- The leering ugliness of the Israelis' Easter blitzkrieg
is darkly illustrated by the news that, having marched into Ramallah, the
IDF prepared a special Easter television broadcast for this historically
- "Porn movies and programs in Hebrew are being broadcast
by Israeli troops who have taken over three Palestinian television stations
of Ramallah, irate residents of the besieged West Bank town have told AFP
. The soldiers started broadcasting the porn clips - considered extremely
offensive by most Muslims - intermittently this afternoon from the Al-Watan,
Ammwaj, and Al-Sharaq channels, the residents said. 'The pornographic movies
started on Al-Watan television at around 3:30 pm,' one 34-year-old Palestinian
mother named Reema told AFP. 'I have six children at home, they have nowhere
to go with what is going on here and can't even watch TV,' she said angrily.
'It's not healthy really. I think the Israelis want to mess with our young
men's heads,' she said."
- CHEAP THRILLS
- As the Middle East descends into the political equivalent
of a sado-masochistic orgy, the porn trope forms the perfect note trumpeting
Israel's triumph. The IDF offensive, the invasion of Arafat's compound,
the vaunted flexing of Israel's military muscle - all have the earmarks
of some perverted ritual of humiliation and violation. As the IDF's idea
of Easter programming attests, the Israeli offensive projects the essential
character of the degraded Israeli "democracy" - a lust for domination.
- After all, why does a robber, having already looted the
till and gone halfway out the door, turn and shoot his victim? Because
he can. For one moment, he is a god, his power to inflict death, at will,
is orgasmic proof of his omnipotence. However, for a certain type of killer
there is no such thing as a clean kill: he must torture his victim until
the last moment, extracting every ounce of perverted pleasure out of the
experience. This sadistic impulse is what drives the IDF and the Sharon
government forward - and gives their American amen corner a really cheap
- SICKO BLOGGERS
- Glenn Reynolds, the "blogger"-in-chief of the
War Party, responds with a "chortle" to the news of the Easter
Sunday porn offensive, echoing Australian war-blogger-cum-journalist Tim
Blair 's snicker. And one can only imagine what the sight of those butch
young IDFers with their leather boots on Palestinian necks will do to inspire
Andrew Sullivan 's much -advertised libido . Flex those "power glutes,"
- PALESTINIAN KRISTALLNACHT
- The complete helplessness of the Palestinians before
the Israeli onslaught was underscored by President Bush's endorsement of
the rampaging IDF :
- "I can understand why the Israeli government takes
the actions they take. Their country is under attack. Every day there has
been a suicide bombing, and every day the government sees the loss of innocent
- Asked if the storming of Arafat's office was justified,
the President averred:
- "Israel is a democratically elected government,
and the government is responding to the will of the people for there to
be more security.' Israel will make the decisions necessary to defend herself."
- Germany, too, was a democracy prior to World War II:
Hitler was elected Chancellor, and was recognized as such by all the other
powers. Did his "democratic" mandate ameliorate the crimes of
- But in looking to the American President for a semi-coherent
explication of US policy we are bound to come up empty-handed. Arafat could
"do more" to rein in the suicide bombers, Dubya dumbly insisted,
as the Israelis cut off the phones, the electricity, and the water in the
PLO chieftain's compound. Duh-Duh-Dubya is clearly in over his empty head,
and is reduced, in a moment that calls for leadership, to a ventriloquist's
dummy, dutifully parroting the Israeli line.
- OFF THE TRACKS
- Meanwhile, as if to underscore this failure, the US delegate
to the United Nations was voting for a resolution condemning the Israeli
invasion and demanding the complete withdrawal of the IDF from Palestinian
cities. This really brought home the sad truth of Zbigniew Brzezinski's
incisive analysis on CNN the other day:
- "You have shown some very dramatic footage, some
very dramatic sound bites as well. And they give you a sense of the immediacy
of the tragedy that's unfolding. But I think it's important to step back
and to remember that yesterday was a day of historic opportunity in the
Middle East as well as a criminal calamity.
- "The historic opportunity is that, for the first
time in 50 years, the Arab states have indicated they are prepared to live
in peace with Israel. And they've indicated a more or less equitable framework,
subject to negotiation, for such peace. The calamity, of course, is the
criminal act of terrorism. I find it baffling that the United States is
focusing almost entirely on the calamity.
- " [T]he [Bush] administration can't ignore the fact
that for the last 10 years, Mr. [Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon has opposed
the Oslo peace process, he has contributed to the political climate in
Israel that subsequently led to the killing of [then] Prime Minister [Yitzhak]
Rabin. He [Sharon] has been determined to dismantle the Palestinian Authority
and he is using every act of terrorism as an excuse to try to destroy the
Palestinian Authority. That is not the way toward peace. And the absence
of any meaningful American strategy and a sense of direction is a part
of this appalling reality that we are now watching."
- THE ISRAELIZATION OF US FOREIGN POLICY
- Lacking any coherence, American policy in the region
is effectively placed in the service of Israel's present government. As
American-bought tanks roll over the Palestinians, and Bush demands that
Arafat - on the verge of being taken into custody or killed - "stop
the violence," Sharon's strategic goal has been effectively accomplished.
It is now the US and Israel versus the entire Arab-Muslim world. What began
as a war against an extremist fringe sect of Islam has turned into a religious
and civilizational conflict. The unprecedented Saudi peace plan was met
with a volley of spittle in Crown Prince Abdullah's face, coming not just
from Sharon but from Bush. If one of the chief aims of the Israeli lobby
in the US has been to provoke a final split between Washington and Riyadh,
then the Easter offensive certainly accomplished that. Our "war on
terrorism" - marketed, at first, as a war on Osama bin Laden and the
perpetrators of 9/11 - has now become a war on a billion-plus Arabs and
Muslims worldwide. It is a war in which the US will have few dependable
allies: perhaps only Israel can be counted on. And that's just the way
the Israeli lobby likes it.
- A NATIONAL DISGRACE
- It's a disgrace, really, how American interests are being
ignored and derailed in the Middle East, while our policy benefits only
the interests of a belligerent little settler colony based on religious
obscurantism and an outdated paranoia. The Saudi peace plan, as an excellent
piece in Reason pointed out , offered the Israelis what they have always
claimed to want - normal, peaceful relations in the region:
- "Thanks to the Saudis a political horizon now exists.
What emerged from the Beirut conclave was an inventive offer that defied
the tide of anger in the region aroused by the Intifada. Pointedly, it
was directed at Israeli public opinion and came accompanied by a most amiable
Saudi interpretation of the type of 'normal relations' the Arabs promised
- "The Arabs are bluntly offering Israel what it has
always demanded," concludes Reason contributing editor Michael Young.
"If Israel refuses, its quarrel may no longer be merely with its neighbors,
but also with the US." I'm afraid Young is overestimating the Bush
administration's willingness to face down Sharon and Likud's American amen
corner. It was the libertarian journalist and polemicist Garet Garrett
who, in 1952, presciently noted that "no Empire is secure in itself:
it's security is in the hands of its allies." Now, it appears, our
foreign policy and our security has been placed in the hands of one particular
ally, which is intent on dragging us into their war.
- THE NEW 'ISOLATIONISM'
- In declaring Arafat "the enemy," Sharon announced
that the purpose of surrounding and invading the PLO compound was to "isolate"
him. With this act, the Israelis also succeeded in isolating the US. Brzezinski
outlined the dangers well:
- "I worry about the American national interest. I
can see two major jeopardies ahead if we don't step into the breach. If
the tragedy between the Israelis and Palestinians degenerates into total
violence, if Arafat is killed, we'll probably see major uncertainty, major
instability in the Middle East. We'll become more isolated in the war against
terrorism because the Arabs will then unite against us. And we could even
get an oil embargo with the Saudis, the Iraqis and the Iranians joining
forces despite their disagreements. That's a very, very ominous scenario."
- THE WAR PARTY REJOICES
- Oh, but what a glorious scenario for the War Party! Why,
just think, they can have all the melodrama of a World War II movie: rationing,
grim determination, and the same self-righteous retort to all critics and
other whiners: "Don't you know there's a war on?!" Andrew Sullivan
will lecture us on the morally uplifting effects of fasting; Victor Davis
Hanson will write an article full of classical allusions to Spartan self-sacrifice
and the manly virtues of imperial Rome; Norman Podhoretz will exhort us
not to engage in "another Munich" when the Arabs come up with
another peace proposal; and Rich Lowry will stop denying he really wanted
to "nuke Mecca," admit it wasn't a "joke," and ask
"well, why not?"
- AS YE SOW
- The line of the Bush administration and the Israelis
is clear: the suicide bombings cannot be tolerated, and Arafat is responsible.
Since 9/11, it's a whole new ballgame, and the Arabs had better get used
to it, and get out of the way. Aside from the question of Arafat's responsibility,
which hardly seems a credible contention when he can't even turn the lights
on in his headquarters, what the American people don't know about is the
degree of the Israeli government's own responsibility for the terror campaign
now being unleashed on their civilian population. For, as Richard Sale,
UPI's terrorism correspondent, noted, Israel gave major aid to the fundamentalist
Hamas - the principal terrorist group coordinating the suicide bomber campaign:
- "Israel and Hamas may currently be locked in deadly
combat, but, according to several current and former U.S. intelligence
officials, beginning in the late 1970s, Tel Aviv gave direct and indirect
financial aid to Hamas over a period of years. Israel "aided Hamas
directly - the Israelis wanted to use it as a counterbalance to the PLO,"
said Tony Cordesman, Middle East analyst for the Center for Strategic Studies.
Israel's support for Hamas "was a direct attempt to divide and dilute
support for a strong, secular PLO by using a competing religious alternative,"
said a former senior CIA official."
- Hamas was legally registered in Israel in 1978, as Al-Mujamma
Al Islami, and funds flowed into its coffers without any interference from
the authorities; funds slated for the secular and leftist PLO were embargoed.
At the time of the Iranian revolution, Hamas began to pick up support,
and, according to US intelligence sources cited by Sale,
- "Israel was certainly funding the group at that
time. One US intelligence source who asked not to be named, said that not
only was Hamas being funded as a 'counterweight' to the PLO, Israeli aid
had a more devious purpose: 'to help identify and channel towards Israeli
agents Hamas members who were dangerous terrorists.'"
- SO SHALL YE REAP
- Hamas was rife with Israeli collaborators, some of whom
were weeded out and executed - but not all. The secular nationalism of
the PLO had merged Palestinian Christians and Muslims into a unified struggle
against the Israeli occupation. Hamas had started out as an Islamic alternative
to this structure, and so was encouraged by the Israelis. However, via
the confluence of two factors - the rise of fundamentalism in Iran and
the infusion of millions in Israeli funding (all of it US tax dollars,
by the way) -- the group metastasized into a virulently murderous cancer
that eventually turned on its creators. Yet, as Sale points out,
- "Even then, some in Israel saw some benefits to
be had in trying to continue to give Hamas support: 'The thinking on the
part of some of the right-wing Israeli establishment was that Hamas and
the other groups, if they gained control, would refuse to have anything
to do with the peace process and would torpedo any agreements put in place,'
said a US government official. 'Israel would still be the only democracy
in the region for the United States to deal with,' he said."
- BIRDS OF A FEATHER
- A recent juxtaposition of links published by Antiwar.com
makes the thrust of Israeli policy all too clear:
- The Saudi Peace Plan has created unusual allies:
- In favor:
- Arab Nations George Bush Yasser Arafat
- Ariel Sharon Hamas ama bin Laden
- The degree to which Sharon and Hamas have goals in common,
taken in context with a recent curious news story about one of these suicide
bombers, leads us in a disturbing - but none too surprising - direction.
As Associated Press account of the death of suicide bomber Murad Abu Asal
appears, at first blush, to be merely baffling:
- "A Palestinian suicide bomber threw himself on an
Israeli vehicle parked close to the West Bank border Wednesday, wounding
two members of Israel's Shin Bet security service who were sitting inside,
police said. A statement from Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's office, which
is responsible for Shin Bet, said the injured agents were on "an operational
mission" when they were attacked. The bomber's body was left at the
scene until explosives experts could check it for booby traps. Palestinian
security sources and Israeli radio reports identified the bomber as Murad
Abu Asal, 23, and said he had worked as a collaborator with Israel.
- " Palestinian security sources said collaborators
regularly meet with Israeli security agents in that area. Israel's security
forces have a wide network of Palestinian collaborators who provide intelligence."
- On second blush, however, this raises a few questions,
at the very least, such as: what sort of "operational mission"
were these two Shin Bet agents on when they met their fate? It would be
pointless to speculate, but forgive me if I at least raise the possibility
that they were up to no good, and that this was one collaborator who finally
- and literally - went off on them.
- SHARON'S GAME
- Since 9/11, we are all supposed to empathize with the
Israelis, because we allegedly know just how they feel, they who have to
live every day of their lives with the specter of terrorism hanging over
their heads. But the suspicion that the Israeli government may bear some
responsibility for that threat - and not just indirectly, on account of
the occupation - may yet alert Americans and Israelis to the twisted nature
of Sharon's game.
- TWILIGHT WORLD
- In the black-and-white world of George W. Bush's "war
on terrorism," the idea that things are not always what they seem
to be on the surface - especially when it comes to the murky relations
between nations - is lost or glossed over. In the twilight world of covert
action, however, where there are no allies and it's a war of all against
all, moral parameters and boundaries are dissolved in the solvent of necessity,
and it's hard to tell friend from foe. Which brings to mind a curious news
item from the Bergen County (New Jersey) News, dated September 15, 2001.
- A CURIOUS TALE
- The story paints a picture of a widening dragnet in the
greater New York-New Jersey area designed to sweep up anyone and everyone
connected to 9/11, including a raid on a business known as Urban Moving
- "Investigators first became interested in the business
after witnesses reported Tuesday that three men seemed to celebrate the
World Trade Center explosions in Liberty State Park, then drove away in
a company van. Agents took pictures inside the company's office Thursday
night and seized 13 computer hard drives. They also showed a keen interest
in the roof, which had a very clear view of the World Trade Center until
Tuesday. A half-dozen agents searched the roof with flashlights and appeared
particularly interested in the sight lines from the roof toward downtown
- "East Rutherford police stopped an Urban Moving
Systems van on Route 3 Tuesday and detained five men inside, at least some
of them company employees. The occupants said they were all Israelis. They
were being detained because they are in violation of immigration regulations,
and all have expressed a desire to leave the country on their own, according
to an Immigration and Naturalization Service spokesman.
- "An employee of Urban Moving Systems, who would
not give his name, said the majority of his co-workers are Israelis and
were joking on the day of the attacks.
- "'I was in tears,' the man said. 'These guys were
joking and that bothered me. These guys were like, 'Now America knows what
we go through.'"
- At first, it seems like an anomaly that a bunch of Israelis
would be cheering - literally jumping for joy - at the sight of the World
Trade Cener, the pride of New York, brought down and humbled. But, then
again, on second thought, it makes perfect sense, now doesn't it? "Now
America knows what we go through," indeed. In light of the growing
scandal over Israeli spies in this country - who might have known something
about 9/11 before the dawning of that fatal day - we all ought to be as
"bothered" as that astonished employee of Urban Moving Systems
by such a perverse willingness to go to any lengths to gain our sympathy.
We have to ask: what wouldn't they do to keep it?
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