[News] European Collusion in Israel's Slow Genocide

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Jan 22 12:44:50 EST 2008

Never Against! European Collusion in Israel's Slow Genocide

January 22, 2008 By Omar Barghouti
<http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article9241.shtml>The Electronic Intifada

Barghouti's ZSpace Page

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The European Union, Israel's largest trade 
partner in the world, is watching by as Israel 
tightens its barbaric siege on Gaza, collectively 
punishing 1.5 million Palestinian civilians, 
condemning them to devastation, and visiting 
imminent death upon hundreds of kidney dialysis 
and heart patients, prematurely born babies, and 
all others dependent on electric power for their very survival.

By freezing fuel and electric power supplies to 
Gaza, Israel, the occupying power, is essentially 
guaranteeing that "clean" water -- only by name, 
as Gaza's water is perhaps the most polluted in 
the whole region, after decades of Israeli theft 
and abuse -- will not be pumped out and properly 
distributed to homes and institutions; hospitals 
will not be able to function adequately, leading 
to the eventual death of many, particularly the 
most vulnerable; whatever factories that are 
still working despite the siege will now be 
forced to close, pushing the already extremely 
high unemployment rate even higher; sewage 
treatment will come to a halt, further polluting 
Gaza's precious little water supply; academic 
institutions and schools will not be able to 
provide their usual services; and the lives of 
all civilians will be severely disrupted, if not 
irreversibly damaged. And Europe is apathetically watching.

Princeton academic Richard Falk considered 
Israel's siege a "prelude to genocide," even 
before this latest crime of altogether cutting 
off energy supplies. Now, Israel's crimes in Gaza 
can accurately be categorized as acts of 
genocide, albeit slow. According to Article II of 
the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and 
Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the term is defined as:

"[A]ny of the following acts committed with 
intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a 
national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group 
conditions of life calculated to bring about its 
physical destruction in whole or in part; ..."

Clearly, Israel's hermetic siege of Gaza, 
designed to kill, cause serious bodily and mental 
harm, and deliberately inflict conditions of life 
calculated to bring about partial and gradual 
physical destruction, qualifies as an act of 
genocide, if not all-out genocide yet. And the EU is suspiciously silent.

But why accuse Europe, in particular, of 
collusion in this crime when almost the entire 
international community is not lifting a finger, 
and the UN's obsequious Secretary-General, who 
surpassed all his predecessors in obedience to 
the US government, is pathetically paying only 
lip service? In addition, what of the US 
government itself, Israel's most generous sponsor 
that is directly implicated in the current siege, 
especially after President George W. Bush, on his 
recent visit, gave a hardly subtle green light to 
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to ravage 
Gaza? Why not blame the Palestinians' quiet Arab 
brethren, particularly Egypt -- the only country 
that can immediately break the siege by reopening 
the Rafah crossing and supplying through it the 
necessary fuel, electric power and emergency 
supplies? And finally, why not blame the 
Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority, whose 
subservient and visionless leader openly boasted 
in a press conference its "complete agreement" 
with Bush on all matters of substance?

After Israel, the US is, without a doubt, the 
guiltiest party in the current crime. Under the 
influence of a fundamentalist, militaristic, 
neo-conservative ideology that has taken over its 
helms of power and an omnipotent Zionist lobby 
that is unparalleled in its sway, the US is in a 
category by itself. It goes without saying that 
the PA, the UN, as well as Arab and international 
governments maintaining business as usual with 
Israel should all be held accountable for 
acquiescing, whether directly or indirectly, to 
Israel's crimes against humanity in Gaza. It is 
also true that each one of the above bears the 
legal and moral responsibility to intervene and 
apply whatever necessary pressure to stop the 
crime before thousands perish. But the EU 
commands a unique position in all this. It is not 
only silent and apathetic; in most European 
countries Israel and Israeli institutions are 
currently welcomed and sought after with 
unprecedented warmth, generosity and deference in 
all fields -- economic, cultural, academic, 
athletic, etc. For instance, Israel was invited 
as the guest of honor to a major book fair in 
Turin, Italy. Israeli government-funded films are 
featuring in film festivals all over the 
continent. Israeli products, from avocados and 
oranges to hi-tech security systems, are flooding 
European markets like never before. Israeli 
academic institutions are enjoying a special, 
very lucrative, association agreement with the 
relevant organs in the EU. Israeli dance groups, 
singing bands and orchestras are invited to 
European tours and festivals as if Israel were 
not only a normal, but in effect a most favored, 
member of the so-called "civilized" world. 
Official Europe's once lackluster embrace of 
Israel has turned into an intense, open and enigmatic love affair.

If Europe thinks it can thus repent for its 
Holocaust against its own Jewish population, it 
is in fact shamefully and consciously 
facilitating the committal of fresh acts of 
genocide against the people of Palestine. But 
Palestinians, it appears, do not count for much, 
as we are viewed not only by Israel, but also by 
its good old "white" sponsors and allies as 
lesser, or relative, humans. The continent that 
invented modern genocide and was responsible for 
massacring in the last two centuries more human 
beings, mostly "relative humans," than all other 
continents put together is covering up crimes 
that are reminiscent in quality, though certainly 
not in quantity, of its own heinous crimes against humanity.

In no other international affair, perhaps, can 
the European establishment be accused of being as 
detached from and indifferent to its own public 
opinion. While calls for boycotting Israel as an 
apartheid state are slowly but consistently 
spreading among European civil society 
organizations and trade unions, drawing 
disturbing parallels to the boycott of South 
African apartheid, European governments are 
finding it difficult to distinguish themselves 
from the overtly complicit US position vis-a-vis 
Israel. Even European clichés of condemnation and 
"expressing deep concern" have become rarer than 
ever nowadays. Moreover, Israel's relentless and 
defiant violation of Europe's own human rights 
laws and conditions are ignored whenever anyone 
questions whether Israel should continue to 
benefit from its magnanimous association 
agreement with the EU despite its military 
occupation, colonization and horrific record of 
human rights abuse against its Palestinian 
victims. If this is not complicity, what is?

Morality aside, sinking Gaza into a sea of 
darkness, poverty, death and despair cannot bode 
well for Europe. By actively propping up an 
environment conducive to the rise of fanaticism 
and desperate violence near its borders, Europe 
is foolishly inviting havoc to its doorstep. 
Instead of heeding -- or at least seriously 
considering -- calls for boycott, divestment and 
sanctions against apartheid Israel, adopted by 
virtually the entire spectrum of Palestinian 
civil society, it may soon have to reckon with 
uncontainable forces of irrational and 
indiscriminate violence and its resulting chaos.

It seems European elites are currently determined 
never to oppose Israel, no matter what crimes it 
commits. It is as if the bellowing -- and 
increasingly hypocritical -- slogan upheld by 
Jewish survivors of European genocide, "Never 
Again!", is now espoused by European elites with 
one difference: the two letter, 's' and 't', are added at the end.

Omar Barghouti is an independent Palestinian 
political analyst and founding member of the 
Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and 
Cultural Boycott of Israel (<http://www.pacbi.org/>www.PACBI.org)

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