The Israeli writer Amos Oz has described the situation in this land as ‘a tragic clash between right and right,’ and I think that’s how many people see it. Perhaps at one time, in some ways, this was true. But from what I’ve seen, it’s certainly not true for what is happening now in the Palestinian territories.
This is not two oppressed peoples struggling for self-determination in the same land. Israel is not a vulnerable country trying to defend itself against aggressors harbouring an irrational hatred. It’s not a war between two nations.
It’s nothing less than old-school colonialism, in which a militarily powerful nation is oppressing another, in the most brutal way, for material gain. Even the religious fundamentalists are essentially materialistic; they’re after land, not heavenly rewards.
Israelis often dismiss international supporters of Palestinians as naive and ignorant of the realities of the situation on the ground. We don’t understand how inherently violent and primitive these people are. Palestinians are lying. International reports of human rights abuses here can be attributed to anti-Semitism.
My question is: where is the real ignorance and naivete here? Aside from illegal settlers and the soldiers sent to ‘protect’ them, very few Israelis (or their vocal international supporters) spend any time in the West Bank and Gaza. Military occupation is necessarily brutal, and to believe that Israel’s occupation of Palestine is a special case, or even, as you sometimes hear, that the Israeli army is ‘more moral’ than others, takes considerable self-deception. And there is nothing more violent and primitive than the Darwinistic principles on which Israel’s occupation of Palestine is based. Call it for what it is.