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Understanding the Israelis

By Owei Lakemfa
WHEN  last week I wrote on Israel’s ungodly offer  in the 1970s to sell nuclear weapon to Apartheid South Africa, I had thought that I will not write on that country again for the next few months.

I had in that article observed that Israel  was blocking  a flotilla of humanitarian aid ships sent from Ireland, Greece and Turkey to help the people in Gaza who face an Israeli-imposed humanitarian catastrophe. I had known Israeli leaders to be erratic, but nothing prepared me for the murders they committed in international waters on Monday morning.

The flotilla of six humanitarian ships with over 600 people, including women, children and 60 journalists from 32 countries were invaded in international waters by Israeli commandos using lethal force. At least nine people were killed and several injured.

The “victorious” Israelis seized the ships and detained the occupants. When news of the crime first broke, Israel had claimed that its intention in invading the ships with heavily armed soldiers attacking from sea and air, was peaceful but that the activists in the ships had shot at the soldiers and attacked them with weapons, so the Israeli commandos action was in self-defence! But after seizing the ships, Israel was unable to provide a single gun or ammunition to back up its fairy tale.

It was sickening to watch on television these innocent captives, some of them injured, in bounds and forced to march to interrogation rooms and detention centres.  Even prisoners of war are better treated. I reflected that one of the major differences between the Somali pirates and the Israeli invasion is that the former is not a state, otherwise, victims can hope for a better deal from the Somali criminals.  At least the intention of the  latter is ransom, not to take lives.

In all their infamous actions, the Somali pirates never attacked so many people from such diverse nationalities and background, injuring so many and taking this number of lives in a single haul. That record to the internal shame of the Israeli political elite will be held by Israel hopefully for ever because I do not hope that in human history, a set of people   will strive to set another world record in this dastardly act.

We are all witnesses to the war in Gaza in which the mighty Israeli military levelled many parts of the city of 1.5 million inhabitants, including well known landmarks like the university and the United Nations (UN) compound. Most of it has not been rebuilt and the UN which long ago declared an unfolding humanitarian disaster in the city, estimates that only a third of humanitarian needs gets into the city.

Shockingly, Israel  denies such needs and declares the carrying of cement by the humanitarian ships as unacceptable. Yet  three quarters of the buildings destroyed by Israel are yet to be rebuilt; that the people are living in temporary shelters is not to Israel, a humanitarian challenge! For the Israeli elites, putting Gaza under eternal siege, making the people suffer like detainees of a conscienceless foreign regime, holding on to Palestinian lands and stealing more in the name of continuous Israeli settlements, is an acceptable national policy.

It was just possible that there was a fundamental error of judgement in the planning, authorisation and execution of the terrorist attack on the ships, but any possibility of a redress by the Israeli administration was sealed when Defence Minister, Ehud Barak and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended the crazy act and claimed it had the full blessing of the Israeli government.

Yet the world’s most powerful country, the United States says the investigation into the piratical act should be done not by a clearly more neutral body like the UN but by the very perpetrators! The logic of the US, a country that claims to stand for justice, human rights, including that to life and equality of all peoples, is that a man who plans and executes a dastardly act in international waters should be allowed to investigate himself.

You do not ask  criminals who carried out premeditated murders to  investigate  and judge themselves; there is no hope of justice or even seriousness in that. What you do is take them to court! But America is an hostage to its own intrigues and has, as far as the Middle East crises go, lost  all sense of logic, morality and social justice.

I acknowledge efforts made by President Barack Obama to make Israel see some sense in the need to resolve the crises, and those made by Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton at least to get Israel stop the stealing of more Palestinian lands, but they are dealing with spoilt brats who have no regard for international law, morality or human lives.

The fact that  the invasion elicited condemnation from countries of the European Union, including Denmark and Sweden, who recalled their ambassadors  and mass demonstrations in Washington should have made Israel rethink its usual jargon that it is being condemned by Arabs and friends of international Islamic terrorism.

Not Israel; it has a state of mind that anybody or country that condemns its actions, no matter how atrocious such as the Sabra and Shattila massacres and Monday’s invasion is anti-semitic. To me, that country in its hope to eliminate its indigenous Arab citizens and deprive their Palestinian neighbours a home of their own, operates on a high level of depravity.

Yet the world has  a duty to make our universe a safer place where individual, group or state terrorism will not be tolerated. We should collectively demand of the Israeli leadership, an apology and reparation for the attack, punishment of those who used such lethal force, release of all the hostages and the ships and an end to the needless siege on Gaza.

Above all, the Israeli populace need collective reorientation to grow out of a sense of eternal siege and to build a new, non-racial society based on social justice, respect for international rules and morality.


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