Context of Israeli Wars in Lebanon, Palestine: Back to Roots

The ongoing Israeli wars on Arabs in Palestine and Lebanon are just the latest rounds of the cycle of violence that has raged in and around Palestine since 1917, and are vivid and bloody evidence that imposition of political realities by military means won’t last and that “Whoever takes by the sword, by the sword will be taken."

In November 2000, Ariel Sharon told some 100,000 Israelis in Jerusalem that the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) had not exercised its full potential in confronting the Palestinian Intifada (uprising) and promised to end the “policy of military restraint” if they elected him prime minister, which they did a few months later.

More force, Sharon pledged to Israelis, will succeed where mere force failed.

Six years later his successor Ehud Olmert is still trying to sell the same idea that there is a measure of force that has not yet been used but which, when unleashed, will deal what Olmert called the “winning blow.”

Unfortunately Olmert’s memory failed him to remember even yesterday’s history: Were not the 1967 and 1982 blitzes into Gaza Strip and Lebanon an exercise of the Israeli “winning blow” theory? Were not Israel’s twin unilateral military redeployments from both Arab territories as well as his plan to unilaterally redeploy in the West Bank a concrete evidence of its failure?

Or Olmert was blinded by the fact that both redeployments from Lebanon and Gaza have backfired in a way that threatened Israel’s major and long-planned redeployment in the West Bank, and led the military-based Jewish state back to its roots: force, war and living by the sword as the only guarantee of being, existence and survival?

By the sword Israel came to being. In less than a century it devastated its environ with six major wars.

The aim was to impose by the sword a political realty and to clinch by sword the victims’ recognition of its legitimacy. But since its founding in 1948, Israel has never been able to achieve this overarching goal – despite important advances, such as the peace treaties with Egypt in 1979 and with Jordan in 1994 and the Oslo accords with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) since 1993.

The war of terrorism that Zionism led since the Balfour Declaration in 1917, backed by the British empire, implanted the Zionist paramilitary gangs as “settlers” in the midst of the Palestinian Arab peasantry.

The war of expulsion and expansion in 1947-48 uprooted, displaced and forced less than a million Palestinians out of their ancestral homeland, disrupting more than five thousand years of uninterrupted existence.

The 1956 pre-emptive war against Egypt tried but failed to nub in the bud the emergence of an independent Arab force.

The expansionist war of 1967 led to the military occupation of vast areas of Palestinian, Jordanian, Syrian and Egyptian lands, including the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Sinai and the Golan Heights.

The Zionist-led Jewish state fought the 1973 war, preceded by a three-year war of attrition with Egypt, to defend its 1967 conquests in Egypt and Syria.

The 1982 invasion of Lebanon led to occupation in the south that was unilaterally and unconditionally withdrawn under the pressure of the Lebanese resistance in 2000.

In intervals dozens of military operations were launched by Israel against its neighbors.

In all its conquests Israel secured an overwhelming superiority in quality and quantity of men and arms in each and every one of its wars.

Jews’ Safe Haven

By the sword Israel was created against the will of the indigenous native Palestinian Arabs and in the midst of their brethren who have throughout thousands of years co-existed, as a very normal fact of life, with their Jewish compatriots before and after Islam.

The pan-Arab homeland was the only safe haven in which Jews sought refuge when they were persecuted and oppressed whether they were fleeing the Spanish inspection courts, the pogroms in Russia or the Nazi holocaust, thanks in particular to Islamic states and Islam, the national religion of Arabs and their message of peace to the world, which, out of religious belief and by choice, treated Jews as an integral part of their society.

Islam is a pluralistic religion that views Judaism and Christianity as an integral part of its monotheistic dogma. The Jewish religious minority has prospered in each and every Arab and Muslim metropolitan, protected, like their Christian brethren, by Islam.

However, Zionism has turned this historical tradition up-side-down and the European racism and oppression concluded that enforcing a “Jewish homeland” on the Arabs and Muslims would relieve them from their “Jewish Question” and serve their colonial interests in the Arab world at the same time.

To make a long story brief, a Jewish minority of less than five percent of the population of Palestinian Arabs early in the twentieth century and a fraction percent of the total Arab population of the pan-Arab homeland could not have developed a “homeland” in Palestine, which later became the state of Israel, without resort to sheer, brutal and terrorist force to enforce it.

Straightening ‘Jew’s Spine’

Zionists proclaimed it was “necessary to straighten the spine of the Jew, long curved before his oppressors and long bent beneath the weight of the volumes of the Talmud. Implicit in this process of liberation was an increased reliance on the use of force. Nihilism and contempt for life, … generated an upsurge of terrorism whose specter haunts the world to this day,” wrote Professor of History at the University of Montreal, Yakov M. Rabkin, in the Jewish Tikkun magazine in 2005.

“The millennia-long pacifist and moralizing tradition of Judaism became eroded under the impact of the Palestinian question,” he added, indicating however that, “Force, and its use, is no stranger to the Torah … But far from glorifying war, rabbinic Judaism … took great pains to identify obedience to God, and not military prowess, as the principal factor in the victories mentioned in the Bible. All that changed in the nineteenth century, however, when Russian Jewish secular nationalists began embracing the bloody past of the people of Israel as a means to ensure a safer future.”

What we see today in Palestine and Lebanon is the blood-stained application of a Zionist doctrine known as the “Iron Wall” philosophy, pioneered in the 1920s by Zeev Jabotinsky, the founder of a far right school of Zionism, which argued that Zionists should use overwhelming force to defeat their Arab foe.

Israeli historian and Oxford University professor Avi Shlaim in his book, The Iron Wall, showed that nearly every Israeli leader has signed up to this murderous doctrine. Ehud Olmert is no exception as he is taking two peoples hostage and destroying their infrastructure allegedly for the release of three soldiers captured in combat.

The Iron Wall policy based on deterrence is being exercised in Gaza and Lebanon lest the Arab enemy come to a conclusion that Israel’s deterrence has been eroded.

Root Rules

Deterrence has all along been a root-rule of the imposed Israeli reality.

Living by the sword implies unilateralism, which was another root-rule from the start. Without going it alone Zionism could not have negotiated it into a state, as it was and is still against all logic and common sense to secure the approval of Palestinian Arabs of accepting the negation of their very existence.

Terrorism was another root-rule to impose the will of a military minority on a civilian majority. History has very well documented the terrorist acts of the Jewish Zionist gangs that developed later into the Zionist paramilitary forces and now the Israeli “Defense” Forces, which have developed the gang terrorism into a state-of-the-art state terrorism.

An offshoot rule was the Israeli doctrine of absolute security, massive retaliation and collective punishment.

These are the roots to which the state of Israel turns to whenever it needs to secure a new round of military expansion or to impose a fresh political reality on the conquered population or the invaded neighbors.

Israel’s warmongering is not a result of an absence of policy, but on the contrary the result of a premeditated strategy.

The end result is a regional superpower, “ghettoed” by choice into a small physical space and bloody, ill-defined borders.

A regional superpower with that kind of advantage could not and cannot sit idle unless disarmed.

However, even winning all the wars and killing tens of thousands of Arabs never seems to settle anything for Israel.

Although over decades those root-rules have proved counterproductive to Israel’s own security as well as to the larger stability of the region, Israel’s two-pronged war today in Lebanon and Palestine unfortunately repeats an historical pattern that conforms with its cyclical pattern of warfare with its Arab subjects and neighbors to impose its grandiose objective of a Pax Israelica.

So far Israel failed. Latest history indicates it will never succeed. Peace cannot be unilaterally imposed by the sword.

After a long and tragic experience Arabs are overdue to respond in kind, unless the world community spares them the agony by committing Israel to the rules of international law and resolutions.