This time we went too far – Truth and Consequences of the Gaza Invasion (Norman G Finkelstein) [2010]

this time we went too far

Detta är inte en recension i egentlig mening. Detta är heller ingen vanlig bok som de flesta andra. Snarare en dokumentation, en uppgörelse. Sidorna är inte tänkta att övertyga läsaren med argumentationskonst, utan snarare att överväldiga en med de förgörande bevis mot den israeliska krigsmakten som finns, för deras massaker (nota bene, inte krig) i Gaza 2008-09. Boken är alldeles oundgänglig för att diskutera och bemöta de vanligaste påståendena som finns om konflikten: att det skulle ha något överhuvudtaget att göra med försvar/Israels säkerhet att göra, att båda sidor gjorde sig skyldiga till liknande brott (”det finns alltid två sidor” – det stämmer: 1 417 döda på ena sidan, varav 400 barn – och 13 döda på den andra, varav tio militärer), att Hamas skulle ha använt sig av mänskliga sköldar, att IDF inte avsiktligt skulle ha angripit civila mål, etc i all oändlighet. Det är även en genomgång av Goldstone-rapporten (tyvärr inte med Goldstones senare reträtt från rapportens slutsatser, som ju inträffade efter bokens publicering) och Mavi Marmara-incidenten. Finkelstein slår i efterordet fast att arabländerna missat ett gyllene tillfälle att dramatiskt påverka den internationella opinionen, men att massakerns extrema omfattning och båtattackens oerhörda fräckhet i sig ändå räcker för att ge efterklang i historien. Som NF skriver: attacken har med kraft slungat in frågorna om brotten mot palestinierna i den offentliga debatten, och tvingat många av Israels tidigare starkaste anhängare att ta avstånd – inte minst yngre generationer av judar och israelerna själva.

~~~~~ I viss kronologisk ordning, kommer här lärdomarna: ~~~~~

  • 1947: FN Generalförsamling godkänner delningen av Palestina i en judisk (56% av landet) och en arabisk stat (44%)
  • 1948 war => 80% of land; except WB (Jordan) and Gaza (Egypt) (today 1,5 million on 25 miles x five miles of land)
  • Fedayeen (the martyrs) = Gazan guerrillas (under Egyptian authority).
  • Israel tried to lure Nasser into war 1955 with a cross-border attack that killed 40 Egyptians
  • Benny Morris on the Israeli occupation of Gaza 56-57: ”…Israel intended to stay… and its rule would not be overthrown or ended through civil disobedience and civil resistance, which were easily crushed. The only real option was armed struggle… like all occupations, Israel’s was founded on brute force, repression and fear, collaboration and treachery, beatings and torture chambers, and daily intimidation, humiliation and manipulation…”
  • 1st intifada (1987) triggered by road accident killing four Palestinians; Morris: ”…persistent campaign of civil resistance, with strikes and commercial shutdowns, accompanied by violent (though unarmed) demonstrations…”
  • By the early 1990s Israel had successfully repressed the intifada. It subsequently entered into an agreement secretly negotiated in Oslo, Norway, with the [PLO] and ratified in September 1993 on the White House lawn… removing its troops from direct contact with Palestinians and replacing them with Palestinian subcontractors. ”One of the meanings of Oslo, former Israeli foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami wrote, ”was that the PLO was… Israel’s collaborator in the task of stifling the [first] intifada and cutting short what was clearly an authentically democratic struggle for Palestinian independence.”
  • ”If I were a Palestinian,” Ben-Ami, one of Israel’s chief negotiators at Camp David, later commented, ”I would have rejected Camp David as well”… [The miscontent and uproar led to the second intifada, in September 2000. Talks in Taba, Egypt, in 2001 came the closest to an agreement, yet were called off unilaterally by Ehud Barak.]
  • …the first Hamas suicide bombing of the second intifada did not occur until five months into Israel’s relentless bloodletting.
  • [Gaza pullout in 2005 (both settlers and IDF soldiers out):] In an interview Sharon advisor Dov Weisglass laid out the rationale behind the disengagement: it would relieve international, especially American, pressure on Israel, thereby ”freezing… the political process.”
  • [Death of Arafat, ”who, for all his opportunism, seems to have carried in him a residue of his nationalist past” -> the PLO loses even more support -> election of Hamas in January 2006 (elections that were ”completely honest and fair”, according to Jimmy Carter.]
  • 1956 Suez war
    • [Quotes from Morris:] When ”Egypt refused to fall into the successive traps set by Dayan,” Israel colluded with Great Britain and France to attack Egypt outright-
  • 1967 war
    • After Israel threatened and laid plans to attack Syria in May 1967… Nasser moved Egyptian troops into the Sinai and announced that the Straits of Tiran would be closed to Israeli shipping… Nasser did not even enforce the blockade: vessels were passing freely through the Straits within days of his announcement.
  • 1982 Lebanon war
    • “had been preceded by more than a year of effective ceasefire with the PLO,” but after murderous Israeli provocations, the last of which left as many as 200 civilians dead (including 60 occupants of a Palestinian children’s hospital), the PLO finally  retaliated, causing a single Israeli casualty.
  • 2006 Lebanon war
    • [After humiliating ejection of IDF from Lebanon by Hezbollah in May 2000, Israel was looking for revenge…] …and in summer 2006 found a pretext when Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers…
    • Israel deployed 30 000 soldiers against 2 000 Hezbollah fighters, in order to completely incapacitate Hezbollah – rather than stop cross-border attacks – an overly ambitious goal?
    • [Quotes unnamed American military analyst:] ”…the IAF, the arm of the Israeli military that had once destroyed whole air forces in a few days, not only proved unable to stop Hezbollah rocket strikes but even to do enough damage to prevent Hezbollah’s rapid recovery… failed to overtake Hezbollah strongholds, even those close to the border… the kidnapped Israeli soldiers were neither rescued nor released…”
    • …Israel’s capacity to terrorize slipped another notch. It was time to find another target, and Gaza, poorly defended as ever, fit the bill.
    • [HRW concluded that:] ”…Hezbollah fighters had not mixed with the civilian population or taken other actions to contribute to the targeting of a particular home or vehicle by Israeli forces.” [Illustrated by the fact that most key battles took place in land devoid of civilians, according to a U.S. Army War College study, which by the way found no ground for the claim that Hezbollah used human shields.]
    • Yet, numerous studies have shown, and Israeli officials themselves conceded that, during its guerrilla war against the Israeli occupying army, Hezbollah only targeted Israeli civilians after Israel targeted Lebanese civilians.
  • Operation Cast Lead
    • Initiated 27 December 2008
    • A week of air raids, then an air and ground assault
    • January 18 ceasefire
    • Motives: Israeli elections February 2009? NF dismisses the argument of electoral motives; decisions to go to war are bi-partisan.
      • restoring Israel’s deterrence capacity ([Foreign minister Tzipi Livni] declared that she was “proud” of her decisions during the Gaza invasion and would “repeat” every one of them because they were “meant to restore Israel’s deterrence and did restore Israel’s deterrence.”
      • ‘counter the threat posed by a new Palestinian ”peace offensive”‘
      • break the back of popularly elected Hamas, who had risen in the eyes of the people after negotiating and maintaining a ceasefire (the ”threat of a peace offensive”).
    • Civilian targets:
      • 280 schools and kindergartens,
      • agricultural targets (as Chomsky has pointed out, to aggravate the food crisis): factories, infrastructure, crops, cultivated land, cattle, the only flour mill still working, etc.
      • mosques, minarets
      • hospitals (Amnesty and Goldstone report both conclude there is no ground for claiming fighters used hospitals for attacking)
      • UN compounds and building (IDF behaving like rabid dogs)
    • IDF company commander: “When we suspect that a Palestinian fighter is hiding in a house, we shoot it with a missile and then with two tank shells, and then a bulldozer hits the wall,” a senior IDF officer told Haaretz. “It causes damage but it prevents the loss of life among soldiers.”
    • The wholesale destruction was to a large extent deliberate,” Amnesty similarly concluded, “and an integral part of a strategy at different levels of the command chain, from high-ranking officials to soldiers in the field.”
    • “It is very dangerous for the Israel Defense Forces to believe it won the war when there was no war,” a respected Israeli strategic analyst warned. “In reality, not a single battle was fought during the 22 days of fighting.”
    • Gideon Levy recalled “the surreal scene at the height of the brutal assault on Gaza when the heads of the European Union came to Israel and dined with the prime minister in a show of unilateral support for the side wreaking the killing and destruction.”
    • IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi told the Knesset that ”IDF… doesn’t use white phosphorus.” [Used primarily as smoke screen to obscure military movements.]
    • Aftermath
      • critical reports emerged mostly after the attack; IDF made the world’s major news outlets spread its version for the first ”crucial 48 hours”
      • ‘Cordesman report’ (In essence: ”the laws of war are complex and difficult to apply; Israel didn’t break any”. NF: if they are so difficult, how can he be so sure?)
      • Contrary to repeated allegations by Israeli officials of the use of “human shields,” Amnesty International found no evidence that Hamas or other Palestinian fighters directed the movement of civilians to shield military objectives from attacks. It found no evidence that Hamas or other armed groups forced residents to stay in or around buildings used by fighters, nor that fighters prevented residents from leaving buildings or areas which had been commandeered by militants.

      • [Amnesty:] The fact that the soldiers used [antitank mines]—which required them to leave their tanks, walk between buildings and enter houses in order to place the explosive charges inside the houses along the supporting walls—indicates that they felt extremely confident that there were no Palestinian gunmen inside or around the houses. It also indicates their confidence that there were no tunnels under the houses which gunmen could use to capture them, and that the houses were not booby-trapped.
      • It is emphatically untrue, however, that no Israeli was punished for crimes committed during the Gaza invasion: one soldier was sentenced to prison time for stealing a Palestinian’s credit card.

      • Goldstone:
        • [Self-declared Zionist, on the Board of Governors of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.] Because of Goldstone’s credentials, Israel couldn’t credibly play its usual cards – ”anti-Semite,” ”self-hating Jew,” ”Holocaust denier” – against him. In effect his persona neutralized the ideological weapons Israel had honed…
        • original mission was to scrutinize Israeli violations, Goldstone broadened this scope to also encompass the Palestinian side
        • The ”disproportionate destruction and violence against civilians” were part of a ”deliberate policy,” as were the ”humiliation and dehumanization of the Palestinian population.”
        • According to the ever more pathetic Alan Dershowitz of Harvard, Goldstone is ”a traitor to the Jewish people”, an ”evil, evil man” and on a par with Mengele.
        • [NF attributes great importance to the report:] …the Goldstone Report marked the end of one era and the emergence of another: the end of an apologetic Jewish liberalism… also marked the emergence of a new era in which the human rights dimension of the Israel-Palestine conflict moved center-stage alongside -and even temporarily displacing – the fatuous ”peace process.” […] The Goldstone Report catapulted Israel’s human rights record into the court of public opinion, and concomitantly the damning findings of human rights organizations have now become politically consequential.
        • [In a newly added epilogue, NF bemoans the handling of the Report; Arab leaders missed their opportunity to turn world opinion, while Israel after initially attacking it, turned and administered a few ”punishments” and promising future restraint, while IDF cried over its new ”shackles”.] By Act IV of these wretched histrionics U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was praising Israel’s ”significant progress investigating allegations of misconduct by the IDF”…
      • [B’Tselem] devoted twice as much space to Hamas’s ”grave breach” (or ”war crime”) of taking Shalit ”hostage” as to all Israeli breaches (none of which it denoted as ”grave” or a ”war crime”) during the Gaza massacre; and criticized key findings of the Goldstone Report
    • “Little of the extensive damage [Israel] caused to homes, civilian infrastructure, public services, farms and businesses has been repaired,” 16 respected humanitarian and human rights organizations reported in a comprehensive study released one year after the invasion. “This is not an accident; it is a matter of policy.”
  • ”Peaceful Settlement on the Question of Palestine” (UN General Assembly). Besides US-Israel, Australia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Nauru and Tuvalu have been casting negative votes.
    • Affirming the principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war…
    • Reaffirming the illegality of the Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem…
  • ICJ
    • In 2002 Israel started building a physical barrier that encroached deeply into the West Bank… U.N. General Assembly requested that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) clarify the ”legal consequences arising from the construction of the wall…”
      • The Court concludes that the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (including East Jerusalem) have been established in breach of international law.
  • Mavi Marmara:
    • Just days before, Turkey had taken steps together with Brazil to negotiate with Iran ! A show of force – that’s why commandos were used in the dead of night. However: The breadth of Turkey’s rift with Israel should not be exaggerated. The extensive commercial ties between the two countries have to date not been touched. (Turkey is Israel’s biggest commercial partner nation in the region.)
    • NYT editors called the assault unacceptable, called for the lifting of the blockade of Gaza, and criticized the Obama administration for their ”tepid response” (!)
    • [Quoting D Rosenblum:] ”Both [Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Barak] were steeped in the instant heroism mentality and the commando spirit: the ethos in which a military force shows up at the height of a crisis like a deus ex machina and in a single stroke slices through the Gordian knot… And the greater the number of successive failed missions, the greater the longing for the next redemptive mission that would heal the trauma and the bad trip of its predecessor. They are the responses of addicts who are repeatedly denied their fix: the perfect IDF operation.”
    • …three of them not only allowed themselves to be captured but photographs of them being nursed circulated throughout cyberspace. Israeli soldiers – and commandos above all – are not supposed to be taken alive, especially after Gilad Shalit’s capture turned into a national trauma.
    • …one, two, three, many flotillas…
    • It might finally be worth noting an odd paradox in the Report’s [UN Report on the incident] central conclusions: the shaheeds plotted and armed themselves to kill Israelis but didn’t even manage to kill those in their custody, whereas the Israelis took every precaution and exercised every restraint not to kill anyone but ended up killing nine persons. Lest it be thought that Israel was unmoved by the passengers’ ordeal, the Report duly records that a military court sentenced a corporal to five months in prison for stealing a laptop computer, two camera lenses and a compass.
  • By using disproportionate, unimaginable violence against civilian populations, IDF:
    • undermines the political support of the enemy; even if IDF loses militarily (eg. 2006), the enemy (Hezbollah) will have a hard time convincing people of their victory when their homes are lying in rubbles.
    • educates the civilians that ”Hezbollah/Hamas/etc can’t protect you”
    • The pictures of destruction were intended more for Israeli eyes than those of Israel’s enemies, eyes starved of revenge and national pride.
    • show the fighters and the civilians that IDF does not care about international law or opinion
  • ‘Legitimacy’ of Israel recognized by few – if any – Arab countries (cf Gandhi on Pakistan). NF asks: Why should Israel be recognized as a ‘Jewish state’, when a fourth of its citizens are non-Jewish?
  • Conclusions:
    • A history of wars
    • As long as the Palestinians throw stones and fire rockets, low international pressure for negotiations and peace. On the other hand, an organization that quells the terrorist attacks and works for peace must be met with the fiercest response.
    • NF is optimistic for the future, mainly because of the shift in public opinion (within 1. Israel 2. the (young) Jewish population in the US and 3. internationally). He has repeatedly pointed to the incompatibility of Israel’s gruesome behavior with its supporters ”liberal” values. Yet identifies a great risk in Israel’s ‘next war’; even a skirmish against Hezbollah could get out of hand due to the prestige, soon involving Iran and later on forcing a US intervention.
    • Gandhi demanded of satyagrahis that they seek out martyrdom at the hands of their oppressors: for, the whole point of nonviolent resistance was to prick the public conscience into action against injustice.
  • hosanna = religiöst begrepp inom judeo-kristendom; rop på hjälp från högre makter
  • bellicosity = krigiskhet
  • desultory =
  • stalwart =

En reaktion på ”This time we went too far – Truth and Consequences of the Gaza Invasion (Norman G Finkelstein) [2010]

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