7 Jun 2008
WILD WEST BANK-JOB: ISRAEL AT 60
This is from the ever excellent schnews..viva the Israeli anarchists, I am not an anarchist but they have a tough time and do good!
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Despite the fanfare and the foreign dignitaries, Israeli PM Ehud Olmert
and the his ruling coalition were a little distracted during the
recent 'Israel at 60' celebrations. The events, staged to celebrate 60
years of racism and expulsion coincided with the PM being busted on
massive allegations of corruption. And not just yer "oh yer honour it
was just an accident, I meant to pay taxes/ declare my properties/
register my interests etc. Nope, Olmert's been caught with his hand in
the till - receiving huge bungs of cash in brown envelopes while he
was mayor of Jerusalem. Demanding hundreds of thousands of quid in used
notes, he's proved that he's not just bent but old school bent. You
don't get corruption of that calibre in the UK outside the Premier League.
This scandal, which has threatened Olmert's job and further cut away
some more of Israel's tattered threads of respectability, comes not
more than three months after the erstwhile Israeli President, Moshe
Katsav, had to stand down from his job as representative of the Jewish
State after facing charges of rape. After the initial victim came out
after suffering from years of abuse, no less than 10 women came
forward to give evidence. The Israeli chief prosecutor judged that there
was enough evidence to also charge him with sexual assault, bribery,
illegal wire-tapping and obstruction of justice.
With leaders like these (and these aren't exceptions to an otherwise
squeaky clean rule- Sharon only escaped property fraud convictions by
conspiring to give himself a massive brain haemorrhage) it is small
wonder then that, despite all the propaganda, many Jews and Israelis
who never questioned the Occupation or the Nakba are beginning to
wonder whether a rapist and a crook really are the best representatives of
the race and religion that is Judaism.
A cynic (or a Palestinian) might say that rape and fraud are fitting
traits for Israel's leaders, or that these crimes are small fry
compared to the forced uprooting of over 800,000 people (60 years ago - all
cheer together, hip hip, horray!) and the killing of some 5,000
people (this decade, so far). But that would risk charges of anti-Semitism
by those confused types who identify peoples with states. No state
represents its people.
Nevertheless, as the revelations come out (£150 grand in cash was just
the tip of it), Olmert has got so scared that he's even begun to
threaten to make peace with Syria, maybe. Although virtually all Israeli
political elites compete amongst themselves over who can come out
with the most belligerent threats against their Arab and Islamic
neighbours, the Israeli public have recently rediscovered the attraction of
a negotiated settlement with their neighbours after receiving a
thorough arse-kicking from their "by eck it's grim up north" neighbours
The fact is that the Israeli army just isn't looking like the efficient
victory machine it once did. Having gained a reputation for winning
a war a decade, forty years of acting as a colonial police force to
the Palestinians has softened the IDF's fighting edge. Having got used
to shooting stone throwers and bulldozing Bedouin camps, they're
just no longer prepared to deal with enemies who shoot back. Even in
Gaza, where despite trapping Gaza's entire population of 1.4 million in
an area slightly smaller than the Isle of Wight, they still can't
stop rocket attacks or even make the slightest dent in the control that
the Hamas movement has over the territory. But desperate to secure a
military victory and still seeing the lands to the east as a kind of
Wild West (Bank) ripe for conquest and exploitation, the military
machine has taken a life of its own. Since its birth 60 years ago Israel
has been one of the world's most militarised societies, its
population conditioned to violence and paranoia. This is can be seen in the
sheer number of gun-totting 'civilians' who walk around the centre of
Jerusalem armed to the teeth.
As Israel's young are herded through the military meat grinder, as they
serve on the checkpoints and conduct armed raids on homes across the
Occupied Palestinian Territories, Israelis have discovered that it's
hard to leave an occupier's mindset at the checkpoint. The
checkpoint mentality comes home with the soldiers: friends, co-workers,
families, lovers all come to be seen through the prism of a potentially
hostile 'other.' Walls, alarms, panic buttons, gated communities and
armed responses follow, dividing people into ever smaller (and more
Israelis who are able to think outside of the state's
military-educational box say that the Anarchists are the only group in Israel who hold
what is the majority opinion of the world - ie, that the Occupation
is wrong and it's madness to chose to live in a permanent state of
war. Unfortunately however, for the majority of Jewish Israelis a
hard-line nationalism is the consensus, eagerly goaded by a government
desperate to distract from its own failures by clamouring more loudly
It's always good to remind the Israeli anarchos that they're not alone.
Why not swing by and join them in some wholesome anti-occupation
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