The ugly truth about Israel’s actions in Gaza
Getting the head of the UN panel fired won’t change the outcome of its probe into possible war crimes committed in Gaza — unless his replacement is either a racist or a liar.
By Gideon Levy | Feb. 5, 2015 | 2:01 AM
What a huge diplomatic achievement: Israel has succeeded in getting the Canadian law professor William Schabas to resign from his post as head of a UN inquiry panel into potential war crimes in Gaza.
Through persistent surveillance, Israel’s intelligence and propaganda branches revealed that Schabas had once received a $1,300 fee from the PLO. Conclusion: he sold his soul to the devil. The ref sucks. Q.E.D.
One needs a great deal of chutzpah and arrogance to dig anew into the pasts of Israel’s critics in an effort to assassinate their character, as in the case of Richard Goldstone, merely because they dared to criticize the state. As far as Israel is concerned, the fate of anyone who criticizes the country is sealed. He’s an anti-Semite, anti-Israeli, greedy or driven by ulterior motives.
In Israel’s eyes there’s no such thing as conscientious individuals who are genuinely and truly shocked by its acts, even without being paid $1,300 from the PLO. As far as Israel is concerned, there are no justice-seeking people of law, or simply decent ordinary people, who were aghast at what it did in the Gaza Strip last summer. If they were shaken – they’re either anti-Semites, or receive money from the PLO. There’s no other possibility.
But the truth is just the opposite. Those who weren’t shocked deserve to be condemned, have their character assassinated and their past scrutinized. They either live in blindness, denial and repression, or their moral standards are fundamentally distorted and flawed.
It was impossible not to be appalled by what the Israel Defense Forces did in Gaza last summer — unless you’re a propagandist, a liar or a racist. In any case, it’s impossible to support Israel in view of what it is doing to the Palestinians. Nor is there a way to be an international law expert and sympathize with what Israel is doing. Schabas’ sin is that he doesn’t. He should be proud of it.
Only an inquiry panel for the Anti-Defamation League, the Micronesian government or Habayit Hayehudi party would not have castigated the IDF’s rampage in the Gaza Strip, which was more brutal and savage than any of its previous rampages. A B’Tselem report released last week (“Black Flag: the legal and moral implications of attacking residential buildings in the Gaza Strip, summer 2014”) recounted what had so rapidly been forgotten: war crimes.
B’Tselem investigated 70 cases of bombarding residential buildings, in which 606 people were killed in their homes or near them, over 70 percent of them children, women and elderly people. The mind boggles. The most moral army in its most immoral spectacle yet, with the missiles aimed at buildings’ rooftops and all its “warnings.”
The victims’ blood is crying out. But not in Israel. Here the propaganda and media have done their job. In the election campaign there’s no mention of the most important event in the outgoing government’s term. Even the opposition dares not mention it. The Zionist Camp knows it would have done the same (“in the war on terror there’s no coalition and opposition,” Isaac Herzog said last week).
Even the fate of 20,000 people who still remain homeless, about half a year after the bombardment, in Gaza’s winter, is of no concern to anyone here. They’re Palestinians. Besides, they fired Qassam rockets and hid in residential buildings and only Hamas is to blame. And all the buildings that were bombed – they were Hamas outposts and situation rooms, and all the people killed were terrorists or children of terrorists.
Soon the report of the panel without Schabas will be released. It won’t be “balanced,” as Israeli propaganda is demanding, because the situation is far from being balanced. The five Israeli citizens and 67 soldiers who were killed will likely be mentioned in it, as will the thousands of rockets fired at Israelis. But even with the panel’s new, “balanced” head, the report will mention that in the summer of 2014 Israel committed atrocities beyond all proportion in the Gaza Strip.
There’s just no other fair way to describe it.