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Israel’s Iron Fist
Sunday, 04 January 2009 09:19
by Tom Chartier

We hold that Zionism is moral and just. And since it is moral and just, justice must be done, no matter whether Joseph or Simon or Ivan or Achmet agree with it or not. There is no other morality.
Vladimir (Ze’ev) Jabotinsky – Founder of the Israeli Right – Nov. 4, 1923

In his historic essay The Iron Wall Russian immigrant to Palestine Vladimir Jabotinsky succinctly outlined the Zionist plan of colonization. His logic was nearly impeccable as was his honest assessment of the challenges Zionism faced in coming to an agreement with the indigenous Arab population. Only behind an Iron Wall of brute force and oppression destroying any hope would the Arabs ever agree to peaceful co-existence with the flood of Jewish immigrants seeking a Jewish National Homeland.

Jabotinsky was brutally honest in his logic, however twisted. Where his assertion that “Zionism is moral and just” comes from I can only speculate. Since when has colonization of another people’s land been moral and just? Jabotinsky made a frightening statement implying a divine right where the end justifies the means. Where is the morality or justice in this?

Throughout Israeli history, time and time again Israel has wielded an Iron Fist to construct Jabotinsky’s Iron Wall. Let’s look at some of the “highlights.”

During the Israeli War of Independence in 1948 the Iron Fist was used to grab land beyond the UN Partition Plan. Worse, the forming Israeli government under future and first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion executed Plan Dhalet to ethnically cleanse their budding homeland of between 700,000 and 800,000 non-Jewish Arabs. Surviving refugees and their direct descendants are now constitute three quarters of the 1.5 million prisoners of Gaza. Referred to as “al Nakba,” by the Palestinians the “catastrophe” is well documented by Israeli historian Ilan Pappe in his book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. Of note, Ilan Pappe’s resources were primarily recently declassified official Israeli archives, including sections of David Ben Gurion’s diary itself.

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The Six Day War of 1967, seen as a miracle against overwhelming opposition was all too easy for the Israeli Defense Forces. Neither Egypt, Jordan nor Syria were serious about a fight. But they got a brutal crushing defeat nevertheless. Israel captured more territory for Eretz Israel. These occupied territories… or more benignly referred to as “administered” territories… have been nothing but the source of conflict ever since. The indigenous population insists on enduring and resisting Jabotinsky’s Iron Wall and Israel’s Iron Fist. In fact, the Six Day War has never ended. As a title of a chapter from his book: 1967, Israel, The War And The Year That Transformed The Middle East Israeli historian Tom Segev aptly says it all. “They Thought They Had Won.”

1982 saw Ariel Sharon’s assault deep into Lebanon right up the Muslim Western section of Beirut, already ravaged by civil war, in Operation Peace For Galilee. The goal with no regard to the Lebanese civilian population was the routing of Yasser Arafat’s PLO. It was “successful.” Operation Peace for Galilee also saw the Ariel Sharon sanctioned Sabra-Shatila Massacre and spawned the formation of Hezbollah. It seems the Iron Fist policy has had some serious repercussions.

And now Israel has opened a new page of its checkered history with the bombing of Gaza and Operation Cast Lead… whatever that refers to… to create a “new security environment.”

Do the powers that be within Israeli government actually want peace? Or is it that they prefer to be “surrounded by enemies?” One can’t help think the later. They are certainly excelling in inspiring hatred from their neighbors.

Israel complains about Hamas rockets. These are home made and have no guidance systems. They’re not exactly the type of ordnance Israel possesses such as F-16s and Apache helicopters. Rarely have Israeli citizens been killed by any of the crude Qassam rockets fired by Hamas. As of this writing and since the start of Operation Cast Lead, Hamas rockets have killed four Israeli citizens, one an Israeli-Arab construction worker. The IDF has killed over 300 Gazans, probably many more. Over 1,400 Palestinians in Gaza have been wounded. With the sever lack of medical facilities, supplies, doctors, etc. one can expect many of the wounded will die later. Well… I agree. Hamas should not fire rockets and mortar rounds into Israel. But, is Israel’s Biblical retaliation called for, wise or prudent?

Israel complains about twenty-one year old IDF soldier Gilad Shalit held hostage by Hamas. Shalit has been held captive for two years. Hamas should release him. I agree. Hostage taking is unforgivable. However, Shalit is nothing more than pawn to both the Israeli leadership and Hamas. Do the Israelis not consider that the 1.5 million Palestinians imprisoned in Gaza to be hostages as well?

And is it not likely that Operation Cast Lead will result in the sacrifice of Gilad Shalit? If so, will the Israeli leadership then use his martyrdom as a propaganda tool to justify further war crimes against the Palestinian civilian population? Most likely.

Israel claims that the disengagement plan from Gaza gave the Palestinians the opportunity to create a viable state of their own. And yet the Palestinians were set up to fail. Ariel Sharon’s senior advisor Dov Weisglas stated in Ha’aretz: “The disengagement is actually formaldehyde. It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that's necessary so that there will not be a political process with the Palestinians.”

Were the democratic Palestinian election victories of Hamas in 2006 a surprise or expected and hoped for by the Israeli ruling elite? Did the Palestinians pick the wrong party, Hamas over Fatah, or did they fall into a devious trap? And how are the Palestinians of Gaza expected to form a viable and stable economy under the Israeli siege? With 80% of them living below the poverty line, maybe they aren’t.

Israel claims they view ordinary Palestinian residents of Gaza innocent and separate from Hamas militants. As proof they site allowing humanitarian aid into Gaza. However, how can a convoy of thirty-five supply trucks allowed in once a week or so constitute “humanitarian aid” for 1.5 million people? It can’t. Only the bare minimum is allowed into Gaza so that Israel can make this claim.

On Tuesday, December 30 several Israeli gunboats surrounded the Free Gaza Movement’s boat, The Dignity, carrying volunteer doctors, peace activists including former US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinny and three tons of medical supplies. The gunboats fired machine guns into the waters as a warning and then rammed it. This had the desired effect of preventing The Dignity from delivering its cargo and forced it to abandon the mission. It sailed to Tyre in Lebanon. The Dignity was 90 miles from Gaza in international waters. According to International Law Israel’s attack on The Dignity is illegal. Is this moral and just?

Israel claims to be targeting only Hamas militants. And yet, in a strip of land of only 360 square kilometers, Gaza has one of the highest population densities in the world. One refugee camp, Beach, has a population density nearly three and a half times that of Manhattan. Under these conditions, how is it even possible to avoid a heavy civilian toll? It’s not. How does a missile fired from an F-16 tell the difference between a Hamas militant and a student, mother, unemployed husband or child? It can’t.

Jabotinsky’s Iron Wall has created more problems for Israel than it could ever hope to solve. His logic, a masterpiece of rationalization and delusion. His theory, brutally unrealistic. The Iron Wall cannot stem the tide of hatred and anger or provide morality and justice. It can only increase it. Israel’s Iron Fist is far too heavy and this policy is Israel’s own worst enemy.

If Israel is allowed to continue hammering on Arab civilian populations in the name of “defense,” organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah will continue to find recruits, resort to desperate measures and thrive. And be advised, Israel will be the catalyst for a third world war, not Iran, not the United States, not Russia, not China, not even Pakistan and India… Israel. However, we’ll all be pulled into the abyss and Israel will not survive. World War II will look like a football skirmish in comparison.

How long will the U.S. continue its “special relationship” enabling Israel’s Iron Fist?
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