By Miko Peled
December 30, 2015 "Information Clearing House" - "AHT" - Israel is being attacked by Arab countries that want to destroy it, so what is Israel supposed to do? Israeli soldiers are being assaulted by Palestinian terrorist with knives, what are they supposed to do? Iran has nuclear capabilities and it wants to wipe Israel off the map, so what is Israel supposed to do? Hamas is determined to kill Israeli civilians so what is Israel supposed to do? And the list of things that make it impossible for Israel to do anything but arm itself and then attack and kill Palestinians goes on and on. So there is no hope, and no reason to expect change.
Well that’s just fine and dandy. This has been the one liner that Israeli officials have used since it was officially created around 1956 by then General Moshe Dayan (and used prior to that from time to time by Zionists) to justify any and all crimes committed by the state of Israel. Moshe Dayan was an inept, cowardly war criminal that was made famous because of his eye patch. He was also a renown antiquities thief and whore monger (it is said that when Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister was told that Moshe Dayan’s insatiable sexual appetite was becoming an embarrassment, Ben Gurion replied: “So what? King David was also a womanizer and he was a great king”). Serving as the Israeli army Chief of Staff Dayan expressed this “what are we to do” excuse in an unforgettably eloquent eulogy he gave, prior to Israel’s 1956 attack on Egypt.
Dayan was fomenting fear and a sense of destiny when he described the poor refugees in the Gaza strip as “waiting to slaughter us and shed our blood” because, as Dayan himself admitted, “we took their land and turned it into ours.” But, he explained, we did this because we have no choice, or “what were we to do?” after thousands of years in exile and endless persecution, and in the aftermath of the Nazi holocaust, we now have returned and must always live by the sword and maintain a strong grip on that sword, “for if that grip should weaken” those blood thirsty Arabs will see it as a sign of weakness and Jewish blood will flood the streets. In other words, maybe these blood thirsty Arabs looking at us from beyond the gates of Gaza are justified in hating us, but this is a reality in which we have no choice. It is our destiny to always live by the sword.
The crimes committed by Israel are committed because Israel has no choice. In an interview given several years ago by Israeli intelligence chief interrogator, he described how doctors in Israeli hospitals turn a blind eye when the agents come to torture wounded “terrorist suspects” in the hospital. He described how they “tug at the tubes a little, and then pretty soon “the Arabs start talking.” Then he added, that of course no one thinks this is good, but what are we do to? He was justifying the most immoral and horrendous torture of people who are in the care of a hospital, the doctors turning a blind eye and the agents doing their thing, with the same shameless excuse, “what is Israel supposed to do?”
During the month of October 2015, while in Jerusalem I watched a news program on Israeli television. In this program they interviewed the Palestinian Knesset Member Mohammad Baraka from the Joint Arab List, the third largest party in the Israeli parliament. He too was asked, “What is a soldier to do when approached by a Palestinian wielding a knife?” When Baraka began to talk about the occupation he was interrupted and told that what he is saying is not relevant and to stick to the question. In other words, the Israeli occupation in Palestine has nothing to do with any of this, and “what is a soldier supposed to do?” Please say that what Israeli soldiers are doing is justified, that the wholesale murder of Palestinians is ok because “what is Israeli to do?” Palestinians on Israeli television are always brought in order to be ridiculed or to be told to shut up.
The ethnic cleansing of Palestine was justified, because Jews had no choice. The slow genocide of Palestinian people is justified because Israel has no choice, the murder of thousands in Gaza is justified because Israel has no choice, and so on and so on. In the US media they actually took it a step further and added: “We would do the same” as though this adds weight to the argument of “what is Israel supposed to do.”
Perhaps it is time to think about this question seriously and see if there is an answer. What is a soldier supposed to do: Get the hell out of Palestinian towns, villages and neighborhoods. And, dismantle the wall and all the checkpoints on your way out. What is Israel to do with rockets from Gaza? Lift the siege on Gaza, dismantle the wall and checkpoints there, and allow the people in Gaza the freedom they deserve. What are Israelis to do? If they don’t like living in a country with an Arab majority, they can go somewhere else or deal with it, and if they chose to stay, to behave like immigrants instead of colonizers. (This distinction is an important one and it was made clear to me thanks my nephew Guy Elhanan).
As for the biggest question, “what is Israel to do?” Israel is to free all Palestinian prisoners, repeal all the laws that give Jewish people exclusive rights in Palestine, repeal the law the prohibits Palestinians from returning to their land and allocate the billions of dollars that will be needed for paying reparations to the refugees and their descendants. Then, Israel is to call for free, one-person one-vote elections where all people who live in mandatory Palestine vote as equals. That is what Israel should do.
Miko Peled is an Israeli writer and activist living in the US. He was born and raised in Jerusalem. His father was the late Israeli General Matti Peled. Driven by a personal family tragedy to explore Palestine, its people and their narrative. He has written a book about his journey from the sphere of the privileged Israeli to that of the oppressed Palestinians. His book is titled “The General’s Son, Journey of an Israeli in Palestine.” Peled speaks nationally and internationally on the issue of Palestine. Peled supports the creation of a single democratic state in all of Palestine, he is also a firm supporter of BDS.