Monday, November 19

Like Father, Like Son: Quotes from Ariel Sharon's son as Israel invades Gaza

This posting by Sami Kishawi
Sixteen Minutes to Palestine
Gilad Sharon, son of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, wrote a piece for the Jerusalem Post this Sunday that gives new weight to phrase "like father, like son". It's genocidal talk, really. Here are some quotes. Emphasis and comments are mine.
"This must not be allowed to end as did Operation Cast Lead: We bomb them, they fire missiles at us, and then a cease-fire, followed by "showers" - namely sporadic missile fire and isolated incidents along the fence. Life under such a rain of death is no life at all, and we cannot allow ourselves to become resigned to it."
Operation Cast Lead wasn't good enough for Gilad. The deaths of over 1,400 Palestinians, including 330 children, in 22 days didn't have as much of an effect as he'd hoped. The "rain of death" isn't acceptable for Israelis but it's perfectly reasonable for Palestinians. We'll see why in the following quotes.
"To accomplish this, you need to achieve what the other side can't bear, can't live with, and our initial bombing campaign isn't it."
Since Wednesday, at least 79 Palestinians have been confirmed dead, including dozens of children. One of the more recent air strikes left twelve members of the Al-Dalou family dead. Their home in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City was leveled, taking with it five women, four children, and a grandfather. Israel also admitted to targeting and hitting Gaza's news media tower, injuring eight journalists and, in the process, violating Protocol 1, Article 47 of the Geneva Convention. Gilad wants Israel to up the ante. 
"The residents of Gaza are not innocent, they elected Hamas. The Gazans aren't hostages; they chose this freely, and must live with the consequences."
Ironically, there's a very America-esque flavor to this line: call for democracy, push for an election, then punish the people for electing the wrong leaders. Hamas was elected in 2006, and after winning governing power over the Gaza Strip in 2007, Israel boosted its economic sanctions on Gaza to a full blockade. Israel's latest invasion of Gaza isn't the first "consequence". It is part of a sustained and systematic effort to beat the Palestinians into dropping Hamas as a governing entity. But by Gilad's logic, should Israel's citizens "live with the consequences" for voting in Netanyahu's Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu conservative-fascist state party?
"The Gaza Strip functions as a state ... We have no territorial conflict with "Gaza State," and it is not under Israeli siege - it shares a border with Egypt."
So much is wrong with this line. The Gaza Strip is under siege and occupation actually, and the border-with-Egypt argument is a very tired one. Israel controls all of Gaza's airspace, all of Gaza's sea space, and three of Gaza's four borders. The forth is indeed shared with Egypt, but what Gilad forgets to mention is that the Egyptian government oversees the border's opening according to demands and agreements outlined by Israel. Here's the United Nations on how Israel's control of Gaza amounts to collective punishment. And also, Gaza isn't a state. Even the settlers know this.
"Why do our citizens have to live with rocket fire from Gaza while we fight with our hands tied? Why are the citizens of Gaza immune?"
Gaza's citizens have definitely not been immune. According to the United Nation's casualties database, of the 382 Palestinians killed by Israel since January 19, 2009 - the end of its 2008-9 invasion - and September 19, 2012, 316 were killed in the Gaza Strip. In that same period of time, only three Israelis were killed by rocket fire, according to data provided by various Israeli government sources. Israel's hands are not tied and they never have been.
"We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn't stop with Hiroshima - the Japanese weren't surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too."
Reminder that Gilad's father is one of the many Israeli officials responsible for the Sabra and Shatila massacre that left thousands of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon dead. This fact alone should give enough context for why Gilad says the things that he says.
"There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing."
This can go two ways: he wants Gaza's population to disappear or he wants to disappear them at the hands of the state. Either way, the Gaza Strip becomes a ghost town. And that isn't going to happen.
"Were this to happen, the images from Gaza might be unpleasant - but victory would be swift, and the lives of our soldiers and civilians spared."
Gilad views Gaza's population as subhuman. None of them are innocent, he says earlier, and their lives aren't worth sparing.
"There is no middle path here - either the Gazans and their infrastructure are made to pay the price, or we reoccupy the entire Gaza Strip."
One of the greatest failures in Gilad's reasoning is that he considers Israel's 2005 disengagement an end to the occupation. But Israel's crippling siege and blockade and its military control of Gaza's air, sea, and border space contradicts him. There can be no re-occupation of a territory already occupied. The world will also not stand for Israel's indiscriminate bombing of Gaza's civilian centers. So there is a middle path: ceasing the invasion of Gaza, lifting the siege, ending the occupation, and terminating all colonial activity. But under Gilad's watch, this can't happen. Too little blood.

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