Monday, September 8, 2014

URI AVNERY - VIEW FROM ISRAEL Metro Gaza

the (Israeli) army has become a heavy, cumbersome, conservative machine. It followed its established routine, without employing special forces. Its doctrine was, in essence, to pound the civilian population into submission, causing as much killing and destruction as possible, so as to deter the "resistance" as much and as long as possible. In Israel, the terrible pictures of death and destruction did not evoke compassion. On the contrary. People were proud of it...

The assumption is that Hamas is an evil jihadist terrorist organization, bent on the annihilation of Israel. As one journalist put it this week: "a gang of psychopaths". The entire policy of Israel is based on this assumption...This demonic picture has no connection with the real world. I don't like Hamas. I don't like religious parties in general... I would never vote for one. But Hamas is a part of Palestinian society. In the last internationally supervised Palestinian election it won a majority... Hamas is not "jihadist"' in the sense of al-Qaeda or ISIS. It is not fighting for a world-wide Caliphate. It is a Palestinian party, totally devoted to the Palestinian cause. It calls itself  "the resistance'. It did not impose religious law (the "sharia") on the population.

WHEN A guerrilla organization with at most 10,000 fighters achieves a draw with one of the mightiest armies in the world, equipped with the most ultra-modern weapons, that is by itself a kind of victory

The war hysteria that has submerged Israel during this war has brought with it an odious wave of fascism. Lynch mobs have hunted Arabs in Jerusalem, Journalists like Gideon Levy need bodyguards, university professors who dared to advocate peace were censored (justifying a world-wide academic boycott), artists who voiced mild dissent were dismissed... Some people believe that this is a milestone in the decay of Israeli democracy. I still hope that the evil wave will recede. But something will surely remain. Fascism has been sanctioned in the mainstream discourse.

TEL AVIV has no metro. It has been discussed for decades. Successive mayors have promised it. Alas, still no metro.

When the Israeli army entered the Gaza strip and found there an astounding system of underground tunnels, an idea made the rounds: Why not invite Hamas to build the Tel Aviv metro? They have the expertise, the technology, the planners, the manpower.

But this war is no joke. It is a terrible tragedy.

AFTER 29 DAYS of fighting (until now), who has won?

It is, of course, much too early to draw final conclusions. The ceasefire has blown up. It will take months and years to sum up all the consequences. But Israeli popular wisdom has already drawn its own conclusions: it is a draw.

This conclusion, by itself, is a kind of miracle. For an entire month, Israeli citizens have been bombarded by a barrage of propaganda. Daily, hourly, they were subject to an endless stream of brainwashing.

The political and military leaders dictated a picture of victory. Tanks and troop carriers coming out of the Gaza Strip have been ordered to fly large flags. All photos of troops leaving the Strip showed happily smiling soldiers. (In my imagination I see the troops training for the exit, with the sergeant-major shouting: "You there, Private Cohen, correct your smile!")

According to the official line, our glorious army has achieved all its goals. Mission accomplished. Hamas has been beaten. As one of the tame "military correspondents" put it: "Hamas is crawling on all fours to the ceasefire!"

It was therefore a great surprise that in the first poll after the first bout of fighting, 51% of the Israeli Jewish public responded that the war had ended in a draw. Only 36% answered that we had won, while 6% believe that it ended in a victory for Hamas.

WHEN A guerrilla organization with at most 10,000 fighters achieves a draw with one of the mightiest armies in the world, equipped with the most ultra-modern weapons, that is by itself a kind of victory.

Hamas has not only shown a lot of courage during the fighting, but also surprising ingenuity in preparing for this campaign. It is still standing upright.

The Israeli army, on the other hand, has shown very little imagination. It was quite unprepared for the maze of tunnels. The vastly successful "Iron Dome" anti-rocket defence was developed by civilians and installed eight years ago by a civilian Minister of Defence against the express wishes of the army. Without this defence, the war would have looked very different.

Indeed, as a commentator dared to write, the army has become a heavy, cumbersome, conservative machine. It followed its established routine, without employing special forces. Its doctrine was, in essence, to pound the civilian population into submission, causing as much killing and destruction as possible, so as to deter the "resistance" as much and as long as possible. In Israel, the terrible pictures of death and destruction did not evoke compassion. On the contrary. People were proud of it.

In the end, both sides were thoroughly exhausted. Yet in the Cairo ceasefire negotiations, Hamas did not surrender.

For the Israeli leadership, the only alternative to retreat was the conquest of the entire Gaza Strip. This would have enabled it to exterminate Hamas physically and dismantle its infrastructure. But the army strenuously objected and convinced the political leadership, too. An estimated thousand Israeli soldiers would have been killed, the entire Strip would have been turned into ruins.

32 years ago, the Begin-Sharon duo was faced with the same dilemma. The conquest of Western Beirut would have cost an estimated 800 Israeli soldiers. Like the Netanyahu-Ya'alon duo now, they decided against it.

Israeli society has no stomach for so many casualties. And the international outcry against the civilian carnage in Gaza would have been too much.

So now Netanyahu has done what he had sworn never-ever to do: he has conducted negotiations with the "despicable terrorist organization"— Hamas.

THERE IS a mental illness called paranoia vera. Its main symptom: the patient takes a crazy assumption (the earth is flat, Kennedy was killed by extraterrestrials, the Jews rule the world) and builds an entire logical system around it. The more logical the system is, the sicker is the patient... read more:


http://www.outlookindia.com/article/Metro-Gaza/291648