Friday, March 30, 2012

The real danger

Will there be a war with Iran or will there not? Does Netanyahu seriously mean it, or does he not? Will Obama approve and facilitate it, or will he not? What did the German Foreign Minister hear from Israel's Defense Minister, and why did it make him feel more concerned than before this meeting? Is Israel really  building air bases in Azerbeijan, in preparation for an attack on Iran? Who leaked this story to the international media, and why? And when a thousand demonstrators marched through the streets of Tel Aviv, chanting "Danger, danger, this is a War Government", were they justified in feeling so alarmed?   And how high will the oil price still get?

Yesterday the Israeli Defense Forces announced an alert, as did Israel's national Police Force. All leaves were canceled, and the forces were deployed on the borders and the fronts in the north and south and center. The Army Chief of Staff went fast to and fro and met with the Commanding Generals and the commanders of brigades and divisions and reviewed the operational plans and doom scenarios. The media picked it up and reported in banner headlines about the state of emergency and the preparations for a widespread conflict.

What's all this? What's going on here? Had the War with Iran begun? No, not yet. Nuclear weapons? Absolutely not, nothing of the kind. A missile attack? Not that, either. Israel's military forces went on a high alert to face a march of Palestinians (and of the Palestinians' supporters from all over the world). Some of these enemies are not armed, others are armed with weapons from the Stone Age (quite literally). The entire might of the great IDF, mobilized to face the unarmed Palestinian march on Land Day.

Does it look ridiculous? Preposterous? Disproportionate? Not at all. For the  most powerful army in the Middle East which is one of the strongest in the world is facing something which all its might cannot defeat. Facing the array of tanks and artillery and gunboats and fighter planes and nuclear bombs is the boy with the stone at a checkpoint and the detainee on hunger strike in a prison cell, to the brink of death. Facing this army is a people living already for  several generations under conditions of occupation and oppression and exile and humiliation, and who did not give up – nor will they give up - the dream of being a free people in their country. It is the Palestinian little David who is nowadays facing the Goliath who stands armored from head to toe.

Many successive leaders of the Zionist movement wanted and dreamed of escaping this disturbing presence, these other people living here, whose ancestors had also lived in the same land of the ancestors of the Jewish people (and perhaps they were just the same ancestors...). Again and again there were attempts to erase and to hide and to change the agenda and to talk about other things and other issues - on anything and everything, as long as it would not be these annoying Palestinians and their demand to have rights in this country.

Not even Netanyahu could sweep the Palestinian problem under the carpet.