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Does Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s campaign in Gaza represent that — or instead barbarism? The security forces have simply been left to impose varying degrees of repression, while Jewish settlers grab ever-larger areas of the West Bank and Jerusalem.
A Palestinian man, in clothes stained with the blood of his father, who medics said was killed by Israeli shelling, mourns at a hospital in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip yesterday as Israel's attack continued Israel’s tragedy is that the only democracy in the Middle East has fallen prey to a succession of Right-wing governments, which derive much of their electoral strength from Russian emigres and extremist religious parties. In a remarkable moment of frankness, one former Shin Bet chief said: ‘Occupation has made us a cruel people.’He began by describing how he himself, as a boy of nine, was taken by his parents on a drive across the West Bank in the wake of their nation’s stunning victory over Egypt, Jordan and Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967.
Electricity, water, sewage, communication and transportation systems were out.
For each Israeli killed, the lives of many times that number of Palestinians are forfeit. Three years ago, a team of Israeli documentary-makers produced a brilliant film about the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank entitled The Gatekeepers.
A historian friend, himself a Jew and an uncommonly astute observer of the world, said to me a while back: ‘Consciously or unconsciously, Israel has decided that it prefers a state of permanent war to making the concessions to the Palestinians that would be indispensable to any chance of peace.’Israel has become more inward-looking, less receptive to foreign opinion, than at any time in its history. After two decades in which Israelis had lived under siege from their neighbours, subject to spasmodic shelling in their homes and the fields of the kibbutzes in the lands beneath the Golan Heights, suddenly a whole new world was laid open to them.
Israel’s justice minister told Teddy Kollek, mayor of West Jerusalem: ‘I don’t know what the legal status is.
From amid the Israelis’ camp fires, as a correspondent I wrote expressing my admiration for the nation, for what it had created from a near-wasteland: ‘They are a very great people, who have come closer to destruction than blind Europe seems willing to recognise.’ The veteran journalist James Cameron, who had known Israel since its inception, wrote me a generous note after that piece was published, saying: ‘It is quite impossible to work in combat with the Israeli army without this response, if you have any sense of history and drama.’Israelis, confident that they can defeat any Arab military threat, bolstered by almost unqualified U. support, assume that they can persist indefinitely with the creeping annexation of the West Bank, and the subjection of Gaza.
Uglinesses have mounted steadily since the early Seventies, when the Israeli Army merely demolished Palestinian orange groves to improve its fields of fire.
It is true that the Palestinians, led by men skilled in guerrilla war but little else, speak a language of emotion and unreason.