First Published: 2009-01-13

700 Israelis arrested for protesting against war

In eight years: twenty Israelis died from Gaza rockets, 4,000 Israelis died from car accidents.


Middle East Online

'Israel is acting like a state terrorist'

PACIFICA About 700 Israelis have been arrested for protesting against the war on Gaza since the beginning of the deadly offensive, said Neve Gordon, chair of the Department of Politics and Government at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel on Monday.

"700 Israelis have been arrested since this war began, because they protested this war. This has not made it to an international media, and its an act of intimidation by the state against those who protest the war," Gordon told Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!.

On the number of Israeli deaths, Gordon said: "between ten and twenty people, Israelis, have died from rockets in the eight years that rockets have been launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel. During the same amount of time, 4,000 Israelis have died from car accidents."

But Israel still used that as an excuse to bomb Gaza.

"From these twenty people, were allowed to enter into the Gaza Strip and bomb them from the air into their cage and kill 275 children," said Gordon, who is also the author of the book Israels Occupation.

Gordon criticized Israel's continuous violations of international law.

"Disproportionality is a term from international law. Israel has been defying international law and international agreements and international decisions from 1967, or probably from before. One of these decisions is that Israel must return these (Palestinian) territories. And by maintaining and holding onto these territories through violent means," said Gordon.

Although Gordon opposes Gaza rocket fire, he explained that the Palestinians are trying to defend themselves.

"The right to self-defense is a right to self-defense from violence. We have to understand that the occupation itself is violence. Its an act of violence. Putting people in a prison, in a prison of one million and a half million people and keeping them there for years on end without basic foodstuff, without allowing them to enter and exit when they will, is an act of violence. Without electricity, without clean water, its all an act of violence. And these people are resisting. I am against the way theyre resisting, but we have to look at their violence versus our violence," said Gordon.

"Gaza is still under occupation, because Israel controls all of its borders, and the West Bank is under occupation, and East Jerusalem is under occupation. And the actthe first, the initial, the primordial act of violence is the occupation. The rockets are a reaction to that act of violence. And so, we have to keep in mind that withinits not between a state and another state. Its been between an occupier and an occupied," he noted.

On the media war, Gordon noted: "Israel is dealing with a propaganda war. Israel is the one that disseminated a video of Hamas shooting rockets from a school, a video thats almost two years old, claiming that the video was taken a day or two earlier. So Israel is in a propaganda war."

Gordon noted that "although Hamas did launch an incredible amount of rockets at the end of the ceasefire," it was Israel which broke the ceasefire on November 4th "when it attacked in the Gaza Strip."

"Israel actually is a first actor that broke the ceasefire," noted Gordon.

Gordon also accused Israel of committing acts of terrorism.

"Yes, the Hamas is fighting out from a civilian population, but Israel has the choice whether its going to bomb the civilian population or not, and it is intentionally deciding to bomb the civilian population. So in terms of intentionality in bombing areas where there are civilians, Israel is acting like a state terrorist. So, if your definition of terrorism doesnt take into account the identity of the actorand state actors can also be terroriststhen when you bomb a school and when you bomb a university and when you bomb a neighborhood and youre killing much more civilians than militants, then youre doing something that is an act of terror," he explained.

Gordon cited two reasons behind Israel's offensive against Gaza.

"I think the actual reasons have to dothe two major reasonswith rebuilding the reputation of the Israeli military after its humiliation in 2006 in Lebanon and the upcoming Israeli elections."

But the Israeli author believes that there is a way to solve the conflict.

"Hamas is the elected government of the Palestinian people. We dont need to like them. I dont like them. But they are the elected government, and we need to sit down and talk with them and not bomb them," he noted.

"We have to come out and say we are willing to talk with our enemies, even with people that say that they do not believe in the existence of Israel. The PLO said that they do not believe in the existence of Israel for many years. And ultimately, we sat down and talked with them, and they are now considered our Palestinian partner. I believe that if there is a pragmatic side, a strong pragmatic wing in Hamas, that if we start negotiation with them, over the years these people will also agree to the existence of Israel and be willing to live side by side with us," he added.

"If we do not talk with them, if we continue this cycle of violence, ultimately Israel will be destroyed, because ultimately, the technological edge that we have over our neighbors will not be meaningful. So we have to change our approach. We have to be proby changing our approach, were actually pro-Israeli. We say we want to see Israel a hundred years from now. And the only way well see Israel exist a hundred years from now is if Israel makes peace with Syria, with Lebanon and with the Palestinian people," Gordon explained.


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