Driving through town on Saturday morning my wife tried to express her anger and outrage at the premeditated and serial war crimes being committed by Israel against the Palestinians and Lebanese: crimes against humanity, crimes against environment.
She owned up to feelings of wanting to do violence against the leaders of Israel, and was shocked that her anger was so deep that it could have tumbled over into to violent rage. I suspect that many of us watching the crimes being committed in Lebanon and Palestine – the last three weeks just being the culmination of decades of brutality and wanton destruction and cruelty by Israelis – are also enraged, and surprised by the depth and possibly violent aspects of our impotent rage? I guess this is not too surprising, albeit saddening, when confronted by crimes being committed by a whole nation, whose only response to any resistance to their continuing racist plunder of Palestine is murder, torture, incarceration and collective punishment.
But we have to channel this righteous emotion in other directions away from violence – for, we should not be ashamed to feel anger and outrage when witnessing such crimes, to feel less would be less human and humane. The question is what we do with our anger?
My response, when she asked me what I thought, and I’m also enraged and outraged, was to say that what I looked forward to was:
- The leaders of Israel being charged with war crimes – using the same Nuremberg statues that were used to prosecute their ancestors’ German oppressors – and when found guilty imprisoned for the remainder of their lives.
- That Israel should pay full cash compensation to the families of every person killed or wounded by Israel in Palestine during the last decade and more recently in Lebanon.
- That Israel should be required to pay reparations for and contribute their own labour to the restoration of all the destroyed public and private property in Palestine and Lebanon; including terrestrial and marine ecosystems.
- The funds for the compensation and reparations should be raised by a special tax on every Israeli family, as these are collective, national crimes.
- Finally, as with Japan at the end of WWII, the constitution of Israel should be revised so as to prevent it ever again going to war, including the surrender of all its nuclear weapons capabilities.
This was a purely spontaneous response, as I had not previously thought about the details of how we are to bring an end to the ‘state barbarian’ that Israel have become. As, truly, this is a rogue nation steeped in the blood of its neighbour’s children.
I recognise that there are many decent women and men in Israel who have struggled for years against the horrors their country has been committing, and many of them have gone to gaol and many are vilified by their compatriots. It may be that these Israeli peace activists also see the need for the planners and perpetrators of aggression to be bought to justice, because they realise that unless the madmen who rule Israel are stopped, the whole idea of Israel – The Promised Land – will remain a corrupted nightmare.
I guess the chances of Israel’s leaders – past and present – ever being bought to justice is slim. But this does not mean that we should not call for their arraignment before an international tribunal. In the interim, there are some other things we can do.
- Using and spreading the People’s Economic Sanctions is a way to apply economic pressure on Israel.
- Calling on the Australian government and all other governments to use the UN General Assembly’s power – where the US, Israel and the UK are only three among 191 voting members – to pass a ‘Uniting for Peace’ resolution to force the UN Security Council to act against Israel; this could include establishing a War Crimes Tribunal.
- Making contact with your local Member of Parliament and state Senators, and telling them you want the Australian government to take an official stand condemning Israel for war crimes.
- Writing to the national and local newspapers expressing your outrage and horror at what Israel is doing to the people of Palestine and Lebanon.
- Write to Israeli peace groups, such as Yesh Gvul (www.yeshgvul.org) to express support and solidarity, as they are coming under increasing pressure to abandon their struggle.
- Using talk-back shows to express your outrage and call on the Australian government to condemn Israeli crimes.