On April 9, 1986, Ronald Reagan called Muammar el Gaddafi the "mad dog of the Middle East." Today, after an imposed no-fly zone, war rages to remove him. For decades, he ruled despotically, punishing enemies, rewarding friends. His days may now be numbered. Washington won't quit until he's gone, no matter how many corpses it takes to achieve it.
In fact, however, a far greater Middle East menace threatens the entire region, the Israeli war machine based in Jerusalem. Besides illegally occupying Palestine, brutalizing Palestinians daily, persecuting Israeli Arabs, threatening and attacking its neighbors, its longstanding plan calls for dividing and dominating the region.
In fact, it's nightmarish vision calls for partitioning Arab nations into small states - balkanizing them along ethnic and sectarian lines as Israeli satellites, controllable satraps. The idea is modeled after the Ottoman Empire's Millet system under which local authorities governed confessional communities with separate ethnic identities.
Israel's 1967 Golan seizure followed the plan. So did the 1978 and 1982 Lebanon invasions, using preemptive belligerence against regional states, targeting them to be weakened, fragmented, divided, and reconfigured under Israeli control.
However, instead of sanctioning Israel, demanding Gaza's siege end, and imposing no-fly zone protection against regular air and ground attacks, Washington is Israel's paymaster/partner, providing generous funding and arms, supporting its killing machine lawlessly.
As a result, Israel is a modern day Sparta, able to mobilize over 600,000 combatants in 72 hours, equipped with nuclear and other state-of-the-art weapons, as well as strong Western backing to do what it pleases. Moreover, accomplishing it involves indoctrinating Israeli youths to be warriors, a process to prepare underage boys and girls for future mandatory service.
They're taught to believe force and belligerence are preferred ways to solve political problems. Their education highlights it, including by uniformed soldiers in classrooms. Moreover, teachers, especially principals, are retired career officers, and school walls are adorned with names and photos of fallen heros among their graduates. In addition, field trips for all ages visit military memorials on former battlegrounds.
Curricula and textbooks also reflect militarism, from kindergarten through high schools with mandatory programs in all state-run ones called "preparation for the IDF." They feature training, glorifying military heros and conquests, while, at the same time, vilifying Arabs, proselytizing kids to hate them.
They learn early and it sticks, disciplining them for later conscription, combat, and a lifetime of military support. In fact, by raising children in a hostile, violent environment, they're conditioned to wage war against anyone called a state enemy, whether or not true.
As a result, Palestinians pay dearly under suffocating military occupation, inflicting daily violence, targeted killings, mass arrests, land dispossessions, displacement, torture, severe poverty and unemployment, as well as violation of their basic civil and human rights, notably in Gaza under siege, suffering slow-motion genocide from depravation.
In addition, regular incursions and attacks occur, Israel acting with impunity. In America especially, not a harsh word, let alone condemnation, calls for sanctions, isolation, and no-fly zone protection to prevent further Gaza air and ground assaults.
As a result, from March 10 - 16 alone, Israeli air strikes killed two Palestinian workers, wounded two others, and destroyed three non-military buildings. Other Gaza farmers, fishermen and civilians were also targeted.
In addition, peaceful West Bank demonstrations were attacked with tear gas and rubber bullets. Two international human rights activists were arrested, and 47 separate incursions were conducted in Palestinian communities, resulting in 66 arrests, including six children.
In the West Bank, on March 17, with government approval, Israeli settlers unleashed a "day of rage," attacking Palestinians in response to a recent settler family killing, arbitrarily blaming them with no evidence.
As a result, Palestinians were attacked with rocks and Molotov cocktails, and a home was firebombed. In addition, four cars and a tractor were burned, another seven cars damaged. Numerous injuries were also reported, and armed settlers and Israeli soldiers uprooted hundreds of olive trees near Bethlehem.
On March 14, a Palestinian was stabbed, a shop set ablaze, and cars near Hebron were stoned. On March 20, an 11-year old girl was run over en route to school.
Moreover, Israel announced 500 new settlement units and intensified home demolitions in response to the killings, despite no evidence linking them to Palestinians.
On March 21, Israeli air attacks again shelled and bombed Gazan civilian sites, wounding 15 civilians, including two women and two children. Dozens of homes, seven stores, several cars, a municipal building, a metal workshop, and a plastic waste recycling facility sustained total, heavy or partial damage.
On March 22, more attacks killed four, including two children, wounding 11, including eight children, three seriously. Members of the al-Quds Brigades were also targeted near the Abdul Aziz al-Rantisi mosque in eastern Gaza City, killing four.
On March 24, Israeli warplanes conducted two more attacks, targeting a Rafah city training site, causing heavy damage. No deaths or injuries were reported. In addition, according to the SAFA News Agency, air strikes hit a tunnel east of Rafah's Salah Al-Din gate. Four missiles were also fired at a Hamas military site in southern Gaza City, and Israeli attacks destroyed electric lines in several neighborhoods.
Israeli radio claimed Gaza launched rocket and mortar shells prompted the response. Islamic Jihad took responsibility, saying it acted "in retaliation for the ongoing Israeli aggression." Hamas says it's committed to a truce provided Israel stops attacking. Otherwise, it maintains its right of self-defense.
According to the International Middle East Media Center:
"Israeli politicians are said to be considering a further escalation, perhaps resulting in a 'Cast Lead 2.' " Given Washington's war on Libya, besides ongoing ones in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, plus numerous Middle East uprisings, an Israeli offensive now seems unlikely. But don't rule it out later at a more opportune time.
More War Ahead?
Most often, Israel uses real or contrived provocations to unleash violence or wage war. A March 23 Jerusalem bombing might, in fact, have been one if a major assault was planned. The incident at a crowded bus stop killed one, injuring 30 or more others, three seriously. Haaretz reported a likely explosive device "hidden in a bag next to a telephone pole." On March 24, Ma'an News said Israeli police will remain "on high alert," following the attack. An unnamed official claimed "authorities know who was behind" it, the usual suspects for sure.
For nearly 44 years, the above incidents and occasional intense conflict highlight daily Occupied Palestine life. It reflects sustained harshness and brutality, but instead of condemning and demanding it stop, Washington generously rewards it, at the same time attacking targets of opportunity like Gaddafi in pursuit of imperial aims.
Always, innocent civilians suffer most, including women and children, the main casualties of wars and violence, the hidden victims little discussed, considered, or bothered about in mainstream reports, supporting the worst of imperial slaughter and destruction.
As a result, thousands of Palestinians globally endorse a third Intifada, inspired by other regional uprisings for democratic change. In early March a new Facebook page was created supporting it saying, "Palestine will be freed and we will free it."
Within days, the page had nearly 140,000 "Likes" toward a one million goal, then maintaining momentum for many more - a global groundswell for ending occupation and democratic change for an oppressed people long denied it. It's coming because popular energy drives it toward fruition, but not easily, quickly, or without more pain and suffering, what Palestinians have long endured.
A Final Comment
On March 22, Palestinians got more reasons to act after the Knesset passed two discriminatory laws. One called the Acceptance to Communities Bill lets small Galilee and Negev communities maintain racist admissions committees to exclude potential Arab and other unwanted residents from living on Israeli confiscated land.
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) said passage "will anchor discrimination and separatism in Israeli law," based on vague criteria, including "fitting with the life of the community" or "fitting with the social fabric," meaning no Arabs need apply. Or perhaps single parents, disabled persons, same-sex couples, Mizrachi Jews, or others deemed undesirable.
The other is called the Nakba Law, officially the Budget Principles Law (Amendment 39) - Reducing Budgeting Support for Activities Contrary to the Principles of the State, letting Finance Ministry bureaucrats fine municipalities and public institutions for:
-- publicly supporting organizations commemorating the Nakba, Israel's Independence Day;
-- opposing the term "Jewish and democratic State;" or
-- violating State symbols.
ACRI said "(t)his bill severely damages freedom of political expression, freedom of artistic expression, and freedom of protest, which are basic rights and are essential to the very existence of a democracy."
Of course, Israel isn't a democracy and never was, affording rights solely to Jews, increasingly fewer of them, the more privileged like in America. Others more than ever are on their own sink or swim, the reality major media in both countries downplay or don't report.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.