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Israeli declarations shake the ‘national’ consensus behind the occupation

Image of a military watchtower, near an Israeli prison
Image of a military watchtower, near an Israeli prison

In recent days several strong statements have been made, condemning the occupation, in the Israeli media.

In the words of Israel’s Channel 13 reporter, Oshrat Kotler, “When you send your children to the army, they are kids,” Kotler said. “You send them to the territories, and they come back as human animals. This is the result of the occupation.”

Kotler’s words were met with a political storm and inspired a media campaign against her.

The television station has provided the reporter with security protection out of fear that right-wing supporters might attack her. The families of killed soldiers decided to launch a media campaign demanding she is fired and not appear on television. They urged the Israeli viewers to change the channel as soon as Kotler appeared on the screen and called on the station management to condemn her remarks and apologise to the viewers for them.

Kotler’s remarks were preceded by those of former deputy chief of staff of the Israeli army, Major General Yair Golan, who liked the Israeli operations to Nazi Germany.

He said, “”if there is one thing that is scary in remembering the Holocaust, it is noticing horrific processes which developed in Europe – particularly in Germany – 70, 80, and 90 years ago, and finding remnants of that here among us in the year 2016,”. He added, “on Holocaust remembrance day, it is worthwhile to ponder our capacity to uproot the first signs of intolerance, violence, and self-destruction that arise on the path to moral degradation.”

Meanwhile, Ofer Cassif, a political science lecturer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, compared the Israeli nation-state law passed by the Knesset several months ago to Hitler’s Nazi laws. He described Minister of Justice, Ayelet Shaked as “neo-Nazi scum” and held her responsible for spreading fascism in Israeli society. He also considered the Israeli government to be similar to Nazi Germany.

He also said that the events in Gaza are a massacre against the Palestinians, noting that the Israeli government has legitimised to the killing of Arabs, which means that the situation is deteriorating to the level of Germany 80 years ago, which paved the way for the Holocaust. He believes that this is because the case because the events taking place on the Gaza border is a massacre against innocent people, a large number of whom were shot by Israeli snipers. They were not armed and did not threaten the lives of soldiers, but the soldiers shot them like sitting ducks.

“By definition, every settler is a terrorist,” said Amiram Goldblum, a chemistry professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, accusing the Israeli settlement project of being a terrorism factory and that the real terrorist operations began 52 years ago in 1967 when the settlement project began. This has made every house built by Israel in the Palestinian territories a threat to the Palestinian existence.

He also said that terrorism is not limited to gunfire or the use of weapons, but is represented in the presence of a Jewish family living in a house built on Palestinian land. Therefore, we are facing a terrorist family, he said, and the soldiers who are deployed to protect these settlers are considered defenders of settlement terrorism.

Goldblum has endured several confrontations with Israel’s ultra-right wing, accusing them of being neo-Nazis. He considered the demolition of Palestinian homes in the Palestinian territories a form of Apartheid and said that Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked’s hands are stained with the blood of Palestinians.

Israeli journalists Gideon Levy and Amira Hass, who write for Haaretz newspaper on Palestinian affairs. They write all of their field articles with a focus on the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. Many Israelis accuse them of spreading Hamas propaganda, although they witnessed with their own eyes during their journalism coverage duties, how the settlers cut down olive trees and how soldiers mistreat and harass Palestinian women at checkpoints.

On more than one occasion, Levy and Hass criticised what they called “Israeli moral blindness” and its impact on war and occupation. They considered building settlements on Palestinian land as the most criminal institution in Israel’s history, and that the plight of the Palestinians in Gaza under siege made them ashamed of being Israelis.

Amos Oz, one of the most famous Israeli writers in the world who recently passed, said in his last interview that the situation in Israel causes him great concern because the state of Zionism isn’t doing well and we are getting closer and closer to the abyss. Israel is not in an excellent position.

He also added that “those responsible for hate crimes against Arabs and Christians are Hebrew neo-Nazis,” adding, “terms like “hilltop youth” and “price tag” are “sweet names for a monster that needs to be called what it is: Hebrew neo-Nazis groups.”

“Neo-Nazis desecrate places of worship, cemeteries, beat innocent people and write racist slogans. That is what they do in Europe, and that is what they do here,” Oz said.

Professor Evelyn Fox Keller, who won a prestigious scientific award in Israel, told Haaretz that ten years ago when she visited Israel, she had said then that Israeli violations against the Palestinians made her feel ashamed of being Jewish.

Israeli writer, Nir Cohen said that the Kaft Qasim massacre committed by the Israeli army in 1956 requires an apology, should be considered a national memory by the Israeli society, while the state should put its head down in shame, take down its flag, and ask for forgiveness from the Arab victims’ relatives.”

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Israeli journalist, Asaf Shalev revealed that Israel is hiding 300,000 documents about crimes carried out against the Palestinians, thousands of them date back to 1800s, including documents on the massacres of Deir Yassin in 1948 and Kafr Qasim in 1956.

Hagai El-ad, president of B’Tselem, addressed the UN Security Council, saying, “It is very difficult, if not impossible, to fully convey the indignity, the outrage and the pain of a people denied the benefit of human rights for more than fifty years. Here, in these chambers, it is hard to articulate flesh and blood meaning of the exposed lives Palestinians endure under occupation. But no matter how hard it is to describe, the real hardship is that of facing such an intolerable existence day in and day out, of trying to live, and raise a family, and develop a community, under these conditions.”

“Israel continues to demolish Palestinian homes and arrests their children daily. Settlers have destroyed their farms, destroyed olive trees, and soldiers break into their homes in the late hours of the night, terrifying the children, and Palestinians wait long hours before Israeli checkpoints without explanation,” he added.

He noted that “None of this is random. All of it is policy-driven. Two of the latest and most conspicuous examples are Israel’s conduct in the recent protests in Gaza, and its plans for Khan al-Ahmar, a Palestinian shepherding community. Some 200 people live in Khan al-Ahmar, just a few kilometres east of Jerusalem, in an area where Israel has long endeavoured to minimise Palestinian presence and expand settlements.”

All of the above are only selected samples from the Israeli media archive of dangerous disclosures and explicit testimonies of the Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity in the occupied Palestinian territories. They have expanded recently, and not many Israelis can hold these confessions in. Therefore they voiced and revealed them.

It is difficult to say that these revelations received widespread positive reactions in Israeli society, which is closed and is quickly moving towards the right-wing. Instead, they were met with negatively and accusations of working as a fifth column and being traitors and spies for Arabs and Palestinians. These are accusations readily directed at anyone who deviates from the Zionist script, deeply rooted in its hatred of the indigenous Palestinian people.

At the same time, these admissions act as a major crack, albeit slow and gradual, in the wall of Israel’s blackout of the violent acts it committed against the Palestinians. While it is true that these testimonies are being voiced hesitantly, but according to the logic of accumulation, they are capable of causing a quake and tremors in the Zionist consensus regarding the legitimacy and pretexts of Israel’s attacks and violence against the Palestinians.

The Palestinians are happy that these statements are being made by an Israeli elite day after day, coming from academic, human rights, and sometimes military circles. This is because such admissions defy the Israeli consensus against them, which has acted as the political, historical, and perhaps moral justification for Israel’s continued crimes against them.

However, this may require the Palestinians to reinforce these Israeli declarations and spread them in a smart way that does not give the Israeli right wing the tools they need to help assert their claims that some of the Israelis, whose conscience awoke lately, are working for the Palestinians. This matter needs careful consideration and examination of the details of the Israeli society, the discovery of the differences within it, and uncovering the motives of each who confessed Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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