Friday, June 04, 2010

Israel / Palestine

Israel -- Increasingly Paranoid and Isolated, Dominated by Fundamentalists, Armed with Over 200 Nukes
By Robert Parry, June 3, 2010
"After Israel's lethal attack in international waters on a civilian flotilla carrying relief supplies to Gaza, a troubling question arises: Have Israeli authorities, who possess a major nuclear arsenal, become dangerously erratic? This question can't be posed publicly in the American mainstream news media nor in US political circles, where fear of the pro-Israel lobby remains strong. But it is a concern that is being discussed quietly by foreign policy analysts around the world. Even as America's commentariat again generates the predictable excuses for Israeli latest actions, the political reality inside Israel is one that is shifting more and more toward a society dominated by Jewish fundamentalists, including an aggressive and racist settler bloc. The ultra-Orthodox Shas Party is now in the Likud ruling coalition and holds important Cabinet posts such as housing. Shas leaders have made it clear that they favor a country segregated not just between Arab and Jew but between secular and ultra-Orthodox Jews. If these fundamentalist elements continue to consolidate their political power, the world could soon be facing an isolated and paranoid religious state with some 200 to 400 nuclear warheads along with a sophisticated collection of chemical and biological weapons.
One Israeli émigré, who spent his young adulthood working for the Israeli government, told me that he fears Israel is becoming like North Korea, except qualitatively more dangerous because Israel has an advanced nuclear arsenal and sits in a more strategic part of the world. ... According to Israeli accounts, the resistance from the people onboard [the Freedom Flotilla vessel] led the commandos to open fire. The Israeli government and many US commentators blamed the ship's resistance for the violence. However, it would not be unusual -- and certainly not illegal -- for a ship's crew and passengers in international waters to defend themselves from an armed assault, especially one launched in the dark of night. If the attackers were Somalis instead of Israelis, the ship's defenders would be hailed as heroes. In an e-mail to me, Marquette Professor of Moral Theology Daniel C. Maguire cited one important distinction between 'Somali piracy and Israeli piracy -- Israel kills during its piracy and then claims it does so in self-defense. That is [a] first in the history of piracy. Traditionally, pirates have been outlaws and admit it. It is very much like a rapist saying: "The victim I was raping resisted and so I killed her in self-defense." A defense like that would make even a mob lawyer blush.' [...]

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