Peoples Geography — Reclaiming space

Creating people's geographies

“We must take a neighborhood in Gaza and wipe it off the map”

Quotables from the Israeli government’s current (c)harm offensive

While you may have read about the first, Israeli Minister Sheetrit’s revealing outburst was by no means the only recent one. These are just a few picked up from a couple of news pieces, and seem unfortunately indicative of how the Israeli government public discourse has further degenerated, reflecting its actions on the ground.

  • ”We need to topple the Hamas regime,” Tzachi Hanegbi, chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, told Israel Radio ahead of Barak’s briefing. ”We need to assassinate its leaders without any artificial differentiation between those who wear explosive vests and those who wear diplomatic vests.
  • Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told reporters after the cabinet meeting, “There is no hope for the Palestinian people with Hamas. There is no hope for any kind of peace or the vision of a Palestinian state which includes the Gaza Strip without a real change on the ground.” (read: usual ‘never a partner for peace’ and attempting to dictate who governs and the shape of a future Palestinian state, which is to say, actively preventing one)
  • Olmert’s Deputy, Vice Premier Haim Ramon, said he expected Hamas, which seized control in June, to be forced out within the year. “I believe a combination of steps against Hamas in Gaza will bring an end to the Hamas regime in Gaza,” Ramon said. “It will take a few months, maybe it will take a year.” Hamas sources said Hamas leaders were keeping a low profile, apparently to avoid assassination attempts. Asked who Israel could be targeting, minister Shaul Mofaz said: “Everyone, without exception.

For a more thoughtful and humane consideration of political language and its consequences, which the so-called leaders above would do well to examine; see this recent interview with Beirut-based Briton Alastair Crooke at Conflicts Forum.

See also the Israeli journalist Gideon Levy who puts things into excellent perspective, with editorial emphasis added, and considers: “the severity of the Supreme Court’s decision is not only on the human level: The Supreme Court is authorizing collective punishment, which is specifically forbidden under international law (Article 33 of the Geneva Convention). Henceforth, Israel will no longer be able to complain about attacks against innocents in Israel: If all the residents of the Gaza Strip deserve to be punished because of the Qassam rockets, then maybe all Israelis deserve to be punished because of the occupation?”

8 comments on ““We must take a neighborhood in Gaza and wipe it off the map”

  1. Kilroy
    13 February, 2008

    The officials above may want to look at more thoughtful and humane considerations of political language and its consequences

    Would you pardon me a lapse from the caritas principle for a moment? The pathos of distance requires a clear distinction between our own identity and our natural desire to improve on God’s design.

    Why would we want to coach these people to mend their language or their thoughts? Such an impulse strikes me as the worst instance of Pygmalionism ever. They do not want a partner for peace, so why should we imagine one to give them? They reveal their core principles by their words and their actions. What else is there to judge them by? There is nothing there worth even a prayer for redemption.

    The more they run their mouths, the more people perceive their true colors. These people are evil through and through. There’s nothing to be done for evil because it corrupts everything it touches, including those would-be heroes who confront it.

    See also Perseus v. Medusa. While we can certainly empathize with the human qualities of the poor Medusa, we have no choice but to cut off its head or turn to stone.

    Sorry – delete this unkind rant if you wish – and I won’t be offended. But I just cannot see any way to redeem such people in my heart.

  2. peoplesgeography
    13 February, 2008

    Thanks for that. I can understand the difficulty of applying caritas here. I take your point that these types of statements, particularly from Israeli government “leaders” appear irredeemable, let alone irresponsible.

    I guess my response that you quote was one in which I was deliberately pitching for understatement as an expression of laconic disgust to truly abhorrent sentiments.

    All I can do is my part in drawing attention to them, presenting the glaring double standards (c.f. the brouhaha over Iran’s President purportedly saying”wipe of the map’ which is a mistranslation canard), and highlighting the parallels with the very same sorts of oppression the European Jews claimed to be victims of and which was used to justify the establishment of an Israeli apartheid state.

    And as Andrew Winkler recently put it, “Having been molested as a child, doesn’t justify becoming a paedophile.”

    Perhaps you can not reason with such a person/ entity. Perhaps we will have to hold out hopes for other forms of transformation.

  3. Kilroy
    13 February, 2008

    …other forms of transformation….

    Let’s stone them in the public square!!

    Or at least stop enabling them with my American tax dollars.

  4. LDU
    14 February, 2008

    I’ve got no idea why Palestinian Christians won’t support the resistance. There may be some out there, but the only one that got close was Edward Said.

  5. Ann El Khoury
    14 February, 2008

    hi LDU and thanks for your comment.

    They do, let’s just be mindful that they are numerically in the minority as I’m sure you’d be aware. Yet their contribution is great. In Australia, Sonja Karkar and others have been very active indeed. In the US, there’s Joseph Massad in academe, entrepreneur and advocate Sam Bahour, non-violent activist Mubarak Awad, ISM co-founder Huwaida Arraf and humorist Ray Hanania. In the UK, Ghada Karmi has been a richly articulate voice, amongst others. In Palestine, Israeli Arab Azmi Bishara, George Habash who only just recently died, Hanan Ashrawi, Leila Sansour (Open Bethlehem), Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah and many others. They all continue Said’s legacy.

    By the way, that was quite a trip down the 1990s Australian political memory lane with your Paul Keating vid on your blog.

  6. LDU
    15 February, 2008

    Hello Ann,

    Cheers for your reply.

    I knew about Azmi Bishara, Michel Sabbah and George Habash. Bishara must’ve had guts being so open about his link with the Syrian government. I had no idea Ashrawi was Christian.

    I don’t want to sound shallow but I’ve accomodated this perception that Palestinian Christians (and other Arab Christians) are by the majority, Israeli allied. I may well be wrong because of my limited contact with Arab Christians, but the few Arab Christian friends I have tend to harbour pro Israeli political beliefs. One mate being of Lebanese background said that Israel’s creation is a prophecy fulfilled leading upto the second coming of Jesus Christ, and if Israel is Jesus Christ’s will, he has no problem with it. Another believes that when Jesus returns the Jews will have two options, either to accept his messiahship or perish. Having said that, there may well be many who are also not pro Israel, like those you’ve listed above.

    It’s also a sad fact that Christian numbers have so dramatically decreased in the occupied territories, but i’d be so over the moon to see a Christian succeed Abbas or Haniya. I think Manawel Musallam would be a good candidate although he is low profile.

    At uni, the Muslim Students’ Association hosts Palestine related events, even though we’ve tried to get Palestinian Christians involved, they (well, those on campus) just dont show much interest.

    Hopefully this conflicts going to end soon. It’s been 60 years now. The white government in South Africa fell, the British left India and Ireland, American blacks won their right to drink from any fountain; Israel is no exception to historical trends.

    Excuse the rant.

  7. Ann El Khoury
    15 February, 2008

    While all the Palestinian Christians I know are definitely not Christian zionists, I do know what you mean, I’ve encountered these within my own family circle, springing from ostensibly biblical beliefs. That is, they accept the Israeli government’s rather inexcusable actions not on political but on the religious grounds you mentioned, though the Lebanese Maronite Phalange allied with Israel in the early 1980s did so on political grounds.

    Interestingly, the few Christian Arabs who still subscribe to these views here and elsewhere in the diaspora seem to embody a frozen time capsule — they tend to have been here for the past 30 years and their views on the conflict have not changed, frozen from the time of their departure;, while their Lebanese Christian family in Lebanon have decidedly different views on Israel.

    I share your sentiments about an end to this occupation. Please come by anytime and feel free to comment.


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