GAZA IS STILL THE ISSUE

By Miko Peled

In the US the Palestinian national struggle is still being ignored and though it seemed the Obama administration might bring a new outlook that has not happened. Palestinian efforts to reign Israeli in through diplomacy get no attention and once again Palestinian are left with no options. As has been the case in the last 40 years, Palestinian attempts to settle the conflict through diplomacy are ignored and when violence erupts, Palestinians are labeled terrorists. The US likes to pretend that peace in Israel/Palestine is a priority and every new administration promises to bring the promised peace to the region only every to fall into the same patterns of inaction and excuses. It is as though Israel and the US are doing everything in their power to bring Palestinians, to a state of hopelessness so that violence will erupt and Israel can justify the violation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Gaza is under siege even though it has no army, air force or navy; no tanks, planes or helicopters. Gaza has no anti aircraft or anti tank missiles, no warning systems and no refuge in which its 1.4 million civilians (including 800,000 children) can hide when the attacks by Israel commence. People wonder why the Egyptians who are fellow Arabs act as willing enforces of a siege that was put in place by Israel and the US.

Egypt is soon to face a major regime change. President Hosni Mubarak is almost eighty-two years old, has no apparent successor and had been grooming his son Gamal to succeed him. The Egyptian people do not care to see a dynasty established in their country so Mubarak needs support from the US and from Israel to make this work. Keeping Gaza under lock and key is a small price to pay to ensure the safe passage of power from father to son.

Ever since President Jimmy Carter brokered the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt, Israel has had no military rival in the region. Its military advantage has allowed it to act with impunity and is the main reason that no significant political progress has been made with the Palestinians or the Syrians. For a peace agreement with either one of these Israel would have to return to pre 1967 borders, and as long as it maintains its military advantage it will not do so.

Just recently, over one thousand delegates from over 40 countries traversed thousands of miles to converge in Cairo and commemorate the first anniversary of Israel’s December 2009 assault on Gaza. Their intention was to travel to Egyptian city of Rafah and from there to enter Gaza and participate in a solidarity march with the people of Gaza. But the Egyptian authorities would not allow it and the majority of the delegates had to remain in Cairo. The Egyptians are adamant that no one enter Gaza.

This resulted in sit ins and hunger strikes and civil disobedience of the sort with which Egyptian are not accustomed and to which they would normally respond with unrestrained violence. So far the Egyptian authorities refrained from shooting presumably because non-Egyptians are carrying out the protests, but they did engage in beat and harass the protesters. In the realm of absolute dictatorships this is hardly surprising.

The fact that such a large and committed group of activists made the effort and put forth a considerable monetary and time commitments for the purpose of demonstrating solidarity with the Palestinians is remarkable and more of the same is likely to happen. Their willingness to confront the Egyptian authorities is noteworthy. Now one may expect that Israeli culpability will be placed front and center. We can assume that when challenged seriously Israel will treat protesters as harsh if not worse than the Egyptians. Two young Americans who confronted the Israeli military during non violent protests have already paid dearly: Rachel Corey was run over and killed by an Israeli army bulldozer in Gaza and Tristan Anderson was shot point blank in face with a tear gas canister by an Israeli soldier in the West Bank, and his fate is uncertain.

Unless the US and Israel begin to move in a direction of Palestinian independence, freedom and equal rights, one may expect more popular resistance. Since Egypt is only a servant in this issue, the protests are sure to engulf Israel and soon. Meanwhile popular sentiment for the Palestinians in general and for Gaza in particular is growing and the question remains, will the US lead or be lead.

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THEY LIKE TO CALL IT A WAR

By Miko Peled

48 hours after I landed the reality of this land, a land that people like to call holy, began taking its toll on me. The movie “Boy In Stripped Pajamas” came to mind as I played with my kids in the pool of Kibbutz Zikkim, a beautiful pastoral little kibbutz or agricultural commune, is on the Mediterranean coast just a stone’s throw from Gaza to the north. The narrative in the movie describes the innocent German boy by the name of Bruno growing up across the fence from concentration camp. The German boy whose father is the commander of the camp is completely oblivious to the reality beyond the fence and is forbidden by his mother from exploring the backyard. But while Bruno’s mother naïvely believes the “farm” to be an internment camp, her husband has sworn under oath never to reveal that it is in fact an extermination camp specifically designed to help the Nazis achieve their horrific “Final Solution.” Eventually defying his mother’s rules and venturing out beyond the backyard, Bruno arrives at a barbed wire fence to find a young boy just his age emptying rubble from a wheel barrel. That boy, obviously a prisoner at the camp was wears a stripped pajama.

For israelis this narrative is a frightening one, but sadly they have plunged themselves into a reality where this narrative is being re played but with a new cast. This time Israelis are living across the fence from Gaza, but unlike the German family in the movie they are not oblivious to what goes on in the camp. For the most part Israelis are not only aware of the horrors that take place in the concentration camp near them, they see it as justified.

It’s only been about six months since my last visit here, just as Israel was preparing to launch its latest sadistic terror attack on the civilian population of Gaza, a population whose average age is 15.5, a population of innocent children. I visited Zikkim then because after all, it is the home of my in-laws, the place where my wife was born and raised.

In this chauvinistic state created by my forefathers the terror attack on Gaza is called a war. It is much easier that way for the consciences to bear. After all, fighting an enemy that possess tanks and war planes, artillery and sophisticated weapons, smart bombs and air to air missiles, along with anti aircraft and anti tank weapons is a great deal more heroic than to massacre innocent children, women and men who are defenseless, have no means of escape and no means of fighting back. But of course the reality is that the Israeli army, that sadistic military force that has made a name for itself over the last sixty years as a force to be reckoned with, is in fact no more than a shameless army of cowards lead by a junta of brutal, sadistic racists.

Instead of the patronizing call we constantly hear for a “Palestinian Gandhi” one would hope to see the emergence of international support for a Palestinian Patrick Henry. The call “Give me liberty or give me death” awakens strong emotions even today, more than 320 yeas after Patrick Henry gave the speech that crystallized perhaps more than any the American colonies call for independence from the English crown.

There has never been, not is it likely that an occupying power will ever relinquish its domination willingly. Israel is not different. Not only is Israel not likely to end its iron rule over Palestine and its people, it is placing all of its effort to make Greater Israel a permanent and irreversible reality. So while Patrick Henry’s was a call for arms, in the case of the Palestinian struggle the call should be for a more sophisticated and more effective national struggle.

There is nothing Israel likes better than a military confrontation, and the Israeli “security” forces go out of their way to blame Palestinian for initiating violence so as to justify their own brutality. But a violent struggle only helps the oppressor and it is in fact a statement of despair.

Three clear goals struggle on which the struggle would do well to focus could be as follows:

1. Granting all Palestinians full equal rights with Israelis.
2. Granting Palestinians unrestricted freedom of movement within Israel/Palestine.
3. Reigning in the Israeli forces and withdrawing them of from population centers.

Until these conditions are met, Palestinians have no reason to negotiate or cooperate with the Israeli authorities. Until they are met there needs to be a concerted effort to isolate Israel, and to initiate a struggle that defies its laws and undermines it authority. Israel profits greatly from Palestinians who are forced to apply and pay for permits and licenses; Israel profits from Palestinians who are forced to buy Israeli products. Haaretz newspaper recently reported on the huge profits that Israeli farmers and government agents make as a result of the siege imposed on Gaza. An effort can focus on the idea, also made famous during the American Revolution that there can be “no taxation without representation” calling for defiance of the Israeli authorities and boycott of Israeli products and goods.

Those who still believe in a negotiated settlement with Israel on the basis of two states should read the following lines from Patrick Henry’s famous speech: “It is natural for men to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth…Are we disposed to be of the number of those who having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not…”

In the long run, the best possible outcome for Israelis and Palestinians is a pluralistic democracy where people’s rights are protected by a constitution and the rule of law. Israelis and Palestinians, by virtue of their sharing a homeland are fellow countrymen. As such they are deserving of the same rights and share the same responsibilities. Their first responsibility is to engage in a struggle to bring an end to the apartheid regime that holds them both in a seemingly endless struggle, and to cooperate as equals for a better future.
Jerusalem, August, 2009.

A Movie Speaks a Thousand Words. On the movie “To See If I’m Smiling”. By Miko Peled

The topic about which I wish to write is so disturbing that after scribbling a few facts and figures I found myself glaring at the screen unable to express my thoughts or feelings in any meaningful way. This has gone on for some time until on Christmas day I decided to do something. I shunned my ever-refilling email mailbox as well as my friends on facebook and decided to take action. But once again I found myself staring at the screen unable to write. Where does one seek inspiration to write? I thought of all the wonderful things I have read by others and then it hit me: Edward Said.

If one wants to write about almost anything, but certainly about Palestine and Israel in any meaningful way Edward Said is sure to inspire thoughts and shake the mind so that words may flow out of it. As I began a random search of his name an abundance of information came up. The following quote was the first thing I saw: “Remember the solidarity shown to Palestine here and everywhere… and remember also that there is a cause to which many people have committed themselves, difficulties and terrible obstacles notwithstanding. Why? Because it is a just cause, a noble ideal, a moral quest for equality and human rights.” At last I found a video of a lecture given by Edward Said on May 8, 2003 at the University of Washington, a video I subsequently posted on my facebook for the benefit of others. I did this knowing full well that most people will not have the luxury I did on Christmas day to view the complete 99 minutes of the lecture, and so I posted a comment to say: “even if you only listen to 5 minutes of this, it will be worth it.”

But back to the topic of this article: I have recently returned from spending three weeks in the Middle East. The purpose of the trip was to enter Gaza through Egypt and to deliver a few basic medical tools to Ahli hospital in Gaza. Needless to say, this part of the trip was a total failure. The Egyptians, just as the Israelis command, have locked the gates of Rafah and anyone curious enough to learn the details of my trip is welcome to  select the “Gaza trip” in this site. But a trip to the Middle East is never about just one thing. It is not humanly possible to avoid visiting friends in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem. Nor is it possible to avoid running into old friends, Israelis who live in their bubble and care nothing about the actions of their democratically elected government. These friends will usually categorize me and my views on the Palestinian Israeli issue, as Edward Said puts it, as: “Reductive and simply wrong.”

Frankly had Israel been a totalitarian regime like, say Nazi Germany for example, one could understand the lack of popular resistance to the atrocities committed by the government and its army, police, border patrol and secret intelligence services. Had this been some middle eastern dictatorship, where one “only opens his mouth on the dentist’s chair” as one friend of mine puts it, fearing kidnapping and torture for speaking against the regime, one might be inclined to forgive Israelis for allowing their elected government to treat Palestinians with such brutal force. But as we are so often reminded Israel is a democracy. Its government represents the will of the people. These people, the citizens of Israel, like to be thought of as peace loving people but they vote for people like Ariel Sharon and Ehud Barak, Bibi Netanyahu and Tzipi Livni. They serve in the occupation army willingly, they are glad to go, as the son of one of my good friend’s said to me with pride, he is going to volunteer to serve in the “Sayarot” or the illustrious Special Forces.  These same “Special forces” by the way, received a severe blow by Hezbollah in the last Lebanon War.

Before leaving Israel I was given a copy of a movie that I decided to watch on the plane. It had a curious name, as many Israeli movies seem to have, particularly when they are translated into English. The name of this movie is “To See If I’m Smiling.” In the name of the sacred equality it is demanded of us to constantly mention the Israeli victims of the conflict. We are reminded that we must never forget the suffering of the Jews who came to their homeland after 2000 years to finally find a refuge from persecution of the other nations. Well, this is a story about the suffering of the Israelis, five young Israeli girls to be exact. Five young, innocent and idealistic girls who willingly entered an occupation army of brutally violent criminals; the girls were ordered to facilitate the beating, torture and virtual rape of Palestinians living under occupation, and eventually they realized that they were being beaten and raped themselves. They were permitted only to leave from time to time to take a breath of fresh air and then they had to return. Many of the girls felt that something was wrong, and wanted to speak up, but as they looked around them they saw that what was going on was looked upon as normal and so they stayed and said nothing. Then, after two years the girls were allowed to leave, to return home as though nothing had ever happened.

Israel is the only country in the world that has law binding, compulsory army service for women. In “To See I’m Smiling” five girls speak out about the most acts they had performed while they were in the service of Israel’s occupation army. But during their service they were also complicit in their own mental and emotional rape and abuse by the system they served. The intensity of their experience and their emotions don’t allow them to forget and in this movie they speak out about what they had done and how they ended up doing it.

Meytal is an officer in the medical corps. By training she is a medic and she chose to become an officer. “I was ecstatic when I heard that I was assigned to Hebron” she says, because as she admits, she heard that Hebron was where the real action was taking place. Real fighting, real casualties and everything that comes with being a soldier. She recalls that soon after she arrived there was an “operation” and she says: “I felt the danger, real danger. There was gunfire everywhere.” The brutal force Israel uses against Palestinians especially in Hebron assists in the myth that Israel is actually fighting a war, rather than merely applying brutal force against a population that has no means of defense. “Our guys returned with a body” of a young Palestinian that was killed by the Israeli forces. She never expected that she would be given the duty of “cleaning up” the body. “We had to clean him before returning him to the Palestinian Authorities” she says “so that there will be no blood stains and so that they will not know what we did to him.” “This particular man suffered a head injury and he did not die immediately,” Meytal continues deliberately, “he died a slow death, and he lost control of his sphincters. That’s what happens” she calmly explains, “He had basically defecated and urinated all over himself”. “People look at me now and ask me: you did what? You cleaned a corps? But I cannot afford to be disgusted by this. “Why” the narrator asks and Meytal replies, “Because it is on my hands, the blood is on my hands. I cannot be disgusted by my hands, I have to be able to use my hands.” Meytal also recalls a time when she was hosing down a body and he happened to have an erection, an embarrassing yet not an irregular occurrence. “Another girl walked by and she happened to have a camera. I asked her if she would take a picture of me with the body.” At the end of the movie she looks at the photos and says “I want to see if I was smiling.” She says and as she looks at the pictures with obvious horror she asks, “how could I have thought I would ever forget this.”

Rotem is in charge of an observation post – “it is an amazing sense of control, you have a lot of power, telling the commanders where to send the troops.” Once she spots the offenders, children getting ready to throw rocks or erect a roadblock, she calls in the troops. But as she goes through a debriefing she has doubts and she asks the officer debriefing her: “If the boys do not admit they will be released, won’t they?” “Hem yodu” the officer says in Hebrew – “they will confess!” This statement runs shivers down her spine. “What does he mean they will confess, under what circumstances?” at one point a child was shot and killed; “at that point I stopped feeling” she says and she realizes she was the one guiding the forces to that child. Now at the young age of 21, she has to live with the fact that she is responsible for the killing of an innocent child. In a scene right out of Macbeth she recalls, “When I was on leave I called a friend and said to her that it wont come off.” “What won’t come off?” her friend asked. “Don’t you get it?” She replies “I keep trying with soap and it wont come off. The blood on my hands, it wont come off. My friend thought I was joking, she didn’t realize this was no joke”

Inbar is an Operations sergeant for a unit that patrols the walls and towers surrounding Gaza. “The unbearable lightness of death” is how she describes the state of things. It used to be that if someone approached the fence the Israeli soldiers would fire warning shots in the air. Then one day they started shooting to kill. “I remember that first time when a man ran up the fence yelling “Allahu Akbar”, and they shot him. His body remained there stuck on the fence.” It is like the Wild West, she says, we do whatever we want. I was overwhelmed by the control. You can summon someone with your finger and without hesitation they obey!

At one point the Commanding Officer was patrolling and he saw a boy standing around with the soldiers. “Why is this child still here?” he asked, “He was released hours ago.” “We were just playing with him” the troops reply causally. The child was crying hysterically, having been beaten and abused. “I want a report ASAP “ the Commander says and some time later Inbar brought the report to him. In the report, she says, the soldiers did not even lie, – they told of the cigarette burns, beatings and other forms of abuse the boy suffered in their hands. Inbar presented the report to the CO; he read it and then he said he wanted a different report. “With this report, internal investigations will be all over us. Go ask the unit commander to issue a different report.” This was asked of her without hesitation, without a doubt that she would indeed obey this horrendous illegal order.

Inbar says that she was “considering calling the press – I hesitated and then I just didn’t, because, well, because.” The new report was issued and it said that the child is a pathological liar and that was the end of it.

Dana, NCO Officer in charge of education. “You become a-sexual in order to belong. You learn to talk like a guy, you have to loose your femininity.” As I was walking around, familiarizing myself with the troops I came a cross one group who all had Masbaha (prayer beads) and copies of the Koran. “Where did you get these?” she asked and they replied “we got them from Kalkilia” – in other words they stole them. “I was shocked, looting is illegal. At a meeting with the regiment commander I told him the story.” She recalls “are you sure about this?” he asked. She confirmed what she said and he called the company commander. Later when the company commander and the soldiers saw her they spat when she walked by. “One day” she recalls that there was a lot of commotion. “I stopped washing the dishes, which is what I did most of the time, and I stepped out. Everyone was excited, the guys had just returned from an “operation” and there was a body in the vehicle. They took it out and the guys began to take pictures of themselves with the body. Something deep inside told me that this was wrong, that there is something wrong about posing with dead bodies.”

Tal recalls patrolling in a Palestinian town when all of a sudden they heard the song “I got the power” blaring from the mosque. “They took over the mosque and played music! What A terrific joke! They guys loved it.” We loved the adrenaline. “We got to go to the shooting range which is a lot of fun. I became really good at filling coke cans with bullet holes. I even had one on my desk with a sign that said: Anyone who annoys me will end up like this coke can.” My first “operation” involved a protest that erupted in the aftermath of the army blowing up someone’s house. “People were running in all directions like crazy. The crowds are running amok! I noticed a child that was crying and screaming and I wanted to pick him up. It is a basic instinct to want to comfort a crying child, it is a basic motherly instinct. Suddenly his mother came and I saw the look on her face. That look said everything to me about what I had become.

Libi is a combat soldier. We were there to impose order. Angered by the death of another soldier girl she decided she would take her revenge on every person who crossed her checkpoint during her 14 hour shift. “I lined up more than 80 people and I had them stand in order, do pushups, and I treated them as though they were my recruits, humiliating them throughout the whole shift. None of the other soldiers thought I was doing anything wrong. It was nothing out of the ordinary.”

When the abnormal become normal and the worst of mankind become “nothing out of the ordinary” we know things have gone badly wrong. Israeli cabinet ministers, Generals and field officers need to be brought to justice form their crimes. And sooner would be better than later.

War Crimes

Holding the top brass of the Israeli security apparatus, i.e. army, border patrol,  shabak etc., responsible for the crimes committed against the Palestinian people is crucial to the struggle to end the apartheid regime that they enforce.  Several countries have already made it difficult for these criminals to enter their borders and the more countries that do so the better.  

In a country where the army is worshiped like a god and where the word security brings everyone to their knees, holding those at the top of the pyramid responsible and closed in so they cannot travel will, in my opinion be a real shock to the system.  Israelis believe that their army is a “moral” army and that their officers are “good” officers who will never harm innocent people. They are, after all products of the Zionist education system that teaches to value human life and justice above all else. Well, it is time that Israelis who serve the apartheid be it through the secret service shabak -ike organizations or the military, realize that there is a price to be paid.  

Israelis love to travel, everywhere you go around the world you see Israelis.  Once they retire, the top military brass go into business or academics or politics and travel as VIPs around the world.  They need to realize this is unique privilege will not be available to them and that people around the world won’t accept them, invite them or allow them to enter their countries and institutions.  In the following article Khalid Amayreh discusses this issue in regard to Spain.

Spain, don’t succumb to Israeli pressure  By Khalid Amayreh in Occupied Jerusalem

5 September, 2008

 The Israeli government has been quietly pressing (and pressuring) Spain to reconsider issuing warrants for the arrest of high-ranking Israeli army officers accused of committing war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories.

 Earlier this year, a lawsuit was filed at the National court of Spain with the aim of issuing an arrest warrant against seven Israeli military officials.  The seven included  former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, former Defense Minister Benyamin Benalizer, former Shin Beth Chief Avi Dichter, former Chief of Staff Moshe Ya’alon, former Air Force Commander Dan Halutz, Operation Branch Commander Giora Eiland and Southern Command Chief Doron Almog.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), which filed the lawsuit,  urged the Spanish Judicial authorities to issue an international arrest warrant against the seven in connection with their role in the bombing of an apartment building in Gaza on 22 July, 2002,  in which a Hamas chief was killed along with his family and 15 other civilians, including 11 children.  

The National Court of Spain has accepted the case for further examination, the first step towards launching a formal prosecution.  If the case is successful, those charged would be arrested upon entering Spanish territory and stripped  of the diplomatic immunity some of them currently enjoy.  According to Israeli media sources, Tzipi Livni, now acting Foreign Minister who is also slated to become Prime Minister,  has asked Spain’s Foreign Minister Miguel  Angel Moratinos to use his influence to deactivate legal considerations that would  enable the Spanish Justice system to “hound”  visiting Israeli officials accused of committing war crimes.  

Well, Spain is well-advised to refuse to succumb to Israeli pressure in this regard.  The reasons for that are many:  First, this is not a political issue; it is first and foremost a legal and moral issue involving the premeditated murder of innocent people. We are talking about hundreds, even thousands, of innocent men, women and children killed knowingly and deliberately by the Israeli army  which acted on direct instructions and orders from the likes of Ya’alon,  Halutz and Benalizer. Comprehensive records containing full details of these crimes are readily available as they have been  meticulously documented by human rights groups operating in Palestine.

The helpless, unwept victims owe it to the conscience of humanity to make the accused stand trial for their crimes. If they are found not guilty, they will be set free; but if they are found guilty, they should be made to pay for their crimes.  Hence, Spain must uphold the moral authority of its justice system and see to it that alleged Israeli war criminals setting foot on Spanish soil are treated no better and no worse than any other criminals.  Criminals are criminals regardless of their ethnic background or religious affiliation. And it shouldn’t matter if the suspects are citizens of a powerful or a powerless state.  Second,  there is a large mass of evidence that would indict these alleged war criminals.

 Ariel Sharon is undoubtedly a certified war criminal. He lived all his life as a war criminal. He was a war criminal as a soldier, as Platoon commander, as a Defense Minister and as a Prime Minister.  Sharon  had ordered the mass murder of hundreds of Egyptian Prisoners of War. However, his role in the genocidal massacres of Sabra and Shatilla near Beirut in September, 1982, accorded him the status of a  war criminal par excellance. But he doesn’t have to stand trial now, if only because he, now in a vegetative stage for the third consecutive year,  is being punished sufficiently  by God.

 As to Benalizer, this man too is a war criminal for ordering murderous operations that caused the death of numerous innocent people including children. In 2001, Benalizer boasted about killing so many Palestinians without drawing negative reactions from the world community.  “The world is now preoccupied with the events in America (9/11). This means that we can behave as we see fit with the Palestinians,” he said gleefully.  In addition, Benalizer okayed the bombing of an apartment building at Hay-al-Daraj in downtown Gaza more than six years ago. Then an Israeli warplane dropped a 2000 ib. bomb on the house of Sheikh Salah Shehadeh, a commander of Hamas military wing. The bombing killed fifteen civilians, along with Shehadeh, the majority of them young children.  Israeli officials involved in that monstrous  crime  also included Ya’alon, then chief of staff of the Israeli army, who knew that Shehadeh’s wife and daughters were close to him during the bombing.”

 This is the same Ya’alon who several months later called Israel’s Palestinian victims “ a cancer,” saying that “now I will be content with chemotherapy” and implying that “if the chemotherapy didn’t work,” then He would have to adopt the Hitlerian therapy.

 As to Halutz, the Israeli air-force commander in 2002, he too boasted about the Hay-al-Daraj carnage. A reporter asked him what he felt when he dropped the bomb,  Halutz retorted that he felt a small movement under his seat when the bomb fell. In a separate interview, he said he had no compunctions or guilty feelings knowing that innocent children were killed.

 “I sleep well at night, I have a clear conscience.” In their hearts, Israeli officials and Israelis in general realize that most of  their actions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and also in Lebanon can be classified as war crimes.

Some Israeli spokespersons try to prevaricate and create confusion by claiming that Israeli soldiers kill innocent Palestinians knowingly but not deliberately. Well, what is the difference between killing knowingly and killing deliberately. Even the Nazis didn’t have the Chutzpah to make such a claim.Besides, when the number of innocent victims is so vast, as in Gaza, even intent becomes irrelevant.  

It is for these reasons that the Spanish authorities  must not allow the integrity of the Spanish justice system to be compromised  by diplomatic pressure exerted by  Israel’s supremacist  leaders who harbor the racist belief that what applies to the rest of humanity doesn’t apply to Jews.  To be sure, no one is suggesting that Spain play the role of  world judge or world policeman.

However, Spain is a sovereign state and has the right to bar suspected war criminals from entering its territory.  This is the least civilized countries can do to  discourage and prevent the recurrence of more war crimes and crimes against humanity.