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AFTERMATH: CONTROLLING THE NARRATIVE June 4, 2010

Posted by wmmbb in Israel-Palestine.
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A national government engages in criminal and violent behavior, then through the news agencies and the media outlets it sets to shape the story to justify its actions in retrospect. Israel is very favored because it is protected by the United States. Nonetheless, it took extraordinary measures to remove cameras at the scene.

What neither Israel and the United States cannot never accept is the independent scrutiny of a process of International Law, thereby correction and standards of human decency, and thus licencing further violence on their own behalf and those they would dehumanize as “terrorists”.

Criminal violence stews in its own juice. Dehumanizing the other person or people is a precondition for overt violence, and is a form of violence. Where a lack of compassion prevails, permission is given to violence

Philip Giraldi at Anti.War.Com gives a comprehensive summary of the plot. He observes in part:

The Israeli commando assault on a flotilla bringing aid to Gaza which killed at least nine civilians should be a wake-up call for those who want to believe that Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu’s government is capable of making rational decisions. The flotilla, consisting of nationals from as many as twenty countries, was unarmed and carrying relief supplies that had been carefully inspected by the Turkish authorities. It was in international waters when it was attacked. More than 600 passengers and crew, apart from those who were killed, were subsequently arrested by Israel for refusing to identify themselves. If all that is correct, then Tel Aviv is guilty of piracy, kidnapping, and murder while the armed attack on a Turkish flagged vessel might be construed as inviting a military response from NATO. One of the vessels bore an American flag and there were at least eight US citizens on board, including a former ambassador and a USS Liberty survivor, suggesting that a strong reaction from Washington would not be inappropriate

My friend Hans Post, sent me this statement by Noam Chomsky made in Chicago on June 2:

Hijacking boats in international waters and killing passengers is, of course, a serious crime. The editors of the London Guardian are quite right to say that “If an armed group of Somali pirates had yesterday boarded six vessels on the high seas, killing at least 10 passengers and injuring many more, a NATO taskforce would today be heading for the Somali coast.” It is worth bearing in mind that the crime is nothing new.
For decades, Israel has been hijacking boats in international waters between Cyprus and Lebanon, killing or kidnapping passengers, sometimes bringing them to prisons in Israel including secret prison/torture chambers, sometimes holding them as hostages for many years.

Israel assumes that it can carry out such crimes with impunity because the US tolerates them and Europe generally follows the US lead.

Much the same is true of Israel’s pretext for its latest crime: that the Freedom Flotilla was bringing materials that could be used for bunkers for rockets. Putting aside the absurdity, if Israel were interested in stopping Hamas rockets it knows exactly how to proceed: accept Hamas offers for a cease-fire. In June 2008, Israel and Hamas reached a cease-fire agreement. The Israeli government formally acknowledges that until Israel broke the agreeement on November 4, invading Gaza and killing half a dozen Hamas activists, Hamas did not fire a single rocket. Hamas offered to renew the cease-fire. The Israeli cabinet considered the offer and rejected it, preferring to launch its murderous and destructive Operation Cast Lead on December 27. Evidently, there is no justification for the use of force “in self-defense” unless peaceful means have been exhausted. In this case they were not even tried, although—or perhaps because—there was every reason to suppose that they would succeed. Operation Cast Lead is therefore sheer criminal aggression, with no credible pretext, and the same is true of Israel’s current resort to force.

The siege of Gaza itself does not have the slightest credible pretext. It was imposed by the US and Israel in January 2006 to punish Palestinians because they voted “the wrong way” in a free election, and it was sharply intensified in July 2007 when Hamas blocked a US-Israeli attempt to overthrow the elected government in a military coup, installing Fatah strongman Muhammad Dahlan. The siege is savage and cruel, designed to keep the caged animals barely alive so as to fend off international protest, but hardly more than that. It is the latest stage of long-standing Israeli plans, backed by the US, to separate Gaza from the West Bank.

These are only the bare outlines of very ugly policies, in which Egypt is complicit as well.

( Han’s autobiography is: “One Man in his Time” [Otford Press, 2002])

Juan Cole is dismissive of the Israeli propaganda effort. I suppose it is necessary to observe that propaganda does not work because it is rational or its accepting audience is subjecting to what is told to evidence and reason. Juan Cole refers to Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech:

The defiant speech on Wednesday of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu defending the Israeli boarding of an aid flotilla headed for Gaza, and his insisting that the blockade of Gaza would continue displayed all the problems with hyper-nationalist Israeli discourse, of inappropriate analogies, factual errors, propaganda, and magical thinking. These fallacies have dominated the narrative presented by members of the Netanyahu government and those who support it.

History and numbers, Professor Cole suggests are on the side of the Palestinians:

In reality, the poor Israelis have gradually become one of the last colonial regimes in the world, and they are acting the way the French did in Algeria or the British did in 1950s Kenya before decolonization. The Israelis have the same chance of ultimate success that the British and French empires had once local people began mobilizing socially and politically, which is to say, none. The French polished off several hundred thousand people during their futile resistance to Algerian independence, and that seems to be where Israel is now headed. Except that France was large, populous and could retreat across the Mediterranean, whereas Israel is small, lacking in manpower, and stuck with defending a postage stamp territory from 300 million Middle Easterners almost all of whom deeply sympathize with the people of Gaza. Netanyahuism can hasten the end of this story, to Israel’s detriment, but can do nothing to stop the rest of the Middle East from getting wealthier, better educated and more militarily sophisticated over the next decade.

Informed Comment has a link to the eyewitness account of Knesset member, Haneen Zoabi reported by Asharq Al-Awsat:

Haneen Zoabi, who is a Palestinian Arab citizen of Israel and an MP for the National Democratic Assembly or Balad party, was on board the Mavi Marmara when it was stormed by Israeli commandos in international waters. She told Asharq Al-Awsat that “Israeli ships besieged the [Mavi Marmara] ship and began firing on it before the navy commandos rappelled [onto the deck] by rope from helicopters, firing [bullets] and a water-cannon at the activists.”

MP Zoabi categorically denied the Israeli assertions that there were weapons on board the ship, and that the international peace activists came prepared for violence, saying “there were no plans for resistance, this came as a natural response in self-defense, and this is something that could have happened at any time or place…for when somebody finds themselves under attack they find themselves in a natural manner trying to defend their lives by all available means.”

She added that “the iron bars that they are talking about are present on every ship or boat in the world, and there is no evidence that people were armed with this…this is untrue and has no basis in fact.”

Later, Ms Zoabi was unable to complete her report to the Knesset due to interruptions, and she was not granted extra time. Some of us only hear what we want to hear.

Juan Cole, via Facebook, provides a link to this NBC report from Andrea Mitchell in Israel in which the statement of the Israeli PM is contradicted.

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