Archive for May 25th, 2007

Techne bypasses the human

May 25, 2007

The wise man of Israeli politics former Knesset member Uri Avnery cuts quickly to the chase in his evaluation of the Winograd Committee of Inquiry, the official government sponsored report on the Lebanon War of last summer.

“The army has lost its deterrent power? We shall get it back in the next war. There was no successful ground attack? We shall do better next time. In the next war, we shall penetrate deeper.

The entire problem is technical. New leaders with military experience, orderly staff-work, meticulous preparations, an army chief from the ranks of the ground forces instead of a flying commander – and then everything will be OK.”

This is how bad things are in Israel—”the whole problem is technical.”

Avnery makes the obvious moral point:

”What is missing in the report? Hard to believe, but there is not a single word about the terrible suffering inflicted on the Lebanese population.”

Recently Amnesty International added to the above helping us to understand the terrible disproportionate suffering of Arabs in this ongoing bloody conflict. This is a summary of its report.

More than 320 civilians were among a threefold increase in the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces last year. The human rights group’s 2007 report says that over half of the more than 650 Palestinians killed in 2006 were civilians, 120 of them children and young people under 18. Amnesty defines civilians, “as people that are reasonably supposed never to have been involved in armed operations”.

While Amnesty said that dozens of Palestinians were killed in the West Bank it pointed out that most of the increase resulted from aerial and artillery bombardments in Gaza after the abduction of the Israeli corporal Gilad Shalit in late June and in response to increased Qassam rocket fire on Israel. These included, for example, the shelling of a house in the northern town of Beit Hanoun which killed 17 members of the Athamneh family.

The report said 21 Israeli civilians were killed by Palestinians militants in the same year, the lowest figure since the beginning of the second intifada in 2000.

Avnery is among many Jews in Israel who keep alive the human voice so important in the absolute rejection of war as a political tool. It is simply too costly in human terms. All casualties, Israeli and Palestinian are ikons of God.

Israel is caught in a terrible dilemma. Its people are exhausted with the interminable war. It is an economic basket case only bailed out by the $3 billion dollar subsidy of the USA. It has lost its moral compass by voting for Sharon, a lifelong antisemite (read Baruch Kimmerling’s Politicide, a devastating critique of Sharon by an Israeli professor) thinking that he would solve the whole mess. From the beginning it was hopeless in that Sharon’s whole history was violence and force. It solved nothing and continued to treat Palestinian life as absolutely expendable.The hapless Olmert following Sharon met stiffer resistance and failed to win a victory.

But look who is in the wings—Benyamin Netanyahu another hawk. And behind him the ugly partners in the crime of Occupation, The United States. Read Jimmy Carter’s book.

Avnery is right. The Winograd Report is a hopeless and cynical failure. It bypasses the humiliated faces of the suffering. This can only be addressed by justice and an end to Occupation.