Saturday, April 4, 2009

Israel: Do it long enough, nobody will care

Changing the rules of war
George Bisharat, The Electronic Intifada: Israel's campaign to rewrite international law to its advantage is deliberate and knowing. As the former head of Israel's 20-lawyer International Law Division in the Military Advocate General's office, Daniel Reisner recently stated: 'If you do something for long enough, the world will accept it. The whole of international law is not based on the notion that an act that is forbidden today becomes permissible if executed by enough countries... International law progresses through violations. We invented the targeted assassination thesis and we had to push it. At first there were protrusions that made it hard to insert easily into the legal molds. Eight years later, it is in the center of the bounds of legitimacy.

Uri Avnery: The matter came before the Supreme Court. The petitioners, Jews and Arabs, argued that this measure contradicts our Basic Laws which guarantee the equality of all citizens. The answer of the Ministry of Justice lawyers let the cat out of the bag. It asserts, for the first time, in unequivocal language: 'The state of Israel is at war with the Palestinian people, people against people, collective against collective.' ... Of course, the lawyers did not invent this principle. It has been accepted for a long time.

Paul Woodward, War in Context: Apartheid didn't end because its opponents adopted a spiritually enlightened non-violent perspective. It ended because white South Africans were forced to recognize they were clinging on to a politically unsustainable system. Israelis still cling on to a politically unsustainable situation, but unlike white South Africans, they are still able to hold on to a security blanket stitched together by American military and economic aid and political protection.

How some military rabbis are trying to radicalize Israeli soldiers.
Christopher Hitchens, Slate: The zealot settlers and their clerical accomplices are establishing an army within the army so that one day, if it is ever decided to disband or evacuate the colonial settlements, there will be enough officers and soldiers, stiffened by enough rabbis and enough extremist sermons, to refuse to obey the order. Torah verses will also be found that make it permissible to murder secular Jews as well as Arabs. The dress rehearsals for this have already taken place.

Gershem Gorenberg, The American Prospect: Israeli soldiers' accounts of the fighting last winter further undermine the official rationale of the war... At first, it looks like necessary defense. The public rallies around in the adrenaline rush of solving an international problem by force. The critics are few, or foreign, and easily dismissed. As time passes, it becomes more difficult to name what has been gained amid the horror. The moral price reveals itself. Criticism becomes mainstream and respectable and is entirely too late.
Image source here: Palestinians pray next to the bodies of seven members of the Salha family who were killed during Israel's attacks on the Gaza Strip, 9 January. (Wissam Nassar/MaanImages)