Avi Shlaim, a professor of international relations at St Antony's Collegeat Oxford, UK, who said that he “…served loyally in the Israeli army in the mid-1960s and who has never questioned the legitimacy of the state of Israel within its pre-1967 ...” wrote in OpenDemocracy [relevant extracts]:
The establishment of the state of Israel in May 1948 involved a monumental injustice to the Palestinians. British officials were aware at the time of the grave injustice perpetrated by one-sided American support for the Israelis.
On 2 June 1948, Sir John Troutbeck wrote to foreign secretary Ernest Bevin that the Americans were responsible for the creation of a gangster state headed by "an utterly unscrupulous set of leaders". I used to think that this judgment is too harsh; but Israel's vicious assault on the people of Gaza, and the George W Bush administration's complicity in this assault, have reopened the question. [...]
The Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza strip in the aftermath of the war of June 1967 had very little to do with security and everything to do with territorial expansionism. The aim was to establish "greater Israel" through permanent political, economic, and military control over the Palestinian territories.
[note: the terrorist group Lohamei Herut Israel (LEHI) or more notoriously known as the Stern Gang, but honoured by Israel in 1980 despite, among its many terrorist crmes, the murder of a neutral UN mediator, Swiss Count Folke Bernadotte, massacre of 120 innocent civilian villagers at Deir Yassin and the most shameful act of all for Jews, the application to Nazi Germany to work with the Nazis during WWII, had posted among its 18-principles ideology, principles No 2, 3, 9, 10 and 12 as:
2 - The homeland: The homeland in the Land of Israel within the borders delineated in the Bible Genesis 15:18 which said "To your descendants, I shall give this land, from the River of Egypt to the great Euphrates River." This is the land of the living, where the entire nation shall live in safety.
3 - The nation and its land: Israel conquered the land with the sword. There it became a great nation and only there it will be reborn. Hence Israel alone has a right to that land. This is an absolute right. It has never expired and never will.
9 - War: Constant war against those who stand in the way of fulfilling the goals.
10 - Conquest: The conquest of the homeland from foreign rule and its eternal possession.
18 - The temple: The building of the Third Temple as a symbol of the new era of total redemption. which implies an intention to eventually destroy the Al Aqsa mosque.
Ending nore: Yitzhak Shamir, Israeli prime minister 1983-1984 and 1986-1992 was a member of the LEHI]
... it is a war between Israel and the Palestinian people - because the people had elected the party to power. The declared aim of the war is to weaken Hamas and to intensify the pressure until its leaders agreed to a new ceasefire on Israel's terms. The undeclared aim is to ensure that the Palestinians in Gaza are seen by the world simply as a humanitarian problem and thus to derail their struggle for independence and statehood.
The timing of the war was determined by political expediency. A general election in Israel is scheduled for 10 February 2009; as it approaches, all the main contenders are looking for an opportunity to prove their toughness. The army's commanders had been eager to deliver a crushing blow to Hamas in order to remove the stain left on their reputation by the failure of the war against Hizbollah in Lebanon in July-August 2006.
Israel's cynical leaders could also count on the apathy and impotence of the pro-western Arab regimes and on blind support from President Bush in the twilight of his term in the White House. Bush readily obliged by putting all the blame for the crisis on Hamas, vetoing proposals at the United Nations Security Council for an immediate ceasefire, and issuing Israel with a free pass to mount a ground invasion of Gaza.
As always, mighty Israel claims to be the victim of Palestinian aggression but the sheer asymmetry of power between the two sides leaves little room for doubt as to who is the real victim.
This is indeed a conflict between David and Goliath, but the Biblical image has been inverted - a small and defenceless Palestinian David faces a heavily armed, merciless, and overbearing Israeli Goliath.
The resort to brute military force is accompanied, as always, by the shrill rhetoric of victimhood and a farrago of self-pity overlaid with self-righteousness. In Hebrew this is known as the syndrome of bokhim ve-yorim ("crying and shooting").
Almost four decades of Israeli control did enormous damage to the economy of the Gaza strip. With a large population of the refugees from 1948 and their descendants crammed into a tiny sliver of land, with no infrastructure or natural resources, Gaza's prospects were never bright.
Gaza, however, is not simply a case of economic underdevelopment but a uniquely cruel case of deliberate de-development. Israel turned the people of Gaza into a source of cheap labour and a captive market for Israeli goods.
The development of local industry was actively impeded so as to make it impossible for the Palestinians to end their subordination to Israel and to establish the economic underpinnings essential for real political independence.
In August 2005, an Israeli government of the rightwing Likud headed by Ariel Sharon staged a unilateral pullout from Gaza, withdrawing all 8,000 settlers and destroying the houses and farms they left behind. [...]
To the world, Sharon presented the withdrawal from Gaza as a contribution to peace based on a two-state solution.
[Note: We know that Gaza was not an independent State but, like the West Bank, an Israeli create Bantustan - in all practice, a prison based on racism which the Israelis learnt from their colleagues, the former white supremacist regime of South Africa]
But in the following year, another 12,000 Israelis settled on the West Bank, further reducing the scope for an independent Palestinian state. Land-grabbing and peacemaking are simply incompatible. Israel had a choice and it chose land over peace. [...]
In January 2006 free and fair elections for the legislative council of the Palestinian Authority brought to power a Hamas-led government. Israel, however, refused to recognise the democratically-elected government, claiming that Hamas is purely and simply a terrorist organisation. [...]
America and the European Union shamelessly joined Israel in ostracising and demonising the Hamas government and in trying to bring it down by withholding tax revenues and foreign aid. A surreal situation thus developed - where a significant part of the international community imposed economic sanctions not against the occupier but against the occupied, not against the oppressor but against the oppressed.
As so often in the tragic history of Palestine, the victims were blamed for their own misfortunes. Israel's propaganda machine persistently purveyed the notion that the Palestinians are terrorists, that they reject coexistence with the Jewish state, that their nationalism is little more than anti-semitism, that Hamas is just a bunch of religious fanatics, and that Islam is incompatible with democracy.
But the simple truth is that the Palestinian people are a normal people with normal aspirations. They are no better but they are no worse than any other national group. What they aspire to, above all, is a piece of land to call their own on which to live in freedom and dignity. […]
To be continued ...