Wednesday, January 7, 2009

"By choice they made themselves immune"

Saree Makdisi, The Electronic Intifada, 6 January 2009
(Saree Makdisi is professor of English literature at the University of California, Los Angeles and author of "Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation.")

"Israel's disregard for Palestinian life in Gaza today is, in short, a direct extension of its disregard for Palestinian life since 1948, and what is happening in Gaza today is the continuation of what happened six decades ago. Eighty percent of the people crammed into Gaza's hovels and shanties are refugees or the descendants of refugees that armed Zionist gangs, which eventually coalesced into the infant Israeli army, terrorized from their homes elsewhere in southwestern Palestine in 1948.....

Meticulously and clinically thought through even before the first rocket from Gaza claimed a life inside Israel, the slaughter in Gaza today has nothing to do with rockets or with Hamas. As Sofer himself explains, it is the purest and most distilled expression of Zionist ideology. "Unilateral separation doesn't guarantee 'peace,'" Sofer says in that same interview; "it guarantees a Zionist-Jewish state with an overwhelming majority of Jews."

And that -- taken right from the horse's mouth -- is what the slaughter of innocents in Gaza is fundamentally about: the people being killed today are the ones for whom there is no room in the Zionist vision of the state. They are regarded as an excess population. Not even Malthus thought that a redundant population should just be lined up and shot, or bombed into the ground. But, clearly, times have changed since 1798.

This inhuman madness will end only with the end of the violent ideology that spawned it -- when those who are committed to the project of creating and maintaining a religiously and ethnically exclusivist state in what has always been a culturally and religiously heterogeneous land finally relent and accept the inevitable: that they have failed."

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