By William Cook
A beacon is a signal fire, a warning light to guide one out of darkness. As the former Israeli minister of foreign affairs Tzipi Livni noted in late February, "these are days of momentous change in the Middle East..." Courageous thousands are demanding their rights as human beings, she intoned, and there is an inner hunger for freedom abroad in the land.
But those courageous thousands have lit a fire that is also a beacon for Israel, if it heeds it, a warning that it alone of all the states in the Middle East could be left defying the peoples' demands for human rights and freedoms. Yet Livni, and US politician Edward Koch last week, went to the media not to announce that Israel would alter its treatment of the Palestinians, but simply to ignore the existence of the Palestinians. In the words of Koch, "these uprisings clearly demonstrate that it is not the issue of Israel that is rocking the Arab world, but the presence of arbitrary and repressive regimes."
How convenient. Israel alone stands immune from the repression and arbitrary policies of the abusive regimes that face the multitudes in the streets. Indeed, Livni charitably intoned that "the values and experiences of the Jewish people demand that we embrace the promise of real democratic change, not merely express concern about uncertainties associated with it."
Certainly in these uncertain times Israel can be a beacon to warn those who have an "inner hunger for freedom" that there are dues to pay before they can be granted such freedoms because "world leaders are required to shape events so that our collective aspirations, rather than our fears, become reality." Translated, Livni on behalf of Israel takes on the mantle of a world leader who, together with other democratic nations like the US, must guide the nations of the world through these perilous waters of upheaval by designing a "democratic code" to ensure that new democracies adhere to Israeli/United States dictates. How convenient and how duplicitous.
It's obvious now that Israel and the United States have entered the lists of this new world order, thrust on them by forces they did not anticipate, created in the streets of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Algeria and Lebanon, with lances drawn and swords displayed. Their response remains, as always, military might exposed for the world to see, bolstered by policies of delay and coercion and seeded by fear of instability and uncertainty. They remain the only two powers capable of bringing stability to the region, even if this must be done by establishing new dictators sympathetic to their interests.
To achieve their ends, the Israelis and the Obama administration have sent their legions around the world to control discussion of the impending changes and responses to them. Two major thrusts have emerged as guidelines for control: delay and denial. Delay takes the form of concern for the "inner hunger" that must be fed with care in order that the wolf at the door (read the Muslim Brotherhood or Al-Qaeda) does not devour the food (read freedoms), because not enough time has been devoted to preparation for "real" democratic reforms.
"The free world has long recognised that democracy is about values before it is about voting," says Livni, silently passing over Israel's destruction of its neighbours as it demonstrates to the world how "real" democracies operate by occupation and repression. As an example of values, Livni notes that "in Israel parties are ineligible to participate in elections if their platform embraces racist or anti-democratic doctrines." Denial takes the form of omission: she failed to remark on Avigdor Lieberman's comment, as leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu Party and an essential component of the present Netanyahu government, describing Arab members of the Israeli Knesset that meet with Hamas as "terror collaborators" and calling for their execution.
"World War II ended with the Nuremburg Trials. The heads of the Nazi regime, along with their collaborators, were executed. I hope this will be the fate of the collaborators in [the Knesset]," Lieberman said. So much for no racism or anti- democratic actions on the part of members of Israel's government.
But it's not only Livni and Koch in the newsrooms that are promoting delay. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz carried an article by Emily Landau and Carlo Masala that noted "the West has forgotten how long the road to democratisation can really be." Democratisation can only happen when a population "embraces the concepts of tolerance and the protection of minority rights." Here too, of course, the denial continues: the authors fail to mention Israel's founding on 14 May 1948, via a simple declaration by the Jewish Agency that the Jews were declaring Israel as their state. Not even the United Nations Security Council was involved, as the partition plan composed by a committee of the UN never made it to that body.
That was not a long process, unless one wants to use the terrorists of the clandestine Jewish Agency and its armies that went to war against the British Mandate government as preparation for a democracy. The authors also did not mention Israel's denial of rights, as occupiers, to another people under international law.
Then there is the delay caused by the Palestinians who refuse to engage in peace talks, not because Israel has refused to stop the building of settlements, even with Obama's bribe as an inducement, but because they desire to thwart Israel's "eagerness to return to the negotiating table" by going directly to the UN to force a vote on the acceptance of a Palestinian state, what Joel Mowbray called the "Palestinian Smoke Screen" in The Washington Times.
Before the current protests, Israel could find no reason to negotiate. Now it sees a problem evolving as the world focuses on the Middle East and human rights and sees the glasshouse it lives in revealed for all to see: the wall that entombs the Palestinians, the checkpoints that deny freedom of movement, the gates that limit egress and ingress, the siege that limits basic foodstuffs for survival, the humiliation caused when a mother to be is denied access to a hospital, the overcrowded conditions caused by denial of building permits, the support of fanatical settlers who beat and maim and kill old men and mothers and children, the absolute dependence forced on them by the Israeli occupation that represses every fundamental right of human decency and respect.
Delay and denial: the tactics used to prevent the very rights Israel claims it wants for the people of the Middle East, must be seen for what they are -- part of an ongoing strategy of land acquisition to prevent the recognition and creation of a Palestinian state. Should Israel publicly accept the right of Palestine to exist, it would forego the gas and oil reserves off the coast of Gaza, and it would have to relinquish its settlements in the occupied West Bank if justice, as designated by United Nations resolutions, were enforced.
That is why Livni plays the "democratic code" card -- "a universal code for participation in democratic elections... the renunciation of violence and the acceptance of state monopoly over the use of force, the pursuit of aims by peaceful means, commitment to the rule of law and to equality before the law, and adherence to international agreements to which their country is bound."
Should such a code be adopted by the UN, Israel, ironically, would be the first nation to lose its membership. Indeed, Israel has existed from its inception by a code of violence, not assimilation or negotiation; force has been its modus operandi, not accommodation or deliberation; it obeys no law but its own, mocking the nations of the world and their International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice; and it stands alone in its repudiation of the United Nations and in its defiance of that body's resolutions (more than 160 in the General Assembly and approximately 30 in the Security Council) that it address its obligations and international agreements.
Koch's claim that the Arab protests point only to repressive Arab regimes denies the 63 years of repressive policies carried out by Israel against the Palestinian people. To suggest these have no impact is to deny Osama Bin Laden's letters to the international community that Israeli treatment of the Palestinians was the main reason for the attacks against America. It denies as well the reality that Governor Kean and the 9/11 Commission Chairman admitted when whitewashing the cause of the attacks.
It denies, finally, how Israel and the US manipulated the "peace agreement" with Egypt to ensure that Israel was protected by creating a dictator that obeyed his handlers, those who bribed him to accept $2.8 billion in yearly pay-offs from America to incarcerate his own people, fellow Arabs, in the Israeli jails of Gaza and to pretend to engage in negotiations with Gaza's government, Hamas, while Israel invaded the Strip in a Christmas massacre of 1,400 civilians. To assume that Israel was not aware of Mubarak's repressive regime, what Livni euphemistically calls "a leader who kept a 'cold' peace and promoted Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation," is to assume the ridiculous. In short, Israel exists in its splendid security because it is willing to support dictators that serve its needs even as they oppress their own people.
As a result of the people protesting against the 30 years of oppression in Egypt, that security is now threatened because neither Israel nor the US knows what government may replace the dictator. Hence the rush to intervene as US neo-cons rally to force the US president to place American ships off the coast of Libya, to manipulate the Egyptian military to keep Mubarak cronies in office, and to force confrontation with Iran.
These are members of the same crew that lied to the American people when seeking to invade Iraq -- Robert Kagan, William Kristol, Elliott Abrams and Paul Wolfowitz -- the elders of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) seeking yet another confrontation in the Middle East. One cannot lead by violence unless one forces violence to erupt, and then divide and conquer. What happens to the people who took their stand in the streets is irrelevant when US warriors turn to their "weapons of mass destruction," their word processors, to egg the US president on to destroy yet another country for Israel.
Ultimately, this beacon that is Israel sheds its light on the Middle East as a nation that accepts no sister nations ruled by religion except Israel; rules in defiance of international law while hypocritically demanding all sister nations abide by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights; declares that a universal code for democracy be applied to all nations except Israel, the only nation to have impunity before the international community; denies the right of sister nations to develop an atomic bomb, including Iran which has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, while it assiduously denies it possesses atomic weapons that it uses as an undeclared threat against its neighbours; continues its calculated policies of systematic genocide against the Palestinian people as it destroys their cultural heritage in Jerusalem and occupied Palestine by confiscating their land and natural resources while denying them legal rights; and, finally, acclaims itself a democracy as it damns Hamas as a terrrist organisation, though the latter is the democratically elected government of Gaza.
It condemns the violence used against Israel, but denies that Israel is a terrorist nation itself that defies law, uses violence as a matter of course, incarcerates civilians in the thousands without charge or due process, thereby denying their fundamental rights, creates assassination teams that kill as a matter of course, turning such actions into the accepted policy of a nation state, and invades other nations at will, as it did in Lebanon in 2006 and Gaza in 2008/9.
All this is the beacon that is Israel.
Source: The Washington Post