Gaza in crisis – reflections on Israel’s war against the Palestinians (Noam Chomsky, Ilan Pappé) [2010]

gaza in crisis

Jag tillåter recensionen att vara lika splittrad som boken är. För mig har denna bok inneburit nyansering av flera aspekter i konflikten. Ffa skillnader Gaza och Västbanken emellan:

  • WB större, mer resursrikt
  • Gaza mer militant, styrt av Hamas (valda 2007); WB av Fatah (under paraplyorganisationen PLO) som också är den internationellt erkända palestinska ”regeringen”.
  • Gaza kontrolleras av IDF som ‘open air prison’ (utan militär närvaro där), WB som ‘bantustans’ [Chomsky: ”though the term is misleading: South Africa needed the majority black work force, while Israel would be happy if the Palestinians disappeared, and its policies are directed to that end.”]

IP: extremhögern/republikanerna stödjer Israel av religiösa skäl (judarnas återkomst till det heliga landet är ett järtecken) medan AIPAC riktar sig ffa mot demokraterna. Medföljande historieomskrivning:

…Christian Zionists have constructed a historical narrative that describes the Muslim attitude to Christianity throughout the ages as a kind of a genocidal campaign… Hence, what were once hailed as moments of human triumph in the Middle East – the Islamic renaissance of the Middle Ages, the golden era of the Ottomans, the emergence of Arab independence and the end of European colonialism – were recast as the satanic, anti-Christian acts of heathens.

Pappé är bra på att prolematisera relationen mellan USA och Israel (främst den historiska, men även den nuvarande):

However, the State Department continued to refer to the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine as the root cause of the conflict… the United States demanded that Israel allow the repatriation of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees, regardless of the cause of their flight and not even pending the conclusion of a final settlement… secretary of state, John Foster Dulles, visited the area and reported that allowing the return of refugees was still physically possible. Even in Congress, the possibilities of resettlement on both sides of the River Jordan were discussed in earnest… But the Arab world did not endorse the plan and Israel rejected it…

IP; Nakbah:

Villages were surrounded on three flanks, and the fourth one was left open for flight and evacuation… many villagers remained in their houses – it was then that the massacres took place. This was the principal strategy of the Judaization of Palestine.

Of the approximately nine hundred thousand Palestinians living in the territories designated by the UN as a Jewish state only one hundred thousand remained on or near their lands and homes… Half the villages were erased from the face of the earth…

The Israelis’ collective memory, on the other hand, would depict the war as an act of a national liberation movement, fighting both British colonialism and Arab hostility… [diskursen om ”kriget” gjorde att massakrer fick ställas i strategiskt ljus, och blev därför mindre moraliskt fördömda]

…the continued denial of the Nakbah in the peace process was the main explanation for the failure of the Camp David summit, the consequence of which was the second uprising in the occupied territories… no Israeli negotiator would be allowed even to discuss the right of return of the Palestinian refugees to the homes they had occupied before 1948. The Knesset passed a law to this effect…

NC, in a text named Exterminate all the brutes (Sven Lindqvist – Utrota varenda jävel !):

[Operation Cast Lead sågs som en revansch efter nederlaget i Libanon 2006. Planeringen var mer noggrann (inklusive den föregående propagandan) och våldet brutalare än vanligt. NC betonar att ett av huvudmålen var att skapa en livsmedelskris (food crisis), genom att angripa växthus, åkrar, boskap, hönshus, trädgårdar, infrastruktur, osv.] …a few minutes to kill over two hundred people…

The meticulous planning also presumably included the termination of the assault… minimizing the (remote) threat that President Obama might have to say some words critical of these vicious U.S.-supported crimes.

Literally, the crimes [that the US and Israel were committing in Gaza] fall under the official U.S. government definition of ”terrorism”, but that designation does not capture their enormity. They cannot be called ”aggression,” because they are being conducted in occupied territories…

Israel abandoned Gaza in September 2005… It made more sense to turn all of Gaza into the world’s largest prison and to transfer settlers to the West Bank, much more valuable territory, where Israel is quite explicit about its intentions…

The international observers report that attacks on fishing boats began after the discovery of quite promising natural gas fields by the BG Group in 2000, in Gaza’s territorial waters.

After blaming Yasser Arafat for the breakdown of the Camp David negotiations, Clinton backtracked and recognized that the U.S.-Israeli proposals were too extreme to be acceptable to any Palestinian. In December 2000, he presented his ”parameters,” vague but more forthcoming. He then announced that both sides had accepted the parameters, while both expressed reservations. The two sides met in Taba, Egypt, in January 2001 – four months after the outbreak of the intifada… negotiations were canceled prematurely by Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak.

The siege of Gaza is total, not partial… it is vastly more harmful to Gazans than closing the Straits of Tiran [preceding the 1956 Suez Crisis] was to Israel. Supporters of Israeli doctrines and actions should therefore have no problem justifying rocket attacks on Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip. [Yet, not a single rocket was fired between cease-fire of June 2008 and IDF raids into Gaza in November.]


The struggle over historic memory is highly relevant to the debate about a one-state solution. Only the historical perspective reveals the reductionist nature of the two-state solution: the fact that ”Palestine” refers to only one-fifth of the land and about one-third of the Palestinians. [Later in the book:] The facts on the ground have rendered a two-state solution impossible a long time ago… There is already one state and the struggle is to change its nature and regime. [Intressant att ställa detta mot t.ex. Finkelstein – som ju brukar betona att en tvåstatslösning, i enlighet med ICJ’s beslut, Generalförsamlingens omröstningar, Arab Leagues förslag, etc. är det som ligger närmast till hands.]


As a result of these naval actions, Gaza’s fishing industry has virtually collapsed; fishing is impossible near shore because of the contamination caused by Israel’s regular attacks, including the destruction of power plants and sewage facilities.

Barack Obama’s June 4, 2009, Cairo address to the Muslim world kept pretty much to his well-honed ”blank slate” style – with little of substance, but presented in a personable manner that allows listeners to write on the slate what they want to hear.

Interesting disparity in NC’s and IP’s views on boycotts (IP sees them as a ”powerful outside voice”; NC finds that a necessary framework in the public mind – eg. in the case of Apartheid South-Africa – is lacking in Israel-Palestine’s case). Another disparity in their view on US support (IP tries to downplay the importance of US support in specific decisions and points to minor conflicts – eg. the humiliation of vice president Biden by announcing 1 600 new settlement houses during his stay – while NC maintains that the occupation is basically under the complete control of the US administration.


  • Jimmy Carters Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid belyste (enl NC det enda nya med boken) att Israel avfärdade Road Map (Oslo, 1993).
  • AIPAC – espionage: senior Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin dömd till 13 års fängelse för att ha vidarebefordrat topphemliga uppgifter om Iran till AIPAC
  • Institute for Near East Policy är AIPAC’s tankesmedja
  • Hans Morgenthau – German refugee – wrote Politics Among Nations in 1947; IP describes it as one of the fundamental books of realpolitik (became advisor to Ben-Gurion)
  • King Hussein and Jordan negotiating partner of Israel until PLO overtook this role (esp after Soviet collapse; earlier accusations of Soviet influence)
  • Israeli narrative focuses on >1967, ignoring the ethnic cleansing of 1948 [700 000 expelled]; that’s what Pappés scholarship is famous for illuminating (Ethnic Cleansing…). However, at some places he notes that Israeli intellectuals and politicans, rather than denying the ethnic cleansing, take pride in it and prescribe similar strategies for the future [”…Nakbah is not so much denied in Israel as cherished.”].
  • hasbara = Israeli term for propaganda, meaning ‘explanation’ in Hebrew !

  • bowdlerize: Thomas Bowdler, brittisk läkare och ”filantrop” på 17-1800-talen, som publicerade reviderade/censurerade versioner av Shakespeares texter

  • Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916: French and British diplomats partition the falling Ottoman Empire
  • [NC quoting Harvard scholar Sara Roy] Today, 96 percent of Gaza’s population of 1,4 million is dependent on humanitarian aid for basic needs.


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