"The death of one Israeli victim justifies the killing of a hundred Palestinians. One Israeli life is worth a hundred Palestinian lives. This is what the Israeli State and the world media more or less—with marginal questioning—mindlessly repeat. And this claim, which has accompanied and justified the longest Occupation of foreign territories in 20th C. European history, is viscerally racist. That the Jewish people should accept this, that the world should concur, that the Palestinians should submit to it - is one of history’s ironic jokes. There’s no laughter anywhere…"
While the whole world is in shock from the horrible pictures broadcast from Gaza, Israeli public opinion is massively supporting the bloody offensive of Barak-Olmert. This includes the left parliamentarian opposition Meretz. Though Meretz leader MK Haim Oron did express his concern about civilian casualties, in an interview on Israeli television he joined the official propaganda argument blaming Hamas for the bloodshed. Such a mystified discourse has been duplicated by most of the leaders of the Western world, with France’s Foreign Ministry outflanking even US Secretary of State Rice. Let’s put the facts straight:
* Gaza has been targeted by the Israeli army since the victory of Hamas, and the siege imposed on more than one and a half million civilians—by Israel, but also by the so-call international community—is in itself an act of violence and a war-crime;
* The Israeli attack is a planned aggression: according to the Israeli news, Ehud Barak planned the attack on Gaza already in August;
* The rockets fired on Israeli towns were a retaliation to previous Israeli military aggressions, and were NOT fired by Hamas but by the small Islamic Jihad organization;
* The attack on Gaza is an integral part of the neo-conservative holy war against the Islamic world, and the outgoing US neo-conservative administration, as well as Egypt and other Arab reactionary regimes, have urged the Israeli authorities to launch the offensive before Obama enters the White House;
* Barak Obama’s declared intention to open talks with the Iranian Islamic Republic is one of the main concerns of the outgoing administrations in Tel Aviv and Washington, and the offensive against Gaza is an attempt to provoke an Iranian reaction that will allow an Israeli/US retaliation. During the last days, Israeli Deputy Minister of Defense, Ephraim Sneh, who is well known for his anti-Iranian obsession, has systematically connected Hamas (sic) rockets to Iran, without any evidence, of course.
Such an overall strategy, based on the mystification of a "clash of civilizations" and a global war against Islam, is shared by all the Zionist Israeli political parties and explains the support of Meretz to the ongoing aggression.
Though one should not expect a quick change in the US policy in West Asia, Israeli leaders and their neo-con sponsors in Washington are nevertheless worried by the change in the US administration, and fear a new strategy that may break with the global, never-ending, pre-emptive war. The attack on Gaza is a "last minute" attempt to change the relation of forces in the Middle East, before the end of the neo-conservative era.
And, before concluding, let us not forget the obscene dimension: the hundreds of victims of the Israeli bombardment and shelling of Gaza are collateral victims of the Israeli elections campaign; in order to increase their popular support before the coming elections, all Israeli leaders are competing over who is the toughest and who is ready to kill more. Ehud Barak, however, has a very short memory, and Shimon Peres can remind him that this cynical calculation is not necessarily the good one: the massacre of Qana, that was supposed to bring victory to Shimon Peres, provoked hundreds of thousands of Palestinian citizens to turn their back on the Labor Party. Despite his brutality, however, Ehud Barak remains one of the most unpopular leaders in the Israeli arena, and the thousands of demonstrators who came yesterday, almost without warning, to demonstrate against the massacre, may indicate that all those who are behind it, including Meretz, will not receive their votes. It is predictable that the international outrage and relatively broad anti-war sentiment among its voters will push, once again, Meretz to revise its position. They should, however, remember the very old truth that voters always prefer the original thing: when Meretz endorses Netanyahu’s war strategy and lies, the voters will vote for Netanyahu rather than for its pale and tasteless copy.