Friday, July 25, 2014

Massive Link Dump: War Postcards

French existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre said "Hell is other people." He was halfway there. Hell is other people who steal your land.

Hell is being colonized, hell is occupation, hell is asymmetries of power - things Sartre failed to recognize in regard to Palestine.

Today the suffering in Gaza deepens - death toll now exceeds 800, 4,000 injured, 80% of those civilians, 1/3 children - while Israelis carry on in a rather uninterrupted fashion with their lives and leisure.

Postcards from hell, war on Gaza, July 15th - 25th:



Postcards from paradise, fashion shows and beach bumming in Israel, July 15th - 25th:



Media: (* = a must read)
Israel's propaganda machine, however, insists that these Palestinians wanted to die ("culture of martyrdom"), staged their own death ("telegenically dead") or were the tragic victims of Hamas's use of civilian infrastructure for military purposes ("human shielding"). In all instances, the military power is blaming the victims for their own deaths, accusing them of devaluing life and attributing this disregard to cultural bankruptcy. In effect, Israel—along with uncritical mainstream media that unquestionably accept this discourse—dehumanizes Palestinians, deprives them even of their victimhood and legitimizes egregious human rights and legal violations.

I feel guilty in leaving, and for the first time in my reporting life, scarred, deeply scarred by what I have seen, some of it too terrible to put on the screen.
But it is wrong to suggest that Israeli civilians near Gaza suffer as much as Palestinians. It is much, much worse in Gaza. I defy anyone with an ounce of human feeling not to feel the same after ten minutes in Gaza’s Shifa Hospital with wounded and dying civilians. In the mortuary, it’s so overcrowded that the bodies of two children are crammed on to a single shelf. One day, they had only found enough of the remains of six women and children to fill a single stretcher.
The IBA said the ad's content was "politically controversial". The broadcast refers to child deaths in Gaza and reads out some of the victims' names.

In its appeal, B'Tselem demanded to know what was controversial about the item. "Is it controversial that the children [aren't] alive? That they're children? That those are their names? These are facts that we wish to bring to the public's knowledge."


West Bank:
The shelling of the UNRWA school, which killed 15 and injured 200, was a war crime. The UN had given the school’s coordinates to the Israelis, so they knew it was a school and was holding displaced persons. The UN, when informed it would be shelled, asked for more time to evacuate people but were denied it.

Geopolitics:
Behind all these maneuvers looms Israel's occupation of Palestine, now in its fifth decade. Not content with having ethnically cleansed hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in 1948 and 1967 and not satisfied with owning eighty-two percent of Mandatory Palestine, every Israeli government since 1967 has built or expanded settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem while providing generous subsidies to the 600,000-plus Jews who have moved there in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Two weeks ago, Netanyahu confirmed what many have long suspected: he is dead set against a two-state solution and will never--repeat never--allow it to happen while he is in office. Given that Netanyahu is probably the most moderate member of his own Cabinet and that Israel's political system is marching steadily rightward, the two-state solution is a gone goose.
After spending one week in Jerusalem from July 14-19, one day in the West Bank, and one afternoon being harassed by Israeli security in Ben Gurion airport, I must say that the ubiquity of the Israeli security complex has left a lasting impression on me.
Unlike conventional wars, the longest and most legitimate wars of all have been the people's fight for independence from colonialism. 

Israel is in the midst of such a fight against a people's struggle for freedom and independence and it makes similar, if not identical claims, to those made by other colonial powers of the past.

But not one foreign power big or small was able to win a single asymmetrical war against a people resisting colonialism throughout the entire 20th century.

This definite and paradoxical conclusion - the most instructive, and yet ignored of all lessons of war is categorical: Not one great power possessing superior firepower has won against a weaker, less organised and less professional resistance against occupation. 

Not the French, not the English, not the Belgians, the Dutch, the Spanish, the Portuguese, the Italians, the Soviets, the Chinese, the Afrikaners, etc. Not one!  In the end, they all lose. And if they don't, then it's not the end.


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