[Marxism] Gideon Levy in today's Haaretz
lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Aug 4 14:54:05 MDT 2014
It’s all Hamas’ fault, right Israel?
More than 1,200 Gazans have been killed, about 80 percent of them
civilians. But Israelis’ hands are clean and their consciences are quiet
- so quiet you could cry.
By Gideon Levy
It’s so easy to be an Israeli; your tender conscience is pure as the
driven snow: Everything is Hamas’ fault. The rockets are the fault of
Hamas; that can be taken for granted. Hamas started the war, for no
reason; that, too, “goes without saying.” Hamas is a vicious terrorist
organization, beasts in human form, born to kill, fundamentalists – and
apart from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?
Some 400,000 Palestinians have been displaced. More than 1,200 have been
killed, about 80 percent of them civilians, half of these women and
children. Around 50 families have been obliterated, their homes bombed
with them inside. It has reached the dimensions of a real massacre. But
Israelis’ hands are clean and their consciences are quiet – so quiet you
could cry. It’s Hamas’ fault.
We’ll leave the root causes of this cursed repression and denial to the
psychologists. Since the days when Israel accused the Palestinians of
killing their own children by means of the Israel Defense Forces, we
haven’t seen such denial. After incubating for years, the disease is now
a raging epidemic whose carriers are now symptomatic. The national
conscience hasn’t moved a muscle in response to this atrocity, and there
are forces working to keep it that way.
But even through the malignant cloud of denial, even understanding how
easy it is to blame everything on Hamas — Israel has never had such a
convenient enemy, which can be framed for all its sins – we must ask
whether everything really is the fault of Hamas. Is Israel genuinely
completely innocent? In the face of bleeding, ruined Gaza, the work of
Israeli hands, such denial is incomprehensible.
Hamas is a vicious terror organization? How has it been more vicious
than the IDF in this war? In that it doesn’t “knock on the roof” 80
seconds before bombing a home? That it aims its rockets at civilian
populations, just as the IDF does, but less effectively? That it wants
to destroy Israel? How many Israelis want to destroy Gaza? Meanwhile,
everyone knows who is destroying whom.
Israel’s sanctimoniousness reaches a peak in its concern for Gaza’s
residents: Look at how Hamas oppresses them, cry the Israeli democrats,
so solicitous of Palestinian rights. Hamas is tyrannical, but its
tyranny is nothing compared to that of Israel, which has subjected the
Gaza Strip to a seven-year siege and a 47-year occupation.
What has destroyed Gaza’s society and economy is above all the siege,
and thanks to those who seek its welfare, who imposed it. Thanks also to
those who are worried about its lack of democracy, who are shocked by
the corruption, who denounce its leaders for staying in luxury hotels or
hiding in bunkers, who are troubled by the enormous sums used for
tunnels and rockets instead of playgrounds and after-school activities.
What about Israel? Do its leaders live in tents? Aren’t enormous sums
spent on superfluous submarines and secret explosives, instead of on
health, education and welfare? Hamas is fundamentalist? Israel is on the
way. Hamas oppresses women? That’s bad, but Israel has that too, at
least in one large community.
Why did Gazans elect Hamas, instead of a moderate leadership? Because
the moderates have been trying for years to achieve something, anything,
and all they have received is humiliation and Israeli rejectionism. Has
Israel given the Palestinians a reason to choose the Palestine
Liberation Organization’s route of diplomacy over Hamas’ violent
resistance? Has the PLO brought them an inch closer to statehood or freedom?
Hamas at least won the release of 1,000 prisoners and also preserved a
measure of self-respect, even at the terrible price that the desperate
Gazans are now willing to pay. What has Palestinian President Mahmoud
Abbas brought his people? Nothing. A photo op with Barack Obama.
I’m no fan of Hamas, quite the contrary. But Israel’s attempt to put all
the blame on Hamas is outrageous. The international community will soon
judge this war’s atrocities. Hamas may be reprimanded, deservedly, but
Israel will be condemned and ostracized far more. And then Israelis will
say, ‘It’s Hamas’ fault. And the world will laugh.
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