Likening Palestinians to Blades of Grass

Exclusive: Israeli hardliners joke about the periodic need to decimate each new generation of Palestinian militants as “mowing the grass,” a process underway again in new bombardments of Gaza. This ugly metaphor has also penetrated the think-tank world of Official Washington, as ex-CIA analyst Elizabeth Murray learned.

By Elizabeth Murray

In early 2010, one of Washington DC’s most prestigious think tanks was holding a seminar on the Middle East which included a discussion of Israel’s December 2008-January 2009 assault on Gaza which killed about 1,300 Palestinians. When the death toll was mentioned, one expert on the panel smiled enigmatically and intoned: “It’s unfortunate, but every once in a while you have to mow the lawn.”

The remark, which likened killing hundreds of men, women and children – many of them noncombatants – with trimming the grass, was greeted with a light tittering around the room, which was filled with some of Washington’s most elite, highly educated and well-paid Middle East experts. Not a single one objected to the panelist’s black humor.

An Israeli strike caused a huge explosion in a residential area in Gaza during the Israeli assault on Gaza in 2008-2009. (Photo credit: Al Jazeera)

On the contrary, several analysts and experts were grinning at the reference to Israel’s strategy of mounting periodic attacks on the Palestinians to cull each new generation of militants. Such is the nonchalance of Washington’s policy-advising cognoscenti toward the ongoing and systematic genocide of Gaza’s oppressed population.

The cavalier language is symptomatic of the policymaking community’s increasingly pervasive tendency to disregard and disparage the humanity of Palestinian victims of Israeli attacks, which are often waged by Israel’s high-tech drones and U.S.-supplied F-16’s. There is also a tendency to ignore or downplay Israeli war crimes.

This dangerously sociopathic attitude is prevalent whether cloaked in a cheap joke or reflected in the failure by the State Department spokesman to condemn or even acknowledge the criminality of Israel’s latest aerial and sea-based bombardment of Palestinian civilians, at least 18 of whom have been killed in the past 48 hours. Three Israelis also have died in retaliatory rocket fire.

After the latest attacks, the State Department’s statement justified Israel’s bombardment of Gaza as Israel’s “right to defend itself” against the launching of relatively primitive rockets, mostly by radical groups, from inside Gaza. Yet, while the State Department urged both sides to avoid civilian casualties, nowhere was there mention of the Palestinians’ right to defend themselves from various attacks by Israel. Apparently only one side is granted that privilege, according to the U.S. statement.

The relegation of Palestinians to a less-than-human status by Israel and the United States – especially the inhabitants of Gaza who are perpetually locked into an open-air prison and subject to an Israeli blockade – was noted by MIT professor Noam Chomsky after a visit to Gaza to attend an academic conference. In comments broadcast by “Democracy Now” on Nov. 14, Chomsky remarked:

“It’s kind of amazing … and inspiring to see people managing somehow to survive … as essentially caged animals subject to constant, random, sadistic punishment – only to humiliate them – no pretext. They [the Palestinians] would like to have dignified lives, but the standard Israeli position is that they shouldn’t raise their heads.”

Instead of a serious effort to reach a peace acceptable to both sides, Israel seems to prefer a state of endless conflict with the Palestinians. After all, the prospect of peace might require the Israeli government to treat their neighbors as equals and withdraw from territory occupied since 1967.

So, rather than making meaningful concessions, some Israeli hardliners simply promote the idea of periodically “mowing the grass,” i.e. killing the latest generation of Palestinian militants who sprout up from the injustice all around them. Perhaps that is why Israel broke an informal ceasefire on Wednesday by assassinating Hamas military commander Ahmed Jabari in an air strike.

Jabari was killed hours after he received the draft of a permanent truce agreement with Israel, which included mechanisms for maintaining the ceasefire, according to Israeli peace activist Gershon Baskin, who helped mediate talks between Israel and Hamas for the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Jabari was a key Palestinian interlocutor in the release of Shalit, and an important intermediary for truce negotiations with groups such as the PFLP and Islamic Jihad. Such a relatively moderate figure may have been perceived as a threat to Israeli leaders who prefer to portray Hamas as rejectionist toward any peace.

These developments and the U.S. response to them are a chilling omen for those who had hoped for a change in U.S. Middle East policy after the U.S. presidential election – namely, increased pressure on Israel to halt its cruel oppression of Palestinians and obey international law.

There is still a window of opportunity for the U.S. to shift its approach before the violence spirals out of control. One also can hope that President Barack Obama is working the phones to rein in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But Obama’s eerie and reprehensible silence during the Israeli assault on Gaza in December 2008-January 2009 must not be repeated.

Elizabeth Murray served as Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East in the National Intelligence Council before retiring after a 27-year career in the U.S. government, where she specialized in Middle Eastern political and media analysis. She is a member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

Share this Article:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • NewsVine
  • Technorati
  • email

32 comments on “Likening Palestinians to Blades of Grass

  1. Zionist Jews are morally drained cowards. They hate everyone who doesn’t agree with their Zionazi fascism – including their fellow Jews.

    Yehezkel Kaufman in article, titled “The Ruin of Soul” collected quotes from some of the Zionist writers (Frishman, Lenni Brenner, Berdichevsky, AD. Gordon, Schawadron, Klatzkin, Pinsker, Israel Joshua Singer, Chaim Kaplan, etc.), which if repeated on air – would get you fired from CNN, BBC, CBS, etc.

    Chaim Kaplan, who kept a diary during the Warsaw ghetto uprising, wrote his Jew-hating observation: “Every nation, in its time of misfortune, has conspirators who do their work in secret. In our case an entire nation has been raised on conspiracy. With others the conspiracy is political; with us it is religious and national”.

    http://rehmat1.com/2010/11/21/anti-semitic-roots-of-zionism/

    • She obviously wanted to wake up the next day over being in a body bag. Its long known that those who accuse top officials end up having accidents. So its one of self preservation.

    • I just heard the reporter on CNN say something to the effects that some of the people here in Israel refer to it as “mowing the lawn”. It’s 11/21/12 3:11PM CST. This happened in the last half hour. The reporter was in Israel, reporter was male.

  2. Robert Locke on said:

    Why did Elizabeth Murray NOT give us the name of the “expert on the panel” who made the “mow the lawn” remark?

    Why did she NOT give the name of the “prestigious think tank”.

    Since not a single member of the panel objected, while some tittered, why did she not give us all the names of all the participants.

    Was she herself there? If not, why does she not give us the name of the person who told her the story?

    Or is it apocryphal?

    It is such a Nazi-like horror story that the author needs to give herself some credibility by such attributions as these.

    Although I tend to agree with everything else she has said from my own observations through the last decade or so of Israeli’s Nazi-like attitudes towards and actions against Palestine and Lebanon and other players in the Middle East, I would REALLY like some better details than this article gives us.

    • UnSabbath on said:

      Robert,
      although it would be better for the author to give the details you mentioned, perhaps the point is to dig deeper… for some reason, this story almost rings true. Maybe it’s just a metaphor or something, who fucking knows?

      Gettin’ real fed up with B/S ’round these parts…

    • She obviously wanted to wake up the next day over being in a body bag. Its long known that those who accuse top officials end up having accidents. So its one of self preservation.

      (Could the board mod choose a better word press comments system as the separation is dire and I responded to what I thought was the right post (indicated by the arrow, apparently not!) as this causes confusion)

  3. This sense of Israeli entitlement to murder any and all as it suits them, must be crushed until there is no spark left.
    Why isn’t this extra judicial execution the focus of this article? Who gave the Israelis the power to murder at whim.

  4. Martin Kich on said:

    I used this metaphor in the following anti-war poem published in Pedestal Magazine in 2004:

    “Homely Metaphors for Slaughter”

    The axles of Assyrian chariots
    turned long, curved blades
    that cut through enemy foot soldiers
    and horsemen and horses
    like the food processor
    goes through cabbage.

    No–
    for though the cabbage bleeds,
    we call its life’s blood juice
    and simply wipe it up.
    For it is not the deep red
    of carnage, of agonies
    beyond the bloody record,
    beyond the grim catalog and count.

    For if a headless man becomes
    but briefly a fountain of gore,
    a headless cabbage is but
    a bare patch of ground.

    Two millennia later,
    in the Great War,
    men ran bent forward
    with their bayonets pointing upward,
    like blades of grass,
    only to be mown down by machine guns.

    And, indeed, the figure
    does make one reconsider
    the violence done to grass
    in the name of lawns–

    does make one wonder
    whether we might keep our children
    always small
    by lopping off their heads,

    as we have kept our young men
    always young.

  5. What I find particularly irritating is that nobody stands up for international laws.
    There is the right of return, and I think many displaced Palestinians would accept compensation unless they are bogged down in MEast refugee camps.
    There was no international investigation into massacres at the Lebanese Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila. An Israeli investigation found Sharon indirectly responsible when I’m sure he knew what would happen, and an American diplomat, I forget his name warned him of the outcome too. 1500 unprotected Palestinians killed and many un accounted for.
    Gaza is a prison. When Hamas was elected in the Gaza area, Dov Weisglass, advisor to Olmert, said, “The idea is to put the palestinians on a diet, but not make them hungry.” Well they are hungry, and reports by NGOs and the Red Cross state it so, with malnurished children, foul water, intermittent electricity and so on. Before the supression in food supplies, Gaza had about 170 trucks a day and now it is down to 67 (figures from Johnathan Cook – reporter). That is a crime against humanity, but international law is not brought in.
    Odd since Israel supported Hamas in the 80s to undermine a secular leadership under Arafat. And both Israel and the US have not tried to sit down and talk with Hamas. Hamas didn’t know it would win, it hadn’t planned on it and is green to that form of politics. Why not have seen where negotiation might have lead. Instead they armed the Palestinian opposition but they lost and this further isolated Hamas. Perhaps a fledgeling political group could bend if presented with a genuine effort to negotiate on Israel’s part.
    Extrajudicial assasinations are illegal but israel does it with civilain casualties, and international law is not brought in.
    Jewish settlers, many the equivalent of Islamic extremeists and using KKK like tactics, are pushing Palestinians off their land against international law and nothing is done. Pollard an Israeli spy in the US was giving secrets to the Israelis which were passed onto the Russians on the understanding that they would allow Russian Jews to immigate to Israel and fill the occupied territories (immigration from other parts of the world was to slow), cheap governmnet sponsored housing was offered. US secrets passed to the Russians, US agents compromized, international law broken and nobody does anything.
    Now Palestinains are being pushed out by Israeli government policy along the Jordan river whilst new Jewish settlements are going up. Nobody says anything. And this is now happening in Israel where predominantly Arab towns and cities are feeling the shove from aggresive (nasty) settlers. Nobody does anything.
    I can go on at nauseum, but what is happening lives up to Begurion’s word when partition was adopted, not to be greedy as we can get the rest later. As it was the majority Arabs (Christian and Muslim) were offered the least land and the minority, mostly immigrants got the best and the most. No wonder the Arabs rejected it.
    I hope Palestinians get an upgrade at the UN at the UN this December and that will give them access to the international courts. That threat is shaking Israeli and US politicians.

  6. {I accidentally sent a quick draft – above}
    What I find particularly irritating is that nobody stands up for international laws.
    There is the right of return, and I think many displaced Palestinians would accept compensation unless they are bogged down in deplorable MEast refugee camps.
    There was no international investigation into massacres at the Lebanese Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila. An Israeli investigation found Sharon indirectly responsible when I’m sure he knew what would happen, and an American diplomat, I forget his name, did warn him of the outcome too. 1500 unprotected Palestinians were killed and many are unaccounted for.
    Gaza is a prison. When Hamas was elected in the Gaza area, Dov Weisglass, advisor to Olmert, said, “The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not make them hungry.” Well they are hungry, and reports by NGOs and the Red Cross state it so, with malnourished children, foul water, intermittent electricity and so on. Before the suppression in food supplies, Gaza received about 170 truck loads a day and now it is down to 67 (figures from Jonathan Cook – reporter). That is a crime against humanity, but international law is not brought in.
    Today we have blowback from the Israel policy to support Hamas in the 80s in order to undermine the secular leadership of Arafat. And both Israel and the US have never tried to sit down and talk with Hamas. Hamas didn’t know it would win the election, it hadn’t planned on it and was green to that form of leadership. Why not have seen where negotiation might have lead. Instead they armed the Palestinian opposition which lost anyway and this further isolated Hamas from the outside. Perhaps this fledgeling political group could bend if presented with a genuine effort to negotiate on Israel’s part.
    Extrajudicial assassinations are illegal but Israel does it along with civilian casualties, and still international law is not brought in.
    Jewish settlers, many the equivalent of Islamic extremists and using KKK like tactics, are pushing Palestinians off their land against international law and nothing is done. Pollard an Israeli spy in the US was giving secrets to the Israelis which were passing it on to the Russians with the understanding that they would allow Russian Jews to immigrate to Israel and fill the occupied territories (immigration from other parts of the world was too slow), and be accommodated in cheap government sponsored housing. US secrets passed to the Russians, compromised US agents, and settlements on occupied land broke international law. Nobody does anything to support the laws.
    Now Palestinians are being pushed out by Israeli government policy along the Jordan river whilst new Jewish settlements are going up there. Nobody says anything. And this is now happening in Israel where predominantly Arab towns and cities are feeling the shove from aggressive (nasty) settlers. Nobody does anything by the law.
    There’s much more, and what is happening lives up to Ben-Gurion’s word when the partition plan was revealed. He told his fellow terrorists not to be greedy but accept what they were given, rest can be got later. As it was the majority Arabs (Christian and Muslim) were offered the least land and the minority, mostly immigrants got the best and the most. No wonder the Arabs rejected it.
    I hope Palestinians get an upgrade at the UN this December as that will give them access to the international courts. That threat is shaking Israel and US politicians who seem to think that following a long protracted peace process while Israel continues to build facts on the ground is the way Palestinians should go. All this is why I won’t buy Israeli products at any store I go to.
    I sympathize with those Jews who can and do mix with Palestinians or see Israel’s dark side. They suffer the consequences of hate and abuse.

    • F. G. Sanford on said:

      Courts? Justice? International law? These ideas have become as laughable as the proceedings which handed down this decision:

      “The court has also become convinced that the motives of the defendants were genuinely patriotic, noble and selfless. [They] believed most conscientiously that they had to act in order to save the [country]. They thought they were complying with the earlier intentions of the [government]. This does not justify their plans, but it does provide the key to understanding their actions.” (Munich, April 1, 1924)

      In a world where foreign policy is tempered by “Full Spectrum Dominance”, what incentive is there to comply with the rule of law? Might makes right, hypocrisy is the norm, and dissent is of no concern. It is simply ignored. How else could a nuclear superpower sell the “existential threat” mantra? April Fools Day was, I think, a befitting day to read such a verdict. Imagine if CNN were around then: Wolfgang Blitzkrieg would have ridiculed the harshness of the sentence, and Danila Bashmeister would have been appalled by repression of internal dissent. The pendulum has swung, and the shoe today is on the other foot. What Dana and Wolf should be asking today is, “Gee, do you think these assholes might start a World War?” Because let’s face it, those assholes from 1924 sure did.

  7. you shoot rockets to kill into another country, then you w/be killed. very simple. The goosesteppers who extoll the medievalists and the poor palestinians whose hamas leadership has called for the destruction of the Jewish state period. These bastards should emigrate to the asshole in the sand iran.

    • Dirk Jones on said:

      @Borat

      Sorry to hear your one brain cell is on life support.

      If someone steals my land and shoots my wife and children I will become the biggest terrorist on earth.

      People like yourself would have been loved in Nazi Germany.

      • Moderator what does this mean “Spam Free WordPress rejected your comment because you did not enter the correct password or it was empty.”

        For decades Israel has waged a PR war using local “Jewish Networks” professional & civilian in almost every country who’s “job” it is to “control the story”.

        Better late than never Westerners are awakening to the truth about Israel and Zionism.

        Many organized Zionist units cruise the Internet and MSM to influence blogs and chat rooms.

        One such “giyus.org” boasts of over 40,000 members who respond to “alerts” sent to them of “Israel” related blogs, polls and chat room and MSM content to be “controlled” .

        Apparently there are also “you tube smackdown” units harassing “you tube members” who post any video not pro-Israel.

        Zionists should either move to Israel and give up their US citizenship or live with the fact that we all have a right to our opinion.

  8. rosemerry on said:

    The USA encourages this behaviour as it also fids no other way of action except violence. To refuse even to allow discussion in the UNSC by its constant obstructionist support of Israel every time, the USA makes it impossible to make Israel conform to international law.
    In Gaza now, the BBC correspondent’s 11 month old son Omar was killed by an israeli bomb. A terrorist? A watertower was bombed- accidental? Gazans are expected to lie down and die quietly in the face of unspeakable constant destruction of every aspect of their “lives”.
    Susan Rice (the Dems John Bolton) now for Sec of State???? Probably. Pick the worst possible diplomat.

    • Dirk Jones on said:

      I support ANYONE who will just vaporize Israel off the face of the earth. I am not Muslim but as FORMER supporter of Israel 45 years ago , NOW I just want to see them GONE.

      Including the Zionazis who control the USA.

  9. Dirk Jones on said:

    Israelis and Jews are the Masters of Deceit and Manipulation. They did 911 and use false flag attacks all the time to give them as excuse to grab more land. Their goal is to take all of Gaza, West bank, Lebanon, and Jordan . They want to control the whole region including Iran.

    And the USA supports this also. There is no military that can stop them but a few canisters of Cobalt 60 could wipe out Israel.

    What a great day that will be.

    I suggest to any kikeroaches here that you invest in kevlar Yarmulkas because there are lots of unemployed US Army snipers that hate Israel and need work.

    BitCoin fund being set up.

  10. Hillary on said:

    “One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail.”

    “One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail.” –Rabbi Ya’acov Perin in his eulogy at the funeral of mass murderer Dr. Baruch Goldstein.

    http://devrolijkemoslim.blogspot.com/2006/05/one-million-arabs-are-not-worth-jewish.html

  11. The Gaza Strip is the most aid-dependent area in the world. Without the ability to export and to import raw materials, without the needed infrastructure for local industry, the Gaza Strip is unable to generate sufficient local income to sustain its population and must depend on aid. The Israeli siege thus creates the conditions for large amounts of aid to be sent to Gaza.

    This aid must pass through Israeli ports and airports, with customs,3 storage fees, and transport fees ending up in the coffers of Israeli companies. The limitations set by Israel on the number of trucks allowed to enter Gaza and the prolonged checks the goods must go through increase the transportation and storage costs dramatically.

    Much of the aid comes in the form of products – food, animal feed, petrol, cooking gas, medicine, etc. – procured from Israeli companies. These companies have thus been able to find a captive market in Gaza, get paid up-front (because checks from banks in the Gaza Strip aren’t accepted in Israel), and increase their sales. Most importantly, this aid is funded with foreign currency, but the goods come from Israeli companies which must be paid in Israeli currency. The result is that massive amounts of foreign currency are converted at the Central Bank of Israel into Israeli shekels in order to fund aid, and the Central Bank of Israel gets to keep the foreign currency. In effect, the Israeli siege of Gaza has transformed the aid industry into one of Israel’s biggest exports – companies that would normally provide domestic services have become sources for foreign currency, which contributes to Israel’s overall economic strength and has already eliminated Israel’s trade deficit almost entirely.

    http://rehmat2.wordpress.com/2010/07/12/israelis-gain-from-gaza-blockade/

    • It is my understanding that several Israeli trucking firms make a lot of money taking things into Gaza. Many trucks not owned by Israeli operations have to unload and have their cargo transferred onto Israeli owned vehicles. I’ve heard it’s a big scam.

      • John’s naivete in rumors is pathetic. The truth is when you shoot rockets into another country with the aim of killing its citizens, you will reap the consequences. As General George Patton said, “The aim is not to die for your country, but make the other bastard die for his”

  12. These filthy nazi bastards reinforce the aim of the arabs: eliminate the state of Israel. Well, to f—n bad m.fers! Dirkshit is the latest asshole of the day on this Israel obsessed site.

    ( reported in Ha-aretz and other media) that Hamas is using its people as human shields. They are storing many of the missiles and bombs in schools, hospitals, mosques and other civilian centers.

    The only way that these weapons can effectively be destroyed is by soldiers on the ground who will clean house. Otherwise, air strikes could injure civilians which is exactly what Hamas prays for in order to use such injuries as propaganda against Israel.

    The other day the NY Times printed three op-ed pieces on the subject of Israel and Gaza. All of them were critical of the party that is being attacked, Israel. No opportunity for comments was provided.

    Israel is dealing with weapons brought in from Iran and other hostile states.

    The aim of all of this is to destroy Israel and kill as many Jews as possible. Morsi, the head of Egypt, recently spoke of how the perfidious Jews must be eliminated. Hamas says far worse and is adamant that it will never recognize Israel.

    With the rise of hostile Islamist regimes ( Turkey, Tunisia, Egypt, Hamas, Lebanon- Hizbollah+), the imminent collapse of Syria, and the ever looming threat of Iran, Israel must cease depending on peace treaties with regimes ( secular) that no longer exist and face the fact that what has and will replace them has but one external goal; the destruction of the State of Israel

  13. Alchemist on said:

    @Borat: zionists seem to always reduce themselves to filthy street language, insults and threats. Many of us “out here” are sick and tired of the bullying and pathetic “holocaustisms” used to defend this unfounded “chosen” shtick. No aggressor of the type that is the illegal jewish state can stand forever.take a bath and wash out your mouth with white phosphorous.

  14. the consortinazi apologists for the murderous terrorist group Hamas should watch these youtube videos: Shows their benevolence as they kill their own people at a wedding ceremony for singing songs. The other video shows child abuse at its worst: indoctrinating children to kill as a part of their schooling. You’ll never see this in Israel or any Western country. It’s only in these medieval radical islamic so called arab states.

    Hamas terrorists kill innocent (rare video) youtube.com
    Children of Hamas youtube.com

  15. Dustbin on said:

    Israel the ‘Ugly Head of Semitism”,
    The governing pillar in the ‘Axis of Chutzpah’….we uncurl and we snake and we proclaim L’Chaim

  16. MYTH

    “Gaza does not receive necessary humanitarian supplies due to Israel’s blockade.” top

    FACT

    Though Hamas attempts to manipulate public opinion and distort reality to claim that Israel is making Gaza into the worlds “largest open-air prison,” the facts paint a completely different story. In 2010, both the International Red Cross (ICRC) and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) publicly reported that there were no shortages of food or supplies in Gaza. 1 Even when Hamas resumed bombarding Israel with mortars and rockets, Israel continued to provide humanitarian assistance, electricity and even waste disposal to Gaza.

    In April 2011, Mathilde De Riedmatten, ICRC Deputy Head of Sub Delegation in Gaza, announced that there was “no humanitarian crisis in Gaza … there are products [in supermarkets], there are restaurants and a nice beach.” 2 She noted that the ICRC and IDF “coordinate the entry of goods into Gaza and the entry and exit of people … sometimes patients who are going to Israel to receive medical care.”

    In fact, over the first quarter of 2011 alone, Israel delivered a daily average of 5,000 tons of food, goods, fuel and development assistance through its land crossings with Gaza. Moreover, in 2010, Israel authorized the exit of more than 18,000 Palestinian patients from Gaza to Israeli hospitals for medical treatment – everything from cancer chemotherapy to heart surgeries.
    While Israel continues to supply necessary humanitarian supplies, the citizens of Gaza can now also move and trade freely with Egypt. On May 25, 2011, the Supreme Military Council – ruling Egypt since the overthrow of President Mubarak – officially opened the Egyptian border crossing with Gaza at Rafah, ending a four-year closure of Gaza’s only international border outside of Israel. Now Israel’s detractors, who accused Israel of blockading the Strip while ignoring Egypt’s closure of the border, can no longer use Israeli policy as justification for future blockade-busting flotillas to supply Gazans.

    Life in Gaza is certainly difficult, but the situation there does not constitute the humanitarian crisis Hamas and the media have portrayed. This is largely because Israel has ensured that a steady supply of food and basic supplies reach the Palestinian people. With its border now open to Egypt, Gazans can also no longer claim to be under a total blockade and can procure the resources they need through the Rafah crossing. The concern now is whether Egypt will allow Hamas to exploit the opening to smuggle in weapons for use against Israel.

    MYTH

    “The ‘Flotilla 2′ is intended solely to help relieve the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.” top

    FACT

    For the second time in two years, a group of anti-Israel activists have organized a flotilla under the pretext of bringing necessary supplies to Gaza. The true aim of the organizers, however, is to attract international attention and embarrass and provoke Israel by challenging its policy of preventing the terrorists of Hamas from smuggling weapons into the Gaza Strip. These provocateurs know that Gaza has no shortage of essential goods, that any needed supplies can be transferred through Egypt and that Israel is prepared to welcome ships into its ports and transfer the cargo to the Palestinians provided it is searched for contraband and weapons before being forwarded.

    Labeling itself the international “Freedom Flotilla II – Stay Human,” this year’s convoy will include ships sailing from the United States, Canada, Greece, Ireland, France and Italy and has invited journalists and politicians to join their blockade-busting mission. The U.S. State Department criticized the organizers, declaring that “groups that seek to break Israel’s maritime blockade of Gaza are taking irresponsible and provocative actions.” 5 American citizens were warned not to participate in the activity, which may also violate American law because funding for the mission was raised illegally in the States. 6 In addition, several countries have taken measures to prevent ships from sailing from their ports. Cyprus, for example, which was used as a springboard for the 2010 flotilla, has banned all sailings to Gaza from its seaports. 7

    Israel already has indications that some of the activists are planning to use violence against Israeli soldiers if they attempt to board the ships or prevent them from landing. Israeli intelligence learned that some of the flotilla participants may be bringing along chemical agents such as sulfuric acid in order to “shed the blood of IDF soldiers.” 8 The provocateurs apparently hope to gain the type of notoriety and publicity that activists in 2010 achieved when they brutally attacked Israeli soldiers boarding one of the flotilla vessels.

    In 2010, flotilla organizers justified their actions by claiming a humanitarian crisis existed in Gaza. It was not true then and is not true now, as the deputy head of the Red Cross subdelegation to Gaza flatly stated in April 2011 that there is “no humanitarian crisis in Gaza.” As recently as June 19, 2011, an aid convoy to Gaza named “Miles of Smiles 3” delivered 15 medical vehicles and 30 tons of medical supplies and milk powder to Gaza through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.

    Israel has the right –legally and ethically – to stop and inspect ships that attempt to deliver supplies straight to Gaza. In the past, ships attempting to smuggle tons of weapons into Gaza were prevented from doing so by the Israeli blockade. If the Flotilla 2 activists are truly intending to deliver humanitarian supplies, and not to create a bloody confrontation with Israel, it is possible to do so by following procedures set up by the Egyptian and Israeli governments. By trying to circumvent the avenues provided to them, flotilla participants are demonstrating they are far more interested in self-promotion than the welfare of Palestinians.

    “Unauthorized efforts to deliver aid are provocative and, ultimately, unhelpful to the people of Gaza. Canada recognizes Israel’s legitimate security concerns and its right to protect itself and its residents from attacks by Hamas and other terrorist groups, including by preventing the smuggling of weapons.”

    — John Baird, Canadian Foreign Minister

    “The Secretary-General called on all Governments concerned to use their influence to discourage such flotillas, which carry the potential to escalate into violent conflict.”

    — Ban Ki Moon, United Nations Secretary-General

  17. One of the most sensitive and earnest articles on this matter is written by Robert Fisk of The Independent. He wrote a brutally honest book “The Great War for Civilisation, The Conquest of the Middle East.” His most recent article is a must read by everybody.

    Google: as the gates of hell open once more in the middle east

    As for Borat, earlier you made a comment along the lines of an eye for an eye. If Israel has that option then do Palestinians have the right to pull Sharon’s plug since he was responsible for several massacres in ’48 and deemed indirectly responsible by his Israeli peers for the murder of 1500 (many more missing) unprotected unarmed Palestinian civilians at Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon?
    And mister Borat, if you take land from an established civilization, don’t you think they will react when outsiders take it away from them. NA natives did (hadn’t the weapons and little resistance to smallpox), the Inca did (smallpox once again), the South African natives did and they eventually won perhaps because Americans and the world became sensitive to colour. Israel plays the old trick of making the opposite side appear inhuman when in fact that inhumanity is induced by inhumanity perpetrated by themselves. I don’t believe any group (Jews are not a race) of people are inherently different from another, but is modified by life’s experience, religion and other factors.
    Borat, you complain about Hamas, I don’t like their tactics either, but you state that they are there to destroy Israel but then since ’67 Israel has continued to destroy Palestinian civilization illegally and the settler actions are getting more and more fanatical. I don’t think you are capable of seeing that or if you do, accepting it.
    As for your issue on food Borat, there may be enough food but is it good food? The Red Cross says not, and children are malnourished because what they do get, lacks the necessities of good health. Another problem is the poverty that has come over Gazans since the closure, and even if there is this wanting food, they can’t afford it and rely on agencies to provide it. Once Palestinians had a very high standard of education in the world but that has been destroyed as I have said over and over again. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    It appears some idiots are spamming the site. I wonder who as if I didn’t know.

  18. I just heard the reporter on CNN say something to the effects that some of the people here in Israel refer to it as “mowing the lawn”. It’s 11/21/12 3:11PM CST.

  19. As we sit down tomorrow to a peaceful and comfortable Thanksgiving holiday, we should also be mindful of the plight of our brothers and sisters in Israel under daily terrorist missile attacks . . . and yes, of the equally terrifying lot of the common Palestinian Arab in Gaza.

    The Israelis, of course, have since 2005 been subjected to some 8,000 jihadi rockets aimed specifically at their civilian population—a war crime 8,000 times over, with barely a murmur of protest from the “international community.”

    The Palestinians, of course, are victims of one of the most evil and cynical regimes on earth—an Islamist dictatorship whose primary strategy is bombing its neighbor’s citizens and then hiding behind its own civilians in their homes, hospitals and houses of worship, whose people are then made to suffer justifiable retaliation from the Israel Defense Forces, one of the most sophisticated military organizations on earth.

    There are two puzzles we have to solve here: 1) Why would Hamas be so stupid as to pick a fight with well-armed Israel; and 2) why do the media insist on calling this conflict “a cycle of violence,” “recurring hostilities” and “an exchange of missile attacks”—as though they were describing chronically quarrelling neighbors?

    A short answer to the first question: Hamas is not stupid: It knows that by provoking Israel into a fight and then hiding behind its own civilians, Israel’s military response, no matter how surgically targeted, will inevitably kill some innocent Palestinians, preferably children. These “tragic” deaths will capture the sympathy of the Western press and, by extension, of the “international community.” It’s a cynical game, but it’s one Hamas plays expertly. We Israel supporters must expose this cruel, murderous public relations ploy.

    As for the second question: Why have the mainstream media insisted on depicting the conflict as a moral equivalency between Israel and Hamas—simply two neighbors who can’t get along—when clearly Hamas has been the criminal aggressor for seven years now?

    The short answer: Many Western journalists do not follow Israeli-Palestinian relations as closely as we do. They are not informed about Hamas’s thousands of aggressions, will not admit that Hamas is absolutely sworn to Israel’s violent destruction and don’t care to distinguish between the terror felt by average Israelis under daily missile attacks for years and the fear experienced by average Gazans under the shock and awe of a retaliatory attack by Israeli fighter jets.

    That’s not to forgive the media for their irresponsibility. We don’t. But we can’t sit idly by while the media misrepresent Israel and the despicable actions of Hamas. This week’s FLAME Hotline article, by Alan Dershowitz, Professor of Law at Harvard, is a call to the media—and to those of us capable of writing letters to the editor—to shatter the false veneer of balance affected by those reporters and editors.

    The article below gives you the facts you need to write a flurry of letters to the media correcting their unfair characterization of the conflict in Israel and Gaza. We must flood the media’s op-ed and letters sections with forceful, indignant clarifications of the truth: Israel has been attacked, Israel has used amazing restraint in responding, Israel is making every possible effort to spare innocent Palestinian lives . . . while Hamas is making every concerted effort to murder innocent Israeli citizens. Israel’s goal is peace, the terrorists’ goal is conquest.

    Since the West Bank Palestinians have for so long refused to come to the negotiating table with Israel, we at FLAME have made a “modest proposal” that I think you’ll appreciate. It’s called “The Most Practical Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Can the two current proposed solutions bring peace to the region?” This position paper suggests that since peace negotiations—based on the tired “one-state” and “two-state” solutions—are going nowhere, it would be more productive for Israel and the Palestinians to give up for now and make the best of the current impasse, in fact to embrace it. We’ve just begun publishing this bold position paper in media reaching more than 10 million people and delivered it to all U.S. Senators and Representatives.

    Israel’s right to self-defense against Hamas
    The media and international community’s failure to distinguish between the Israeli military and Hamas terrorists is not only immoral but encourages terrorism and erodes the basic principles of just warfare.

    By Alan M. Dershowitz, Haaretz, November 18, 2012

    As Hamas continues to target Israeli civilians in their homes, Israel continues to target terrorist leaders and other legitimate military targets. Hamas has now succeeded in killing a family of three in their home. Targeting civilians, such as that family, is a calculated Hamas policy designed to sow terror among the Israeli population. Hamas supporters celebrate the murder of Jewish civilians. Every rocket fired by Hamas from one of its own civilian areas at a non-military Israeli target is a double war crime that should be universally condemned by all reasonable people. Israel’s response—targeting only terrorists and Hamas military leaders – is completely lawful and legitimate. It constitutes an act of self-defense pursuant to Article 51 of the United Nations Charter and universally accepted principles of international law.

    There is absolutely no comparison between the murderous war crimes being committed by Hamas and the lawful targeting of terrorists by the Israeli military. Yet the Egyptian government, now controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood, has condemned Israel while remaining relatively silent about Hamas. This should not be surprising, since Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.

    Some in the media also insist on describing the recent events in Gaza as “a cycle of violence,” without distinguishing between the war crimes committed by Hamas and the lawful actions undertaken by Israel to protect its citizens against such war crimes. It would be as if the media described lawful police efforts to stop illegal drug-related murders as a “cycle of violence.” Yet J Street, an organization that persists in calling itself pro-Israel, insists on describing the situation in Gaza as a “spiral of violence.”

    What would Egypt do if Hamas or Islamic Jihad suddenly began to lob deadly shells in the direction of Cairo suburbs? What would any country do? President Obama was entirely correct in defending Israel’s right to protect its citizens from terrorist attacks and in condemning Hamas for initiating these attacks. He is also correct in calling for Israel to try its best to avoid unnecessary civilian casualties, as Israel has always done and continues to do. The targeted killing of Hamas military commander Ahmed al-Jabari is a case and point. He and a Hamas associate were killed in a pinpoint airstrike that apparently caused no collateral damage.

    There are some who argue, quite absurdly, that all targeted assassination is unlawful, since it constitutes “extrajudicial killing.” But all military deaths are extrajudicial killings, as are deaths caused in the civilian context by individual acts of self-defense or by the police shooting a dangerous fleeing felon. In fact, only Israel among all the countries of the world has subjected its policy of targeted killing of terrorists to judicial review. The Israeli Supreme Court has set out careful and precise criteria for when targeted killing is appropriate and which people constitute appropriate targets under international law. Ahmed Jabari plainly fits within those criteria.

    Israel’s response to the Hamas rockets must of course be proportional, but proportionality does not require that Israel wait until a large number of its civilians are actually killed or seriously injured. Israel’s response must be proportionate to the threat faced by its civilian population. Indeed, the goal of its actions must be to prevent even a single Israeli civilian death.

    In addition to the Israel Supreme Court imposing constraints on its military, Israeli civilians and the Israeli media also serve as an important check. When, on occasion, Israeli military actions have caused a disproportionate number of civilian deaths, Israelis have become outraged at their military and demand a greater adherence to the principles of proportionality. This contrasts sharply with the population of Gaza, much of which applauds and celebrates every time an Israeli child is killed by a Hamas rocket. It is immoral in the extreme to compare Israel to Gaza or to compare the Israeli military to Hamas terrorists.

    It would be better, of course, if a permanent ceasefire could be arranged under which Hamas would stop firing rockets at civilians and Israel would no longer need to target Hamas terrorists. Egypt could play a more positive role by trying to bring about a ceasefire instead of unilaterally condemning the victims of war crimes, as it has done.

    But until Hamas stops terrorizing more than a million Israeli civilians, the Israeli military will have no choice other than to use its technological advantage to prevent and deter Hamas terrorism. It is the obligation of every sovereign state, first and foremost, to protect its civilian population from terrorist attacks. Israel’s decision to use targeted assassination against Hamas combatants is preferable to other military options, such as a massive ground attack that inevitably will cause more collateral damage.

    But if Hamas’s rocket attacks persist, Israel may have little choice but to invade the Gaza and take more extensive steps to protect its civilian population. It’s up to Hamas, which is entirely to blame for the current situation, as it was when Israel was forced to invade back in 2008. The international community and the media must begin to differentiate between war crimes committed by terrorists and legitimate acts of self-defense engaged in by a responsible military. Failing to emphasize that distinction encourages terrorism and erodes the moral basis of the important principle of just warfare.

  20. There are no words to describe the horrors that the Zionist regime has impose on Palestinians. How dare some miserable evil people defend this criminal behavior. It is beyond human comprehension.