Kidnapping democracy in Palestine
As the raids continue the Israeli government spin goes into overdrive. They say the military operations are about the return of the kidnapped IDF soldier, Gilad Shalit, but its difficult to see this as anything but a pretext rather than motivating factor.
The bombing of bridges and power stations are part of the strategy to bring the entire Palestinian people to their knees in revenge for having the temerity to exist. Israel has never recognised willingly any right of the Palestinians to exist and it is only through the struggle of ordinary Palestinians primarily, and those who oppose the brutal policies of Israel abroad that there are any Palestinians left alive in Palestine at all.
Bombing fields and buildings has been part of an indiscriminate policy to make the life of those who live in Palestine intolerable. But the greater the repression gets the harder the resistance has become - and the more hardened to the loss of human life on the other side. Whilst the tactic of kidnapping this IDF soldier has clearly been counter-productive and is extremely problematic it is important to keep in mind that it is the policies of Israel that are ruthlessly intruding on every aspect of life of every man, woman and child who lives in Palestine, not the other way round. That what is occurring right now is many eyes for an eye, and is a good argument against the use of terrorism and political kidnapping.
The Israeli government have found international support recently in the form of a financial boycott against the Palestinian government because Palestinians presumptuously voted for the party the Western powers did not want to win. Unable to pay government workers, including doctors and nurses the Palestinian state infrastructure has collapsed and Israel has taken advantage of this time to begin a policy of bombing fields and open areas supposedly to prevent their use by 'terrorists' but in effect obliterating the ability of Palestinians to live a normal life or build the economy to drag themselves out of poverty.
This unrestrained policy has resulted in the killing of entire families, not targeted for death individually but because they simply ventured into areas (like beaches) that the IDF had chosen for bombardment.
The mass arrests of elected Hamas officials have nothing to do with the return of the kidnapped soldier and everything to do with a contempt for the Palestinian people as a whole, and make a mockery of increasingly meaningless terms like "democracy" and "the war on terror". In fact the pretext is being taken so far that jet fighters 'buzzed' the Presidential Palace in Syria - how does this contribute to the return of Gilad Shalit?
Green MEP Caroline Lucas stated that “Acts of collective punishment of the Palestinian people are a clear breach of international law and the Government make sure those responsible are brought to justice,” she went on “We are witnessing another humanitarian disaster, and the [UK] Government must use all means at its disposal to condemn all breaches of human rights and international law."
Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said that "This total war is proof of a premeditated plan. When they kidnapped the ministers they meant to hijack the government's position, but we say no positions will be hijacked, no governments will fall."
But as the raids continue Israel is refusing to come to terms with the fact that it is these very policies that have brought Hamas to power, that have hardened the hearts of Palestinians to any loss of life of IDF soldiers or Israeli citizens and to simply produce more of the same is to continue a cycle of repression and violence rather than to seek a genuine, if difficult, solution that brings peace and social justice to the region.
Who knows how many dead there will be at the end of this latest round of violence - in fact who knows how many dead there are right now - but what we can see is that this kind of action takes us further from any peaceable solution because it is the very nature of the Israeli state that is the problem.
Excellent blog on these and related issues http://www.jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com/
Al Ahram Return of the tanks
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