They Condemn Themselves

Nothing I could ever say or write could condemn Israel more than the words that come out of their own mouths. Ninety percent support in Israel for this massacre. Ninety percent. That's nine-zero.

In a speech Mr Olmert gave in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, he recounted how he had “shamed” the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice by forcing her to abstain from the UN Security Council Resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, a resolution that she had helped steer towards a vote.

Mr Olmert made it clear that Israel would find it completely unacceptable for the United States to vote in favour of a resolution that Israel opposed.

“In the night between Thursday and Friday, when the secretary of state wanted to lead the vote on a ceasefire at the Security Council, we did not want her to vote in favour,” Olmert said.

“I said ‘get me President Bush on the phone’. They said he was in the middle of giving a speech in Philadelphia. I said I didn’t care. ‘I need to talk to him now’. He got off the podium and spoke to me.

“I told him the United States could not vote in favour. It cannot vote in favour of such a resolution. He immediately called the secretary of state and told her not to vote in favour,” AFP reported.

Whether it was Mr Olmert’s intention to indicate that the government of Israel dictates US policy, or whether he was reminiscing about the special relationship he has enjoyed with Mr Bush, or whether he was signalling to the president-elect Obama Israel’s expectations for the future, was unclear.

An editorial in The Jerusalem Post with the headline “Israel goes it alone,” clearly expressed Israel’s current disdain for international opinion.

“The world must be wondering, 17 days into Operation Cast Lead, why it is taking so long for Jerusalem to cave into pressure for a ceasefire in Gaza. From the UN Security Council, that renowned bastion of international probity, and the constellation of Muslim, Arab and non-aligned states to our unwavering European allies, the international community - and much of the media - wants Israel to stop fighting.

“We Israelis can hear these erstwhile friends in Europe and the media saying: ‘Everybody is wrong, and you alone are right?‘ “

And that indeed was the editorial’s conclusion: the rest of the world is wrong; Israel is right.

“Israel would have preferred to act with the support of those who claim to back our right to self-defense. In a cynical world, Israel must press ahead without it.”

In the International Herald Tribune, Ethan Bronner reported: “Israel, which is often a fractured, bickering society, has turned in the past couple of weeks into a paradigm of unity and mutual support, and people are feeling unusually good about one another. Flags are flying high. Celebrities are visiting schoolchildren in at-risk areas, soldiers are praising the equipment and camaraderie of their army units, neighbours are worried about families whose fathers are in reserve duty. Ask people anywhere how they feel about the army’s ban on journalists going into Gaza and the response is, ‘Let the army do its job’.

“It is true that with more than 900 reported dead in Gaza, many of them civilians, there are voices of concern that the war may be outliving its value. Worry over the risk to Israeli troops and even steeper civilian casualties as the ground war escalates have produced calls to declare victory and pull out.

“But that is still a distinctly minority view. Polls show nearly 90 per cent support for the war thus far, and street interviews confirm that Israelis not only favour it but do so strongly. The country’s leaders, while seeking an arrangement to stop Hamas’s ability to rearm, do not want a face-saving agreement. They want one that works or they want to continue the war until Hamas has either lost its rockets or its will to fire them.”


“There are no boundaries to the hypocrisy that a righteous fury produces. The discourse of the generals and the politicians is moving erratically between self-compliments of the humanity the army displays in its ’surgical’ operations on the one hand, and the need to destroy Gaza for once and for all, in a humane way of course, on the other.

“This righteous fury is a constant phenomenon in the Israeli, and before that Zionist, dispossession of Palestine. Every act whether it was ethnic cleansing, occupation, massacre or destruction was always portrayed as morally just and as a pure act of self-defence reluctantly perpetrated by Israel in its war against the worst kind of human beings. In his excellent volume The Returns of Zionism: Myths, Politics and Scholarship in Israel, Gabi Piterberg explores the ideological origins and historical progression of this righteous fury. Today in Israel, from Left to Right, from Likud to Kadima, from the academia to the media, one can hear this righteous fury of a state that is more busy than any other state in the world in destroying and dispossessing an indigenous population.”

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