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John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

Netanyahu is well known for despising the Oslo Accords from the beginning.

And now his long series of dark and hostile acts has pretty well succeeded in destroying them.

But that’s only a small part of what he has done. Mass killing in Gaza. Attempt to starve the people out with blockade (they actually counted the calories for minimum sustenance in the early stages). Piracy on the high seas. Horrible bombing in Lebanon. Assassinations. Threats and insults in every direction. Imprisoning without proper trial. Sending armed men more than once into holy places. Stealing homes in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

And Netanyahu has always made outrageous demands before even talking – for example, the demand that Israel (defined by what borders?) be first recognized as the land of the Jewish people (even though the overwhelming majority of the Jewish people do not live there – this is also a demand which directly threatens the lives of the million or so Palestinians who hold Israel citizenship through the accident of being trapped in horrors of 1948).

It couldn’t be clearer – although our press won’t say so – that Netanyahu is dedicated to creating Greater Israel, taking the land Israel illegally controls minus its unfortunate residents. It is slow-motion ethnic-cleansing, and nothing less.

What would you say and do if you were a Palestinian?

These people – five million or so in the occupied territories and East Jerusalem – live with no votes, no rights of any kind, almost no ability to travel, daily abuse, a good deal of danger and contempt, not even secure home ownership, and, to cap it all, the people responsible for all the oppression broadcast to the world a steady stream of public relations announcements about being a democratic country.

Netanyahu – whose acts and words literally scream a narcissistic if not psychopathic personality – is one of the most dangerous men on the planet, and an Israel under his leadership or under the leadership of anyone like him, such as the late Ariel Sharon, will never seriously consider peace and the fundamental compromises so clearly needed to secure it.

I am most afraid it will all end in tragedy.

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Response to a reader comment:

First, the Ashkenazim of today’s Israel have no relationship to the ancient Hebrews beyond sharing their religion. They are people largely of European origin, a fact which is established by their history, language (Yiddish-Taitsh), and even DNA testing.

But even if one somehow imagines the Ashkenazim as the descendants of the ancient Hebrews, how do they have a claim over land they would have left 2,000 years ago and others long have inhabited?

They don’t of course. It is an absurd proposition.

If you believe that is somehow proper way of doing things, then the Greeks should control Turkey (the Trojan War), Italians should control France (Gaul), Mongolia should control much of Europe (Genghis Khan), and indeed most of the planet should be completely re-ordered.

In many cases, there would be multiple claims to particular places, and, indeed, this is very much the case for Israel/Palestine. The Egyptians and the Phoenicians (Lebanon) ruled there for a long time before the Hebrews. Greece, Italy, and others would also have claims.

The notion of a Biblical foundation for modern Israel is so preposterous that it makes one’s head spin. But more than that, it was so clearly a violent and dangerous idea from the start. If someone with weapons and threats chased you from your home, claiming ownership in the name of vague and uncertain ancestors, and murdered many of your neighbors, is there any way to look at that as promoting peace or security or a bright future? It promotes feuds and hatred on all sides.

Apologists for Israel just remain blind to these basic principles.

Now, I am someone who regards the foundation of modern Israel as a geopolitical mistake because it was certain to create strife and bloodshed for countless years, but I am also one who believes that now that the mistake has been made, we have to try making it work. That can only happen if Israel ends its occupation, returns to its 1967 borders, and starts cooperating with, instead of attacking and oppressing, its neighbors. It must also give up imperial ambitions of growth at the expense of neighbors and working to dominate all of West Asia, and that is absolutely an accurate description of what motivates a tyrant mind like Netanyahu’s, and it is guaranteed to create endless strife and horrors.

The Palestinians were not responsible for the Holocaust, an event which happened in another land on another continent in another time. Why must they pay so terrible a price? And the cowardly American and European politicians who refused to help migrating Jews three-quarters of a century ago eased their guilt by supporting the creation of Israel, making innocent people pay the price for their own misdeeds.

No settlement or resolution which does not recognize these glaring realities and injustices can possibly succeed in the long term.

I do think Israel – at least the Israel of terrifying leaders like Netanyahu – is its own worst enemy. Refusing to deal with burning injustices means Israel ultimately is likely to go the way of the Soviet Union. After all, Israel today much resembles the old Soviet state with its huge military-intelligence-security establishment, its poorly functioning general economy only sustained by subsidies, and its ruthless hold over millions of captives who do not want to be held.

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