With the UN Human Rights Council having released yet another damning report this week on Israel’s conduct in Gaza, perhaps the time has come for some simple truths?
The first is that Israel is not going to change. It doesn’t want to change, it has no imperative to change and the strength of the settlement lobby is such that it is unable to change. Israel intends holding on to the occupied territories, building settlements and blockading Gaza until we’re all dead or the Messiah makes his entrance, whichever comes first..
The second truth is that there is no internal or regional force – political, diplomatic, military, ethical or whatever – that can force, cajole or persuade Israel to change direction. Anyone expecting change to come from either the Israelis or the Palestinians is deluded.
The third, and possibly most pertinent, truth is that Israel is immune to what the world thinks. To be precise, Israel is actually desperate for the world to love it but can’t tolerate anything except love. It’s an allergy thing. Anything less than total, exclusive and all-consuming love for Israel triggers an acute anaphylactic reaction in Israelis. Michael Oren’s recent tirades against Obama are a case in point.
Likewise Bibi’s boorish, if not abusive, response to the UN report, which he didn’t even bother to read, of course. Medical literature cites human rights reports as being one of the key triggers of the Israeli condition,
My advice to the United Nations, the White House, Whitehall and all the other repositories of civilized values is: Save some trees and stop writing those silly reports. Stop wasting your time. Maybe go walk along a beach and watch the sunset; or sit on top of a mountain and chant “Om.” Both would do you a lot more good than writing reports that Israel dismisses before they’re even written.
Which brings me to my fourth truth: Israel despises you. It despises you because it knows that, underneath your legalistic phrases and humanitarian bluster – your committees and agendas and resolutions – you’re weak. Toothless, lily-livered, emasculated eunuchs. With your blue-helmeted toy soldiers and your grand edifices to feebleness in New York, Geneva and God knows where else. A worldwide web of impotence.
If there’s anything that Israel holds in greater contempt than criticism, it’s weakness. Let’s face it, a nation that thinks nothing of dropping a one-ton bomb on an apartment building in a residential neighborhood is not going to quake in the face of anemic words from Western diplomats and flaccid chastisements from cloistered legal academics. As we say in Hebrew, don’t make me laugh.
Let us count the ways. How many years have you been writing reports already? How many weighty volumes are gathering dust? How many grave statements have you issued and how many stern warnings have been passed through diplomatic channels? How many carbon-spewing air miles have you logged up and how many tight-jawed handshakes have you had to endure with eye-rolling Israeli leaders? And where is all that effort and where is Israel?
Israel is still occupying Palestine and brutalizing its people, that’s where it is. While you – the civilized, humanitarian, concerned world community – you are still writing reports. For 50 years you’ve been writing reports. Palestine has been submerged under Israeli settlements, strangled by Israeli roadblocks, impoverished, ravaged and violated, but you’re still writing your reports and releasing them in solemn ceremonies as if they mean something. Like good bureaucrats.
So now we’re done with the 2015 UN Human Rights report. Time to take a break, exercise the expense account, maybe even look in on the Syrian refugees to see how they are doing. Until Hamas fires a few rockets and the Israeli army decides it needs some target practice. Until the people who make bombs want to test their latest development on an apartment block of sitting ducks and Israel, always reliable, kindly obliges.
Then, 2,000 Palestinians later – or maybe more this time – you’ll write another report. And the next American administration will restock Israel’s depleted stockpiles, because it is, after all, a faithful ally and the only democracy in the Middle East. And the EU will convene a committee to review whether the place of origin of settler products should be marked accordingly. Tough action.
The bottom line is that 50 years is a long time and we’re all pretty tired by now. If you don’t have what it takes to stop Israel’s rampage or if it’s simply not important enough, then how about we all just drop the pretense. It’s had a long run. Let’s take a break from Israelis and Palestinians and do something else for a change. Let the South Sudanese take the spotlight for a while.
As the saying goes, either shit (which in this case means stopping all financial and other support for Israel, banning Israeli exports, expelling it from international bodies and making pariahs out of Israeli citizens) or get off the pot.
Can we agree that you’ll stop pretending that you’re serious about resolving the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, when you’re clearly not? I mean, if it hasn’t happened in 50 years it’s probably not going to happen, right? Let’s just agree on that and get on with the job of teaching the Arabs who’s boss.
Personally, I think we’ll all be a lot happier once it’s off the agenda – and the poor planet sure could do with a few reprieved trees (forests, actually) and a little less carbon in the atmosphere. I think it will do all of us a lot of good. But enough of those fucking reports, OK? I don’t think any of us could stomach another report.
All the best