I have been re-reading Gaza in Crisis, written in 2010 by Noam Chomsky and Ilan Pappe, because what is being played out in Gaza looks and feels all too sickeningly familiar. “Inflicting pain on civilians,” wrote Pappe, “is another long-standing political doctrine of state terror, in fact its guiding principal.”
He was referring to an analysis of the 2008/9 Israeli war against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. It was launched on Saturday, 27 December 2008 with the bombing of the graduation ceremony at the Police Academy. Two hundred people were killed immediately; 700 were wounded. “Israel calculated that it would be advantageous to appear to ‘go crazy’, causing vastly disproportionate terror, a doctrine that traces back to the 1950s,” explained Pappe.
Former Israeli general and Minister of Defence Moshe Dayan once said, “Israel must be seen as a mad dog; too dangerous to bother.” Commenting on this in the Jerusalem Post on 3 September 2011, Louis Rene Beres and John T Chain said that Dayan had “revealed an intuitive awareness of the possible benefits of feigned irrationality.”
Professor Pappe went on to point out that two weeks after the Sabbath opening of the military offensive on Gaza, “with much of the enclave already pounded to rubble and the death toll approaching a thousand,” the Israelis refused to let aid into the already besieged Palestinian territory. The border crossings, said the so-called Israel “Defence” Forces, “were closed for the Sabbath.” Pappe could barely disguise his disgust: “To honour this holy day, Palestinians at the edge of survival must be denied food and medicine, while hundreds can be slaughtered on the Sabbath by US jet bombers and helicopters” supplied to Israel.
Such “rigorous observance” of the Sabbath in this “dual fashion” apparently attracted little if any notice, said the Israeli-born academic. “That makes sense. In the annals of US-Israeli criminality, such cruelty and cynicism scarcely merit more than a footnote.”
Pappe noted that in June 1982, “the US-backed Israeli invasion of Lebanon opened with the bombing of the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila.” That’s right, the scene of the infamous massacre facilitated by the IDF just three months later. “The bombing hit the local hospital — the Gaza Hospital — and killed over two hundred people.” Between 15,000 and 20,000 people were killed by the Israeli invasion, with “crucial US military and diplomatic support” which included vetoes of UN Security Council resolutions seeking to halt the “criminal aggression that was undertaken, scarcely concealed, to defend Israel from the threat of a peaceful political settlement.”
Hundreds killed in Israeli attack on Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]
This, wrote Pappe, “was contrary to the useful fabrications about Israelis suffering under intense rocketing, a fantasy of [pro-Israel] apologists.”
The Israeli Army has always struck civilian populations, purposely and consciously
Such apologists in the West, including politicians and journalists, should take note about what Pappe wrote next, citing military analyst Zeev Schiff, who said, “The Israeli Army has always struck civilian populations, purposely and consciously… [the army] has never distinguished civilian [from military] targets…”
In Gaza over the past 12 days, we have seen, yet again, Israel bombing civilian targets, including a hospital and many other medical facilities, killing thousands of Palestinians and leaving fathers to collect their children’s body parts in plastic carrier bags and scream in anguish. Food, medicine and other essential aid is again being denied to the Palestinians under siege in Gaza by the self-declared “most moral army in the world.” The US has sent arms and ammunition to Israel so that it can continue the slaughter, and provided “diplomatic support”, including a presidential visit to let Israel know “You are not alone.” And, yes, the US has vetoed a UN Security Council Resolution calling for a pause in the Israeli war to allow humanitarian aid to get into Gaza. The US was the only member of the council to vote against the resolution; Russia and the UK abstained from voting.
“We are on the ground doing the hard work of diplomacy,” said US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield somewhat bizarrely. “We believe we need to let that diplomacy play out.” The Security Council, of course, is supposed to be all about diplomacy. In her warped, Zionist way of thinking, “diplomacy on the ground” which allows Israel to carry on bombing civilians, is more important than letting said civilians have access to food, water and healthcare.
So, the next time that we hear a Western politician justifying Israeli brutality as “self-defence”, remember that this is nothing new: Israel has attacked Palestinians for decades, without or without excuses. The latest military offensive against Palestinians in Gaza differs only in the number of casualties from the many that have gone before. The apartheid state wrote the State Terrorism Handbook and has followed it to the letter for the past 75 years. No number of excuses or justifications can disguise that fact. By giving it a green light, US President Joe Biden and his predecessors — including Nobel Peace Laureate Barack Obama — are complicit in Israel’s war crimes and crimes against humanity, as are other politicians who bow down and worship at the altar of Zionism. The compliant media and journalists who don’t challenge them about this should be ashamed of themselves.