Fourth of July – The Bush Crime and its Punishment, and the War Over Our Consciousness

Again I let the previous Word “sit” for a while, to expose the Terror’s balance sheet – who really gains from our blood, and whom we need to pressure in order to stop this. Meanwhile a lot of subjects are crowding my desk. Well, seems like we can’t do without “the Bush Speech”. First of all – happy Independence Day to all Americans! I’m not so happy since the above-mentioned speech. Fortunately our site already hosts two excellent responses to this speech – a satirical one and an angry one – that say almost all there is to say.

What’s left for me to add? That President Bush’s speech is a Crime, because it directly causes more bloodshed, and leads us further away from any possible solution to the conflict. The core of this crime is not this or that accusation he’s made; let’s say it doesn’t matter who’s at fault. The crime is the throwing of all responsibility for the two peoples’ fate in the foreseeable future, upon the powerless, imprisoned side – while removing all responsibility off the shoulders of the strong, free, ruling side (a side whose current leaders seem to have a vested interest in making things worse – again, see last week’s Word). This is a sure-fire recipe for disaster. Bush did not invent this idea – Clinton and Barak started it after Camp David 2000 – but this is barely a closing argument for reduced punishment. What is the punishment I suggest? Please, Mr. Bush, fly over here and become the Palestinian Authority President yourself. I have a feeling that after a week on the job, we’ll hear a different speech from you.

To our main subject: the Stream of Consciousness, the War over Perception. The incoming IDF Chief of Staff, ‘Boogy’ Yaalon, announced on the eve of the Bush Speech, that the real war being waged here is a war over the Consciousness. I think that Boogy and all the other politicians at IDF staff and in our government are doing a great job in this War over Consciousness. First of all, the perception of Israelis has been so totally conquered, that the head of the worst government in our history (according to objective, “bottom line” parameters) enjoys the widest and most stable popular support since Ben Gurion’s days. Second, the consciousness of both Israelis and Americans has been won over so deeply, that crimes can be repeatedly committed in the Occupied Territories, without anyone of these two peoples giving a damn.

When the deliberate starvation of Palestinians escalated during April’s invasion, and I discovered the interesting scientific experiment we are financing in the Territories since then, namely: “Deprive two million people of all sources of livelihood, lock them up in their houses intermittently for long periods of time, destroy all the civilian and economic infrastructure – and stay around to see how long it takes for children to develop swollen bellies” (see e.g., Yigal Bronner’s Beit Jalla story) – I asked myself, what are “they” (our regime) going to do when all this blows up in our face? I sent hysterical faxes to government ministries, warning and explaining the obvious: that whoever rules over people by force for a long time, and prevents them from getting food, must supply them food at his own expense! “Red Tsi Der Vant”, as my grandpa says, go talk to the wall. As far as I know, the Government of Israel has not supplied up till now as much as a grain of rice to the people it imprisons and starves, and more often than not it prevents the arrival of food sent by others.

Back then, I did not understand where all this folly is leading us, but now I do. Our government and IDF Staff are well prepared. They have a plan. They do not need to prevent Famine. They only need to win the Battle over the Consciousness. And the attack has already begun, with President Bush’s kindly assistance. Don’t you know? It is all because of “the corrupt Palestinian Authority.” Last night, at a prime-time news show, a Palestinian peace activist explained how easy it is for terrorist organizations to recruit suicide bombers nowadays, because most Palestinians don’t see much difference anymore between death and the “life” they have to live. After him, a gorgeous, well-mannered female Lt. Colonel named Zionit is invited to reply. Yes, she sadly admits. The situation in the Territories is indeed very grave, just as the Palestinian activist has described. “We are trying to do all we can” – but – of course, because of the widespread terror cells, it is very difficult to avoid indirect damage to the population. The Lt. Colonel is not attacked by the interviewer, of course. She speaks as “an expert on the situation.”

Let me tell you, Zionit, about your “attempts to help” three small villages.  A few days ago, a military bulldozer dug a canal across the road connecting the world to the villages of Deir-El-Khattab, Azmout and Salim, east of Nablus. No entry or exit, except by foot (hundreds of towns and villages in more central locations have “won” this treatment as far back as a year and a half ago). How widespread is “Terror” in Deir-El-Hattab, where my friend Jaber Odeh lives – to justify such a counter-act of administrative terror? Since this intifada began, IDF troops did not need even once to search for suspects in their village. Quiet as lambs. That did not deter the army from putting them under curfew – two weeks now – and cut their road, and in April – to lock them up in their homes for six weeks. Two weeks of curfew were enough then to kill Tabarak, Jaber’s sick toddler daughter. The IDF still ignores the case. A few days after Tabarak’s death, Jibreel Alauna, a teacher from nearby Azmout, set out to Nablus by foot across the fields – in a desparate attempt to withdraw some money and bring some food to his starving family. Soldiers spotted him and shot him to death like a dog.

Much earlier, in the last fall, Radwan Shtayeh, a taxi driver from the third village of Salim, drove two women to the village. After they got off, he noticed one of them had forgotten a bag of bananas. He called out to her, left the bag by the road and started driving. An army post on the opposite hill did not think twice and shot him to death. In this case, the IDF managed to apologize. But of course, no chance for any compensation to the defenseless widow and orphans.

As far as I’m concerned, letting an IDF representative appear as “an expert on the situation” and analyze Palestinian suffering, is just like letting the builders of the Maccabiyah Bridge appear as “experts for bridge-building” and analyze its catastrophic collapse [during the Maccabiyah opening ceremony, 1997; 4 people died; the builders and engineers were later found guilty].

General (soon to become Major-General) Boogy Yaalon, you who craftily send upon us the “humanitarian officers” and the gorgeous Lt. Col. Zionit: you are right, there is a War over the Consciousness, and so far you are winning. Crimes are perpetrated under your command and the world is silent; some of it is even applauding. But with all this attention you and your predecessor pay to politics, propaganda and perception, you have forgotten your simple basic commitment: to protect us. In protecting us you have failed miserably, dear Chief of Staff and his Deputy – and with this “Perceptive”, crafty and political road you continue to pursue, you are bound to keep failing, to keep producing more and more terror attacks.

Moreover: I do not intend to give in. I, the little one, shall continue fighting you over people’s consciousness, even if I’m the only one fighting. And the day of victory will come: you may be 80 by then, even 90 (may you live till 120!) – some day you will appear publicly, and be ashamed of that which you have been such a high-ranking accomplice to. You will be ashamed of what you have done to the lives of five million children, Israeli and Palestinian, and to their helpless parents. And if not you, your children or grandchildren will be ashamed for you.

For your own good and for the good of us all, you should admit and be ashamed starting now. Because every lie is bound to crack and shrivel, and then Truth comes out.

Assaf