A group of Palestinian boys is playing on the beach in Gaza, kicking a soccer ball around in the bright sunshine. But not for long: an Israeli missile hits a nearby shack, where their family members keep their fishing boats: it bursts into flames and the boys take off running. But they can’t run fast enough to evade the second shot: four are instantly killed, and several wounded. Ahmed Abu Hassera, who was with them, told Reuters:
“The kids were playing football on the beach. They were all … under the age of 15. When the first shell hit the land, they ran, but another shell hit them all … It looked as if the shells were chasing them."
The shells were fired from an Israeli ship patrolling off the coast, which was no doubt equipped with the highest hi-tech monitoring system American tax dollars can buy. There isn’t any doubt that the Israelis knew just what they were doing and who they were targeting. The Israeli side practically admits this, albeit sotto voce. A New York Times account of the incident reports:
"Alon Ben-David, a well-sourced Israeli military affairs analyst, said on Israeli television that the first beach blast targeted a structure that Israel believed was used by Hamas. He said the second blast might have been aimed at the running children, perhaps mistaken for militants. He added that given the military’s technologically advanced surveillance equipment, ‘it is a little hard for me to understand this, because the images show that the figures are children.’"
Ben-David sounds like he’s seen the images, and he probably has. The Israelis have the technology and the acumen to know who and what they are targeting. It certainly is "hard to understand" how Israel’s "precision bombing" could’ve gone so wrong. What’s easier to understand, however, is that it wasn’t a "mistake" at all, but a deliberate act, just one example of a general policy of terror carried out by the Israelis against the people of Gaza.
This kind of thing has been happening ever since the fighting started – just as it happened all those other times the Israelis have taken out their sadistic impulses on Gaza’s sitting ducks. The only difference is that the killing occurred at a location where a good deal of the Western media was gathered: right in front of the beachside hotel where they were all staying. Journalists rushed out to save the boys, but it was too late for four of them: see this dramatic account by a reporter who found himself turned into an emergency medical technician on a moment’s notice.
Nearly half of the victims of the Israeli assault are children, a fact widely noted in the media but never really dramatized so vividly as on that day. Naturally the Israelis claimed it was a "tragic accident," and Max Boot, writing in Commentary magazine, is quick to concur:
"Needless to say, the Israel Defense Forces do not deliberately target children – any more than do the armed forces of the United States or other civilized powers. That is both morally abhorrent and strategically stupid: What possible purpose can be served in killing children?"
Why does al-Qaeda target civilians, including children? Why do the Syrian rebels? Because as a military doctrine terrorism works: it can cow a people into submission, it can cause them to give up and flee their homes – which is precisely what the Israelis want to accomplish in Gaza. Even now as I write they are invading Gaza City with ground forces after warning the populace to evacuate. Their goal is to solve the Palestinian Problem once and for all, or at least the Gaza Problem – by reoccupying it as a prelude to annexing most of the West Bank. The dream of Greater Israel – the key plank in the ruling Likud party platform – is about to be realized.
Boot, the consummate neocon, avers the killing – or, rather, the fact that a photo of it merited front page placement in the New York Times – is "deeply harmful and counterproductive for Israel," but one must ask: how so? Only for those in the West who are paying close attention, and the Israelis could care less about that as long as Washington stands by and looks the other way as Tel Aviv carries out a calculated slaughter.
It’s odd when you think about how children play a key role in this drama: the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli kids was followed by the kidnapping and murder of a young Palestinian boy who was burned to death by Israeli extremists – and now the beachfront massacre. Is it inconceivable that Israeli gunners spied those kids playing soccer on the beach and thought "an eye for an eye"?
Two interpenetrated peoples with conflicting claims to the same land intent on killing the children of their enemies. Is this the bromidic "cycle of violence" we hear so much about, usually trumpeted by hand-wringing liberals who want to hold both sides equally responsible?
Clearly not, because the terror now being unleashed on the Gazans has nothing to do with the original crime carried out against those three Israeli boys: the Israeli government accuses Hamas of masterminding the murder but they deny it – unlike in the past, when they’ve proudly claimed their acts of terror as supposedly righteous retribution. Meanwhile, the Israelis haven’t provided a lick of evidence to prove their accusation: indeed, there is considerable evidence to the contrary, pointing instead to a rogue clan known for defying the central Hamas leadership.
Yes, the Israeli propaganda campaign aimed at a foreign audience has suffered a setback, albeit a temporary one. That NBC reporter, Ayman Mohyeldin, who was on the scene and filed a report that – by simply stating the facts – dramatized the seemingly pointless cruelty of the Israeli strike, was quickly taken off the story by NBC higher-ups and ordered to leave Gaza. The history of this New York Times story – co-written by the photographer whose soon-to-be-iconic photo of a man carrying a dead boy on the beach while another child lies broken in the sand – shows it was edited at least five times and finally almost completely rewritten in order to blame the victims. The initial version starts out as follows:
"Four young Palestinian boys were killed Wednesday when two Israeli military strikes hit a jetty and beach where they were playing at the fishing port of Gaza City, an area that had been considered relatively safe from the intense Israeli bombing campaign of the past nine days."
Version two, filed less than an hour later, starts out quite differently:
"The four Bakr boys were young cousins, the children of Gaza fishermen who had ordered them to stay indoors – and especially away from the beach. But cooped up for nine days during Israeli bombardments, the children defied their parents and went to the seaside Wednesday afternoon, the eldest shooing away his little brother, telling him it was too dangerous."
Somewhere, George Orwell is sadly smiling.
Sure, some squishy liberal Zionists are appalled, or at least disturbed. Yet the Israelis are increasingly indifferent to Western public opinion: they’ve been defying Washington, the human rights crowd, and liberal American Jews for years, mocking their moral compunctions and reveling in their own militaristic isolation – which allows them to literally get away with murder.
As Max Blumenthal shows in his excellent book Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel, an ideology that can only be called Jewish supremacism has taken hold in Israel, where a bestselling book by a team of state-supported rabbis argues that killing non-Jews isn’t really a crime. Torat Ha’Melech (the "King’s Torah"), by Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira and Rabbi Yosef Elitzur, is a "guide for soldiers and army officers seeking rabbinical guidance on the rules of engagement." Blumenthal writes:
"Drawing from a hodgepodge of rabbinical texts that seemed to support their genocidal views, Shapira and Elitzur urged a policy of ruthlessness toward non-Jews, insisting that the commandment against murder ‘refers only to a Jew who kills a Jew, and not to a Jew who kills a gentile, even if that gentile is one of the righteous among nations. ‘The rabbis went on to pronounce all civilians of the enemy population ‘rodef," or villains who chase Jews and are therefore fair game for slaughtering."
Blumenthal goes on to cite the following passage from the rabbis’ murderous screed:
"Every citizen in the kingdom that is against us, who encourages the warriors or expresses satisfaction about their actions, is considered rodef and his killing is permissible."
This death sentence includes Israeli dissenters, whose existence "weakens our kingdom by speech and so forth."
Torat Ha’Melech is wildly popular in Israel in spite of the controversy it aroused, and as the Israeli political leadership fanned the flames of hatred and vigilantism – culminating in the burning to death of Mohammad Abu Khdeir – the pogrom advocated by these two rabbinc nutjobs and their numerous supporters was carried out. Just as it is being carried out by the IDF in Gaza today. The crazed genocidal doctrine of Shapira and Elitzur isn’t some fringe phenomenon: it is the national spirit – and military doctrine – of the state of Israel.
This is why the "two-state solution" is an illusion: would you want to live in the same country with a population of committed genocidal maniacs? Israel cannot be reformed or "saved": it can only be dismantled. The whole society is poisoned by hatred, racism, and a quasi-religious ideology rivaled in its violent fanaticism only by groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS. The Israelis are demonstrating this every day as they wantonly dismember Palestinian children while celebrating their own brutality. They don’t care what the West thinks – as long as the "aid" spigot isn’t turned off. They are sadists, pure and simple, who murder for the sheer joy of it.
As such, the rest of humanity has only one option: to turn our backs on them, to boycott and isolate them, to sanction them and drive them out of the international community. A poll recently cited Israel as the main danger to peace on earth, and this is absolutely true. Until the world is rid of this nuclear-armed rogue state, none of us are safe.
NOTES IN THE MARGIN
You can check out my Twitter feed by going here. But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.
I’ve written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey, a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon (ISI Books, 2008).
You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here.