Israel should have exploited the repression of demonstrations in China, when world attention was focussed on that country, to carry out mass expulsions among the Arabs of the territories.
— Benjamin Netanyahu speaking to students at Bar Ilan University (from the journal Hotam, November 24, 1989.
On Saturday (Jewish Sabbath) 27 December 2008, while the gutless and hypocrisy-ridden West was still preoccupied with its seasonal glutinous overindulgence and goodwill towards all men — except Palestinians — Israel yet again proceeded to “defend” itself against 1.8 million virtually unarmed Palestinian civilians who for some 60 years had been waiting for a state of their own (not an open prison); where they would not be robbed of their land, water, agricultural livelihoods, and resources; where their homes would not be arbitrarily demolished to make way for more illegal Israeli settlements that encroached on their lives and fragmented their society; where along with their dignity they would not also be systematically stripped of their hopes, heritage, and history; where they would not be subject to a blockade that prevented freedom of movement and trade including the import of essential building materials and medical supplies; where their children would grow up without seeing their parents being hounded, humiliated, imprisoned, tortured, and murdered; where those same children who were routinely harassed, bullied, beaten, arrested and imprisoned, could — like their Israeli counterparts — fulfil their aspirations; and where in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Palestinian people would not be subject to ethnic cleansing while the rest of the unashamed world stood by and watched.
Israel, I am convinced, can and should survive as a peaceful, prosperous society — but within the essential borders of 1967. That much we owe them, but no more. We do not owe them our support of their continued occupation of Arab lands . . . The Palestinians have as much right to a homeland as the Jewish people.”
— Former U.S. Senator William J. Fulbright (1905-1995).
So it was against those Palestinian human beings — regarded as beasts and snakes by “God’s Chosen People” — that without warning, the war criminal state of Israel unleashed an offensive codenamed Operation Cast Lead which began with a “shock and awe” campaign by 64 of Israel’s fleet of approximately 300 U.S.-supplied F-16 warplanes. Israel’s stated intention was to end rocket attacks (that sounds familiar) into Israel by armed Palestinian factions. It would, of course, be anti-Semitic to suggest that if Israel were to give the Palestinians back their lands and desist from ethnically cleansing them, then the rocket attacks might cease. Apart from their inherent hate for Palestinians, the Israeli attack was also timed to send a clear message to incoming President Obama (“I will bring peace to the Middle East if I become U.S. President”) that it was Israel and not the U.S. that determined the course of events in the Middle East.
“Every time we do something you tell me America will do this and will do that . . . I want to tell you something very clear: Don’t worry about American pressure on Israel. We the Jewish people control America, and the Americans know it.” (A warning from Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (the war criminal responsible for the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacre) to Foreign Minister Shimon Perez in October 2001.)
In addition to its warplanes, Israel deployed U.S.-made AH-64 Apache attack helicopters and AH-1F Cobra gunships while its naval fleet of Super Dvora-class fast patrol boats directed cannon and machine gun fire along the coast. Following the destruction of all preselected targets, Israeli ground forces — with help from UAVs (drones) with attack and ISTAR (intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance) capabilities — crossed into Gaza on 3 January 2009 to occupy open areas and encircle towns and refugee camps. Apart from infrared and digitally enhanced zoom cameras capable of identifying body heat signatures from a height of 10,000 feet, some UAVs were equipped with two AGM-114 Hellfire guided missiles and two domestically produced missiles. The Eitan UAV carrying more than a ton of weapons — which had been developed and war game tested in the Aegean in July 2008 for strikes against Iran — also made its combat debut by firing Spike missiles. Human rights organisations subsequently noted that despite the imaging and targeting capabilities of these UAVs, their missiles — including one that dispersed tiny, sharp-edged cubes of purpose-made shrapnel — were responsible for a high number of Palestinian civilians deaths whose use as guinea pigs for testing newly developed Israeli weaponry, had been a regular occurrence.
Israeli ground forces were supported by one of the world’s most technologically advanced artillery corps (towed/self-propelled howitzers and multiple rocket launchers,) connected to sophisticated radar and navigation networks that maximised accuracy. Apart from 100,000s of U.S.-supplied artillery shells, there were also high explosive munitions for bunker destruction, illumination, armour-piercing, and anti-personnel fragmentation devices containing more than 1,200 fragments that exploded above targets so as to create a wide area of coverage within a 350-foot radius.
Ground assaults were led by hundreds of APCs (armoured personal carriers) and some 300 tanks armed with grenades, heavy machine guns, TOW/Spike missiles, and precision guided shells capable of being fired into windows from a distance of a mile (1.5 km). Further troop assistance was provided by 100 armoured (with bulletproof windows) CAT D9 bulldozers which with U.S. help had been modified for demolition, route creation, barrier/fortification building, and mine/booby trap clearing. Also employed were Viper miniature robots, electronic jamming devices, special weapons systems including some that were controversial and in some cases even illegal. Following initial denials, Israel, in the face of irrefutable evidence, subsequently admitted using white phosphorous which causes immediate, deep, excruciating, chemical burns with delayed healing.
Because of the glaring disparity between the blockaded, ill-equipped Palestinians and the U.S. backed/financed Israelis, it would be ludicrous to attempt any comparison between their respective weaponry and resources. Equally ludicrous would be the suggestion that Israel was “defending” itself.
In a 2001 secretly filmed and still viewable interview with an Israeli family (I “stopped” the Oslo peace process), Netanyahu makes it clear that far from being defensive, Israel’s harsh military repression had been specifically designed as part of “. . . a broad attack on the Palestinian Authority. To bring them to the point of being afraid that everything was collapsing.” When asked about the world’s reaction to such an attack, Netanyahu arrogantly replied that “the world won’t say a thing. The world will say we’re defending”.
The world has said it about other Israeli atrocities before, during, and after Operation Cast Lead: and the world is still saying it about the current Israeli outrage which has already seen more than 1,000 Palestinian deaths including many children and women — with the latter being targeted because they “give birth to snakes”. Rather than defiantly denouncing Israel’s barbaric crimes against humanity, the world’s decent people find it far more convenient (with the added bonus of not being branded an anti-Semite) to resort to the cop-out mantra of “Israel has a right to defend itself” which presumably means that Palestinians have no such right.
The concept of human rights cannot be applied selectively. If it is not applicable to all peoples — Palestinians included — then it shall remain meaningless and without effect.