Israeli militarism at its craziest

Israeli militarism at its craziest

As I was writing this piece, the Gaza Strip, one of the world’s most oppressed places, was still being pounded by Israeli bombs and rockets. The Palestinian death toll had reached more than a hundred victims, many of them women and children. On the Israeli side there were less than a handful casualties killed by rockets thrown from Gaza. It was, in short, yet another bloody conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, the latter suffering dozens of times more than the former.

But how did this all begin?

With an Israeli airstrike that killed the commander of Hamas’ military wing, Ahmed Jabari, and his son, a week ago. He was, according to Tel Aviv, a man responsible for past and future terrorist attacks and hence his killing was necessary for peace.

However, someone who knew the late Jabari well, Gershon Baskin, co-chairman of the Israel Palestine Center for Research and Information and a columnist for The Jerusalem Post, had a different take. Baskin had worked with Jabari for the release of Gilat Shalit, the Israeli soldier captured by Hamas and used later for a prisoner exchange. He knew that the Hamas military leader was in fact someone who wanted a long-term cease-fire in Israel.

Baskin explained these facts in a recent New York Times piece titled, “Israel’s Shortsighted Assassination.” He noted that Jabari was not only “interested in a long-term cease-fire,” but was also “the person responsible for enforcing previous cease-fire understandings” in the past.
Moreover, on the very day of his killing, Jabari was considering a cease-fire agreement with Israel that could have saved many lives on both sides! In the words of Baskin, “In the draft, which I understand Mr. Jabari saw hours before he was killed, it was proposed that Israeli intelligence information transmitted through the Egyptians would be delivered to Mr. Jabari so that he could take action aimed at preventing an attack against Israel. Mr. Jabari and his forces would have had an opportunity to prove that they were serious when they told Egyptian intelligence officials that they were not interested in escalation.”

That was the case, because the recent escalation in attacks against Israel from Gaza did not come from Hamas; it came from more extreme groups such as the Islamic Jihad and some Salafist groups. As “one of the more practical actors on the Hamas side,” Jabari could have halted them.

In other words, by killing Jabari, Israel also killed the chances of a truce. “Mr. Jabari is dead,” Baskin notes, “and with him died the possibility of a long-term cease-fire.”

This, I believe, is just one the countless manifestations of Israel’s ruthless militarism against the Palestinians. Rather than giving them their rights — such as a viable state in pre-1967 borders and compensation for all refugees — Israel has been trying to bring the Palestinians to their knees by killing them in large numbers.

As ruthless as this policy is, it is also mindless, if not outright crazy, for more oppression of the Palestinians only breeds more hatred against Israel, resulting in more rockets or terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians — something that I certainly oppose and condemn.

However, the same policy also gives hawkish politicians such as Benjamin Netanyahu a good opportunity for chest beating and to collect more votes from a growingly hawkish society.

Oh Israel, with all that admirable Jewish history, tradition and brainpower, how can you be so heartless, mindless and vulgar?