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All Israelis are implicated in the occupation

Rather than an army secret, the systems supporting the occupation include such normal institutions as taxation, infrastructure projects, the education system and, of course, army service.

The debate over refuseniks from IDF intelligence unit 8200 unleashed acrimonious debates all week. While I have already observed some of them, here are a few more that stand out.

Carolina Landsmann has one of the most powerful opinion pieces I’ve read in a long time, in Haaretz. It may yet appear in English, but for now the excerpts here are my translation. Like one former member of Unit 8200 who spoke to me, Landsmann says their act of refusal is a statement that intelligence work and the system of occupation are directly linked, cutting into the belief that only those who hold the guns are responsible.

She then takes this insight to its next logical step. In blunt language, she writes that the refuseniks point to a perspective built into Israeli thinking that is

key to understanding what allows the state to continue its control and oppression of millions of Palestinians for 47 years. The illusion that certain islands within Israeli society are disconnected from the military rule over the territories, and those lucky enough to fit themselves into one of them are free from the responsibility for its injustices, [that illusion] has anesthetized the conscience of those opposed to such control, and stops them from rising up against it.

All of Israeli society, writes Landsmann, supports this system. I find this one of the most essential and accurate observations of Israeli reality that is rarely understood.

Military rule… is not a secret system of the IDF – it is the largest, most visible project, with broader participation than any other endeavor in Israel.

Rather than an army secret, the systems supporting the occupation include such normal institutions as taxation, infrastructure projects, the education system and, of course, army service. She concludes with disturbing clarity, “No one can say ‘I have no part in it.’”

I don’t believe Landsmann means that all Israelis are evil, and I reject that idea myself. But the fact that all social and political structures of society support the occupation is true and must be internalized. Not in order to blame individuals; to help them know that stopping this means identifying their personal contribution, through whichever social system they belong, and changing it. The refusal letter, she hopes, may be the first steps of this profound mental shift.

The important thing is to break down the imaginary border-wall that separates the army from civil society, the one that distinguishes the residents of the state from those of the settlements in terms of their responsibility for Palestinians. In Israel, a democratic country, all citizens – soldiers and settlers – participate in injustices and bear the responsibility for them.

Ironically, the far right has said this repeatedly. They argue that settlers are unfairly demonized, when in fact all of Israel, people and government alike, supports settlements.

Once, at a Nakba commemoration event at Tel Aviv University, I spotted far-right Hebron settler leader Baruch Marzel wearing a T-shirt reading “Solidarity: Sheikh Munis,” the original Arabic name of the Palestinian village where the university now stands. For a fleeting instant I wondered if the world had turned upside down. But simultaneously I knew it was mockery, an extension of the slogan: “The fate of Hebron will be the fate of Tel Aviv!”

Baruch Marzel at Tel Aviv University, May 2012 (Photo: Dahlia Scheindlin)

Baruch Marzel at Tel Aviv University, May 2012 (photo: Dahlia Scheindlin)

Settlers in his camp believe it is hypocritical for Israel to make any distinction between its claim on Tel Aviv and Hebron. By that logic, there is also no distinction between Israelis who make life in Tel Aviv what it is today, and those responsible for making Hebron what it is today: a city divided by identity at the level of its sidewalks, by virtue of Israeli military law.

I believe the realization that regular Israelis are part of the occupation and regular Israelis must act to stop it, is at the heart of a bitter and deepening wedge between different types of “left” in Israel. The condemnation of IDF refusal by politicians considered center-left (primarily Labor, and primarily Shelley Yachimovich) infuriated some people not normally identified with the far left.

Uri Misgav, who has been writing at length about Unit 8200 all week, published a short piece today, so simple it hurt. What else can a person do?

He successfully conveyed the suffocating sense that no action opposing the occupation is legitimate or effective. His everyman citizen who rejects this policy has nowhere to turn. “Time after time he sees how the ‘left’ and ‘center’ strengthen coalitions of the right that entrench and perpetuate [the occupation].”

If Landsmann revealed that all Israelis are part of it, Misgav’s average citizen searches for some way not to be (my translation).

He just doesn’t want to contribute his part. He wants to live in peace…It seems absurd to finance [the occupation] with his taxes, but tax evasion is a criminal offense and a tax rebellion isn’t realistic. If he wants to boycott settlement products, they explain to him that boycott is an awful thing and who more than the Jews must remember that…If he joins a human rights group, they accuse him of damaging the image and reputation of the state. If he agitates for external support or international involvement, he becomes a Jew-boy doormat to the anti-Semitic goyim. Of course, he cannot fathom any sort of violence.

So, Misgav’s everyman against the occupation says, enough. I don’t know how to end it, but I just can’t take part. Switching to the first person and speaking for that everyman, Misgav writes:

I won’t bomb him from the air, raid his home in the dead of night, make his life miserable at checkpoints, spray rubber or sponge bullets at demonstrators, blackmail him to become a collaborator, and I won’t even gather intelligence that will enable all this to go on to the end of days.

Misgav then walks through the vile attacks that would be, that were, unleashed on such a person. The conclusion is a tragic plea.

He wants to live. Again, he wonders, what else there is to do? He doesn’t want to leave. He doesn’t want to commit suicide. He wants to live in peace with his conscience in the State of Israel, without supporting the project of occupation and settlements. Please help him, dear readers: is there a legitimate way to do this?

I might rephrase the end: is there a legitimate way to stop this?

Related:
Refusal by elite IDF reservists angrily dismissed as ‘political’
IDF’s ‘start-up nation’ reservists refuse to serve the occupation
How can you tell that Israeli refuseniks are are scaring the system?

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    COMMENTS

    1. bor

      All Americans are implicated in their destruction of Native American communities and culture.

      All Americans are implicated in destruction of Mexican sections of Southwestern US and Texas.

      All Americans are implicated in NSA spying.

      All Turks are implicated in the violent occupation of Cyprus.

      All British are implicated in the killing of civilians in Iraq during the Iraq War.

      All British are implicated in their government spying on their citizens.

      All Western country citizens are implicated in their countries’ wars and intelligence gathering.

      ALL PALESTINIANS ARE IMPLICATED in Palestinian terror against Jews since 1920 to the present day.

      Great article.

      In answer to the questions: “dear readers: Is there a legitimate way to do this?” and “I might rephrase the end: Is there a legitimate way to stop this?” there is an answer: win an election with a party that advocates “ending the occupation” (whatever that means to you). Please note that Olmert and Kadima won on precisely that platform less than a decade ago, but Abbas refused to accept the offer extended by Israel. But, if you can find another leader who runs on this platform and get him/her elected, then you will get your wish.

      Reply to Comment
      • bor

        When I listen to a conversation such as this, I feel deep shame for writers such as Dahlia Scheindlin and the rest of the 972 crew.

        http://youtu.be/Bfq3efnPElA

        Listen to it in its entirety and weep!

        As Rosh Hashanah is upon us, here’s a suggestion, 972mag writers: why don’t you make an effort this year to stop with the destructive criticisms and find a reasonable middle ground?

        Your country is made up of reasonable, decent people who, for decades, have been paying a steep price to enable you to have the very rights you have which permit you to bitterly and openly criticize Israel. But you do what you do disrespectfully and intentionally try to undermine the profound efforts of so many to enable this pocket of Jewish life to exist. Try to have some respect.

        Reply to Comment
      • kd

        Get your facts right Bor. I’m a Turkish Cypriot and I know Turkey did not invade Cyprus. Turkey intervened to stop the Genocide/Ethnic cleansing of Turkish Cypriots, the minority and underdog in Cyprus at the time. Just like Palestinians in that regard and if Turkey hadn’t intervened to save us there would be few of us left.
        Now many millions globally know truth re; Israel/USA/EU complicity in war crimes against Gaza and are protesting and intervening to save Palestinians from Israels genocidal intent.

        Reply to Comment
    2. Richard

      Anyone who takes part in an economy in a country that funds national defense through taxation is responsible for everything the military does, by this logic. You say Israelis are not exceptionally evil, but this is just double talk, to hedge yourself, because that idea is the takeaway from this piece. Nobody even thinks to attribute this level of responsibility to individual citizens in any other developed country, so why here?

      Reply to Comment
    3. Vicky

      As a American whose taxes have been used to fund Israel’s activities in Palestinian territory, I feel guilty. How can Israelis not feel guilty?

      Reply to Comment
      • Kolumn8

        Guilt is something you feel when you do something wrong. When faced with no other options but to do what you do to survive there can be no guilt because you are not doing anything wrong. Those that choose to wallow in empty guilt in such a scenario are a suicidal cult.

        Reply to Comment
      • Jan

        I completely agree with you Vicky. I felt guilty when my country was dropping more bombs on Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos than they did during all of World War 2. At least I got out in the streets and demonstrated along with millions of others against that demonic war.

        I felt guilty when my government was using contra terrorists to overthrow the democratically elected Nicaraguan government. I found it hard to answer a 12 year old girl in Leon, Nicaragua when she asked me why my president wanted to kill her.

        I felt guilty when I visited the Mothers of the Disappeared in El Salvador and heard the testimonies of women whose children had been murdered by the US backed death squads.

        I felt guilty when the war criminals Bush/Cheney and the neo-cons unleashed the greatest act of state terrorism in the 21st century when they attacked Iraq based on a deliberate tissue of lies. Along with millions of others, I marched and demonstrated against that war.

        I feel guilty when my tax dollars go to support the occupation and oppression of the Palestinians. I can call the White House and can call my member of Congress but I do not have the clout of the Israel Lobby.

        I hope the day will come when I do not feel guilt about what my country is doing.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ron Wash

          How about feeling guilty for butchering 15,000,000 native Indians (the poorest minority in the US) because of greed (1/2 of the land wasn’t enough, you had to kill each and one of the native, so you (yes, you) will have every inch on so call USA). How about enslaving 10,000,000 (yes, millions) African and kill over 8,000,000 on the way, so your forefathers did have to work so hard. now, that is something you can regret and try to fix (what is the use regretting if you can not correct it). How you may ask? first, sell your home (the land belonged to the native American) and give the money to any Native American charity, sell your car, or 20% of your salary, and give it to African American charity. That’s a good start.

          Reply to Comment
    4. Kolumn8

      People like Landsmann and Misgav belong to a suicidal cult in deep conversation among themselves. Israelis do not feel that they are not participants in some vague crime of which the suicidal left has convinced itself. This belief in a vague crime and of the associated guilt and shame is a retarded article of faith that the left takes as an axiom and runs with it. The rest of the Israelis believe they are doing that which needs to be done in a struggle against those that wish to destroy them. They feel neither guilt nor shame, but rather pride in their ability to continue to build a prosperous and creative society in spite of the challenges they face.

      The suicidal cult is a marginalized minority that has no means or ability to convince anyone outside their own bubble of their position. Negativity, depression and failed/unrealistic mantras from the past do not sell. All they can do is to further socially marginalize themselves through additional radicalization, which they are doing, or to give up and leave, which they are also doing. They have no future here because their ideology is one that a priori accepts the Palestinian ideology that the Jewish presence here is illegitimate. All I can say to them is bon voyage.

      Reply to Comment
      • sh

        Really? Google Gush Etzion, Rabbi Schlesinger, Shaul Judelman and see “how much the rest of the Israelis believe they are doing that which needs to be done in a struggle against those that wish to destroy them”.

        Possibly a majority still does, but there are pockets of good sense and empathy even in the most unlikely of places. We’ve already heard Naomi Zion from the border with Gaza, there are others, even settlers.

        “When you only live among your own and only know your own narrative, you are naturally very suspicious of the other who is just an intruder and just a thorn in your side and something that doesn’t belong there,” he says. “But when you open up your heart and you see the other, you begin to see the truth is complex – that my truth is true, but it’s a partial truth and there’s another truth that’s also partial and I have to learn to put them together and make the larger truth. I believe we can do that.” Rabbi Schlesinger of Alon Shvut, in
        http://www.haaretz.com/blogs/outside-edge/.premium-1.611903

        Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn8

          Yes, Sh, really. Israel is a free country and there are lots of crazy people with crazy ideas.

          There are settlers that assume that the one state solution with a Jewish majority in Israel+WB is a done deal and choose to invest time in establishing a modus vivendi with the Arabs. I don’t have any problem with this, but it does get misrepresented by people like you. The settlers aren’t operating out of the view that the IDF actions are wrong or that they feel any shame or guilt over its actions, but out of the view that Israel/the IDF/the Jews have already won and are trying to be magnanimous in their victory.

          There are also the brainwashed parrots of 1990s slogans like Nomika Zion and some staff writers at Haaretz whose world has collapsed and they can’t climb out of their confusion because they are too deeply lost in blaming everything rather than accept that their own guiding principles were fundamentally unrealistic and impractical. Sometimes they have events and they get together with other similar lost souls, all of whom at this point are aged 50+ and who have long ago been politically marginalized though they occasionally make it out for what is effectively an addiction support group packaged and promoted in public in what passed for youthful optimistic language 30 years ago.

          Reply to Comment
      • I’m certain abolitionists were deemed a “suicidal cult” as well. And, to some degree, this came true–through the actions of those so deeming.

        You are not, however, against suicide, but merely want to control its trajectory. As do we all.

        Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn8

          A closer analogy would be Jews who in the 1930s blamed themselves for the Nazis and looked for ways to “cooperate” out of the principle that there must be some “pragmatic/reasonable” Nazis and that Jews just need to demonstrate how “good” they are and all could end well. That was literally a suicidal cult with similar ideological principles. For an equivalent treatise see the recent article here by Idan Landau “intended for Israelis who are ready to suppose that next to fanatics there are also pragmatic people in Hamas. This is like a Yezidi author writing and article “intended for Yezidis who are ready to suppose that next to fanatics there are also pragmatic people in ISIS”. These people are nuts. Simply bonkers.

          In this case this suicidal cult is prevented from committing suicide by the might of the IDF and the fact that the rest of us Israeli Jews see them for what they are. They are upset that no one is listening to them and are throwing tantrums (like this article) or are leaving. Good riddance.

          Reply to Comment
    5. david gold, esq.

      This post reeks of irony. Muslim conquests and jihad have led to approximately 270 million casualties since the inception of Islam. Should Israel emulate Muslim and Arab modes of conflict resolution?

      Reply to Comment
    6. Mikesailor

      I agree with David Gold that this reeks of irony, but disagree with him as to the nature of the irony. If you really wish to look at this mess, a look at 1930’s Germany would prove instructive. After all, the Germans believed they were being attacked from all sides: the communists, labor unions, the professional and educated classes and the Jews. Each group was the enemy. And the Germans, as a whole, could not understand why their belief in racial superiority was not wholeheartyedly approved by those not Germsn. In Israel today, the “leftists’, the Palestinians, the Eritreans, and the anti- or post Zionist liberal seculars are all seen as existential threats to Jewish supremacy. Oh, if everyone would only ignore Israeli criminal behavior then everything would be all right. David blames the “Muslims” for all ills and therefore modern day civilians should expect no qurter from him. Kolumn and Bore agree with that point of view: that Palestinians or other Arabs deserve to be treated as subhunan with only the Jews as “ubermenschen”. Of course, those who read and understand historical parallels will recognize that the racist and murderous predilections of these paragons of Zionism, will drag the entire country into oblivion but hey, they can always rely upon the words of that great Jewish philosopher Alfred E. Neuman and his immortal words..”What, me worry?”

      Reply to Comment
      • bor

        It takes a particular type of scumbag to compare Israelis to Nazis.

        Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        “David blames the “Muslims” for all ills”

        No he didn’t, Mikey. He just mentioned their history. Do you dispute that bit of history of theirs as a people?

        Reply to Comment
    7. Yarenn Šagor

      In Hebrew, many people, especially right wingers, especially those who argue strongly, don’t realize that the Hebrew word Kibbuš has two meanings in English and other languages: Conquest, and Occupation. They don’t realize we are talking about occupation, and that’s why they don’t understand that Šeīẖ Mūnes is not relevant to the debate.

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        I have news for you, Yarenn, I am talking about the “occupation” too. Not conquest. Although the “occupation” did have to start somehow, didn’t it? And as you know, the West Bank was conquered by us after Jordan attacked us in 1967. That fact has relevance because it means that we conquered the West Bank in a DEFENSIVE war, not an AGGRESSIVE war which many of you lefties would gladly skip over.

        Maybe you could be the great shining left wing knight who could explain to a poor old unwashed right winger like me, how we should end the occupation without putting our collective heads in a noose? Waiting …. waiting … waiting …..

        Reply to Comment
    8. Gustav

      As an Israeli, should I feel guilty about how and why the occupation came about? Well, I don’t. I don’t feel guilty for fighting off the Jordanian army which attacked us in 1967.

      As an Israeli, should I feel guilty for being occupiers for this long? Well I don’t. I don’t because since 1967 we have been trying to resolve this conflict first with the Jordanians and Egyptians who didn’t even want to sit at the same table to talk to us at first but subsequently after they made peace with us, washed their hands off the West Bank and Gaza. After which the Palestinian Arabs have been refusing peace offer after peace offer.

      As an Israeli, should I feel guilty for not offering the Palestinian Arabs better peace terms? Well I don’t. I don’t because we offered them 100% of Gaza and 97% of the West Bank with land swaps to compensate for the 3% but it still wasn’t good enough for them because it didn’t include their formula which would make it easier for them to try and destroy our state in the future.

      As an Israeli, should I feel sorry for the Palestinian Arabs as a people? Well, I feel as sorry for them as they feel sorry for me if you get my drift. Because they could have established their shiny democratic (a fiction) independent utopia of a state many times over but at every turn they preferred to go for broke and play a zero sum game in which they would have deprived us of our state. And it always backfired on them.

      They could have had their state in 1947 after the UN vote to partition Palestine.

      They could have had their state between 1948 and 1967 when Jordan and Egypt controlled 100% of the West Bank and Gaza respectively.

      They could have had their state after the 1967 war too when Israel offered land for peace but the Arab people responded by saying: “what was taken by the sword, will be taken back by the sword”.

      They could have had their state in 2000 when Ehud Barak offered peace but their response was the Second Intifada.

      They could have had their state in 2001 when Ehud Barak made them an even better offer but they responded by organizing the lynching session against us in Durban SA.

      They could have had their state in 2008 when Ehud Olmert came up with an even better offer but their silence was deafening. They just ignored the offer.

      I could go on about other initiatives of ours, all of which backfired on us but there is no point to it. The point is that I just don’t feel guilty. The Jan’s, the Vickys, the Dahlias and Mikey too are just not going to be successful at making me feel guilty for wanting to stay alive in this part of the world in my own state and for putting my survival ahead of their endless appeals to my perfectly clear conscience.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Mikesailor

      First of all, I didn’t say that Israelis were or are all Nazis. Not all Germans were Nazis either. I know that’s hard to believe to the eager purveyors of Zionist propaganda but if you examine the facts you’ll find it true. Yet, the war: the bombs, disease, death and maiming were never confined to the Nazis, it affected both innocent and guilty alike. And the idea that Germans didn’t know about atrocities is as stupid as claiming that Israelis don’t know about the IDF executing Turks on the Mavi Marmara, or using snipers to kill innocent teenage Palestinians, or using white phosphorus in Gazan neighborhoods, or bombing UN schools abd hospitals. Not to mention attacking homes of Hamas leaders without bothering to find out whehther or not they were occupied by civilians. No, the Israelis are complicit in barbaric criminal acts which they have convinced themselves are somehow moral. A curious morality to say the least. And as for Gustav: a criminal usually feels regret for committing despicable acts and doesn’t try to sugarcoat them. A sociopath however can convice himself always in the rightness of his cause no matter what acts he takes to effect his own selfish needs. ‘Nuff said.

      Reply to Comment
      • bor

        I know exactly what you wrote. As I said, it takes a particular type of scumbag.

        Reply to Comment
        • Average American

          Bor – I’ll second it, lots of similarities to Nazi Germany. Also true not all Germans were Nazis. Maybe not all Israelis Zionists. But true Israel was formed on racial basis, The Jews as a race. Also true seeking racial purity by not inter-marrying, which suggests racial superiority. Yes you can say that’s just your culture, but your culture is racial. Also similarity Israel is not threatened, it is the regional superpower as Germany was, yet Israel needs an “enemy” to sustain its culture.

          Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        “And as for Gustav: …. A sociopath however can convice himself always in the rightness of his cause no matter what acts he takes”

        You have not refuted a single thing in my post. You just dismiss all the historical FACTS in my post as if by royal decree, Mikey.

        But you are not a royal, you are just a two bit tinpot racist who does not want to be bothered with facts which disturb your predetermined hateful beliefs.

        So being called a sociopath by racists like you Mikey, does not bother me the least. It is like water off a duck’s back.

        Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        “Any Israeli who doesn’t feel guilty and is not speaking out is doing an enormous injustice to humanity.”

        Guess what: even after watching that emotianally charged video I do not feel guilty.

        Yes, I feel disturbed by it. Any normal human being finds violence disgusting but in order to feel guilty, one needs to blame oneself as the primary cause for the violence. That I cannot do because we as a people have done everything in our power to try to end the occupation. What we haven’t been willing to do was to put our own collective heads into a noose, in order to end the occupation. And for that, we have nothing to apologize for because nobody in their right mind would act differently if they would be in our place.

        Now Natalia, since you obviously disagree with me, could you please answer my post and tell us how we could have done things differently? And maybe, more importantly, you could attempt to give us, the great unwashed people like me, a strategy outlining HOW to end the occupation?

        Oh and I nearly forgot. Can someone here explain to me why the saintPalestinian Arabs never established their state when they could have? Why did they choose to fight a war of extermination against us instead? Could it be that they bear a great deal of guilt for the present situation?

        Reply to Comment
    10. sh

      You are confusing making peace with “the Arabs” (Egypt and Jordan) and making peace with the Palestinians. The former are countries, the latter are people we largely turfed out when we moved in.

      We did not offer the Palestinians 100% of Gaza, we pulled out unilaterally. And if there was an offer made by leaders on their way out the door, to take discussion over shared capital and refugees off the agenda, those leaders proved how unlikely such a deal would have been by being voted out before the Knesset could even consider either of them. And the best proof of all is that the Pulsa deNura rabbi didn’t even consider bothering with them.

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        Blah blah blah, Sh. Read my whole post. Don’t just pick bits and pieces and still misrepresent even those bits and pieces.

        Reply to Comment
      • JohnW

        “You are confusing making peace with “the Arabs” (Egypt and Jordan) and making peace with the Palestinians”

        Gustav has not confused anything. You are the one who is confused Sh.

        You obviously haven’t read his post. He outlined the whole history of this conflict and how, at the least, the Palestinian Arabs themselves are complicit for why we are where we are today.

        The problem with you and others like you in here is that you ignore uncomfortable truths. Truths which conflict with what you WANT to believe as opposed to history and facts. And then you try to justify your beliefs by tugging at the emotions of people who are not familiar with the history of this conflict.

        That is not a bad strategy. It has been put to good use by many demagogues before. But sooner or later you will be found out because a lot of people use their intellects too not just their emotions. But propagandists know that too, don’t they, Sh? So you and they quickly rush in with posts, any posts to misrepresent and obfuscate posts such as Gustav posted which gave a very good summary of how this conflict started, who started it and how it unfolded. People like you are terrified of such posts because you simply have no valid rebuttals to the facts which he raised.

        Reply to Comment
    11. Tzila

      Mrs Scheindlin,
      Isn’t it a collective fascistic atmosphere and attitude? There are many many signs and events who speak by itself.I understand the intellectual exercice in which you are engaged ( and this is right ), but to me and to many Israel’s visitors known by me,this is the impression they get .

      Reply to Comment
      • Kiwi

        “Fascistic”. Nice fascistic way of dismissing the ot the other person’s point of view without even saying anything?

        Reply to Comment
    12. Matan

      Another example of the radical left’s racism towards Arabs.

      Every Israeli citizen is apparently responsible for the occupation.
      On the other hand, are all Palestinian citizens responsible for the terrorist attacks? Of course not. It’s not their fault that their society glorifies death and that their biggest heroes are murderers of Jews. It’s not their fault that in their “moderate” newspapers blood libels and anti Jewish conspiracies are a casual thing. It’s not their fault that their moderate leader, Abbas, who is too moderate for the majority of Palestinians, recently praised the actions of a terrorist who tried to plant bombs in watermelons in order to kill children in a circus show.
      Heck, it’s not even the terrorists’ fault that they murder Israelis. After all, they are not rational agents responsible for their actions. They are simply “pushed” into action by the atrocities of the oppressive occupation regime.

      Reply to Comment
    13. andrew

      Dahlia, rather than whether all Israelis are implicated in the occupation (which they must be), isn’t the question rather how the occupation is characterised. On one hand it is a religious-right driven, expansionist, apartheid style, colonialist enterprise that inevitably entangles the Israeli army in protecting the settlers. The alternative characterization is as an attempt to contribute to maintaining security for green line Israel. Of course both can be true, and to the extent that the IDF is involved in both aspects of the occupation they are inextricably tangled and hence “look similar”. One can debate the extent to which each is the dominant aspect of the occupation, as well as to what extent the occupation actually increases Israeli security. (In The Gatekeepers we heard that Israel hasn’t been very wise in its conduct in the WB, but that isn’t to say that the occupation serves no security role.) It seems almost impossible to find an analysis of the security role of the occupation that is not essentially an expression of political philosophy. So my two part question: 1. Do you think the occupation serves any meaningful security role; and 2. If yes, isn’t being implicated in that aspect of the occupation not such an unreasonable thing?

      Reply to Comment
    14. Mikesailor

      Andrew: Such a reaspmable question based on such a ridiculous premise. The “security” aspect of the occupation has proven to be a complete farce. Otherwise, why build settlements on another’s lands? Theft is a much more reasonable answer. Tell me, why weren’t the Palestinian refugees allowed to return to their homes in “48? Why weren’t they at least compensaqted for lost property? Why can Jews be compensated for peoperty lost in WWII while Palestinian land records are routinely destroyed by Israel? If a thief steals your property, what ‘security right’ does the thief gain against recovery by the rightful owner? As for the hasbara meted out by Gustav, John w and the other hasbaristas; the ’67 war was not a defensive war. Neeither the Egyprians nor the Joerdanians nor the Syrians fired the first shot. The sneak attack was done by Israel against the Egyptian air force. Even Begin admmitted that it was a war of choice and that Israel started it. So don’t try to say the never-ending occupation and ongoing theft are somehow the fault of the Palestinians. They are completely laid at the doorstep of the invading Zionists.

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        “The “security” aspect of the occupation has proven to be a complete farce.”

        How was it proven to be a complete farce?

        “Otherwise, why build settlements on another’s lands?”

        Palestine was designated to be the homeland of the Jewish people by the League of Nations and later on this was ratified by the UN too. Jews lived in Palestine since time immemorial, even before the Arrival of the Arabs. Jerusalem was a Jewish majority city since the 1850s. Gush Etzion was Jewish before 1948 before Jordanian troops and Palestinian Arab irregulars overtook it in 1948 and murdered Jewish prisoners of war with their hands tied behind their backs.

        Get it, Mikey? All that adds up to the following facts:

        – East Jerusalem was not “other peoples lands.

        – Gush Etzion was not “other peoples lands”.

        – Un-occupied, un-titled crown lands were as much Jewish lands as Arab lands.

        “Theft is a much more reasonable answer.”

        I could call you a thief too Mikey, it would mean as much as you calling us thiefs.

        “Tell me, why weren’t the Palestinian refugees allowed to return to their homes in “48?”

        Because their people were at a formal state of war with us. A war which they started and because of which they fled when things went badly for them.

        Subsequently they were not allowed to return because at least as many Jews were kicked out from Arab lands, most of whom settled in Israel. So in effect a population exchange took place much like between Turkey and Greece early in the twentieth century and between India and Pakistan in 1948.

        “Why weren’t they at least compensaqted for lost property”

        Why wern’t the Jews who were kicked out from Arab countries compensated for lost property?

        “Why can Jews be compensated for peoperty lost in WWII while Palestinian land records are routinely destroyed by Israel?”

        Did Jews kick out Germans and their collaborators from their lands during WWII? Did Jews steal the properties of Germans and their collaborators during WWII? NO! There you have it. Unlike in the Israeli Arab conflict, the victimazation was one sided.

        “If a thief steals your property, what ‘security right’ does the thief gain against recovery by the rightful owner?”

        If … but we are not talking about thieves when it comes to the Arab Israeli conflict. Alternatively, if you want to call us thieves, then you should be prepared to call the Arabs thieves too because they did what we did too. Moreover, the Arabs were the aggressors and aggressors should never be rewarded for their aggression. Otherwise they would be encouraged to commit more aggression.

        “As for the hasbara meted out by Gustav, John w and the other hasbaristas;”

        You do know what the word Hasbarah means, don’t you Mikey? It means EXPLANATION. What have you got against us telling our side of the story? Do you consider it unfair? Of course you do. Because propagandists like you prefer to trumpet your own lies without anybody challenging your lies, distortions and one sided diatribes, right Mikey?

        “the ’67 war was not a defensive war.”

        It was a defensive war allright. Egypt’s Nasser unilaterally kicked out the UN peace keepers, three Arab armies mobilized and lined up their troops along Israel’s borders, they promised that the forthcoming war would wipe Israel off the face of the map, they launched terrorist raids into Israel and they blockaded international waterways.

        That wasn’t war? Then ask yourself this: how would your country react to such provocations? Would it ignore it and go on with it’s daily business? Yea … right … of course not!

        “Neeither the Egyprians nor the Joerdanians nor the Syrians fired the first shot.”

        Actually the Jordanians DID fire the first shots despite Israel’s pleas to them to stay out of the war. Go look it up, Mikey.

        “The sneak attack was done by Israel against the Egyptian air force.”

        Sneak attack? You call the provocations which I outlined above nothing? The only reason why the Egyptians were taken by surprise was because they were cock sure of themselves that Israel would not dare to launch a preemptive strike against “the might” of three Arab armies. They were deluded of course.

        “Even Begin admmitted that it was a war of choice and that Israel started it.”

        I don’t know what Begin said and in what context (perhaps you could provide a link to a neutral sits?) but it certainly was not a war of choice. It was a war of necessity because Israel had a citizen army which it HAD TO mobilize in response to the mobilization of the three Arab armies along it’s borders. Since it’s citizens were mobilized, it’s industry ground to a halt. A prolonged stalemate would have therefore led to Israel’s collapse. That’s in fact was the strategy of the Arabs. They were goading Israel to attack. They didn’t think that Israel would dare to do so and they lulled themselves into believing that the IDF was a paper tiger. They were wrong!

        “So don’t try to say the never-ending occupation and ongoing theft are somehow the fault of the Palestinians.”

        Of course I will say it. Read my earlier post. They rejected every opportunity to make peace and to form their own state on part of Palestine. Why? Because they WANT all of Palestine.

        “They are completely laid at the doorstep of the invading Zionists.”

        In your dreams Mikey.

        Reply to Comment
        • Gustav

          Now Mikey, let me demonstrate why our Hasbarah (Explanation) is necessary:

          You invoked the following simplistic out of context quote of Begin to try and prove that Israel’s 1967 preemptive strike was unnecessary:

          “Even Begin admmitted that it was a war of choice and that Israel started it”

          But in reality, this was the context in which Begin said what he said:

          ” Menachem Begin, who, in order to argue for an Israeli invasion of Lebanon in the 80s, reminded the Israeli Knesset that preemptive strikes were already part of Israel’s history and that waiting for her enemies to choose the time of coordinated warfare is a losing policy, remarking in regards to the 1967 war that, “The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. (…) We decided to attack him”. But, he added in that speech, the 1967 war was not an act of aggression, but of response to multiple acts of aggression designed to debilitate Israel step by step as a preliminary to outright war.[15][16]”

          Go look it up in Wikipedia, Mikey. It puts an entirely different complexion on your simplistic assertion about what Begin said, Mikey. Now do you understand why our explanation (Hasbarah) is necessary to correct the propaganda perpetrated by the likes of you?

          Reply to Comment
      • Andrew

        Mikesailor, you have just demonstrated my point “It seems almost impossible to find an analysis of the security role of the occupation that is not essentially an expression of political philosophy.” None of what you said goes to the question of whether the occupation has any security value.

        Reply to Comment
    15. Victor Arajs

      The only way to end the occupation is to send every invader back home. All of Palestine is occupied and ALL of it must be returned (including Sheikh Munis). If the protestors in 8200 were pursuing justice instead of publicity, they would burn their passports. How can one say that “pre 1967” israel is not stolen and “post 1967” israel is stolen?

      Reply to Comment
      • Arieh

        “The only way to end the occupation is to send every invader back home”

        Where is “back home?”

        Reply to Comment
      • Matan

        While you’re at it, will you also send the Arab invaders back to Arabia and the European, African and Asian invaders of America back to Europe, Africa and Asia? If you are already “pursuing justice”, why not go big?

        Reply to Comment
    16. Average American

      Israel is the regional superpower. Tanks and planes and ships and nuclear weapons. And USA behind them! So enough with this “threatened” crap. There’s no one holding Israel’s leash. Israel is doing exactly what it wants. Also, Israel is bent on expansion. Eretz Israel, the charter of Israel’s formation, Nile to Euphrates. So enough with this “it’s just little old us” crap.

      Reply to Comment
      • perplexed

        Israel is the super power? A wicked regime more like. Who made them the super power? We all know that America is financing Israel one hundred per cent. We also know that they have the smarts for evil & crookedness.

        Reply to Comment
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