The terror that Israel inflicts is the terror it will obtain

Gaza residential area bombed / Telegram Reproduction
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By CHRIS HEDGES*

Palestinians speak in the language of violence that Israel taught them

The indiscriminate shooting of Israelis by Hamas and other Palestinian resistance organizations, the abduction of civilians, the launching of rockets into Israel, the drone strikes against a variety of targets – from tanks to automatic weapons nests – are the language family of the Israeli occupation. Israel has been speaking to Palestinians in this bloody language since Zionist militias occupied more than 78% of historic Palestine, destroyed some 530 Palestinian villages and towns, and killed some 15.000 Palestinians in more than 70 massacres. Around 750 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed between 000 and 1947 to enable the creation of the State of Israel in 1949.

Israel's response to this armed incursion will be a genocidal attack on Gaza. It will kill dozens of Palestinians for every Israeli killed. Hundreds of Palestinians have died as a result of Israeli airstrikes since the start of Operation Al-Aqsa Storm on Saturday morning, which caused the deaths of 700 Israelis.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Palestinians in Gaza on Sunday that they had to “flee now” because Israel will “reduce Hamas hideouts to rubble.” But where can the Palestinians in Gaza flee to? Israel and Egypt have blocked the land borders and there is no exit by sea or air, both of which are controlled by Israel.

Collective reprisals against innocent people are a familiar tactic of colonial governments. The US used it against Native Americans and later in the Philippines and Vietnam. The Germans used it against the Herero and Namaqua in Namibia. The British in Kenya and Malaysia. The Nazis used it in the areas they occupied in the Soviet Union and in Central and Eastern Europe. Israel follows the same playbook: death for death, atrocity for atrocity. But it is always the occupant who initiates the macabre dance and exchanges piles of corpses for even larger piles of corpses.

This is not about defending war crimes on either side. It's not even about rejoicing in the attacks. I've seen enough violence in the Israeli-occupied territories, where I covered the conflict for several years, to hate it. But this is the known result of all colonial projects. Regimes established and maintained by violence generate violence: the war of liberation in Haiti, the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya, the African National Congress in South Africa. These revolts are not always successful, but they follow similar patterns. Palestinians, like all colonized peoples, have the right to armed resistance under international law.

Israel has never been interested in a fair solution with the Palestinians. Built a state of apartheid and has been seizing ever-larger areas of Palestinian land in a slow-motion campaign of ethnic cleansing. In 2007, he transformed Gaza into the largest open-air prison in the world.

What does Israel or the international community expect? How can you imprison 2,3 million people for 16 years in Gaza, half of whom are unemployed, one of the most densely populated places on the planet, reduce the lives of its residents, half of whom are children, to subsistence level, deprive them of basic medicines, food, water and electricity, use fighter jets, artillery, mechanized units, missiles, naval weapons and infantry units to randomly massacre unarmed civilians and not expect a violent response? Israel is carrying out waves of airstrikes against Gaza, is preparing a ground invasion and has cut off electricity supplies to the Gaza Strip, which normally only work for two to four hours a day.

Many of the resisters who infiltrated Israel knew without a shadow of a doubt that they would end up dead. But, like other resisters in other wars of liberation, they decided that if they couldn't choose how they would live, they would at least choose how they would die.

I was close friends with Alina Margolis-Edelman, who was part of the armed resistance in the Warsaw ghetto uprising in World War II. Her husband, Marek Edelman, was the deputy commander of the uprising and the only leader who survived the war. The Nazis had imprisoned 400.000 Polish Jews in the Warsaw ghetto. The imprisoned Jews died by the thousands, from hunger, disease and indiscriminate violence. When the Nazis began transporting the remaining Jews to extermination camps, the resisters responded. None expected to survive.

After the war, Marek Edelman condemned Zionism as a racist ideology used to justify the theft of Palestinian land. He sided with the Palestinians, supported their armed resistance and met frequently with Palestinian leaders. He rebelled against Israel's appropriation of the Holocaust to justify the repression of the Palestinian people. While Israel reveled in the mythology of the ghetto uprising, it treated the uprising's only surviving leader, who refused to leave Poland, as a pariah.

Marek Edelman understood that the lesson of the Holocaust and the ghetto uprising was not that Jews were morally superior or eternal victims. History, Edelman said, belongs to everyone. The oppressed, including Palestinians, have the right to fight for equality, dignity and freedom.

“Being Jewish means always being on the side of the oppressed and never on the side of the oppressors,” said Marek Edelman.

The Warsaw ghetto uprising has long inspired Palestinians. Representatives of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) used to lay a wreath at the annual commemoration of the uprising in Poland at the Ghetto Monument.

The more violence the colonizer uses to subjugate the occupied, the more he becomes a monster. Israel's current government is populated by Jewish extremists, Zionist radicals and religious fanatics who are dismantling Israeli democracy and calling for the expulsion or mass murder of Palestinians, including those living inside Israel.

The Israeli philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz, whom Isaiah Berlin called “the conscience of Israel”, warned that the failure of Israel to separate Church and State would generate a corrupt rabbinate that would deform Judaism, transforming it into a fascist sect.

“Religious nationalism is to religion what National Socialism was to socialism,” said Leibowitz, who died in 1994.

He predicted that “the Arabs would be the workers and the Jews the administrators, inspectors, officials and police, especially the secret police. A state that governed a hostile population of one and a half or two million foreigners would necessarily become a police state, with all that this implies for education, freedom of expression and democratic institutions.

The corruption that prevails in any colonial regime would also prevail in the State of Israel. The administration would have to suppress the Arab insurrection, on the one hand, and co-opt Arab collaborationists, on the other. There is also good reason to fear that Israel's defense forces, hitherto a people's army, will degenerate into an army of occupation, and that its commanders, who would become military governors, will resemble their counterparts from other nations.

Leibowitz predicted that the prolonged occupation of Palestine would inevitably give rise to “concentration camps.”

“Israel,” he said, “would not deserve to exist and would not be worth safeguarding.”

The next stage of this struggle will be a large-scale Israeli assassination campaign in Gaza, which has already begun. Israel is convinced that higher levels of violence will ultimately crush Palestinian aspirations. Israel is mistaken. The terror Israel inflicts is the terror it will obtain.

*Chris Hedges is a journalist. Author, among other books, of Empire of illusion: the end of literacy and the triumph of spectacle (Nation books).

Translation: Ricardo Kobayaski.

Originally published on the portal Rebellion.


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