By Dr. Ahmed Yousef – Gaza
Perhaps it is indeed time to bomb religious groups given their belief that heaven is their destination.
Regardless of whether their aim is peaceful coexistence or aggressive accession, spiritually-motivated activists such as Irish Republicans, Muslim Brethren, and Christian Democrats attract controversy at best, and often violent suppression. The most extreme groups, those that justify the unprovoked killing of others, understandably incur the wrath of the international community and are sanctioned, arrested or obliterated.
Except, of course, when it comes to Jewish fundamentalists, who have rarely been ostracized. Faith-based Israeli groups are as astounding in number as they are in opinion. There are anti-Zionists such as Edah Ha Chareidis, Satmar and Neurei Karta International; and Zioinist proponents such as Tsomet, Shas, Morasha, Shinui Ometz, Gush Emunim (Ne’emanei Eretz Yisrael), the Jewish National Front (Hayil), and the National Movement (Herut) among others. Some are defunct, such as Kach, Kahane Chai and Tehiya (Banai), though their members formed other groups, with the usual aim of building Greater Israel.
Even the most belligerent of these have enjoyed the Israeli government’s protection and encouragement; so much so that their beliefs are incorporated into official literature. For example, the training manual of the Israeli army’s Central Region Command contains the following injunction:
"When our forces come across civilians during a war or in hot pursuit or in a raid, so long as there is no certainty that those civilians are incapable of harming our forces, then according to Halakah [Jewish law] they may and even should be killed…. Under no circumstances should an Arab be trusted, even if he makes an impression of being civilized…. In war, when our forces storm the enemy, they are allowed and even enjoined by the Halakah to kill even good civilians.."
The late Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky noted such vitriol is rooted in Talmudic attitudes towards non-Jews:
“For religious Jews, the blood of non-Jews has no intrinsic value” because Jewish fanatics believe non-Jews have souls that “come entirely from the female part of the satanic sphere.” The same logic applies to expropriating land, which is not seen as stealing but rather a transfer from the satanic to the divine realms. Most chilling, Rabbi Israel Ariel, a leading fundamentalist, has used the Code of Maimonides, among Judaism’s greatest philosophers, to infer that “a Jew who killed a non-Jew is exempt from human judgment and has not violated the [religious] prohibition of murder.”
It is predictable then that the Israelis can callously kill over 820 Palestinians over a third of whom are women and children, particularly when fundamentalists permeate the highest ranks of government.
Nor is it surprising that both the Labour and Likud parties have strangled Gaza for years, reducing the flow of goods and aid into a trickle, particularly during last year’s Hamas-initiated ceasefire. Zionism rationalizes that even when pushed to the brink of starvation, non-Jews have no right to retaliate.
Thus, it seems, Israeli mutterings about pursuing peace are simply a ruse to buy time – a treachery enshrined in the Mossad’s motto: “By way of deception, thou shall do war.” Meeting envoys, sending delegations, listening to leaders are not actions intended to resolve conflict but to change equations, i.e., to reinstate the subservience of the 1960s.
The Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) cannot remain idle in the face of such institutionalized racism. Palestine will not become another Bosnia, awaiting a slothful international community to finally realize that Gaza is being ethnically cleansed.
Hamas has always sought a just truce. Those of the past have been time-limited to observe how committed the Israelis are to peace; yet to them a truce is merely a suspension of firepower. Hamas neither built illegal settlements, nor inhibited supply lines nor disrupted financial institutions as the Israelis continued to do before, during and since the armistice.
Therefore, it seems the only course for the international community to adopt is the bombing of fundamentalists, whatever their religious hue.
It is clear that attacking Hamas is tacitly sanctioned while civilian deaths, the statistical majority, are tolerated. If the world believes then that to kill Palestinians for their beliefs is tolerable, then it is time for Bush, Brown and Sarkosy to arm Hamas with the same concussion and cluster bombs bestowed upon the Israelis in order to neutralize the likes of Shas and the National Front; and if their children end up as collateral damage, perhaps that too will be met with powerfully penned legal papers.
– Dr. Ahmed Yousef is the Deputy of Foreign Minister and Former Senior Adviser to Prime Minister Ismail Haniyah in Gaza. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.