Monday, December 18, 2006

article: what are you going to do now Israel?

(8) What Are You Going to Do Now, Israel?
> Counterpunch
> 15 December 2006
> Johannesburg, South Africa
> What are you going to do now, Israel?
> Now that three small boys have been killed by assassins'
> bullets, and a Hamas judge dragged from his car and
> murdered, perhaps you are pleased. The Palestinians are
> finally succumbing to your plots, you think. The
> long-planned bottle has finally been sealed, in which the
> "drunken cockroaches" can only crawl around, shooting each
> other.
> Maybe you are sitting back in your national chair, rubbing
> your hands together in triumph, watching the Palestinians
> finally turn on each other, slowly becoming what you
> always claimed they were. Maybe you are repelled, secure
> in your sense of superiority.
> But have you thought about what you are you going to do,
> if Palestinian leadership you despise finally
> disintegrates?
> You have brought them to this pass, of course. You worked
> for decades to achieve exactly this. You bribed,
> terrorized, expelled, maimed or killed their leadership,
> banned or killed their visionaries and philosophers,
> fanned and funded Hamas against Fatah or Fatah against
> Hamas, trashed their democracy, stole their money, walled
> them in, put them on a "diet", derided their claims, and
> lied about their history to the world and to yourself.
> But what are you going to do, Israel, if five million
> Palestinians are finally living leaderless under your
> sovereignty? What will you do, when they lose their
> capacity to negotiate with you? Have you thought that,
> within the territory you control, they are as many as you?
> And that now you are destroying their unified voice? Have
> you thought about what will happen to you if they truly
> lose that voice?
> Maybe you really believe that, if you only feed Fatah
> money and guns, Fatah will reclaim power from the Hamas
> and restore the craven puppet Palestinian government of
> your dreams. Maybe you actually believe that Fatah can
> revive the wreck of Oslo, step out of the rubble of PA
> offices, and reclaim the driver's seat of the Palestinian
> nation as before. Maybe you are telling yourself that,
> with just a few more inter-factional scuffles and
> assassinations and little more starvation, the entire
> Palestinian people will turn on Hamas and eject it from
> power in favor of grinning Mr. Abbas.
> But why would you believe all this, when the only other
> test-case, Iraq, is in ruins and the US and UK are
> desperately trying to flee?
> Do you really still live so deeply in your own fantasies
> that you believe Palestinian resistance is just the
> product of bad or obdurate leadership? That no collective
> memory of expulsion and dispossession sustains the spirit
> of collective resistance that will always and inevitably
> transcend that leadership? Do you really believe that, if
> only you can crush or co-opt Hamas and Fatah, five million
> people will simply disappear forever from your
> world--trail off across the Jordanian or Egyptian borders
> into the endless desert, clutching clothes, kids, and
> tarnished mementos, in some great reprise of 1948?
> Do you actually think that, if the international community
> finally lets you off the hook of negotiating with the
> people you have dispossessed and discredited, you will
> somehow walk free at last, your crimes against them
> forgotten?
> We know you are still pursuing the old, fatal, futile
> fantasy: finally to redeem the Zionist dream by
> demolishing Palestinian nationalism. To break Palestinian
> national unity on the rocks of occupation. To reduce the
> Palestinians to Indians on reservations who decline into
> despair, alcoholism and emigration. To make them
> irrelevant to you.
> But here is news for you, Israel. The Native Americans
> haven't given up to this day. Damaged and reduced as they
> are, they know their history and remember their
> grievances. They are marginal only because they are one
> percent of the US population. The Palestinians are
> five-million strong, equal to you in numbers. And they
> live within your borders. When their leadership ruins
> itself, bashing each other like rams fighting to the
> death, they will finally turn their five million pairs of
> burning eyes on you, for you will be the only power left
> over them. And you will be defenseless, because your paper
> shelter - your Fatah or PA quislings - will be damaged
> goods, cracked vessels, discredited, gone. And it will
> then be you and those you have disenfranchised - you and
> the Palestinians, in one state, with no Oslo or Road Map
> myth to protect you. And by then, they will truly hate
> you.
> Then perhaps it will dawn on you what you have done, when
> the disintegration of Palestinian national unity spreads
> out like a tsunami through the Middle East, meeting up
> with the tsunami spreading out from Iraq, to lay the
> region waste and rebound on you.
> Watching you create this catastrophe for yourself, we
> think you are simply suicidal. We could just watch, but
> your road to ruin promises too much suffering to too many
> people. Still, to avert your unilateral suicide pact with
> the Palestinians, to whom can we turn? We could appeal to
> Hamas at last to mobilize the rank and file, who alone
> have the capacity to launch civil disobedience on the mass
> scale necessary to paralyse Israel's iron fist, but Hamas
> has no experience with this method, and now its statesmen
> are cornered by the guns you gave to Fatah thugs.
> We could appeal to the leader of the Fatah thugs, Mr.
> Abbas, shuffling at the feet of Israeli power, to find
> some spine. Or to the ubiquitous Mr. Erekat, who never had
> a political vision in his life, to develop one overnight.
> We could appeal to the Fatah thugs to reject Mr. Abbas and
> Mr. Erekat and the fat cement contracts you gave them to
> build the Wall that imprisons them, and seek a high road
> they have never glimpsed.
> We could appeal to the microscopic PFLP and DFLP,
> clutching their old programs too stale to chew and
> consumed by their acrid, decades-old bitterness and
> rivalry with Fatah, to lift their heads at long last
> beyond the old and new grievances.
> We could appeal to the US, but no one bothers to do that.
> We could appeal to the EU, but no one bothers to do that,
> either.
> We could appeal to the world, but it only stands aghast.
> We could appeal to the world media, but it is frozen with
> its ass in the air.
> We can only appeal to you, Israel. To think what you are
> doing, if not to care.
> For you are crafting your own destruction.
> You have been so effective in this great national project
> because you work from experience. Even the most
> courageous, principled, and sensible people, as you
> learned, cannot withstand a concentration camp
> indefinitely. At some point, as the Holocaust historians
> have tracked with such pathos, humanity breaks down.
> Individual heroism may survive as memoirs, but order,
> humanity, and finally human feeling decays into factional
> squabbles and man's inhumanity to man. You learned all too
> well and bitterly how this cauldron can melt down the very
> fabric of a society and shatter people. The lesson is
> burned, literally, into your national memory. And you are
> bringing those lessons to bear, attempting to purge
> Zionism's tragedy by bringing Gaza to ruin.
> But if you actually reap the chaos you are crafting for
> the Palestinians, you will find that no one else is
> responsible for these five million civilians except you.
> So what will you do, Israel, with five million people
> living under your rule, when you can no longer pretend to
> the world that you intend to negotiate with them? What
> will you do with people you detest, and who finally
> utterly detest you, when visions of coexistence have
> finally failed? You will be the only sovereign power over
> them. You will be able neither to digest them nor to vomit
> them out. And they will stare at you. And we will stare at
> you, too.
> Because there will be no one left to blame, and no one to
> take care of them, except you.
> Virginia Tilley is a professor of political science, a US
> citizen working in South Africa, and author of The
> One-State Solution: A Breakthrough for Peace in the
> Israeli-Palestinian Deadlock (University of Michigan Press
> and Manchester University Press, 2005). She can be reached
> at

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