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Agustin Velloso: Humanizing the West

Humanizing the West

by Agustin Velloso, Rebelion, 29-12-2008
Translated by Tortilla con Sal

Two hundred dead, three hundred, four hundred - what difference does a hundred here or there make? More than five thousand have died since the start of the second Intifada and many thousands more since Israel came into existence 60 years ago - and neither the UN or NATO or the European Union nor any other international organization has done anything except reward Israel for its political genocide in Palestine.

Israel was admitted to the international community as one more State, despite being established in 1948 via the massacre and expulsion of Palestinians who had lived peacefully on those lands until that time. Israel is kept going financed and armed by the United States, despite its wars of aggression against neighbouring countries. Israel has been rewarded with a preferential political, economic and scientific agreement by the European Union, although it systematically deploys tanks and fighter bombers against the people of Palestine - of whom half are children and adolescents - a population under military occupation for more than forty years.

The governments of the United States and the European Union, including Spain, habitually inform their electorates that "they totally support Israel under whatever circumstances", as Spain's Foreign Minister repeated recently - the logical consequence of which is that Israel has murdered as of Saturday December 27th almost 300 persons as if they were ciphers with no rights whatsoever.

The list of violations of international law by Israel is as long as the list of the Arabs it has murdered in Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Jordan and elsewhere. The calm and natural demeanour, not to say the glee with which Israeli leaders constantly threaten Palestinians with punishment or death reveals a character normally associated with B-film psychopaths rather than individuals - armed with nuclear weapons - in whose hands lies the peace of the world. The more Western people consider it a crime to criticize Israel, the more they see the murder of Palestinians as a lesser evil necessary to advance the Middle East peace process.

Those in the West who praise "the only democracy in the Middle East" are the accomplices of Israel's murders, as are the Israelis who continue to vote for the politicians who order those murders. The meaning of the word democracy has long ago been perverted, just as have been human rights, the United Nations, international law, world peace and other phrases and institutions used by the powerful to justify the imposition of their will on the weak.

It is incredible that just four days prior to this latest massacre the government of Hamas in the Gaza Strip had offered to renew the truce, which it has respected for months despite Israel maintaining its cruel siege of Gaza during that time, a truce Israel broke in the first days of December, in a clear act of provocation, by assassinating four Palestinians.

The ingenuousness of Haniye and his team contrasts sharply with the perversity of Israeli Prime Minister Olmert and his defence Minister Barak. At the same time, while Arab journalists and some observers have reflected in recent days on the obvious signs of an Israeli attack, the Western press tranquilized public opinion so as to support Israel's terrorist actions yet again.

Last month Israel expelled from Gaza journalists, internationalists, foreign delegations and denied passage to diplomats and to the United Nations Reporter. It increased the siege, reducing even more the flow of food, medicines and fuel. At the same time it threatened to attack the Palestinians. The West set to one side these signs and criticized Hamas for declaring an end to the truce.

Once again the concept of human rights and international law for the Western leaders has been made clear, likewise the idea of a free Press serving Truth and Justice. One is supposed to rejoice at living among the cr�me-de-la-cr�me of Judaeo-Christian civilization.

Now is the time for the Press editorials and the government communiqu�s warning Hamas for having ended the truce, which translates more accurately as, for not accepting that Israel is the Chosen People of God and the United States. Now is the time of UN Security Resolutions asking for a halt to violence by both sides, as if the Occupiers and the Occupied, the aggressor and the victim, the nuclear power and the starving population were two equal contenders in rights and conditions.

If one has the good fortune not to be an editorialist or a politician, it is time to ask oneself how to respond as a human being to the abject absence of humanity we are witnessing. Trust in the UN, belief in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, demanding action from the "international community", asking Israel to stop its attacks - all that is to protect the aggressor, to limit oneself deliberately in the face of that aggression. It is to look the other way.

It is hard to think of a world, especially in the West, more dehumanized and cruel. If no one is able - even at Christmas - to feel pity for the victims or to "do unto others and you would be done by" or of being on the side of the dispossessed and oppressed, the most probable outcome is that others in the Middle East will defend the weak, protect the persecuted and punish the aggressor with the means at their disposal.

Since democracy, the UN, NATO and the peace process are worth nothing in terms of protecting the human rights of the victims of Israel and its allies, not even making the aggressors themselves slightly more human, one has to expect that resistance operations will try by all means at their disposal to provide protection and bring some humanity- by default, not through their own volition - to all the lookers-on.

In the worst case, if the would-be protectors fail, at least any waiting, lumbering Apocalypse will put an end once and for all to the suffering of the victims and provoke some gnashing of teeth among the aggressors.


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