Wednesday, April 10, 2002

Even Peres thinks the Jenin operation is a 'massacre'. What is so surprising about the current Israeli outrages and the general crimes against humanity committed under the Sharon regime? It seems unprecedented somehow. We've had massacres in places like Rwanda and Cambodia, but they are outside of what we like to think of the Western liberal tradition. We've had atrocities committed by or on behalf of the U. S. government in Central America, but at least the Americans tried to cover up their involvement. Even in the Balkans, the atrocities were hidden. In this case, although there is heavy military censorship by the Israelis, there is also an element of pride in what they are doing (we haven't seen this kind of pride in the handiwork of state terror since the Nazis). In addition to the Israeli pride, we have a completely transparent attempt by the Americans to pretend to order a stop to the Israeli actions (does anyone actually believe that: 1) Sharon could actually dare to defy a real American order, or 2) there is some pupose in Powell's tardiness in getting to Jerusalem other than giving the Israelis more time to kill?). In other words, both the United States and Israel, two states which have at least held themselves out as exemplifying the Western liberal tradition, are conspiring to slaughter a significant number of people, most of them innocent civilians. At least in the case of the Israelis, the final goal (or 'final solution') of all this may very well be the complete elimination of a whole people from the geographic area where they have traditionally lived (I assume this is based on religious principles which are regarded as having precedence over secular principles, a sort of return to ancient or medieval thinking) . We have not seen this kind of open defiance of humanitarian principles, indeed, pride in defiance of humanitarian principles, by a country with a tradition of holding Western liberal values since 1940's Europe.