Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Habitual offender

You should read this piece from Ran HaCohen:
"In the evening television news, careful listening - especially to serious reporters like Shlomi Eldar - could reveal the tip of the war-crimes iceberg yet to emerge: a Gazan prison was intentionally bombarded, a clear war crime. Gaza's hospital suffered damages too. All this in an overcrowded Strip in which life has already been strangled by an embargo on anything from cement and gasoline to medical equipment. A couple of months ago, journalist Amos Harel quoted an article of a leading military figure regarding Israel's next war policy, be it in Lebanon, Syria, or Gaza: 'Using power without any proportion to the enemy's threat and actions, in order to damage and punish to an extent that would require long and expensive rehabilitation processes.' Another Israeli general explained that villages from which shots are fired will be devastated; 'we consider them as military bases' (Ha'aretz, Oct. 5; the names of the two generals - for The Hague's ICC - are Gaby Siboni and Gadi Eisenkot). Once the war started, Maj.-Gen. (Reserve) Giora Island - former head of the National Security Council - spelled it all out on television, without a shade of shame: Israel should not confine its attacks to military facilities, he said, but must hit civilian targets as well. The damage to the civil population should be maximized, because the worse the humanitarian crisis is, the better and the sooner the operation would end. It's the same major-general, by the way, who just a year ago caused outrage by urging the Israeli government to negotiate directly with Hamas. Do not to look for consistency, integrity, or intelligence where war criminals are involved."

You can see Olmert, who a few weeks ago was musing about the necessity of doing the right thing, and Barak, who is doing the math about how many more seats he wins with each additional 100 dead Palestinians (which means the entire country is culpable), and Tzipi Livni, the Madeleine Albright of Israeli politics ("sometimes also civilians pay the price"), and Netanyahu (beyond the pale), and other Israeli politicians (evil beyond comprehension), and the general approval of the Jewish population of Israel, all to what amounts to the bombing of a prison camp (like shooting fish in a barrel after setting the bait), and the fact that this action is part of an ever-recurring pattern going back even before the formation of the State of Israel, and the fact that there can no longer be any doubt that this is the first step in a planned complete genocide of the Palestinians, Israel's politicians beyond even listening to reason if reason would interfere with the plan, and you can only reach one conclusion.

Despite everything, I've always been a defender of the two state solution, for the simple reason that a one state solution would eventually mean the end of a Jewish state, which would mean the Jewish people would be treated uniquely in international law, which would be discriminatory and wrong. I now think that international law has to be changed to recognize the right of the community of nations to take self-defensive actions against a violent habitual offender. That would be an extension of the normal laws regarding war (already messed up by the United States). Most criminal law systems recognize the necessity of imprisoning violent continual recidivists on the basis that they are simply too dangerous to be left free to commit the crimes we know they will commit. Israel is, without any shadow of a doubt, an habitual offender. The world needs to be able to stop states which won't stop offending. We can't lock Israel up; we have to destroy it.

The only relatively humane way to destroy a modern nation state is to make it an outlaw, and institute 100% boycotts of it on all levels - no trade, no communications, no status in international law, no recognition of its citizens (after the bombing of a university in Gaza I never expect to hear complaints about the boycotting of Israeli academics). People will start to leave almost immediately - the world will face another Jewish refugee problem - and the entire country will be destroyed within a year. The Palestinians will then take back the land stolen from them. If Israel attempts to fight back madly - completely in character - the world will have to take collective military action to destroy it in the most humane way possible.

I say this with great reluctance, but the world really has no choice. Israel is like a psychopath, one who is 'escalating'. Each outrage is worse than the last, and the Gaza attacks may be the worst war crime yet. Self-defense means that Israel has to be named the world's first habitual offender, and forfeit its right to statehood.