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Governments, media combine to support Israel's mythical kingdom

Israel suffers the delusion to recreate a place in time that never was

“At Shifa Hospital, a girl who looked about nine was brought into the emergency room and laid on a gurney. Blood soaking the shoulder of her shirt. Motionless and barely alive, she stared at the ceiling, her mouth open. There was no relative with her to give her name. The medical staff stood quietly around her.

“Every now and then, they checked her vital signs, until it was time. They covered her with a white sheet, and she was gone. A few moments later, a new patient lay on the gurney. At one point in the dying girl’s final moments, a half-dozen journalists with television cameras crowded around the gurney. In the next bed, a small girl smudged with blood cried, “Mama! Mama!” (NY Times July 2014)

The story of this little girl’s death, so poignant, so wrenching, so barbaric, so utterly beyond reason or sanity, is a measure of how brutal, ugly, and short, the lives of Palestinian’s can be in Gaza and the West Bank.

"All of the Palestinians must be killed; men, women, infants, and even their beasts." This was the religious opinion issued by Rabbi Yisrael Rosen, director of the Tsomet Institute, a long-established religious institute attended by students and soldiers in the Israeli settlements of the West Bank.

In an article published by numerous religious Israeli newspapers, and run by the liberal Haaretz on 26 March 2008, Rosen asserted that there is evidence in the Torah to justify this stand.

Rosen - an authority able to issue religious opinions for Jews - wrote that Palestinians are like the nation of the Amalekites that attacked the Israelite tribes on their way to Jerusalem after they had fled from Egypt under the leadership of Moses.

He wrote that the Lord set down in the Torah a ruling that allowed the Jews to kill the Amalekites, and that this ruling is known in Jewish jurisprudence. Effectively this allows, and encourages unconscionable acts of genocide by Israel. 

This sanguinary rhetoric by a leading religious figure directed at the Palestinian’s is permitted in Israel, and the consequences of such provocation are surely predictable, if not anticipated.

The New York Times editorial board chose to respond to the murder of four men at a Temple in East Jerusalem. The paper condemned the murders, and those who carried out the acts, in a scathing front page editorial, while ignoring any provocation or incitement that clearly contributed to such a desperate act.   

“There is no comprehending the murder of four men, including three rabbis, at a synagogue complex in a neighbourhood of West Jerusalem on Tuesday.” The New York Times Editorial Board wrote on 18 November.

“They were civilians, unarmed and at prayer in a religious sanctuary when two Palestinians, residents of East Jerusalem, went on a bloody rampage with a gun, knives and axes before being killed in a shootout. Two Israeli policemen were also wounded in the gun battle, and one later died of his injuries.”  

The New York Times, always a complicit party to Israel’s excesses, finds the death of these four rabbis so dreadful as to be compelled to condemn these acts of murder in a front-page editorial. Yet, they did not find such obligation to publish an editorial condemning the wilful, inexplicable, uncivilised murder of thousands of innocent Palestinians during the barbaric invasion of Gaza by Israeli forces this summer. Many of those victims had also sought sanctuary at a United Nations compound so as to be safe from the bombardment of Israeli artillery and aircraft. A sanctuary wildly understood, and agreed to be such, by the parties to the conflict in Gaza, and the United Nations, but that sanctuary was violated by the Israeli army in several instances and hundreds were killed.

The killing of the Rabbis was related to the Israeli government’s decision to prohibit worship by Muslims at Haram al-Sharif or the Noble Sanctuary, sacred to Muslims, to men under fifty years of age. The government measure was supported and advanced by Orthodox groups of which they were part.

There remains the ongoing dispute of the right of access for Orthodox Jews to the Muslim site to pray. They claim Haram al-Sharif as a part of the Temple Mount. Many Orthodox Jews insist that the ground on which Haram al-Sharif was built was once a part of their sacred Temple, and is therefore a Jewish site. They frequently intrude on the site to pray in violation of all agreements to the contrary. They will not recognise the Muslim claim, and publically advocate that the Muslim prayer sites be demolished.

There is a pitiful misunderstanding regarding the role of the United States in its posturing as a neutral, honest broker, in the now clearly hopeless attempts to inspire a just peace agreement between Israel and Palestine. There can be no agreement, and there was never any intention to create such an agreement on the part of Israel. The political structure of the United States knows this and acquiesces as a co-conspirator.

The rest, the seemingly endless failed attempts for peace, is pure political theatre - engaged to provide self-serving benefit for the political fortunes of the latest American politician who appears selflessly dedicated, and tireless in a noble effort to bring peace.

This charade is cynically designed to allow the Palestinian’s hope and solace. But peace and resolution can never be. It is now difficult to say if Israel is an appendage of the United States, or the United States an appendage of Israel. The latter seems truer. I wrote about this extensively in my book, ‘the Israeli Lobby and Me’, which looked to explain the extent of Israel success in the United States.

Israel suffers the psychotic delusion to recreate a place in time that never was. Israel wishes to recreate the biblical land of King David, a mythical kingdom that included all the West Bank and Gaza. An adolescent myth unsupported by any archaeological or historical evidence, save the book, a wonder of delusional imaginings, composed by self-possessed supplicants.

Israel is now controlled by the Orthodox Jewish population, a populace distinct from the earlier demographics of Israel who were more secular. That turn of influence makes any hope for an acceptance of Palestinian’s right to remain in Israel - even as a part of the Israeli population – negligible, let alone to hope for a separate entity, or a state allowed to exist within Israel.

Morgan Strong is a former professor of Middle Eastern History, and was an advisor to C.B.S. News, Sixty Minutes on the Middle East.

This views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

Palestinian youths pratice parkour outside the Dome of the Rock mosque at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound (AFP)

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