run their own affairs as long as they behave. They are entitled to vacations from time to time, and once a year they are even taken to the beach. Some lucky people get below-minimum-wage jobs in nearby factories, and when you consider the low prices in the prison canteen, it’s actually not a bad deal.
“Gaza, on the other hand, is a maximum-security facility. It is difficult to visit and impossible to leave. We allow in essential food, water, and electricity so that the prisoners don’t die. Apart from that, we don’t really care about them—that is unless they approach the prison fence, or the “forbidden” perimeter, where anyone who wanders too close is shot, or if they try to throw something over the fence.”
We’ve been witnessing this past month what happens when Gazans attempt to approach the fence of their prison in numbers. Last Monday alone, Israeli snipers wounded 1350 protesters with live gun fire and killed 60 as they approached the Gaza fence. More than a hundred protesters have been killed in the past month, among them women, children, and journalists.

To carry Noam Sheizaf’s metaphor forward, the Gaza prison is controlled by a prison gang: Hamas. This past month the prison gang encouraged the inmates to approach the prison fence in order to breach the fence. Their purpose (or fantasy) was to see a column of men, women, and children walk out of this prison. And here, we must note, most of these men, women, and children are not criminals, and Gaza is a peculiar kind of prison made up of an oppressed civilian population that suffers from collective punishment, and that suffers because Israel is unwilling to grant them political representation in the body politic.

If this Palestinian (Muslim and Christian) population is allowed to march out of its Gaza prison and return to the land of Israel, and become politically involved there, that would undermine the idea of Israel as a Jewish state. A Jewish state depends on its ability to keep Arabs from political power, forever.

Dr. Einat Wilf, a former member of Knesset, is well aware of this. She knows firm measures are required to force Palestinians to accept this. She wrote in the Forward (5/15): “As much as it seems counterintuitive, peace becomes more possible to achieve the more it becomes clear that the ‘hope’ of Israel’s temporariness is a costly delusion. This is the core issue, and the closer we come to touching it, with all the pain it entails, the closer we will come to peace.” In other words, our politics for a Jewish state requires that Palestinians remain locked in their Gaza prison, with all the pain this entails—and the sooner they accept that, the closer we will come to peace.

And consider David French. Without knowing any of the facts, he feels free to make them up in National Revue. It’s impossible, he says, for any army to “effectively and reliably control hostile armed mobs with exclusively nonlethal means. In other words, tear gas won’t get the job done.” But where is the evidence that what we saw this past Monday was an “armed mob” that could not be controlled by any means other than by shooting 1350 protesters with live ammunition and killing 60.  Haggai Matar points out that there is in fact no evidence that any of those who were shot posed an imminent threat to anyone. In an article, What Does the IDF have to Hide about the Gaza Killings? he points out the IDF’s failure to explain itself.

Every country has the right to protect the integrity of its borders, and to exercise self-defense against hostile foreign powers, says David French. But the prison population that is Gaza is not a "foreign power." This prison is inside the borders claimed de facto by Israel. The inmates are a civilian population who are the direct descendants of Palestinians from the land of Israel/Palestine. Israel controls the airspace and borders of Gaza. Israel controls the population registry for Gaza. Israel enters Gaza at will for security operations. Israel controls who enters and leaves Gaza. Gazans are disenfranchised and imprisoned, but they are not a foreign power.

So French eventually gets to Wilf’s point as well. “The Palestinian resistance,” he says, “is … more vicious and violent — with ultimate eliminationist goals — than well-meaning leftists want or believe it to be. Take, for example, objections to the American embassy in Jerusalem. The real root of much of the Palestinian rage isn’t that the location of the embassy disrupts a (largely illusory) ‘peace process,’ but rather that American action is yet another step toward solidifying permanent Israeli control over most of Jerusalem.” He means permanent Jewish control that will not (ever) share power with Palestinians.

Einat Wilf and David French, along with most Israelis, are comfortable with murder in order to drive home the point that Palestinians must get used to the fact that “Jews are here, and will never ever share power with Palestinians.” It got Anne Coulter to thinking: “Can we do that (too)?” Can we shoot some refugees and immigrants at our southern border to make the political point that they are not wanted?

Follow me on Twitter @RolandNikles

No comments:

Post a Comment