[Marxism] Israel's war on hairdressers and bakers

Dbachmozart at aol.com Dbachmozart at aol.com
Fri Jul 25 12:20:20 MDT 2008


The general of onions and garlic 
  By _Gideon  Levy_ (mailto:levy at haaretz.co.il)        
Here is the "next thing" in the war against terror: the war  against 
hairdressers. After Hamas took over half the Palestinian people,  in no small measure 
because of Israel's policies, after we tried to fight  Hamas with weapons and 
siege, destruction and killing, mass arrests and  deportations, the Israel 
Defense Forces and Shin Bet security service have  invented something new: a war 
on shopping malls, bakeries, schools and  orphanages. First in Hebron, now in 
Nablus. The IDF is closing beauty  salons, clothing stores and clinics, and 
even one dairy farm, all on the  pretext that they are connected to Hamas, or 
the rent they pay is given to  a terror organization. 

These bizarre pictures of a closure order  issued by the general of command, 
stuck on the window of a cosmetics store  or a physiotherapy center, of a 
confiscation order stuck to a pita oven,  show that the Israeli occupation has 
gone crazy. A few months ago I  visited the charity institutions and commercial 
centers the IDF has begun  closing in Hebron; I saw infuriatingly absurd 
scenes. A modern school,  intended for 1,200 students, standing closed on orders of 
the GOC, and a  library for young people about to shut. 

Thus the occupation proves  once again that there is no place in 
Palestinians' lives that it cannot  reach, and that it has no boundaries: An army that 
closes a school,  library, bakery and boarding school; soldiers who raid a 
licensed  commercial television station, confiscating its equipment and threatening  
its closure, as happened recently at the Afaq TV station in Nablus.   

In Israel no voices were raised in protest, of  course, either against the 
closing of the school or the closing of the TV  station. According to the 
Israeli train of thought, if we close a bakery making  bagels for orphans, Hamas' 
power will weaken; if we throw hundreds of needy  children into the streets from 
their boarding school, they and their relatives  will become sympathetic to 
Israel; if we close a crowded shopping mall, its  irate owners and customers 
will become Fatah supporters. 

The Israeli  occupation has not been seen for a long time in such a ludicrous 
and inhumane  light as in these closure and confiscation operations ordered 
by GOC Central  Command Gadi Shamni, the general of onions and garlic, to judge 
by the produce  his soldiers confiscated from the Hebron food warehouses. 
Illegal, certainly  immoral, but no less shortsighted, these operations broadcast 
a message loud and  clear: The occupation has lost all moral inhibitions and 
any shred of wisdom.  How wretched is an army that empties storerooms of food 
and clothing for the  needy, how ridiculous that the GOC signs orders to close 
hairdressing salons,  how pathetic is a military raid on bakeries and how 
cruel is an occupation that  shuts down clinics on any pretext. 

Hamas has entered the vacuum created  in the West Bank and Gaza. Like any 
religious movement, it sprouted in the soil  of distress and poverty. Now Israel 
comes along and says let's make the poverty  and distress even worse. Why? To 
fight Hamas. There is nothing more absurd. Tens  of thousands of poor children 
in the West Bank have nowhere to turn to aside  from the Islamic charities 
that Israel suspects of being linked to Hamas,  although many were established 
long before the organization was born. Israel  stopped seeing to the 
population's welfare under the occupation, despite its  obligation under international 
law, and the Palestinian Authority is also not  showing any special interest in 
social and economic needs. Fatah has always  devoted more resources to 
military camps, guns and official cars than to  orphanages, hospital beds and 
dialysis machines. 

This is the vacuum the  Islamic Movement is filling, offering an impressive 
level of services. The  orphanage I visited in Hebron is one of the most 
beautiful and well-cared for I  have seen. It takes quite a bit of cruelty to 
threaten its closure, quite a bit  of audacity to argue that doing so will serve the 
war on terror, and quite a bit  of stupidity to think _that such a measure 
will help. The closing of stores and  malls will only land another blow on the 
Palestinian economy, which even now is  struggling to hold up under conditions 
of quarantine. Has Israel learned nothing  from the failure of the siege on 

Anyone who visits the charity  institutions would see that not all the money 
flowing to these organizations is  earmarked for buying suicide belts and 
explosives. The West Bank's residents  cannot be simultaneously imprisoned, 
prohibited from earning a living and  offered no social-welfare assistance while we 
strike at those who are trying to  do so, whatever their motives. If Israel 
wants to fight the charitable  associations, it must at least offer alternative 
services. On whose back are we  fighting terror? Widows? Orphans? It's 


We have it in our power to begin the world  over again –Thomas Paine

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