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Red Rag weekly column: Onward to Armageddon!
By: Gideon Spiro
16 November 2011 (English translation 20 November)

Onward to Armageddon!

The International Atomic Energy Agency recently published a report about Iran, from which we learn that military-level nuclear production is taking place in that country.

The report was a surprise to nobody, and not only because of the many leaks of its contents before it was published. It is clear to all rational people who have been following the various rivalries that exist in our region that Iran will not leave a monopoly on nuclear weapons in the Middle East in Israel’s hands.

The Agency’s report fed additional fuel to Israel’s efforts to convince the US and its allies in Europe to take military measures against Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, with a clear hint that if they do not do it Israel will take independent action. I hope that President Obama will not be tempted by the insistent pleading of the government of Israel and its servants in the AIPAC lobby to initiate military action, for US military action too could drag the region into a terrible bloodbath. The bloody failing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that he inherited from President Bush are surely enough for President Obama. He does not need a new war that will bear his name. Let us hope that he has the strength to rein in Israel as well.

Iran is imitating Israel’s policy of ambiguity. While under the surface the Iranian government continues to act energetically to arm itself with nuclear weapons, on ground level its leaders are declaring that they have no need for such weapons. My working assumption is that the government of Iran is lying on this subject exactly like the government of Israel is doing, and probably one or two nuclear bombs are already concealed in its basement.

We learn just how volatile, dangerous and deranged this situation is from an article that appeared in Haaretz, the most respected newspaper in Israel, on 15 October 2011 under the heading, “Iran is no danger to Israel” by Dr. Uri Milstein, the who is described as a “military philosopher”. Milstein is a lecturer in the Israeli academy. Milstein, a right-winger who is close to the Likud leadership, wears the cloak of Dr. Strangelove and writes that even if the Iranians decide to drop a nuclear bomb on Israel, “that will not endanger the existence of Israel”. At the absolute worst, continues Milstein, Iran will develop a bomb of the type that the USA dropped on Hiroshima, and if that bomb is dropped on Gush Dan, the most densely populated area in Israel, [1] it will cause 200 thousand fatalities and extensive property damage, according to the Japanese model. Most of the State of Israel will not be harmed, according to Dr. Milstein. Israel in reply, he continues, would destroy Iran with its much more powerful nuclear arsenal. If Hizbullah and Syria help Iran by shooting thousands of missiles at Israel, Israel will destroy Syria and southern Lebanon, and then Israel can breathe easily. As if it were possible to bombard southern Lebanon and Syria with nuclear bombs without radioactive fallout covering the Galilee and countries next to Syria.

Milstein’s horrific scenario is presented to the reader as a reassuring message that “we will get through it”. He is assuming a lot. He ignores the long-range effect of radioactive contamination that will cause victims for many long years, far beyond Gush Dan; not to speak of contamination of the soil, water and animal and plant life. He assumes that the Iranians will develop, in the worst-case scenario, a bomb of the 1945 type that the Americans dropped on Japan. Are the Iranians not capable of developing a modern atomic or hydrogen bomb like Israel has done? And if they decide to use nuclear weapons against Israel, why would they stop at only one bomb and not drop two or three? And how would Israel survive that?

Milstein has good sources in the army and the Israeli government, and he did not invent that scenario by himself. I assume that if he thinks this way, there are those at the top levels of the army and the government who think like him, and who are ready for Armageddon.

This only strengthens the position of those who demand that the Middle East be divested of all weapons of mass destruction, with the emphasis on the nuclear weapons, but also chemical and biological, to ensure that nobody in this region, in which too many leaders claim to have a direct line to the Almighty, has the option of using such weapons. In this framework Israel should be compelled to give up its nuclear weapons first, followed by its biological and chemical weapons.

The president is a rapist and the state is raping

The former president of Israel, Moshe Katzav, was convicted of rape and sentenced to 7 years in prison. There are not many states that would try and convict their presidents on the basis of complaints of women who had worked in their offices. That is the enlightened and laudable side of what remains of Israeli democracy within the Green Line. Unfortunately that side is being covered by dark clouds. If the number of human-rights defenders in Israel continues to shrink, the day will not far off when our country is shrouded in darkness.

If a rapist president is sentenced to 7 years in prison for two counts of rape, what should be the sentence for a state that has been forcing itself on another nation, ruling over them, killing them, robbing them and tormenting them for 44 years? A quick calculation shows that three million counts of ongoing rape (corresponding to the approximate number of Palestinians who are living under Israeli rule or control) should be punished with several million years in prison.

The right-wing steamroller rolls on

In a slow but steady process the settlers are coming to control an more and more key positions in Israel. Already we had settler ministers, settler Knesset Members, settler generals, settler police officers, and now settlers have taken over still more key positions. For example, the Israel Land Administration, which controls 92 percent of the land in Israel. Now a settler judge is about to be appointed to the Supreme Court: District Court judge Noam Solberg, a resident of the settlement of Alon Shvut. He already has several racist rulings to his name.

Thus the unprecedented absurdity that holders of senior positions in the Israeli regime do not even live in the state where they exercise power.

At the same time the right-wing majority in the Knesset is continuing to pass legislation to restrict the activities of human-rights organizations. The ministerial legislation committee has approved a bill to bar human rights organizations from receiving donations from governments, the European Union or agencies of the UN - this in a state whose government receives billions of dollars from other governments. The right-wing NGOs will not be affected, because their donations come from rich Jews or Christian fundamentalist organizations in the US.

Stormy weather ahead.

Is the Israeli academy in love with ISA chiefs?

If we accept for a moment the validity of Israel’s self-image, according to which it is part of the democratic world, then there is no other democratic state in the world in which high-ranking offers who have retired from the army, the security police (ISA) and the external intelligence agency (Mossad) have received so many jobs in all spheres of life: national and local politics, the economy, the arms trade, and yes, the academy as well.

Two appointments in particular are cause for wonderment, at the very least.

The first: Carmi Gillon, head of the ISA in 1995/6, responsible for several improvements of torture techniques that led to the murders of suspects in interrogation rooms, and who was forced to resign after the assassination of Rabin, is now the vice-president for external relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. This is the face the university wants to show the world. What would Albert Einstein say about that?

The second: Ami Ayalon, the head of the ISA from 1996-2000, has been the chairman of the executive committee of Haifa University for about a year now, and as such he heads the search committee for the university’s new president. (For those who are interested: you can submit your candidacy until December)

What is it about ISA chiefs that makes two important Israeli universities choose them as the faces they present to the outside world? In general, universities in Israel evidently like to be represented by people who have emerged from rigidly hierarchical institutions. General Amos Horev was the president of the Technion for about ten years, and the current director-general of Bar-Ilan University is Warder [Heb. Gundar] (parallel to General) Haim Glick, who was the deputy-commissioner of the Prisons Authority. And they are not the only ones.

Buy helmets!

About two weeks ago opponents of the Occupation demonstrated in front of the settlement of Anatot, near Jeruslalem. Settlers emerged to greet them armed with batons, and clubbed them until blood flowed. Some had to be hospitalized. Police in civilian clothes, themselves also settlers, witnessed the violence but did not raise a finger.

The violence against Palestinians, which has become routine, has overflowed its banks and is now affecting human-rights defenders from within Israel. It is only a matter of time until the settlers use their guns against Israelis who oppose the Occupation. There can be no avoiding the need to start equipping ourselves with means of self-defence, such as helmets and bulletproof vests. At one time the slogan “Fascism shall not pass” was yelled at demonstrations. It passed in Spain and now it is passing in Israel.

Time to get passports.

Translator’s note

1. Gush Dan: Tel Aviv and its suburbs and satellite cities. Alternately: the Tel Aviv Metropolitan Area.

Translated from Hebrew for Occupation Magazine by George Malent
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