By Gilad Atzmon
A few days ago, British Chief of Defence Staff General Sir David Richards admitted that victory in Afghanistan is unachievable. "In conventional war,” said Richards, “defeat and victory is very clear cut and is symbolised by troops marching into another nation’s capital."
It took a few years for British military elites to admit that the war in Afghanistan cannot lead anywhere: a valuable lesson to learn from mid to late 20th century warfare, is that conventional military might cannot easily defeat mass civilian resistance.
It is interesting to reflect too, that the Jewish state has exercised a ‘strategy’ of occupation for sixty two years — and for some reason the penny has still failed to drop. The Israelis are still convinced that they can manage to knock down the resilient Palestinians using siege, indiscriminate killing, carpet bombardment and chemical warfare.
More and more Israeli soldiers of all ranks are directly involved in an endless list of crimes — some stop pregnant women from receiving urgent medical attention , while others drop bombs on populated neighbourhoods. Some use children as human shields, while a few perform executions of peace activists. And others just feed the cannons with white phosphorus shells.
The perpetrators of these crimes are actually subject to universal jurisdiction laws. They can be detained everywhere around the world. They may end their life in jail.
A few brave Israelis must be very concerned with the moral condition of their state, because a few days ago, a document identifying 200 Israeli soldiers suspected of war crimes leaked out of Israel. It made it to the internet. The list included the names, ranks, military posts, pictures and addresses.
The people who leaked the information and put it on the net stated that the names that followed were “the direct perpetrators, agents for the state of Israel that in Dec.- Jan. 2008- 2009 attacked scores of people in the besieged Gaza. The people listed… held positions of command at the time of the attack therefore not only did they perform on behalf of a murderous state mechanism but actively encouraged other people to do the same. They bear a distinctive personal responsibility. They range from low-level field commanders to the highest echelons of the Israeli army. All took an active and direct role in the offensive.”
On the 17th I was quick to refer to the story: I posted a link to the Israeli War Criminal site on my writing page. On the 18th, I was falsely accused by the Israeli News Channel (Channel 10) and a few other Israeli blogs as being the one behind the publication of the names and the faces.
Needless to mention that this fact didn’t make me overwhelmingly popular in Israel. My email box looked like an Israeli war zone, and one of my recent youtube clips that was screened by the Israeli TV soon became a platform for Israeli vile ugliness.
It all reminded me why I left Israel. It rang a bell. It reminded me why I decided years ago never to step foot in that doomed place ever again — The Israelis were desperate and angry. They needed someone to blame. And after all, ‘blaming someone’ is far easier than admitting that something is systematically and categorically wrong at home.
On the 19th, the Israeli news channel managed to get hold of me: They were trying to trace the whistle blower. I obviously couldn’t help them; nor would I like to help them. As far as I am aware, no one knows who the people behind the publication of the list are. Though initially the Israelis claimed that the list was fabricated and included many names that had nothing to do with the crimes in Gaza (2008-9), the Israeli media soon admitted that the list was leaked from an IDF source and was probably genuine.
I tried to point out to the Israeli Channel 10 researcher that the publication of the list is the best thing that has happened to Israel for years: The list is a clear signal for Israeli future combatants. It is there to suggest to them that non-ethical conduct may bear some heavy and direct consequences. Such recognition is vital for Israelis so they can start to amend their path and find a way to live in peace with their neighbours.
One may also find it strange that in the so called ‘only democracy in the Middle East’, a list of 200 suspected war criminals is leaked — and the entire media is chasing a whistle blower instead of engaging with the real story. It shows clearly a society that is rapidly drifting away from any form of recognition of international law, let alone ethical awareness.
However, I know very well why the Israelis are so furious — People around the world do not realise that for Israelis, the Jewish state is nothing but a prison. As much as the Israelis claim to love their state, there is nothing they love more than leaving it behind, and I guess that the Israelis are starting to grasp the true meaning of the de- legitimisation of their state: It is now reaching a point of no return, and it has become personal, because the people on the list will have to think twice before they set foot on a plane.
Interestingly, the people who published the list used a tactic that was used by Jewish and Zionist institutes after WWII: Instead of chasing leaders and military commanders, the Nazi hunters had collated information about ordinary people — the low ranking officers, the soldiers, the guards; those ordinary people who had perpetrated crimes against humanity.
This tactic proved to be effective in incriminating generations of Europeans as vile anti-Semites. After the war, European guilt was quickly translated into Zionist power.
Clearly, the people behind the Israeli War Criminal list leak are letting Israel taste its own medicine: By listing 200 soldiers of all ranks, the message is clear — the Israeli society itself is deeply ill. It is not just the people at the top, it is actually the very ordinary ones. Rather than Israel — it is actually the ‘Israeli’. The malaise seems to be deeply imbued in the society and its culture.
In the case of Germany and other European nations, it was Israel and Jewish leaders who were given the choice of whether they wanted to forgive, or withhold forgiveness.
I guess the fate of Israel is similar — Yet now it is the Palestinians and only the Palestinians who can save the Israelis from themselves and their brutality. It is only the Palestinians who are entitled to pardon Israeli criminals. The more crimes Israel commits in the present — the more Israelis are dependent on Palestinian’s future kindness.
Once the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for Israeli war crimes is founded in Palestine, it will be the Palestinian people who decide who to pardon.
– Gilad Atzmon is a writer and jazz musician living in London. He is the author of several books. His latest CD is In Loving Memory of America. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Visit: www.gilad.co.uk.