Wolves in Sheep's Clothing:
Many More Innocents Must Die Before the World Realizes that Israel is
Gathering Thorns and Thistles?
you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the
oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that
you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”
---Bishop Desmond Tutu
Gaza, the elephant has finally removed its foot from the mouse’s tail. Much
to the dismay of the mouse, the behemoth is not done with him. Not this
elephant. He has decided to bring his immense weight to bear on the mouse’s
miniscule body, sadistically reveling at the sight of the blood oozing from
the mouse’s bodily orifices as it is gradually reduces it to a mass of
I abandoned my neutrality long ago. My thoughts, prayers, support, and
activist efforts as an essayist, small Internet publisher, and dissident
against the American Empire are with the Palestinians. I am deeply sickened by
fact that the United States government finances Israel’s genocide against
the Palestinians with my tax dollars. It enrages me that AIPAC and bellicose
supporters of Israel dictate so much of our foreign policy.
of Ethnic Cleansing
elephant has received over $140 billion in financial support from the United
States since World War II. US subsidies to the Israeli government and military
average $15 million per day. Palestinian NGO’s were receiving a pitiful
$232,000 per day (for non-military use only) from the United States prior to
the termination of US aid to punish Palestinians for choosing the “wrong”
leaders in their democratic elections.
Thanks to America’s benevolence, Israel possesses a formidable military.
Israel has over 3800 tanks, 1500 large artillery pieces, 2000 aircraft
(including US manufactured F-16s), and is widely believed to possess powerful
The mouse recently had the audacity to bite the elephant’s toe. Some of the
more militant members of the Palestinian community, who refuse to quietly
acquiesce to extermination, kidnapped an Israeli soldier, an 18 year old
Jewish settler and a 62 year old Israeli man.
An Eye for an Eyelash
the perverse logic widely employed by Americans and Israelis, three
kidnappings warranted Israel unleashing hell upon Gaza. Forget that 9,800
Palestinians in Israeli prisons are routinely subjected to torture while
Palestinian prisons hold one Israeli. Never mind the 23 civilian Palestinians
murdered by Israeli shelling and air strikes over the last four weeks. And
disregard the 4,209 Palestinians that Israel has killed (including 892
children) and the 30,122 they have injured since 9/30/00.
way of comparison, Palestinian inflicted Israeli deaths totaled 1,113 during
I compose this piece, Israel has launched a ruthless military assault on the
Gaza Strip, one of the two pitifully small Palestinian enclaves. Air strikes
have knocked out the power plant which provided electricity to most of the 1.3
million inhabitants of Gaza. It will take an estimated 6 months and $20
million to make the plant operational again. The Palestinians can afford
neither the time nor the money.
Israeli troops and tanks are rolling into southern
Gaza as additional aerial bombardment has essentially split Gaza into northern
and southern halves by taking out two key bridges. Recent reports indicate
that Israel has violated Syrian air space by flying over the president’s
home and has launched tank attacks on northern Gaza.
Despite the lack of casualties thus far, Palestinian senior negotiator Saeb
Erakat had this to say:
condemn in the strongest possible terms this attack on our infrastructure. We
have 1.3 million people under siege in Gaza. Israel is in the process of
reoccupying Gaza -- not in traditional sense -- but through control of water,
electricity, food and medical supplies, and I don't think the international
community should allow it. A chance should be given to diplomacy. I urge the
United States to intervene immediately."
I shook my head in disbelief as I
watched CNN (the “liberal” cable news) manage to portray this gross
miscarriage of justice as if the Israeli military strike was justified in its
action. It defies logic to argue that Israel was warranted in destroying
infrastructure critical to the survival of over a million people and laying
siege against brutally oppressed human beings in its “hostage rescue” and
in its attempt to root out the perpetrators of recent Qassam rocket attacks
which have resulted in zero Israeli casualties. As is often the case,
Israel’s actions represent blatant abuse of power and violations of human
Yet why would I feel surprised? For years the corporate media has conditioned
United States citizens to believe in Israel’s right to savagely punish
virtually defenseless Palestinian civilians using our military hard-ware. The
Israelis specialize in electrocution for stealing a loaf of bread. And they
don’t care if those receiving the punishment are guilty or not.
The Madness of King George and Prince Ehud
its benefactors in Washington, Israel is ruled by Machiavellian militarists
who routinely violate international law and human rights. Mainstream media
propagandists have worked vigorously to maintain the perception that both
nations are pillars of morality and civilization, but the façade is rapidly
Quotes attributed to Caligula, the hedonistic and blood-thirsty Roman emperor,
would roll quite naturally off the tongues of George Bush or Ehud Olmert. It
is not much of a stretch to imagine either of them quipping:
wish the Palestinian people had but a single neck"
them hate, so long as they fear."
Playing With a Stacked Deck and
Acting With Impunity
that during its relatively short existence, the United Nations has targeted
Israel with Resolutions 65 times. They have condemned Israeli attacks on
Lebanon, collective punishment and repeated human rights violations against
the Palestinian civilian population, theft of Palestinian land, and violations
of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Israel’s response to the condemnations?
More violations of international law. Incidentally, there have been no United
Nations Resolutions against the Palestinians.
From the beginning of the conflict, Israel has held distinct advantages over
the Palestinians. In 1850, Palestine was inhabited by about 500,000
Palestinian Arabs, 80% of whom were Muslim. By the 1880’s, the European
Zionist movement had determined that Palestine was to be a Jewish homeland.
Zionists started to establish Jewish settlements there. As the population of
Jewish settlers rose, conflicts erupted. By 1947, the United Nations
intervened and determined that 55% of Palestine would belong to a newly formed
Jewish state. This was an astounding conclusion when one considers that at
that time the Jewish settlers only owned 7% of the land. It seems the Zionists
had friends in high places.
Harmony eluded Palestine. In 1948 a well-equipped and well-trained Jewish
military force predictably crushed the smaller and much more primitive
Palestinian army. Israel was born and greedily swallowed 78% of Palestine.
Palestinians became refugees. To this day Israel persists in denying the
United Nations right of the refugees to return to their homes. Approximately 4
million Palestinians currently subsist in squalid conditions in refugee camps
in the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan.
After the 1967 War, Israel began a military occupation of the remaining 22% of
Palestinian territory when it seized the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Under
the Oslo Peace Accords of 1993, Gaza and the West Bank were eventually to form
a Palestinian state. However, Israel has continued to encroach on Palestinian
territory and to deny the Palestinian people sovereignty. In September of 2000
the Palestinians launched armed struggle against their oppressors with the
Second Intifada. Their courageous resistance to Israeli tyranny persists as I
write this article.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon withdrew Israeli settlers from the
Gaza Strip in September of 2005. Ostensibly Israel was fulfilling its
obligation to return this region to the Palestinians. However, Israelis
maintained austere control of Gaza’s air space, ports and borders. The
Palestinians were essentially prisoners in their own tiny territory.
When the Palestinians had the audacity to democratically elect Hamas as the
majority party in their nominal government known as the Palestinian Authority,
Israel responded by withholding the Palestinians’ $60 million per month in
tax revenue. This has financially crippled the Palestinian Authority and
worsened the already devastating poverty in Gaza and the West Bank. Hamas’
history of fighting back against their merciless colonial masters and violent
rejection of Israel’s genocidal agenda have earned them the label of
“terrorists”. However, Hamas also has a history of providing badly needed
social services for many poverty-stricken Palestinians.
While Palestinians are often armed with sticks and rocks in their
confrontations with the powerful Israeli military, an occasional suicide
bomber or crude Qassam rocket kills Israeli civilians or military personnel.
As a result, Palestinian civilians have suffered barbaric Israeli reprisals on
Israelis have demolished nearly 8,000 Palestinian homes. In one instance an
Israeli driving an armored Caterpillar bulldozer intentionally crushed Rachel
Corrie, a non-violent American activist who had been attempting to prevent the
Israeli from demolishing a Palestinian house.
According to a UN human rights report drafted in 2004:
have destroyed homes in a purposeless manner and have savagely dug up roads,
including electricity, sewage and water lines."
"1,497 buildings have been
demolished in Rafah, affecting over 15,000 people”
has uprooted approximately 1.2 million Palestinian olive and fruit trees.
Israeli border and checkpoint security has wreaked further havoc on the
Palestinian economy as residents of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are
subjected to lengthy and humiliating waits and searches. Transportation of
goods and commuting to work are nearly impossible tasks in the Palestinian
territories. 66% of Palestinians in Gaza live in poverty and unemployment
As one might expect, fresh water is a relatively scarce resource in Palestine.
Not surprisingly, Israelis control most of it. In the West Bank, Palestinians
are denied access to water from the Jordan River. Palestinians consume only
17% of the water from West Bank aquifers while Israelis consume 73%. Per
capita, West Bank Israeli settlers enjoy four times as much water as
Palestinians. Israel prohibits Palestinians from drilling new wells and limits
the amount of water they can extract from existing wells. Israeli water
companies often make grossly inflated profits on water they extract from
Palestinian aquifers when they sell it back to Palestinian consumers. Israel
is withdrawing groundwater from Gaza so rapidly that saltwater from the
Mediterranean is replacing the freshwater. One would think that an adequate
supply of potable water would be a basic human right, but it is not for
Adding insult to numerous injuries, Israel is defying a decree by the
International Court of Justice that it is violating international law as it
continues to build its Apartheid Wall. In yet another example of collective
punishment of innocent civilians,
Israel is constructing a 620 kilometer barrier through the West Bank which
encroaches on Palestinian territory by as much as 10 miles in some places. One
purpose of the encroachment is that it will enable Israel to annex and control
vital water access points. In building the Apartheid Wall, Israel has uprooted
over 100,000 Palestinian olive and citrus trees, confiscated over 4,000 acres
of their land, and demolished 75 acres of their greenhouses.
Victim Turned Oppressor
is sadly ironic that the United States, a nation whose founding fathers
overcame tremendous odds to escape the shackles of an imperial power, would
support Israel’s cruel colonization and extermination of the Palestinians.
Perhaps more ironic is the fact that Israel, a nation formed as a homeland for
a group which was a principal target of Hitler’s genocidal policies, would
commit such horrendous humanitarian crimes against the Palestinians.
Would Jesus Do?
the very region where the Prince of Peace, who championed the cause of the
poor and oppressed against the rich and powerful and was crucified for his
idealistic crusade, Israeli hard-liners will not rest until they have crushed
those with whom Jesus would be standing were he alive today. While it is true
that there are defiant, violent Palestinians who refuse to turn the other
cheek, Israel has consistently responded by brutally punishing the 80% of
Palestinians who want peace. And many Americans who call themselves Christians
are cheering on these barbaric acts of injustice.
there was a doubt about Ehud Olmert’s determination to continue the genocide
of the Palestinians, he has erased it by deepening their plight with his
military incursion into Gaza. Olmert has said to expect "an extended
campaign against the Palestinian Authority" and that "all
targets" would be considered for possible action. This does not bode well
for innocent Palestinian men, women and children who are already suffering
from the significant infrastructural damage Israeli forces have inflicted in
the early stages of their “extended campaign”.
the Veil of Propaganda
my family and I started our evening walk yesterday, I found myself on the
verge of tears as sorrow and rage sparred with one another to become my
predominant emotion. Ominous storm clouds were just beginning to skirt the
horizon. Throughout our brief trek, blue sky and sunshine gradually gave way
to a dark, foreboding wave of cumulonimbi. Seeing the storm clouds triggered
mental images of the acrid-looking jet black smoke pouring from the bombed-out
Palestinian power plant I had witnessed on CNN. I found myself imagining what
I might feel if I were a Palestinian. With the power unique to raw human
emotion, sorrow and rage surged through my being.
While I believe in non-violent solutions, I also embrace an individual’s or
group’s right to self-defense. Corporate propagandists (who are well paid to
do our thinking for us) have deluded many Americans into thinking that
economic and military actions by the
United States and its allies that result in civilian deaths are moral and
legal. Concurrently, they have programmed us to believe that if members of
populations which have limited organized militaries respond to our oppressive
imperialism with violence, they are committing “acts of terrorism”. I
reject this illusion. I denounce violence by either side, but I recognize that
in some instances, it is necessary for victims of US (or Israeli) militaristic
aggression to resort to violence to defend themselves.
its history, the United States has slaughtered and enslaved millions while
waging genocidal campaigns against the Native Americans and the Iraqis. Its
noble cause? Global economic and military hegemony driven by the twisted
notions of American Exceptionalism and Manifest Destiny.
Israel has engaged in a long-term, multi-faceted effort to ensure the
extinction of the Palestinians. Its patron and benefactor, the United States,
shares equal culpability for their egregious crimes against humanity.
Since the United States and Israel are rogue nations with powerful militaries,
the response of the international community has been anemic. The Palestinian
people have essentially been on their own in their valiant resistance to
genocide. Hamas, the PLO, and similar “terrorist” organizations are
ultimately enforcers of the universal human right of self defense.
Leaders of Israel and the United States would be wise to heed the words of
Pope Paul IV:
you want peace, work for justice.
long as Israelis are committing ethnic cleansing, Palestinians will continue
to fight for their survival.
And what sane and honest human being can truly blame them?
Miller is a 39 year old sociopolitical essayist with a degree in liberal arts
and an extensive self-education (derived from an insatiable appetite for
reading). He is a member of Amnesty International and an avid supporter of
Oxfam International and Human Rights Watch. He welcomes responses at [email protected]
or comments on his blog, Thomas Paine's Corner, at http://civillibertarian