Sunday, July 20, 2008
Israel’s collective psychosis: The denial syndrome
by Khalid Amayreh
This week, Israel sank in an avalanche of national lethargy, hypocrisy and self-righteousness.
Seeking to cope with Hezbullah’s success in getting Israel to release all Lebanese prisoners, dead and living, in exchange for the remains of two Israeli soldiers, Israeli leaders, media and shapers of public opinion have been indulging in sanctimonious self-glorification while denouncing the other side as “hateful, uncivilized and representing an inferior culture.”
This is a characteristic Israeli behavior. It perfectly characterizes a society that has been living in a state of denial ever since Zionist gangs, aided by western powers, succeeded in uprooting the bulk of native Palestinians from Palestine, their ancestral homeland, and implanting therein Israel, a state based on racism, terror, ethnic cleansing and falsification of history.
The orgy of lying, especially the shocking amenability of most Zionist Jews to take the obscene lies at face value caricatures a people that dreads knowing the truth, let alone coping with it.
And when the truth eventually manages to penetrate the “iron wall” of Zionist lies, the custodians of the big lie, which is Zionism, resort to a whole set of defense mechanisms to protect the collective mental sanity of a state whose very existence constitutes a crime against humanity.
Thus, according to this depraved and psychotic mindset, Israel doesn’t murder children and innocent civilians, It is only the victims that bring death upon themselves. And Israelis don’t steal the land and property of Palestinians, since the entire world was created for the sake of the “chosen people.”
And even when Jews do commit “certain mistakes” and “abominable sins,” they are not really to blame for that since it is the victims that always force Jews to make these mistakes.
Hence, the proverbial Palestinian victim of Israeli savagery is always responsible for the demolition of his own home, the murder of his own children and the destruction of his own farm, grove and orchard by Israeli bulldozer!!
Eventually, the entire Palestinian Nakba is a self-inflicted calamity which the Palestinians brought upon themselves because they refused to succumb to the will of the “chosen people.” More to the point, if the Palestinians don’t come to terms with the Nakba and the occupation, a greater Nakba, or holocaust, would be inflicted upon them.
Interestingly, the wave of self-righteous overindulgence in Israel has been led by the establishment people, figures that know too well that Israel doesn’t really represent the culture of peace, but rather the culture of war and aggression; they know that Israel is inculcated with a criminal and murderous mentality that differs very little from the Nazi mentality.
Yes, they do know all of this, but like all murderers, thieves and liars, they dread facing the truth. The truth would simply make them lose their raison d’etre. This is why they always try to turn the black into white, the white into black and the big lie into a “truth” glorified by millions of “beneficiaries” at home and ignorant “fans” abroad.
It may be particularly difficult to convince the “beneficiaries” of their sinfulness, namely the fact that they are living in homes that belong to other people and living on land that belongs to another people.
However, for the sake of the ignorant or naïve fans in Europe and north America as well as the rest of the world, it is imperative that they be delivered from the grip of Zionist lies.
Yes, westerners must be allowed to know the naked truth about this sick and sickening state that deceptively claims to be the sole true inheritor of Judaism while its ideology, behavior and actions are antithetical to all religious and moral values that stress universal justice and human equality.
Let us remember some of the “glorious expressions” of the Zionist culture of love and self-abnegation in recent years.
Chris Hedges is a prominent journalist and author specialized in American and Middle Eastern politics. He worked for a number of publications including the Christian Science Monitor, the Dallas Morning News and the New York Times where he spent 15 years.
In his recent book, War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning, Hedges tells a chilling story from his trip to the Gaza Strip in the heydays of the intifada, or the second Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation.
Hedges watched, ten- and eleven-year-old Palestinian children being lured to their neighborhood’s perimeter fence by taunts from a loudspeaker on the Israeli side. “Where are all the dogs of Khan Younis? Come! Come!" The Israeli voice barked insults at the boys’ mothers.
The boys responded by hurling their rocks at the jeep with the loudspeaker. The Israelis shot at them with M-16s fitted with silencers. Hedges found the victims in the hospital, children with their stomachs ripped out, and with gaping holes in their limbs.
Writing for “Harper’s Magazine” (see The Nation, March 11, 2002), Hedges wrote: “ Children have been shot in other conflicts I have covered. Death squads gunned them down in El Salvador and Guatemala, mothers with infants were lined up and massacred in Algeria, and Serb snipers put children in their sights in Sarajevo, but I have never before watched soldiers entice children like mice into a trap and murder them for sport.”
Here is another “expression of love:” In November, 2001, an undercover unit of the Israeli army buried a landmine in the sand that flows around Abdullah Siyam Primary School in Khan Younis in southern Gaza.
A few hours later, as Palestinian children headed to school, the mine exploded. Five school kids were instantly reduced to broken flesh. The youngest was six. All the victims came from the same extended family: Akram Naim Astal, 6, and his brother Mohammed, 13; Omar Idris Astal, 12, and his brother Anis, 10; and their cousin Muhamemd Sultan Astal, 12. Their young bodies were mutilated beyond recognition. The limbs of one child were found 50 meters away. Some of the kids could only be identified by their school bags, brightly colored and spattered with blood, still dangling from their butchered bodies.
Hasbara doctors in Israel might seek to extenuate the gravity or even whitewash these crimes by claiming that these were “individual acts” that didn’t reflect the overall policy of the Israeli government and army.
However, this is a big lie. In 2001, the noted Israeli award-wining journalist Amira Hass interviewed an Israeli sniper in which the soldier described the commands he received from his superiors:
“Twelve and up, you are allowed to shoot. That is what they tell us,” the soldier said. “So,” responded the reporter, “according to the IDF, the appropriate minimum age group at which to shoot is 12.” The soldier replied: “this is according to what the IDF says to its soldiers. I don’t know if this is what the IDF says to the media.”
A further “expression of love and humanity of Israeli culture” manifested itself, also in Gaza, in 2004, when an Israeli occupation army soldier, dubbed Captain-R, shot a Palestinian girl, Iman al Hums, who was on her way to school. However, the soldier was not sure whether the 13-year-girl died or not. Hence, he walked to the bleeding child, and instead of trying to save her life, he shot here 25 times, emptying his entire magazine of bullets into her tender body. He did what he did in order “ to verify the kill,” a standard Israeli army practice in such circumstances
Now, the reader might be prompted to think that the bloodthirsty murderer was arrested and made to stand trial for his hair-raising crime. Well, the opposite happened. The soldier not only was innocent of any wrongdoing but was also awarded tens of thousands of dollars for being “hurt and libeled by unfavorable media coverage.”
In truth, it is not only Israeli army soldiers and officers who willfully indulge in such Nazi behavior. Zionist rabbis routinely issue religious edicts that would allow Israeli troops to murder non-Jewish children knowingly and deliberately without having to worry about any ramifications, moral or otherwise.
In May 2007, shortly before Israeli occupation soldiers murdered two Gaza children who apparently were searching for scrap metal to sell for a few cents in order help feed their impoverished families, the former Israeli Chief rabbi, Mordechai Elyahu, petitioned the Israeli government to carry out a series of carpet bombing of Gaza population centers.
Elyahu argued that a ground invasion of the world’s most crowded spot would endanger Israeli soldiers. He said “If they don’t stop after we kill 100, then we must kill a thousand. And if they do not stop after 1,000, then we must kill 10,000. If they still don’t stop we must kill 100,000, even a million, whatever it takes to make them stop.”
Earlier, Elyahu, a prominent Talmudic sage, called on the Israeli occupation army not to refrain from killing Palestinian children if that means saving the lives of Israeli soldiers.
The above-mentioned are only sporadic examples of the barbarian spirit inculcated in Israelis, especially soldiers dispatched to the occupied Palestinian territories to guard the occupation and enforce apartheid.
It is this barbarian mindset that makes Israeli soldiers abduct Palestinian school children and take them to nearby Jewish settlements where they are used as “training objects” by Jewish youngsters. It is this barbarian mentality that makes Jewish soldiers force helpless Palestinian laborers do certain depraved acts such as drinking soldiers’ urine and singing, individually or in unison, “wahad Hommas, wahad fool, Allah Iyhay-yee Mishmar Gvul” (one ‘dish’ hummus, one broad beans, may Allah greet the Border Police)!!!
There are of course thousands, even tens of thousands, of examples which one could easily and readily cite to underscore Israeli barbarianism.
To be sure, this disgraceful reality is known to many Israelis. In 2001, Shulamit Aloni, a former minister of education, wrote in the Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv that “we have become a barbarian people.”
So, what makes a leftist, liberal woman see in Israel what the vast bulk of Israelis, including the country’s intelligentsia, wouldn’t see, or more correctly, wouldn’t want to see.
Well, it is Israel’s collective psychosis, the denial syndrome.
By Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson
Knight Ridder Newspapers
RAFAH, Gaza Strip - He is known as "Capt. R," his identity kept secret by Israeli military court order. To many, he's a cold-hearted Israeli killer charged with pumping multiple M-16 bullets into a 13-year-old Palestinian girl at close range while she lay in a gully on the edge of this battle-weary border town.
VictimSo egregious was the Oct. 5  killing that Capt. R is the first Israeli soldier to face such charges, says the military prosecutor. The case prompted Israeli soul-searching unparalleled since a 12-year-old Palestinian boy was filmed dying in the arms of his anguished father during a firefight between soldiers and demonstrators four years ago.
To others, however, the case of Capt. R is far more complex. His lawyers say they will not allow him to be portrayed as a "bloodthirsty monster" or to be railroaded by a military intent on avoiding uncomfortable revelations about its culture or its practices.
Friends note that Capt. R is not Jewish, but a member of Israel's Druze minority, drafted into the Israeli army. They say he was unpopular with his subordinates, whose testimony provides much of the evidence against him.
His lawyers note there are questions even about how many of the bullets that struck the victim came from Capt. R's weapon. They insist he was responding to fire aimed at him, and the family refuses to exhume her body. The crime scene is a sniper zone, the lawyers say.
"He does not hate the Palestinians," said one of his lawyers, Yoav Many. But he also does not anguish over having "justifiably killed the girl."
"He was there to maintain security in a place where extremely hostile combatants are immersed in the regular population," Many said.
The prosecutor, Ronen Ketsev, said the case cannot be decided on the difficult position combat soldiers find themselves in in Gaza.
"I can understand the antagonism he feels toward the enemy ... the same way American and British soldiers feel toward terrorists in Iraq," Ketsev said of the captain, whose court-martial opened this month. "The problem is, he aimed all of his feelings toward her. She was not the enemy, she was a young girl."
A military judge, concerned for the officer's safety, has prohibited publication or broadcast of the captain's name or picture, even though many Israelis and Palestinians know who he is by word of mouth and his court-martial, the next hearing in which is Thursday, is open to the public.
Capt. R was extremely good at his job, friends and relatives say. A career soldier from the northern Israeli village of Horfeish, he is a buff and enthusiastic basic training commander for elite units in the Givati Brigade.
That may have been one of the reasons for friction between him and his subordinates at his most recent command, the military outpost of Girit, which lies about 300 yards west of the Tel-el-Sultan neighborhood in Rafah. Friends say he was determined to bring discipline to the company, which was composed of many soldiers nearing the end of their three-year draft. Such "veterans" are unofficially spared hardship duties, some former soldiers say.
That Capt. R wasn't Jewish also contributed to the friction, friends said. As a Druze, he is a member of a minority Arab sect whose religion is an 11th-century spin-off of Islam.
Embracing their dual identity is not easy for the 100,000 Druze in Israel, according to leaders of their community. Unlike other Arabs with Israeli citizenship, Druze are subject to the draft. At the same time, Druze and Arabs in other countries -- Druze are common in Syria and Lebanon as well -- criticize them for serving in the Israeli military. Israeli Druze have long argued against their being compelled to serve in the military.
Capt. R felt conflicted about his role, friends say. He embraced his military career, but once told his father that the Palestinian women he saw in Gaza reminded him of his mother.
A photo shot during a recent mission to uncover weapon-smuggling tunnels in Rafah showed him releasing pigeons from a cage before bulldozers leveled the home the cage was in. Another featured him sitting with a handful of Palestinian children while one of his subordinates handed out chocolate bars.
Nevertheless, the captain was determined to protect his men, Many said.
The perils were palpable in Girit, where the men had slept in armored vehicles or their reinforced mess hall for three nights leading up to the shooting because of a high-level terror alert.
Ketsev and the Israeli military refuse to elaborate on what transpired the morning of Oct. 5 beyond what appears in the five-count indictment. In it, Capt. R. is charged with two counts of illegally using his weapon, obstructing justice, exceeding the limit of violent force that was authorized and conduct unbecoming an officer.
According to the document, he broke military law by firing twice at the victim as she lay on the ground. Once he used two bullets, then he returned and "pointed his weapon downward toward the girl" and fired 10 bullets "until his magazine was empty."
He later told his soldiers to violate the rules of engagement, telling them that "anyone who moves in this area even if it's a 3-year-old needs to be killed," according to a radio transmission cited in the indictment.
In an audiotape of Girit radio transmissions broadcast by Israeli television, jittery soldiers are heard describing the infiltrator as a little girl running for cover after they fired warning shots. They opened fire four minutes later.
The captain is then heard saying, "Confirm the kill."
Reviews of the incident by Capt. R's chain of command initially cleared him of wrongdoing. IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon defended him, saying the threat was real, given the circumstances soldiers operate under along the Gaza-Egypt border.
But then two of the captain's subordinates told Israeli reporters that the captain had shot the girl as she lay on the ground. An investigation was opened, leading to the indictment.
Prosecutor Kelsey concedes that at least one of the witnesses holds a grudge against the captain. But he says he is confident the charges are just.
"It would be much happier for me if this were all lies and conspiracies against the accused," Ketsev said. "If we do prove the charges are correct ... the moral of the story will be learned in schools, so that this is the first and last case of its kind in the history of Israel."
Defense lawyer Many insists the events -- including the comment about the killing a 3-year-old - were taken out of context. "He's talking to his soldiers just minutes after a combat event. He's not to be taken literally," Many explained. "This was a figure of speech."
Many said the incident began when Capt. R. was awakened by Girit's warning siren and gunfire. A soldier at the gate had spotted a Palestinian trespasser only 70 yards away. Only a head was visible, and it vanished as soon as the shooting began. It was the first time in his two-month command that Capt. R's men had fired without a verbal warning.
Within minutes, the captain led a patrol to the dune, where the lookout first saw the suspected attacker. They approached using standard army procedure: Two steps, then drop; two steps, then drop.
Eleven yards away behind another knoll, he caught a glimpse of the trespasser's clothing. He ordered his men to hang back.
Capt. R then charged over the hill, firing two shots to immobilize the enemy and quickly returning to the first dune.
He soon returned for a closer look. Gunfire erupted, with the sand "jumping" all around him, Many said.
The captain swung his gun around in an arc of protective fire above the girl's body, emptying out the remaining 10 bullets in his M-16, and again dropped back. He radioed to the base that his target "appears to be a girl between 15 and 18, but I'm not sure she's a girl."
That didn't make her less of a threat, Many explained. Israeli soldiers are generally wary of any Palestinian, even children whom militants sometimes recruit to test security measures, lob explosives or lure soldiers out so snipers can pick them off.
The "terrorist" Capt. R and his men had killed turned out to be 13-year-old Iman al Hams. When Palestinian medics retrieved her bloodied body, they found her white headscarf, striped school tunic and blue jeans riddled with bullet holes.
A bomb squad located al Hams' book bag several yards away. It contained no weapons, Ketsev said, a claim defense lawyers argue can't be proved because the bag was examined only by an explosives-sniffing dog and was then buried by an armored bulldozer.
Al Hams' father, Samir al Hams, said his sons had begged their sister not to go to school that day because of gunfire nearby. But she was insistent.
The headmistress at her school says the girl arrived shortly before 7 a.m., but seemed to panic when gunfire broke out and ran toward Girit, about 700 yards away. Onlookers shouted for her to turn back, but Al Hams seemed disoriented, heading deeper into the military no-go zone packed with sandy knolls, brush and rubble. Minutes later, she was dead.
Her father said her bag carried only schoolbooks. He said no one in his family belongs to any Palestinian militant group and that he allowed the radical group Hamas to feature her on their posters "for religious reasons."
"We are Muslims and I wanted her to be satisfied with me, in her grave," the elementary school teacher explained. "So I let an Islamic faction take credit."
Al Hams' father said he is surprised that the soldiers came forward. He's convinced that without their testimony, his daughter's slaying would be quickly forgotten. But he finds the maximum punishment of three years' imprisonment lenient.
"If it were the other way around and a Palestinian had killed and mutilated an Israeli girl, what do you think his sentence would be?," he asks. "He'd never see the light of day again."
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