A Failed State and A Failed Society

Under the title: 'Israel spinning out of control', Ramzy Baroud shows how different layers of cover ups are already in motion to hide Israel's blatant and criminal responsibility in the killing of a family including five children on a Gaza beach recently.

1. ''Israel is attempting to cover blatant war crimes by media spin.''
''The army has been claiming for more than a week, based on its own evidence, that the lethal explosion was not caused by a stray shell landing on the Gaza beach but most probably by a mine placed there by Palestinian militants to prevent an Israeli naval landing.

The army’s case could be dismissed outright were it not for the racist assumptions that now prevail as Western "thought" about Arabs and Muslims.

2. Israel is not realising that the media spin not only ''instigates further animosity against Israel, but fuels a culture of propaganda and arbitrary aggression in Israel that is ripping apart Israeli society at its fragile seams. ''
How true, I always thought that a nation or a state becomes a model for the morality of its citizens. Failed states generate a context for the increase of failed morality in individuals. Morality is a social construction based on two premices, an internal individual disposition and local social interactions instilling in individuals the idea of the good as a principle for action and an ultimate goal for life.

3. After having, in a first move, condemned the recent civilian killings, then fabricated a lie refuting its responsibility in the killings, Israel finally seems to be ready to conduct its own investigation of the killings after having felt international outrage and pressure. However, Baroud reminds us that Israel's history of investigating its army's misdeeds is laughable and certainly not serious and unbiased.

Here is a typical example of an investigation: conducted by Isarel into the killing of a 13 year old Palestinian girl:

''An Israeli army officer who repeatedly shot a 13-year-old Palestinian girl in Gaza dismissed a warning from another soldier that she was a child by saying he would have killed her even if she was three years old. The officer, identified by the army only as Captain R, was charged this week with illegal use of his weapon, conduct unbecoming an officer and other relatively minor infractions after emptying all 10 bullets from his gun's magazine into when she walked into a "security area" on the edge of Rafah refugee camp last month.
A tape recording of radio exchanges between soldiers involved in the incident, played on Israeli television, contradicts the army's account of the events and appears to show that the captain shot the girl in cold blood.
The official account claimed that Iman was shot as she walked towards an army post with her schoolbag because soldiers feared she was carrying a bomb.
But the tape recording of the radio conversation between soldiers at the scene reveals that, from the beginning, she was identified as a child and at no point was a bomb spoken about nor was she described as a threat. Iman was also at least 100 yards from any soldier.
Instead, the tape shows that the soldiers swiftly identified her as a "girl of about 10" who was "scared to death".
The tape also reveals that the soldiers said Iman was headed eastwards, away from the army post and back into the refugee camp, when she was shot.
At that point, Captain R took the unusual decision to leave the post in pursuit of the girl. He shot her dead and then "confirmed the kill" by emptying his magazine into her body.
The tape recording is of a three-way conversation between the army watchtower, the army post's operations room and the captain, who was a company commander.
The soldier in the watchtower radioed his colleagues after he saw Iman: "It's a little girl. She's running defensively eastward."
Operations room: "Are we talking about a girl under the age of 10?"
Watchtower: "A girl of about 10, she's behind the embankment, scared to death."
A few minutes later, Iman is shot in the leg from one of the army posts.
The watchtower: "I think that one of the positions took her out."
The company commander then moves in as Iman lies wounded and helpless.
Captain R: "I and another soldier ... are going in a little nearer, forward, to confirm the kill ... Receive a situation report. We fired and killed her ... I also confirmed the kill. Over."
Witnesses described how the captain shot Iman twice in the head, walked away, turned back and fired a stream of bullets into her body. Doctors at Rafah's hospital said she had been shot at least 17 times.
On the tape, the company commander then "clarifies" why he killed Iman: "This is commander. Anything that's mobile, that moves in the zone, even if it's a three-year-old, needs to be killed. Over."
The army's original account of the killing said that the soldiers only identified Iman as a child after she was first shot. But the tape shows that they were aware just how young the small, slight girl was before any shots were fired.
The case came to light after soldiers under the command of Captain R went to an Israeli newspaper to accuse the army of covering up the circumstances of the killing.
A subsequent investigation by the officer responsible for the Gaza strip, Major General Dan Harel, concluded that the captain had "not acted unethically".
(CHRIS McGREAL / The Guardian (UK) Nov. 24, 2004)
''If you are curious, a five-count indictment was ultimately brought against Captain R. A few months ago Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz reported that Captain "R," a Givati Brigade soldier in the IDF, would be awarded 80,000 NIS [over $15,000 USD] in compensation from the State of Israel in addition to reimbursement for NIS 2,000 of legal expenses, as part of an arrangement reached between his lawyers and the military prosecution after being acquitted of all five counts against him related to the killing of Iman!''

A second case of a cover up : The Jenin tragedy and the blocking of an international investigation.

''The Jenin Refugee Camp, the second largest refugee camp in the West Bank, was surrounded by Israeli occupation forces as part of their aggression throughout the West Bank and continuing till today. The camp was raided and tens of Palestinians were murdered and dozens of homes bulldozed. For days, the Israelis refused to allow medical personnel, journalists, Red Cross, and the UN enter the camp.
An Israeli military bulldozer driver, Moshe Nissim, left little to the imagination as he described his actions in the camp while it was besieged."They were warned by loudspeaker to get out of the house before I come, but I gave no one a chance. I didn't wait. I didn't give one blow, and wait for them to come out. I would just ram the house with full power, to bring it down as fast as possible. I wanted to get to the other houses. To get as many as possible, I didn't give a damn about the Palestinians, but I didn't just ruin with no reason. It was all under orders."
On orders, the razing continued long after the battle was over. Dated aerial photos obtained from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs corroborate his tale, leading military expert and Amnesty International delegate Major David Holley to conclude: "There were events post-11 April that were neither militarily justifiable nor had any military necessity: the IDF leveled the final battlefield completely after the cessation of hostilities. It is surmised that the complete destruction of the ruins of battle, therefore, is punishment for its inhabitants."
Nissim concurs. "I found joy with every house that came down, because I knew they didn't mind dying, but they cared for their homes. If you knocked down a house, you buried 40 or 50 people for generations. If I am sorry for anything, it is for not tearing the whole camp down," he says. "They will sit quietly. Jenin will not return to what it used to be."(Peter Lagerquist, The Daily Star, 11/22/03)
Palestinians demanded an investigation.
A fact finding mission was proposed by the United Nations on April 19, 2002. Israel initially agreed to co-operate with the inquiry, but demanded a set of conditions to do so. Among the conditions, Israel demanded that the mission should include anti-terrorism experts, that the UN agree not to prosecute Israeli soldiers for potential violations of international law, and that it limit its scope exclusively to events in Jenin. The UN refused to accept the last two conditions and were forced to ultimately disband their mission.''

And what happens after an investigation is somehow forced to conclude to a guilty verdict due to the existence of facts witnessed by others than Israel ?
The Ariel Sharon case and the Sabra and Chatila massacres

''We have found, as has been detailed in this report, that the Minister of Defense bears personal responsibility. In our opinion, it is fitting that the Minister of Defense draw the appropriate personal conclusions arising out of the defects revealed with regard to the manner in which he discharged the duties of his office - and if necessary, that the Prime Minister consider whether he should exercise his authority under Section 21-A(a) of the Basic Law: the Government, according to which "the Prime Minister may, after informing the Cabinet of his intention to do so, remove a minister from office.''
After being found unfit to be Defense Minister, Ariel Sharon swiftly rose to be the Prime Minister of Israel, twice.''

I will let Jonathan Cook conclude:
The only problem is that Israel and its security forces have been caught out lying repeatedly during this intifada and before it, not just to people on the other side of the world who cannot verify the facts but also to its own courts and public.

This week, for example, the Supreme Court ordered the army and Ministry of Defence to pull down several kilometres of the steel and concrete barrier they have erected on Palestinian land in the West Bank after it was proved that the security considerations behind the choice of the wall’s route were entirely bogus. Official documents reveal that the wall was located there to allow for the future expansion of nearly illegal Jewish settlements on yet more Palestinian land. The army and government concocted the fib and then stuck to it for more than two years. Chief Justice Aharaon Barak called their systematic lying “a grave phenomenon”.

And at the start of the intifada, back in October 2000, the government and police covered up the fact that live ammunition and sniper units trained to deal with terror attacks had been used against unarmed Arab demonstrators inside Israel. For more than six months the government and security services denied that a single live round had been fired, despite mounting evidence to the contrary that lawyers and journalists like myself had unearthed.

They might have got away with their brazen lies too, had it not been for an unusual series of events that led to the appointment of a state inquiry headed by a Supreme Court judge, Theodor Or, who quickly exposed the truth.

That happened not because of any urge by official bodies to come clean or the inevitable triumph of Israeli justice. It happened for one reason alone: the prime minister of the day, Ehud Barak, feared losing the impending general election to his rival Ariel Sharon and thought he could buy back Arab votes by setting up an inquiry.

The inhabitants of Gaza have no such leverage inside the Israeli legal and political system. They have no friends inside Israel. And now it looks like they have no friends in the international community either.''

This is a failed state and a failed society.

UPDATE: June 21st 2006

''Human Rights Watch has accused an Israeli army investigation of ignoring evidence that challenges its decision to clear the military of blame for a blast that killed seven Palestinians on a Gaza beach.

In a statement on Wednesday, Human Rights Watch said the Israeli army (IDF) had excluded all evidence gathered by other sources.

It had either called into question or declined to accept evidence collected by the group, the statement said.

Marc Garlasco, a senior military analyst at Human Rights Watch, said: "An investigation that refuses to look at contradictory evidence can hardly be considered credible.''


Wolfie said...

I have been arguing this point with other bloggers for some time, not for the reasons that you give Sophia, but arguing nevertheless in the face of accusations ranging from Anti-Semitism to blood-libel.

Zionism is based on a mixture of Marxism and Nationalism and history has shown us that both these premises are doomed to failure. Nationalism is not an inherently bad thing but it is a "flavour enhancer" and not an ingredient in the national cake, using it as an ingredient makes for bitter confectionary. Zionism (love it or loath it) served its purpose to the Israeli nation in its early days but its central tenants have doomed it to eventual failure because it does not know how to make peace and neither does it care to because it requires endless conflict in order to survive. It is like a 29 year old man who still lives with his mother suckling on her breast and throwing scorn at every girl who comes to call because none can compare to mother dearest. This highly militarised, high tech, nuclear armed and wealthy nation clings to a superannuated notion of victim status in order to justify remaining in its infantile state, it needs to grow-up, leave mummy and date girls. If it doesn't do this sometime soon it will implode from within, the cracks are already showing which is why it has been ramping up its violence towards the Palestinians - evidence of its impending crisis.

The crux of this problem was recently exemplified on British television. It was a report on the gradual disappearance of the Dead Sea. The reporter was standing on its banks with a representative from the Israeli environment ministry who was arguing that this was caused by global warming * and that the sea would just find a new level and stabilise. The BBC reporter suggested diverting water from the Gulf of Aqaba to which the government official responded : "The Europeans should pay". i.e. I want mummy's tit.

* In my local Sainsbury's supermarket almost all the sweet peppers are imported from Israel. These are grown in Israeli greenhouses all year round using hydroponics systems sourced from the river Jordan which has as a result been reduced to a trickle. This is the real reason for the disappearance of the Dead Sea. Greed.

Wolfie said...

I'm very glad you enjoyed it Sophia. I'm just of to visit the in-laws this very minute so I shall be away for a while. If you would like to feature it anywhere I would be honoured.

Au revoir for now.

- Wolfie

Sophia said...


Something went wrong in my previous comment and passages were cut. I am sorry for that and even if you seem to have understood my point, I am reposting it.

If you don't mind I will also be posting soon your comment, put in its original context along with my answer.

Thanks again.

By the end of next week I will have to disappear for a while from this blog, take a break with my husband, visit my daughter who is studying her summer session in Europe, visit the in-Laws also in Europe and make some cultural and natural discoveries.

My previous comment should be read like this:

Thank you for this very fine and witty analysis which deserve to appear as a separate post if you feel like doing it. I agree 100 %.

There is a historical link between zionism and the left and as I said before in one of my comments, Israel is to the left what the match between England and Hungary was once to Communism. 'Le communisme a existé une fois dans l'histoire, deux fois 45 minutes quand les Anglais ont perdu face à des Hongrois qui, eux, jouaient collectifs,' Jean-Luc Godard said once jokingly in his movie 'notre musique'.

As for the water problem in Israel, your comment is right to the point. The following statement is taken from a scientific study:
''The Lower Jordan Valley is usually regarded a region with severe
water scarcity, but this is not the case. The per-capita availability of
water is much above the average of the Middle East, but it is
regionally unevenly distributed. About 94% of all usable water is
used for agriculture; about 2/3 of that has drinking water quality. On
the other hand, 44,000 people in the southeast of the valley do not
have sufficient local drinking quality water supply to meet the basic domestic demand. Scenario calculations show that a more sustainable water management in the region is possible if water allocation priorities are redefined. The first priority must be given to human and social needs for drinking water, to domestic/urban needs, and to water-efficient income generation activities. Agriculture should be
limited to water that is not needed in other sectors.''
On the excessive and unbalanced use of Water resources by Israel for agricultural rather than human and urban purposes

On nationalism, I agree, I think blood of individuals should not be shed for nations to live and some national identities are simply murderous.
This is why I am for the one state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian problem. I think Palestinians should renounce statehood and spare the remaining lives. However, when you discuss the one state solution with European leftists and pure zionists, you find an insurmontable resistance. This is my landmark for identifying someone as dogmatic leftist and/or zionist. Actually European leftists, specially british are trying to save Israel from itself but in the bad way because again they did not understand what is at stake and they are treating Israel's problem as an Image problem. The Euston manifesto in England and the Muslim manifesto in France by the Cartoucherie the leftist Vincennes political group theater are a clear Examples of leftists attempts to save Israel from itself while again putting all the blame on Islam and Anti-zionism.

Thanks again for this seminal comment. Having had to deal with teen age children, I really liked the allegory. Your typical non grown up teen wants to have it all, independance, dependance and all the rest while putting all the burdens of his life on his parents. Another point in the allegory is the self centerdness of teens and their natural agressivity. Thanks God, my children are not like that but there was a moment with my daughter during her teen age years where the situation was nearly similar but she is grown up now.

Since March 29th 2006