By William A. Cook
“And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the Lord. … shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?” (Jeremiah 9:3, 5:29)
Nothing in the past 60 years revealed the true face of Israel to the world at large (and perhaps to the Lord above) as its illegal invasion of Lebanon. Never before has the Israeli government allowed the world to witness the depth of its brutal aggression as it defied international law with its collective punishment of the innocent. At no time in the past has Israel lost control of the flow of information allowed into or out of Israel and the occupied territories until it abandoned its borders and invaded Lebanon. That mistake ripped away the veil of “victim hood” that the Israeli propaganda machine had constructed around the tiny, beleaguered state beset with fanatics intent on erasing it “from the map” and suicide bombers that threatened death in the streets.
For a full month the world watched as Israel let loose the enormous power of its military might on small towns, on cities, on roads and bridges, on electric power plants and water supply stations, on ports and ships, on oil tanks and beaches, and on the innocent who fled by car, truck, and foot. The condemnation from the world communities appeared universal, until one turned to America. Here our representatives crawled before AIPAC begging them to pen a resolution that would show our absolute commitment to the devastation being wrought on the Lebanese.
Fortunately, our representatives do not represent the American people any more than our main stream media represents what the people of the United States feel regarding the state without mercy, the reprehensible state of Israel. Indeed, the Jewish state of Israel does not represent the Jews of America. Listen to what Jews with a conscience say to the state of Israel: “There is no Jewish safety, nor claims to justice, reason, or equity, beyond Jewish commitment to the unconditional safety and liberation of the peoples of Palestine, Lebanon and the other Arab and Muslim countries currently under attack by Israel, the U.S. and its allies.” Real Jews, those committed to the morals that give strength to Judaism, demand of Israel that “(1) it stop its brutal siege on Gaza and on Lebanon and call for an unconditional cease fire; (2) it stop expansion of the Israeli Wall of Separation, dismantle the completed sections, and completely withdraw from Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem; (3) the United States support the United Nations resolutions demanding that Israel uphold international law and support the sanctions against Israel necessary to enforce these resolutions; (4) the United States end military and economic aid to Israel; (5) that Israel support reparations for the Palestinian and Lebanese people for the death and destruction they have suffered and for the aid towards the rebuilding of their countries.” (Petition for U.S. Jewish Solidarity with Muslims and Arab Peoples).
Once the state of Israel realized that its mask of “victim hood” had been lifted and that the world had turned against its atrocities, it quickly accepted intervention by the UN. But its belligerence and defiance of the United Nations and international law continues, most brutally in the millions of unexploded cluster bombs left for the displaced people of Lebanon when they returned home and with the ever present war planes that invade Lebanese air space daily. Now the TV cameras are gone. The world no longer watches the wanton slaughter. Yet Israel has not abandoned its slaughter in Palestine; it’s now into the fourth month, hidden behind the prison walls erected by Israel to keep the cameras out and the people in.
No one sees inside Gaza; no TV anchor man or woman goes to Gaza to show the world what true terror is; nothing seeps through the locked gates that strangle the people inside; nothing reveals to the outside world that Israel and the U.S. are systematically and silently starving over a million people who suffer intense malnutrition; no statistics reveal the rate of unemployment that devastates a people unable to send its produce out or bring goods in; no information tells the world that Israel prevents medical supplies from reaching the people, that hospitals operate on generators only, that medical staff have been murdered, that access to care has been curbed; no one explains to the world the crippling impact this imprisonment has on the minds and souls of children who live in constant fear beneath the boots of an occupying army; no one talks about this calculated genocide behind walls as impenetrable as those at Auschwitz-Birkenau. No one is witness to this nation without mercy.
Inside Palestine there is a group that monitors the abominations committed on behalf of the Jewish state by the IDF, the Palestine Center for Human Rights. Consider just a handful of the statistics they have gathered that are relevant to the siege of Gaza. For the past four months the state of Israel has wrecked havoc on the people of Gaza killing over 320, roughly one third the number Israel slaughtered in Lebanon, including about 60 children, an abomination in any language. Two Israeli soldiers have been killed. As this sixth year of the Israeli occupation of Palestine comes to an end, the IDF killed 3859 Palestinians, 3069 of them civilians (79%). In this last year, Israel killed 504 Palestinians, 398 civilians and 93 children (23%). In targeted killings, Israeli language for assassinations, 376 died, 209 civilians not targeted, including 71 children. Roughly 80% of those killed by Israelis are civilians (PCHR Reports).
Why mention such statistics: Americans never see them, their Congress is immune to them, and the United Nations is powerless to act since the United States, the power behind Israel, vetoes any action raised against this state that has no mercy. I mention these facts for two reasons, to mark the most recent and evident atrocity executed by the state of Israel against the people of Palestine, especially those trapped in the prison of Gaza, and to protest the absence of debate about the perils to the United States brought about by our Congress and the Executive branch’s absolute support for the state of Israel as it carries out untold illegal acts of collective punishment on the people of Palestine.
Let’s put it plainly: Israel is the real “axis of evil,” the primary cause that has brought forth on the United States the terror it fears, as the 9/11 Commission understood but did not report. This government of the Bush administration, working with a Congress that capitulates to the desires of the American Israeli Political Action Committee, not only supports but encourages the outrages committed by this state without mercy. Perhaps we should not be surprised by this, after all this Congress on September 28th passed the Military Commissions Act which, like the laws existing in Israel, “codifies racial and political discrimination, legalizes kidnaping and torture of those the government deems its political enemies, and eliminates habeas corpus – the ancient precept that prevents the police from arresting and holding without cause – a basic protection common to all modern legal systems, and one that dates to the Magna Carta.” (“America’s Nuremberg Laws,” Ted Rall, Commondreams 10/12/06)
It is precisely because this government supports an apartheid state that employs draconian and manifestly illegal laws in the areas it occupies that has turned the Arab countries of the mid-east and, with an ever growing hostility to America’s arrogant hypocrisy in its support of Israel, the nation states of the EU and Asia against the United States.
What is the true nature of this state of Israel that commands the allegiance of the American people?
It is a state without mercy, a state without morals, a state premised on racism, a state built on deception and lies,
*a state defiant of international law, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Geneva Conventions that apply to occupying powers,
*a state, unlike North Korea or Iran, the other identified Axis of Evil states, that has invaded neighboring states and occupies them,
*a state, unlike all nations in the mid-east, that possesses weapons of mass destruction including hundreds of nuclear weapons and refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty,
*a state that uses cluster bombs and internationally banned weapons of warfare, not only against the innocent people of Lebanon, but the defenseless people of Palestine,
*a state that proclaims itself above the law as it executes individuals without arrest, without charges brought, without counsel, without habeas corpus and trial by jury,
*a state that imprisons over 10,000 Palestinians without charge and without due process of law,
*a state that tortures those it imprisons,
*a state that constructs a wall, in defiance of the International Court of Justice and the United Nations, that encircles the Palestinians with full intention of decimating their economy and hence their livelihood as well as their chance to create a state of their own, while inflicting a psychological humiliation that is inhumane and in defiance of every principle of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
*a state that has systematically confiscated, appropriated, annexed, and assimilated virtually all land belonging to the Palestinians in a 60 year period of time leaving them approximately 14% of their original land making it the greatest visible land theft known to human kind in our day,
*a state whose laws protect a group that belongs to a religion and denies equality of citizenship to all others including the indigenous people of the land,
*a state that has defied more than 160 UNGA and 39 UNSC Resolutions demanding it act as a civilized state abiding by international law and protocol,
*a state that will not tolerate interference by the UN in its calculated genocide of the Palestinian people,
*a state that, through its Zionist supporters in America, particularly AIPAC, influences U.S. policy in the mid-east that has resulted in the unlawful invasion of Iraq and irrational economic and political procedures against Syria and Iran,
*a state that has convinced our Congress that it provide billions of dollars to ensure that the state of Israel continues this genocide of the Palestinian people,
*a state that proclaims itself a democracy but is not and, with malicious intent, confiscates the money belonging to a democratically elected government in Palestine and arrests their representatives without charge or trial,
*a state that proclaims peace but creates conditions that prevent peace,
*a state that, like the U.S. under Bush, has reached the nadir of the civilized state, a return to lawless barbarism inflicted on the weak by the strong, the imposition of the will of the few on the many,
*and, finally, in all brazen hypocrisy, a state that cries to the world that it is the victim of unspeakable cruelty and in constant peril of obliteration by forces within and without. And we wonder why the U.S. is castigated throughout the world when it supports this rogue state, this state without mercy.
Consider what Israel has done to the Palestinians. It has disfranchised a people in full defiance of international law when, in 1967, the Israeli government declared and treated inhabitants of occupied Palestine as non-citizens and foreign residents. Residents absent during this time period, approximately 250,000, were not allowed to return. The IDF withdrew IDs from thousands of Palestinians when their visas expired thus disfranchising them making them permanent residents but not citizens.”Today, more than half of the eight million or so Palestinians are considered to be de jure stateless persons.” The state of Israel created these conditions by issuing three laws: the Absentees’ Property Law, the Law of Return (that granted citizenship to Jews from anywhere in the world and denied Palestinians right of return), and the Israel Citizenship Law. These laws “nullified the rights of the displaced non-Jewish population.” Yet, Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 (to which Israel is a signatory) declares that “everyone has the right to a nationality.” These actions have resulted in devastating conditions for Palestinians both economically and psychologically. (Abbas Shiblak, “Palestine Displacement”). Israel as an occupying power acted in defiance of international law.
From its very founding the state of Israel contained the seeds of apartheid. “The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel – known as ‘Israel’s Declaration of Independence – does not declare Israel an independent State, nor does it declare Israel a sovereign State, it rather declares Israel a Jewish State … the Jewish State in the political Zionist sense of the term was to be an apartheid state.” (Uri Davis, Apartheid Israel). Dr. Davis refers particularly to the illegalities committed by Israel against the Palestinians by noting the acts of “ethnic cleansing of the majority of the native indigenous Palestinian Arab people from the territories that came under the control of the Israeli army and razing some 400 Palestinian rural and urban localities to the ground …” and the plantation of Jewish settlements and subsequent annexation by the State in “violation of both the UN Charter and of international law.” He further stipulates that “Israeli claims to west Jerusalem, Safad or Jaffa … are as thoroughly invalid as Israeli claims to East Jerusalem, Hebron or Gaza …” In short, the present state of Israel as proclaimed by its current government does not legally exist and has not been legally sanctioned by the international community.
Anyone with eyes to see traveling from West Jerusalem to East Jerusalem cannot help but grasp the intentional and cynically calculated manner by which the Israeli state destroys the mental and physical well being of the Palestinian people. Herded like cattle, branded with ID cards, deprived of normal conveyance, forced to stand in long lines in intense heat or freezing cold, humiliated by teenagers dressed in uniforms and wielding an arrogant and insulting tongue, the people move back and forth between the squalor of their cramped homes and the splendor of the new Jerusalem, constructed in good measure with American tax payer money. Now, the people of Gaza, after four months of siege, unable to act in their own behalf since the Israeli military controls all access and egress from this sliver of land, one of the most congested in the world, await the inevitable – a slow agonizing journey into malnutrition, disease, depression and death.
Consider, finally, what must be considered the two most glaring acts of torture perpetrated by the Israelis on both the inhabitants of the West Bank and Gaza: the Walls that imprison them and the demolitions that eradicate their homes. Under Sharon and Olmert, the Jewish state has moved to systematically incarcerate the entire population, to imprison them collectively against international law and the UN resolutions. An occupying force has responsibility to provide for the welfare of those it occupies; not Israel. It establishes full military control by creating a Wall that confiscates not only land but natural resources from the people, particularly water and farm land, and then prevents them from selling what little remains by locking the gates that give access to the outside world.
Add to the torture inflicted on the people by the Wall, the introduction of a policy of home demolition that has resulted in the displacement of 80% of the Palestinians from what is now called Israel, and the viciousness of Zionist policies to eradicate the Palestinians from their “historic land,” becomes manifest, not to the outside world that never sees this policy in action, but to those who have been forcefully evacuated from their homes and land. This is a form of collective punishment, “either for ‘deterrence’ or for purposes of intimidation.”
Throughout Israel homes continue to be demolished. I’ve had lunch prepared by the displaced family in a home that had been demolished three times, always at night without warning, always with the children clinging to their parents as the bulldozers ram the walls and tear apart the home they were forced to evacuate. This home, built to house a family that could not get a permit to build, a policy that Israel enforces in order to eliminate Palestinians from land Israel wishes to confiscate, rebuilt its home with the help of international groups and peace loving Israelis, until they were finally forced to rebuild their home as a “peace center” to which outside groups were invited so they could witness the consequences of Israel’s demolition policy.
“Israel is the only Western country and Jerusalem the only city that systematically deny permits and demolish houses of a particular national group. These actions, reminiscent of apartheid-era South Africa and the Serbs in Kosovo, clearly violate international covenants of human rights.” (Jeff Halper, “The Message of the Bulldozer”). “The Global Strategy for Shelter to the year 2000, adopted by the UN General Assembly (Resolution 43/181. 20 December 1988), declares that ‘The right to adequate housing is universally recognized by the community of nations. Governments [must] accept a fundamental obligation to protect and improve houses and neighborhoods, rather than damage or destroy them.”
When torture is undertaken to elicit information that might reveal future harm to the torturer, one might excuse the act by denying the reality that no truth comes from the mouth of one in pain; but when torture is done for the sheer delight of witnessing pain and suffering, of delighting in the humiliation inflicted on the weak and helpless, of sick enjoyment derived by seeing children stricken in fear, mothers torn with grief, old women and aged men fallen in the ruins of what had been their life’s work, their fruit trees demolished, their homes leveled, their belongings strewn and broken beneath the crumbled walls, then there is no human excuse for such acts, only the recognition that people who can inflict pain will and will defend their sickness with excuses that have no basis in civilized justice. The Nazis justified their experiments with a scientific rationale that mocked the reality of their evil. We now witness a justification of an equal evil as securing the safety of a population that has broken every known civilized law against another people to protect it from the wrath of those it has devastated. Such is the unmitigated gall of the state without mercy.
Having arrived now at the reality behind the mask Israel and the Bush administration present to the international community and especially the American people, it behooves us to consider solutions to the dilemma that creates the backlash America faces and, indeed, Britain, that has cast its lot with us, as they see their soldiers become the icons to destroy rather than the icons to thank for bringing “freedom” to Iraq and the “new Mid-East.” By yoking itself to the Zionist cause, the eradication of the Palestinians and the theft of their land, the U.S. President and the Congress have ensured a continuing supply of “terrorists” for years to come.
Ironically, the international community has faced this issue over and over again in the UNGA and the UNSC in the 100s of Resolutions it has placed before Israel, yet nothing is done because the U.S. vetoes the voice of outrage there. And in muting the voice of the UN, the U.S. has silenced the voice of the main stream media and hence the voice of the American people. But, as we have noted, the moral conscience of true Jews has spoken on this deceit and presented a plan for change. It appears as well that in America the people have become conscious of the masks worn by their representatives, the righteous face of Tom DeLay, Dick Cunningham, Denny Hastert, Mark Foley, the whole crew that proclaim their morals before their constituents and then slither behind closed doors to commit their sins.
The Israeli people have yet to show similar signs of an awakening. But the mask has been torn off and fear of exposure, of loss of the Zionist cause, of loss of Judaism’s cohesiveness hangs in the balance. The clarion voices of Uri Davis, Uri Avnery, Gideon Levy, Ilan Pappe, in the midst of the battlefield, calls the Jews for peace to rise once again so that justice can be done to the Palestinians.
Whatever crew of new representatives the American voters put in office this November must not become the lackeys of AIPAC and march to the drum of Kadima. 39% of Americans know the danger of this linkage with evil, with a nation driven by zealots and merciless men. They know the destructive power of yoking this nation to one that is racist and driven by an ideology of destruction, oblivious to international law and human rights. It’s the people who must demand that those they put in office serve them, not themselves, that they protect our Bill of Rights, not dismantle it, that they respect and uphold the values collectively agreed upon in 1948 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, not join with forces who have demonstrated their desire to ethnically cleanse a people of their land to enlarge their own. Ultimately, it’s the voice of the people in the U.S. that must join forces with the voices of the international community as represented in the General Assembly and force Israel and the U.S. government to acquiesce to justice in favor of genocide.
The American moralist, Nathaniel Hawthorne, in the first half of the 19th century, captured the plight of the innocent Young Goodman Brown as he was led deep into the black forest to witness man’s inhumanity to man, and, while still young, came home a wiser but bitter man. What he witnessed was the hypocrisy of those who proclaim their goodness while they inflict their wickedness, a curse perhaps that inflicts all of human kind and for that reason he lived out the rest of his life in gloom and horror. We too can witness the wickedness that one people inflict on another if we will but open our eyes, see what the TV cameras saw when the veil was lifted in Lebanon, understand the inconceivable wrath that envelopes the Palestinians, done with the blessing of this Bush government in our name, and cry out to the Lord that his soul be avenged on such a nation as this, that justice be done and genocide cease for that alone holds in our time the promise of peace.
-William Cook is a professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California and author of Tracking Depception: Bush’s Mideast Policy He can be reached at: cookb@ULV.EDU.