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Home arrow Canada and the Middle East arrow Reflections on Permanent War and Palestine
Reflections on Permanent War and Palestine PDF Print E-mail
Aug 16, 2002 at 12:00 AM
by Mordecai Briemberg
August 16, 2002
[Published in issue #1 of OUR PAPER (Victoria) and last issue of ALARM (Vancouver)]

Years ago I remember hearing a radio report recounting memoirs of some private discussions that had taken place when Trudeau and Mitterand were players at the G-6 summits. Reagan then was U.S. president. Out of earshot, on the quiet margins of their meetings, the worldly Trudeau and Mitterand pondered over the "enigma" of this sometimes dozing, doltish figure named Reagan. But, they asked each other, despite all appearance, might he not be informed and intelligent after all? To pose this question was to reveal a deep need they (and we) have for reassurance that reason is an integral dimension of power. Apparently they decided, driven by their need for reassurance, that in the case of Reagan, appearance was deceiving.

Today, it is my guess, there are fewer in ruling class circles outside America, and perhaps within, who can find a way to reassure themselves about the reasonableness of today's "sole superpower". The conversations on the margins must be intense as they see before them this monstrous lurching and thrashing, as it tries harder and harder to squeeze a slippery world from popping out of its grasp, this disaster for humanity blinded by its own arrogance.

But what to do?

And what should we, the Lilliputians, do? We the targets of the erratically implemented strategy of permanent war-making and internal repression of dissent?

Another question to answer that question. Let me ask what you think has been the most powerful anti-war movement against the Bush gang? Who has most impeded their unilateralism?

My own answer is the Palestinian people in the post-1967 Israeli occupied territories. These targets of Israeli barbarism, these people burdened with "leadership" neither capable nor sincere, these combatants almost entirely without weapons, these refugees huddled in their dense hovels and trapped inside smaller and smaller segregated pockets of their homeland, these "wretched of the earth" have shown such resilience, determination and furious resistance that they are shaking the political structures of an entire region, raising a spectre of regional chaos that scares even imperial masters and has split them among themselves over their war plans.

The Arab street is in revolt explicitly over Israel's tormenting of the Palestinians; but without doubt the revolt also is against the dictatorship and corruption of their own rulers, who have served as imperial agents and often Israeli collaborators. These rulers, seeing the unpredictable consequences of the already planned second U.S. war against the people of Iraq, and the likely possibility of their own overthrow, plead with their U.S. master to delay new war -- at least until a "settlement" of the Palestinian question.

The populations of Europe are recovering from the initial paralysis inflicted by post-September 11. This improvement in political health is measured in passive opinion polls expressing opposition to the expansion of war-making. This sentiment is manifested actively in the snow-balling challenge of the British trade unions to P.M. poodle-Blair. In Germany, the social-democratic prime minister declares his country neither will send troops nor will it provide money for the costs of the new war against the people of Iraq. Thereby Gerhardt Schroeder hopes to recoup his slipping political fortunes in upcoming elections.

In Latin America the establishment media now mutter aloud about the continental collapse of neo-liberalism and the popularity of voices and movements of rebellion. Why even the first to visit Bush, Vincente Fox, now cancels his trip to Washington, declaring outrage at the execution of a Mexican citizen by U.S. "justice".

Still the symbiotic Bush-Sharon policy making circles, their alliance of Zionist and Christian fundamentalism, their shared racist fantasy of endless rule through unrestrained military power, their thirst for historic revenge -- Bush for the "sell-out" of Vietnam, Sharon for the "sell-out" of Oslo – pump their legs like a tackled full-back, ignoring the referee's whistle.

And in Canada Bill Graham whispers caution and John Manley promises to salute, our familiar duplicitous dance of obedience. Clearly they do not yet feel so insecure as Blair or Schroeder.

Clearly we Lilliputians have much, much more to do.

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Israel planned for Lebanon war months in advance, PM says
  • Olmert's leaked testimony contradicts earlier remarks 
  • Criticism from inquiry may force resignation

Conal Urquhart in Tel Aviv
Friday March 9, 2007
The Guardian

Preparations for Israel's war in Lebanon last summer were drawn up at least four months before two Israeli soldiers were kidnapped by Hizbullah in July, Ehud Olmert, the prime minister, has admitted.

His submission to a commission of inquiry, leaked yesterday, contradicted the impression at the time that Israel was provoked into a battle for which it was ill-prepared. Mr Olmert told the Winograd commission, a panel of judges charged with investigating Israel's perceived defeat in the 34-day war, that he first discussed the possibility of war in January and asked to see military plans in March.

According to the Ha'aretz daily, which obtained details of Mr Olmert's testimony, the prime minister chose a plan featuring air attacks on Lebanon and a limited ground operation that would be implemented following a Hizbullah abduction. Hizbullah had made several attempts to capture Israeli soldiers on the border since Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000.

Israeli commentators believed that Mr Olmert and Amir Peretz, the defence minister, took the opportunity of the kidnapping to show they could manage a war in spite of their limited military experience. But the outcome of the war seemed to highlight their lack of experience and also deficiencies in Israel's military planning.

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