All over a world that has been subject to soccer saturation and where World Cup mania abates but slowly, kids whatever their nationality have been playing soccer. Emulating their heroes, thinking they too might represent their nations on the field of dreams at some point in their lives, which they expect to live out in full. In most places once the knockabout is over the kids return home to their parents and the safety of their homes. Not so if they by happenstance are Palestinian.
Within hours of playing soccer on a beach the children of Gaza are laid into graves in a cemetery alongside another beach, not far from where their lives were so brutally cut short. The imagery is stark. We think of beaches as areas of sand not the dust from which we came and to which we must return. The youngsters' game was not ended by a referee's whistle but by the whistling sound of a bomb aimed at them by war criminals in the grip of that deeply racist mind-set, the type of which inflicted Babi Yar and Soweto on the world and which quickly closes any gap between racial anathema and racist annihilation. We have heard terms in the past like the Butcher of Lyon applied to Klaus Barbie or the Butcher of Buchenwald pinned on Dr Hans Eisele. The Butcher of Gaza tag should be indelibly stamped across the forehead of Binyamin Netanyahu.
Yesterday in Gaza, infused with the spirit of Walter Mattner, war criminals did what war criminals do. They attacked not combatants but a clearly identifiable group of children knocking a ball about on a beach. Relatives, Mohammed Bakr, 9; Ahed Bakr, 10; Zakaria Bakr, 10; and Mohammed Bakr, 11. Many years ago, in a letter to his wife Mattner wrote:
My hand was shaking a bit with the first cars. By the tenth car, I was aiming calmly and shooting dependably at the many women, children and babies.
Mattner was a police official from Vienna who played a part in massacring Jewish civilians in October 1941 in Belarus. He could just as easily have be manning the gunboat that rained death on boys playing soccer.
There is a dimension to Israeli treatment of Palestinians that places it in the brutal terrorist state category. In recent days it has bombed a hospital and murdered children in a bid to cower a civilian population into submission. For sure Hamas is firing rockets and endangering Israeli civilians who have the same right not to be targeted as other civilians. Do not forget that but do forget the myth that this is a war between belligerent equals. More than 200 hundred residents of Gaza killed and one Israeli dead. Proportionality? Measured and restrained response? Tosh. There is no symmetry here, just merciless slaughter to the sound of Israel’s Willing Executioner’s munching popcorn. Did the SS of Dachau gather to eat popcorn while viewing what was taking place in the death camp?
Last night it was so uplifting to watch Jon Snow of Channel 4 News pull no punches as he mauled Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s press spokesman Mark Regev. The lies Regev trotted out that the Israeli military does not target children were deftly swept aside.
Too many children have been systematically and persistently exterminated by Israeli Einsatzgruppen to allow for any semblance of plausibility to be attached to Regev’s claim. On the beach the journalists who administered first aid to the children after witnessing the attack, left no room for doubt that Israel knew exactly who it was targeting. The journalists screamed in vain to a god that is deaf to suffering, ‘they are only children’ as the fleeing youngsters desperately sought to outpace their killers. 'It looked as if the shells were chasing them.' pointed to the pervasive racism in her own country’s education system:
It's not that the massacres are denied, they are represented in Israeli school books as something that in the long run was good for the Jewish state. For example, Deir Yassin [a pre-1948 Palestinian village close to Jerusalem] was a terrible slaughter by Israeli soldiers. In school books they tell you that this massacre initiated the massive flight of Arabs from Israel and enabled the establishment of a Jewish state with a Jewish majority. So it was for the best. Maybe it was unfortunate, but in the long run the consequences for us were good.
She concluded that Israeli children were being taught to think that Palestinians were 'people whose life is dispensable with impunity. And not only that, but people whose number has to be diminished.'
She is not some rabid anti-Semite but an Israeli woman who lost her own 17 year old daughter to a Palestinian bomb attack but never lost her humanity.
Hannah Arendt, the Jewish intellectual, upon observing the Jerusalem trial of Adolf Eichmann, famously wrote of the banality of evil. In the figure of Binyamin Netanyahu we see the finality of evil, where the phenomenon of evil reaches its final destination: the merciless murder of innocent children. The Israeli state has looked into the Nazi abyss and found that the Nazi abyss looked into it.
It's the national psyche of the Israeli's that permit such atrocity, in their view of humanity the Jews alone are the chosen people and all others - the goyim - are sub-human to be treated however the Jews so decide. The Jewish state has to go, Israel has to goReplyDelete
There can be no 'right to exist' for any state built on these linesReplyDelete
The intensity of feeling against the war criminals of Israel surely is on a par with that which sent people to fight in the Spanish civil war and in much greater numbers to oppose Hitler. Public opinion may finally have reached tipping point and the USA/UK axis of facilitation may leave them historically in Hitler's shoes if they are not very, very careful. Social media has denuded them of the cover of state censorship.ReplyDelete