Israel, Palestine and the Question of Self-Defense

090120-massad-gaza Joseph Massad in The Electronic Intifada:

The logic goes as follows: Israel has the right to occupy Palestinian land, lay siege to Palestinian populations in Bantustans surrounded by an apartheid wall, starve the population, cut them off from fuel and electricity, uproot their trees and crops, and launch periodic raids and targeted assassinations against them and their elected leadership, and if this population resists these massive Israeli attacks against their lives and the fabric of their society and Israel responds by slaughtering them en masse, Israel would simply be “defending” itself as it must and should.

Indeed, as The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, the best friend of Israel and the Saudi ruling family, has argued recently, in doing so, Israel is engaged in a pedagogical exercise of “educating” the Palestinians. Perhaps many of the Arab businessmen's associations who regularly invite Friedman to speak to their organizations in a number of Arab countries and pay him an astronomical speaking fee can invite him back to educate them on Israel's pedagogical methods and on The New York Times' war propaganda on behalf of Israel.

The major argument here is two-fold, namely that while Israel has the right to defend itself, its victims have no similar right to defend themselves. In fact, the logic is even more sinister than this and can be elucidated as follows: Israel has the right to oppress the Palestinians and does so to defend itself, but were the Palestinians to defend themselves against Israel's oppression, which they do not have a right to do, Israel will then have the right to defend itself against their illegitimate defense of themselves against its legitimate oppression of them, which it carries out anyway in order to defend itself legitimately.

This is why, not only does Israel have the right to arm itself and to be a nuclear power and to have a military edge over the combined militaries of the entire region in which it lives, but it also must ensure that the military power of its neighbors is used to quell the Palestinians and not Israel, indeed to help Israel lay siege to the resisting Palestinians.