Israel has been at war against the Palestinians and other Arab neighbours ever since WWII even before the conception of it’s state. Periods of fully blown hostilities and atrocities followed low grade tensions and attacks and so on. The last full outbreak was the 2014 Gaza war. Israel is a nuclear power – the only one not part of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty – illegally occupying Palestinian and other land. It holds almost a million Palestinians in what observers describe as a huge internment camp (Gaza) and commits daily human rights abuses against the rest living in the occupied West Bank. The Palestinians fight back with rocks, slingshots, home made rockets and soon by taking Israel to the International Court of Justice in the Hague. For this Israel is already illegally withholding US 120 million owed to the Palestinian authority.
After decades of these – obviously failed – policies and even after building a Berlin style wall Israel is still not safe.
Over the last few weeks it looked as if Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was heading for a defeat at the general election. We were told that not “security” but the economy like rising prices and lack of housing had become the deciding issues.
The World Post/Huffington Post reports :
The (opposition) Zionist Union’s focus on socio-economic issues, including the lack of housing and the high cost of living in Israel, appeared to be generating much more momentum.
During much of the campaign, Netanyahu had focused on security issues and the threat from Iran’s nuclear program, a message that appeared to gain little traction with voters.
In a pre-election blitz, Netanyahu made a series of promises designed to shore up his Likud base and draw voters from other right-wing and nationalist parties. He pledged to go on building settlements on occupied land and said there would be no Palestinian state if he was re-elected.
We now know the result. Netanyahu’s tactics won the day.
This means the effective end of any hope for peace between Palestine and Israel. Instead Israelis voted for a continuation of the 70 year old war.
Where was it that people forgot about their welfare and given a (mock) choice chose war? Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels comes to mind asking the hyped up crowd in the infamous Berliner Sportspalast speech in 1943: “Wollt Ihr Butter oder Kanonen?” (Do you want butter or cannons?)
We know the response of that crowd. They wanted cannons and “total war”. We know the end of the total war. Millions more victims of that criminal regime.
It is always tragic to see the victims of unspeakable crimes later become the perpetrators. When will this often observed cycle of crime (think child abuse), which seems to be true not only for individuals but whole people and countries, be broken ?
One can of course not compare the Berliner Sportpalast of 1943 with Israel elections of 2015. There is not really a clean cut choice between material welfare and continuing war (“security”). The cannons in this case are supplied by the US free of charge anyway. We also know the long established tactic to scare people to win votes. And after all this is the result of a democratic election after a not unusual campaign.
I am sorry that I still cannot get the haunting image of the Berliner Sportpalast crowd out of my head.
If it is correct that Israel returned Benjamin Netanyahu to power because he pledged to continue to deny millions of Palestinians their basic human rights then this marks a sad day for peace in the Middle East and a shameful day for Israel.