A description of the Israeli Defence Forces as the “most humane and bravest army in the world” was not a joke; it was used last Sunday by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. However, its absurdity pales when compared with more recent rhetoric. On Tuesday, Israel’s Ambassador to the US, Ron Derner, told the Christians United for Israel Summit in Washington, “Some are shamelessly accusing Israeli of genocide and would put us in the dock for war crimes. But the truth is that the Israeli Defence Forces should be given the Nobel Peace Prize … a Nobel Peace Prize for fighting with unimaginable restraint.”
The full transcript of the speech, available on Derner’s Facebook page, is delusional in the extreme; an exercise in exaggerated patriotism that exposes its lack of honesty with every sentence uttered. The absence of structure can be traced back to Israel itself, a fabricated entity sustained by mythical claims absorbed by the United Nations in order to be granted a now-discredited status. Hence, Derner’s speech is understandably flawed; it’s an attempt to extol and defend the colonial construction that thrives upon the perpetual massacre of the indigenous Palestinian population.
Saturated with warnings of intolerance towards people who criticise Israel, Derner’s speech attempted to distort Protective Edge into an operation allegedly true to its literal interpretation. Colonial violence, genocide and massacres were distanced in order to conjure up fantasy images of “Israeli soldiers dying so that innocent Palestinians can live”. Palestinian civilian victims, held prisoner within a sliver of territory and lacking freedom of movement, did not feature in Derner’s laborious litany of self-imposed legitimacy. Instead, in perfect synchronisation with the trend of expecting even more support from the entities supporting settler-colonial atrocities, Derner fell back on the accusation that the UN and the media are collaborating in furthering support for Palestinians. If the “UN and many so-called human rights organisations continue to say nothing and do nothing”, the reason is their unyielding support for Israel as the entity that safeguards their existence and continuity.
At first glance, Derner’s assertion that the IDF should win the Nobel Peace Prize might appear ludicrous. However, as with other international initiatives allegedly promoting peace, the prize has been tarnished on several occasions by being awarded to people who collaborate willingly in international oppression.
In 1994, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly to Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin in a surreal reflection of continuous compromise leading to the further colonisation of Palestine. The recipient in 2001 was the United Nations, the platform that has endorsed countless wars upon nations resisting imperial dominance. US President Barack Obama was awarded the prize in 2009 “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples”, a euphemism for the conspiracies unleashed upon several countries and support for NATO violence in the name of freedom. In 2012, the EU became a Peace Laureate because, it had “for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.” It is indeed beneficial that “in Europe” was appended to the citation, a reflection of exclusivity to the detriment of other nations and regions which have been fodder for the extension of European imperialism.
Given the precedents, the granting of the Nobel Peace Prize to the IDF, which is not such a remote possibility given the extensive support for the “moral” army’s atrocities, would cover a remarkable range of violations applauded by its imperialist allies. These include the use of chemical weapons against Palestinian civilians; the massacre of civilians at Shujaiya; collateral damage in the form of children with exploded skulls, melting faces, an abundance of dismembered bodies and charred remains; the bombing of hospitals to prevent doctors from treating the dying and wounded; the murder of several pregnant women as advocated by prominent Zionists; and sniper vengeance upon wounded civilians thus preventing their chances of being saved. Evidence of restraint is non-existent, unless Derner was referring to the fact that Israel has so far refrained from using its nuclear capabilities. Given the lack of any genuine moral compass within the IDF, that has to be a very real expectation in years to come.