Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Israeli War Criminals Had Better Hope for
By Gilad Atzmon
Redress, Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, November 29, 2010
Gilad Atzmon argues
that the publication of the names and other details of 200 Israeli war
crimes suspects who participated in the onslaught against Gaza in 2008-09
is a clear warning that every Israeli complicit in this and other
outrages, and not just senior commanders and leaders, is liable for the
crimes committed by the state and its army.
A few days ago,
British Chief of Defence Staff General David Richards admitted that
victory in Afghanistan is unachievable. "In conventional war,” said
Richards, “defeat and victory is very clear cut and is symbolized by
troops marching into another nation's capital."
It took a few years
for the British military elites to admit that the war in
Afghanistan cannot lead anywhere. Indeed, a valuable lesson to learn from
mid to late 20th century warfare is that conventional military might
cannot easily defeat civilian mass resistance.
It is interesting to
reflect, too, that although the Jewish state has pursued a “strategy” of
occupation for 62 years, for some reason the penny has still not dropped.
The Israelis are still convinced that they can knock down the resilient
Palestinians using siege, indiscriminate killing, carpet bombardment and
“Bearing in mind that Israel considers itself to be a
‘Jews-only democracy’, it follows that every Israeli Jew
is complicit in a colossal war crime against a civilian
The results are pretty obvious. Bearing in mind that Israel considers
itself to be a “Jews-only democracy”, it follows that every Israeli Jew is
complicit in a colossal war crime against a civilian population.
But it goes further. More and more Israeli soldiers of all ranks
are directly involved in an endless list of crimes: some stop pregnant
women from receiving urgent medical attention , while others drop bombs on
populated neighbourhoods; some use children as human shields, while a few
perform executions of peace activists. And others just feed the cannons
with white phosphorus shells.
The perpetrators of
these crimes are actually liable to prosecution under
jurisdiction. They can be detained anywhere around the world.
They may end their lives in jail.
However, a few
brave Israelis must be very concerned about the moral condition of their
state because a few days ago, a document identifying
Israeli soldiers suspected of war crimes leaked out of Israel.
It made it to the internet. The list included the names, ranks, military
posts, pictures and addresses.
The people who
leaked the information and put it on the net stated that the names that
the direct perpetrators, agents for the state of Israel that in
Dec-Jan 2008- 09 attacked scores of people in the besieged Gaza. The
people listed … held positions of command at the time of the attack;
therefore, not only did they perform on behalf of a murderous state
mechanism but actively encouraged other people to do the same. They
bear a distinctive personal responsibility. They range from low-level
field commanders to the highest echelons of the Israeli army. All took
an active and direct role in the offensive.
On 17 November I picked up the story and posted on my website a
link to the site that originally published the list – a site called
“Israeli War Criminals”. The following day I was falsely accused by
10 and a few Israeli blogs as being the man behind the
publication of the names and the faces.
say, this didn’t make me overwhelmingly popular in Israel. My email inbox
looked like an Israeli war zone, and one of my recent YouTube clips
that was screened by the Israeli TV soon became a platform for vile
“It all reminded me of why I had denounced my
Jewishness and left Israel. It rang a bell. It reminded me
why I decided years ago never to step foot in that doomed
place ever again.”
It all reminded me of why I had denounced my Jewishness and left
Israel. It rang a bell. It reminded me why I decided years ago never to
step foot in that doomed place ever again. The Israelis were desperate and
angry. They needed someone to blame. And after all, “blaming someone” is
far easier than admitting that something is systematically and
fundamentally wrong at home.
On 19 November, the Israeli news channel managed to get hold of me.
They were trying to trace the whistleblower. I obviously couldn’t help
them, nor would I like to help them. As far as I am aware, no one knows
who the people behind the publication of the list are. Though initially
the Israelis claimed that the list was fabricated and included many names
that had nothing to do with the crimes in Gaza (2008-09), the Israeli
media soon admitted that the list was leaked from an Israel Defence Force
(IDF) source and was probably genuine.
I tried to point out to the
Israeli Channel 10 researcher that the publication of the list is the best
thing that has happened to Israel for years. The list is a clear signal
for future Israeli combatants. It is there to suggest to them that
unethical conduct may bear some heavy and direct consequences. Such
recognition is vital for Israelis so they can start to amend their path
and find a way to live in peace with their neighbours.
One may also
find it strange that in the so-called “only democracy in the Middle East”
a list of 200 suspected war criminals is leaked – and the entire media is
chasing a whistleblower instead of engaging with the real story. It shows
clearly a society that is rapidly drifting away from any form of
recognition of international law, let alone ethical awareness.
“...in the so-called 'only democracy in the Middle
East' a list of 200 suspected war criminals is leaked –
and the entire media is chasing a whistleblower instead of
engaging with the real story.”
However, I know very well why the Israelis are so furious. People
around the world do not realize that, for Israelis, the Jewish state is
nothing but a prison. As much as the Israelis claim to love their state,
there is nothing they love more than leaving it behind, and I guess that
the Israelis are starting to grasp the true meaning of the
delegitimization of their state. It is now reaching a point of no return,
and it has become personal, because the people on the list will have to
think twice before they set foot on a plane.
people who published the list used a tactic that was used by Jewish and
Zionist organizations after World War II. Instead of chasing leaders and
military commanders, the Nazi hunters had collated information about
ordinary people – the low ranking officers, the soldiers, the guards –
ordinary people who had perpetrated crimes against humanity. This tactic
proved effective in incriminating generations of Europeans as vile
anti-Semites. After the war, European guilt was quickly translated into
Clearly, the people behind the leaking of the
“Israeli War Criminals” list are letting Israel taste its own medicine. By
listing 200 soldiers of all ranks, the message is clear: Israeli society
itself is deeply sick. It is not just the people at the top, it is
actually the very ordinary ones. Rather than Israel – it is actually the
“Israeli”. The malaise seems to be deeply imbued in the society and its
In the case of Germany and other European nations, it was
Israel and Jewish leaders who were given the choice of whether they wanted
to forgive or withhold forgiveness. It was the Israelis and Jews who,
tentatively and conditionally, gave European nations a kosher
I guess the fate of Israel is similar. Yet, now it is the
Palestinians and only the Palestinians who can save the Israelis from
themselves and their brutality. It is only the Palestinians who are
entitled grant a pardon to Israeli criminals. The more crimes Israel
commits in the present – the more Israelis are dependent on the
Palestinians’ future kindness.
Once a truth and reconciliation
commission for Israeli war crimes is founded in Palestine, it will be the
Palestinian people who decide who to pardon.