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The Cross of Bethlehem II

Convergence: Freedom Flotilla, Palestinian Independence and Israel as a Failed State



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Ehud Barak

Ehud Barak | War Criminal

Seldom can we enjoy the feeling of witnessing historic events while reading a news item. More often than not – especially if reading the heavily biased Western media - we see just skeletal data disconnected from previous events. Yet, at the beginning of September 2011, even the New York Times has a hard time hiding reality. The accumulation of dramatic events with regard to Israel is creating a distinctive feeling of convergence toward an historic date: September 20, 2011.

The Israeli Administration is facing rupture of its society and policies. For the first time in the country’s history, masses are protesting against the social injustice carefully cultivated for decades by the Warring Family and their close friends. Cottage cheese and travel fees, mortgages and construction companies have become legitimate targets for the long suppressed rage. Exhilarated with the new feeling of power, the masses have even placed a guillotine in Tel Aviv, apparently waiting for Bibi Antoinette. On September 1, the Report of the Secretary-General’s Panel of Inquiry on the 31 May 2010 Flotilla Incident was leaked to the New York Times, apparently by Israeli sources, and sharpened another knife aimed at Israel’s chest. Then, on September 20, the UN is expected to overwhelmingly recognize Palestinian independence. Things look grim for Bibi Antoinette.

Oddly, Fatah – or the West Bank-based faction of the Palestinian Authority – is among the very few supporters the Israeli Administration has right now. Fatah's interest is to demonstrate that it wants an agreement and that the Israeli Administration is the wayward party. Hamas, Hezbollah and the Iranians are waiting around the corner to ambush Israel. The liberated Egyptian masses are requesting a popular referendum on the peace agreement with Israel. A few days ago, Egyptian protesters took down the Israeli flag from the embassy in Cairo. The Shin Beth – which provides security to the establishment – was helpless. This is an unprecedented event and a reminder the agreement won’t be ratified by the people. Israel’s closest ally – the US – is in bad shape. Its very weak president is fighting tooth and nail for his second term, and has little capability to help Israel. In the event a war erupts after the Palestinian declaration of independence, it is hard to see the USA sending troops to defend a very weak Israel. Spread out around the world, the American army can’t be further deployed. Moreover, the American defense budget will be forcibly cut in the next years – against the military-industrial establishment's will; aware of that, Obama is unlikely to sanction a deployment of the army to theHoly Land. Israel’s other major ally is Turkey. However, the relations between the two were spoiled by Gaza’s Freedom Flotilla.

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In a series of articles published following that event, I described different steps in the Turkish reaction. The initial rage was exchanged by a renewal of the extensive military cooperation between the armies of both countries. I was almost expecting to see the Turkish administration convert to Judaism en masse, but then the formal UN report on the event was leaked. Furious, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu downgraded diplomatic relations with Israel to a minimum (third-secretary level) and expelled its ambassador.

Since the report can be downloaded from the website I won’t review it extensively. It is important to remark that despite the fact that the committee included an Israeli member; it accepted all the claims of unacceptable Israeli violence, though in surprisingly soft tones. These include the following cowardly acts of Shayetet 13 (the IDF naval commando unit in Atlit):

34. As a consequence nine passengers were killed. Turkish autopsy reports concluded that five of the deceased were shot in the head at close range. The Turkish Commission describes those killed as follows:

- Furkan Dogan received five gunshot wounds in the back of his head, nose, left leg, left ankle and in the back, all from close range. A citizen of the United States, Mr. Dogan was a 19-year-old high school student with ambitions of becoming a medical doctor. Mr. Dogan’s motionless, wounded body was kicked and shot upon, execution-style by two Israeli soldiers.

- Cengiz Akyüz received four gunshot wounds, in the back of his head, right side of his face, the back and the left leg. Mr. Akyüz was married and a 41-year-old father of three.

- Ali Haydar Bengi received a total of six gunshot wounds, in the left side of his chest, belly, right arm, right leg and twice in the left hand. Mr. Bengi was married, a 39-year-old father of four.

- Ibrahim Bilgen received four gunshot wounds, in the right temple, right chest, right hip and back. Mr. Bilgen was married, 61-year-old father of six, who worked as an electrical engineer.

- Cevdet Kiliçlar, a photographer, was killed by a single distant shot to the middle of the forehead. He was shot most probably with a laser-pointer rifle. Mr. Kiliçlar was married, 38-year-old father of two.

- Cengiz Songür was killed by a single gunshot wound in the front of the neck. He was a 47-year-old textile worker, married and the father of seven.

- Necdet Yildirim received two gunshot wounds in the right shoulder and left back. He was 32-years-old, married, father of one.

- Çetin Topçuoglu was killed by three gunshot wounds in the back of the head, the hip and the belly. He was 54-years old, married and a father of one.

- Fahri Yaldiz was killed by four gunshot wounds: left chest, left leg and twice in the right leg. He was 43 years-old, married and father of four, and worked as a fire-fighter.

In Article 128 the report informs us: “No evidence has been provided to establish that any of the deceased were armed with lethal weapons.” In other word, these were cold-blooded assassinations performed by the IDF.

It includes the words “execution-style.” The term used for that in the IDF is “Vidu Ariga,” which can be translated as “Corroboration of Killing.” It’s a regular practice of commando units (like Shayetet 13, Sayeret Matkal, Shaldag and others). It is illegal under international law. It probably means Israel won’t enjoy Turkish military support in the near future. Bibi Antoinette is alone.

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In 2006, Noam Chomsky published an important book entitled Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy, in which he claims that to spread democracy throughout the world has been the USA's formal goal since Woodrow Wilson; yet, this aim is at odds with American deeds. In its foreign interventions, Washington has openly frustrated the will of the people, often by supporting those engaged in the scariest violence. The US has overthrown democratic governments in Iran, Chile, Guatemala "and a long list of others." Elsewhere it has paid lip service to procedural democracy while doing all it could to rig the outcome. He also claims that the United States backs democracy abroad — "if and only if it is consistent with strategic and economic interests." These are not the interests of the American people, but of the corporate elite that dominates the country and its policy making. He concludes that the United States is not a democracy, and in fact is a failed state, having been unable to fulfill its professed agenda and to keep faithful to its principles.

For an Israeli citizen it is difficult to read Chomsky’s book and not realize that it perfectly fits the situation in Israel. Formally a democracy, the State of Israel systematically violates the human rights of its citizens and others with the only obvious interest being to maximize the incomes of the twenty families running the Israeli economy. For an Israeli citizen watching the news during September 2011, it is hard not to see the current convergence of violent events towards a very clear point. On September 21, 2011, Israelis will wake up to a new reality in which Palestine will be independent and Israel will have very few friends left, even within its own citizenry. Israel would then be unofficially declared a failed state. Soon afterwards, the Third and Final Exile may begin.

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