Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Israel - Western Criticism and German Dilemma

News UPDATE for December 6 included.
Editor's POSTSCRIPT has been added on December 15 !

Yesterday, November 3, 2012, Al-Jazeera and other international media reported that Britain, France and Sweden have summoned Israel's ambassadors in order to voice their concerns over Israeli settlement plans. The United Kingdom announced that acual settlement plans would cast doubt over Israel's commitment to the peace process. Russia and Germany have also expressed their opposition to Israel's plans.

This comes shortly after the United Nations General Assembly passed a pro-Palestinian draft resolution with an overwhelming majority. Israel immediately announced the building of more settlements after UN voted on Palestine's new "state observer status", Israel's government saying it would carry on building in places of strategic interest. Plans to build on the area are known as "E1" and would divide the Westbank in two. Furthermore, Israel is withholding tax revenue that should go to the Palestinian authority.

In an interview with Al-Jazeera, Raanan Gissin (above), former senior advisor to Ariel Sharon, downplayed those Western statements as some kind of "constructive criticism from friends" rather than a slap into the face of Israel. Nevertheless the current proceedings are obviously expressing harsh criticism from an annoyed community of states that are fed up with turning a blind eye on Israeli policy towards their Semitic brethren in Ghaza and the Westbank.

Raanan Gissin - Faces

Something I remember from a collection of Jewish jokes :
A Jewish merchant is offering a miracle drug intended to improve brain functions. One customer is eager to buy it and test it on the spot. After some time he begins to argue: "100 € such tiny bottle, isn't that much too expensive ?". The Jew appeases his anger: "You see, it's already working !"

As to criticism from Germany there is something remarkable about it. Since 1949 when the German Federal Republic came into being, official politics of the GFR always acknowledged German responsibility when it came to the recompensation of Jews that had suffered from atrocities during the rule of the 3rd Reich. This included material and ideological support for Jews and for the state of Israel as well as a sincere treatment of related historic subjects in the education of Germany's youth (i.e. in schoolbooks and documentations). For the latter item I could serve as a witness. Even more, such politics was compatible with Germany's integration into a U.S. dominated Western alliance.

However, as years and decades went by, it became clear to many Germans of the following post-war generations that such "eternal friendship" with Israel had turned into a ceremonial support of each and every demand and claim from Israel. Yet an increasing number of new voices made themselves heard, telling us that Israel's founders had learnt much from our disreputable ancestors when they decided to erect their new dwellings on the ruins of those belonging to the original inhabitants of Palestine. And I learnt that even some prominent German Jews (namely Hannah Arendt) opposed the way Israel was to be established. Theodor Herzl and the co-founders of Zionism might have imagined the Holy Land to become a homeland for the Jewish nation. But for the more realistic Zionists it could have been a decent corner in South America as well. Now, after so many decades of fighting between Israel's army and furious Palestinians, even Germany is getting annoyed of Israel endangering the fragile status quo of its region which is even better than a devastating war.

First time that ordinary people in Germany noticed there was something wrong with German-Israeli relations was when German author Günther Grass, a laureate of the Nobel Prize for Literature, wrote his poem What Needs to be Said in which he referred to the delivery of German submarines to Israel.

Now, considering the special commitment of German chancellor Angela Merkel with regard to Israel's security, it needs to be said that she came from a totally different environment having been raised by a practising Christian family in the German Democratic Republic, that second German state which perished in 1989. In her life she must have seen one or another of those GDR produced films celebrating German Communist resistance during the 3rd Reich. From there it seemed that all of those concentration camps or ghettos had been filled with honest citizens opposing the Nazi regime, some of them bearing Jewish names but which might have been a mere coincidence. Only to remember the awarded DEFA production "Jakob the Liar". Any responsibility for the mass annihilation of Jews had been categorically rejected by GDR authorities who claimed to represent the "antifascist part of Germany". Maybe, Frau Merkel later felt obliged to correct that picture presented by the land of her origin and promptly fell into an Israeli trap when she declared "German resposibility for the existence of Israel" in her speech before the Knesseth. I doubt that any other high-ranking German politician would dare to make such kind of statement once again, at least not less than a year before Germany's general elections.


Quotation from: Hannah Arendt and the Origins of Israelophobia

The great antitotalitarian thinker was no friend to the Jewish state.

"... Arendt predicted that even if the Jews won the war, they would degenerate into one of those small warrior tribes about whose possibilities and importance history has amply informed us since the days of Sparta. Their relations with world Jewry would become problematical, since their defense interests might clash at any moment with those of other countries where large numbers of Jews lived. Palestine Jewry would eventually separate itself from the larger body of world Jewry and in its isolation develop into an entirely new people. Thus it becomes plain that at this moment and under present circumstances a Jewish state can only be erected at the price of the Jewish homeland.

Arendt ended the piece by urging that it was “still not too late” to head off the partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab sections and to prevent the declaration of a Jewish state. "

[Editor's Note: The above cited evaluation by Hannah Arendt can be dated back to 1948.]


Leseempfehlung für deutsche Leser: Die jüdische Aktivistin Hannah Arendt in Stellungnahmen zu Palästina und Israel.


Editor's Postscript on December 15, 2012:

On December 11, 2012, the English service of Al-Jazeera reported that Israeli soldiers raided offices of 3 Palestinian civil society organizations in Ramallah, site of the Palestinian administration for the partly occupied Westbank, confiscating and damaging equipment. Entering before dawn, troops broke into the offices of the Women's Union, the Palestinian NGO Network and Addameer, an advocate for Palestinians in Israeli jails. This came shortly after the United Nations' decision to grant a state observer status to Palestine which might enable Palestinian authorities to directly appeal to the international crime court while referring to alleged Israeli war crimes.

As to the "war of shadows" Israel is waging against its many enemies, a comprehensive documentation has been broadcast by German TV channel ZDF on December 14, 2012. That same documentation had already been broadcast before by another German channel (Phoenix) on September 19, 2012. From there, a broader German public could get an idea how Israeli security and the politicians behind them are dealing with anybody opposing their policies. ZDF also showed a report on what we know about Israel's nuclear arsenal and German arms export that needed German politicians to turn a blind eye on Israel's strategic goals.

The Meshaal Affair, September 1997:

Khaled Meshaal, up to now chief of Hamas organization that is now trying to govern the Gaza strip once fell victim to an assassination attempt. On his way from a parking lot to his office in Jordan's capital Amman he was attacked by two Mossad agents using some kind of poison. While Meshaal was near to death, the would-be assassins could be arrested. On hearing about the incident, King Hussein of Jordan made clear that both Mossad agents would be publicly hung if Meshaal died. It then took only hours that former Mossad chief, Danny Yatom, appeared in Amman to deliver the antidote. Meshaal fully recovered. Only some days ago, he arrived in the Gaza strip, for the first time in years, to celebrate the United Nations' decision of December 2012.

It's not my intention to take sides in that dirty war. However, there are aspects in it that need to be named. Many years ago, I became witness to an Intifada bombing when I spent some days in the town of Netanya. On my very first morning in Israel two heavy explosions rocked the town and devastated parts of the local market area. Later, lots of Israelis silently assembled around the bombing site and watched the police doing their work. I then noticed a small and rather shabby shop apparently selling photographic articles at the entrance of the market. It's tiny shop window was entirely filled with the animated dummy of a camera which attracted people to directly look into the fake camera lens that was focusssing the old market's center. If it was what I presumed, it didn't work to prevent the bombing.

Even nowadays, when sophisticated electronic device can be used to survey each and every corner of a densely populated area, any warning will usually come to late. And it must be added that there is no technique the enemy cannot apply as well. Only recently, the overall observation of a Dubai hotel and highly developed means of investigation applied by Dubai police finally convicted Mossad agents who had assassinated one of their targets in his hotel room. An incident that led to just another international scandal raising the question about practical or political benefit of such killing operations. Even though some experts might consider the assassination of nuclear scientists in Iran as a decisive matter, wars cannot be won by killing some learned "pawns".

News from Germany on December 6, 2012:

On Thursday, December 6, the German government decided to provide two military units operating the "Patriot" missile defense system for Turkey after a request from Ankara and NATO headquarters. Both systems are intended to secure the Turkish-Syrian border after impacts of Syrian artillery rockets on Turkish territory. Their installation will be accompanied by a deployment of up to 400 German troops. The Patriot subject has been discussed since November 2012 (screenshot below quoting the November 17 news).

Above picture:
Excerpt from a comprehensive Chinese news article reporting on Germany's December 6 decision at the same time as German News TV launches their short statement.

Guess who's searching for "implanted colonies"!

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