Agustin Velloso: Palestinians and the Gaza Experiment

By Agustin Velloso
Special to

Faced with the fear that things may get even worse, one must not lose sight of the causes of the events in Gaza, their connection with the situation in Lebanon and Iraq and above all the lies the media use to defend the interests of the West and Israel at the expense of the Palestinians.

An editorial of June 13th in Spain’s biggest circulation newspaper – probably a joint effort by Thomas Friedman, Victor Harel and Javier Solana – is a compendium of anti-Palestinian remarks, anti-Muslim feelings and racist arguments, whose use for university entrance examination should be obligatory as a means to judge the maturity of adolescents: "co-existence between the moderate Abbas and the government of Ismael Haniya has been a fiction from the very moment the radical Islamists, who waged a terror war against Israel, won the parliamentary elections last year."

It is all too well known that laboratory researchers subject small rodents to stressful situations to provoke illness and aggression. It is also well-known that Gaza is a huge prison. Israel holds the keys, until a short while ago had its prison warders inside and now keeps them on the land and sea frontiers, as well as policing the airspace.

Life there has been simply inhuman since Israel occupied it militarily in 1967. For many years now it has been a laboratory using human beings instead of rats, the main difference being that rats get fed while the Palestinians do not. "Half the inhabitants of Gaza and the West Bank suffer malnutrition", according to the British Independent, June 12th.

Who stops food reaching the Palestinians? The radical Islamists, the Islamist militias, the Palestinian factions, those favorite terms used many political commentators to refer to human beings who barely manage to survive under a criminal military occupation? No, Israel and the Western governments are responsible for the Palestinian genocide: the Occupation they have maintained for 40 years is illegal. The occupied population, which ought to be protected by the international community, is condemned to death by lack of freedom, of the means to feed itself, cure its illnesses, to work, to study and carry out other normal activities just like ordinary people in the West, but which are not permitted to the Palestinians.

The Palestinians have done more to advance psycho-biological science than all the rats of the world put together. A good million Palestinians know from experience that if you occupy them militarily, coop them up in 360 square kilometers, destroy and loot their houses, cut off electricity and drinking water, regularly bomb them, make them see they have no future and if finally you blockade their economy and arm the leaders, then the very least that will happen is that they set about shooting at one another.

The first thing the authoritative editorialists do is blame Palestinian "militias and armed groups" for what is happening, since this is a necessary pre-judgment to demonize the Palestinians and move right on to ask for intervention by the international community, but without mentioning a single word about that community’s responsibility for the disaster. The same happens in the case of Lebanon and Iraq.

The United States and its allies occupy that country after having submitted it to thirteen years of economic sanctions as criminal as those imposed on Palestine. They violate at will the thirty articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, human decency and common sense, while their word-gunslingers, those authoritative editorialists, offer sermons on civil war in the Arab world and the need for action by the UN: "(the Israeli) Prime Minister suggested yesterday the deployment of an International force on the frontier between Gaza and Egypt."

What a super idea! Why did they not ask for it during their 40 years of occupation and wars of aggression against their neighbors from their very founding as a State? Why no calls for the UN to deploy Blue Helmets in the military airfields of the United States and Europe so as to prevent the air raids on Iraq? Why no buffer force sent to northern Israel to halt the advance of its tanks into Lebanon? Why does the UN not mount an economic boycott against Israel, responsible for thousands of deaths in the Middle East and for the destruction of Lebanon and Gaza?

How come an editorialist, equipped with a style manual to talk about democracy and social principles, is not led to reflect on the fact that if the Western blockade works to impede the supply of food to Gaza but not of weapons, the Palestinians, rather than invite each other to tea and cakes, will use those weapons for a fratricidal war?
Social psychology does not explain everything, although it does explain a lot, as the Palestinian psychologist Eyad El-Sarraj reminds us: "Psychological research worldwide has shown that ongoing armed conflicts result in what is known as chronic social intoxication which makes people and children less sensitive and more ruthless, less rational and more impulsive, less conversant and more violent."

The human condition also has some weight from a moral viewpoint, not just a psychological one. It might have been better to use those feeble forces and that desperation to fight the Occupation, but it is as clear as it is lamentable that the damage caused to Palestinian society by the Occupiers and their allies has been so profound and its poison so effective that the interests of the worst among the Palestinians have prevailed over the rights and well-being of the majority. Like any other country, Palestine has bad people, traitors, abnormal, violent, stupid, vengeful people, people anxious for money and power and so on. The fundamental difference is the enormous damage they do in Palestine as a result of the terrible conditions there.

At the same time, the moral condition of the editorialists prevents them from regarding the Palestinians as anything but rats who deserve the fate they suffer, for that reason they take refuge in political, social and cultural pretexts like the terrorist character, factional behavior and the presence of Islamism.

-A regular contributor to, Agust

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