Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Israeli leaflets on Gaza

From Ahmet in Tunisia:  "Asad, this is a highly commendable and thoughtful dissection by Richard Seymour (leninology blog), worth a whole reading, on the Israeli leaflet bombing and the psychopathic condition of Israel: "

"In this context, the leaflets are dropped on Gaza, but the IDF doesn't expect or require that its victims believe in its thoroughly just motives. It doesn't really believe it will undermine the political unity of Palestinians against Israeli domination, or split Gaza residents from the Hamas leadership. Indeed, it expects anything else but this outcome. It's hard to believe they think anyone will believe it's a 'humanitarian' step either, as some apologists have claimed - having no idea how grotesque they make themselves. (Isn't it interesting, by the way, that these apologists increasingly come in the guise of a 'voice of reason', even though they look and sound utterly insane?)

The authors of this leaflet know there is no escape. They know that no resident of Gaza is safe. There is no building that cannot become a Hamas 'facility', no person that cannot be deemed a Hamas 'operative', or at least be deemed to have been negligently or culpably close to one. There is nothing anyone can in Gaza can practically do to be sure that the IDF will not vaporise them. And as tanks and reservists gather on the border, pending an invasion, there is nothing that the average Gazan can do to avoid being in a neighbourhood that is sealed off and shelled for hours and hours, humanitarian agencies prevented from reaching the wounded, starving survivors for days afterward. The authors of this leaflet know what they are capable of doing to people in Gaza, because they have done it before; and they know Gazans know.

This leaflet is like the sadistic taunt of a bully who is really enjoying himself - "stop hitting yourself", in the context of mass murder. I think it is this surplus enjoyment more than any utilitarian calculus that is really at work behind this low tech leaflet bombing. This has also been evident in the witticisms coming from IDF Twitter feeds - the #hamasbumperstickers meme providing the occasion for predictable jokes along the lines of "my other car is..." or "if you can read this...". Tellingly, the IDF chiefs were shocked and dismayed by the criticisms of this: indignantly grousing that they couldn't even have a little joke while their opponents cheered on Hamas terrorists etc. People were just trying to tell them: Don't be so openly thrilled by what you're doing, by your fleeting, giddying sense of omnipotence, by what you are getting away with. Don't so explicitly revel in torturing your captives. It sits uneasily against your own claim that every civilian death is a tragedy to you, that your highest priority is to protect life. It's obscene. But Israel's military best could only see this as at best a weird injunction from outer space, at worst an antisemitic double standard.""