Israeli threats of Genoicide

A woman watches the funeral of Palestinians, killed by Israeli ...

A woman watches the funeral of Palestinians, killed by Israeli forces in the northern Gaza Strip, from behind a window March 2, 2008. Photo from Reuters, posted on Yahoo News

Israel’s deputy defense minister Matan Vilnai was quoted recently as saying, “The more Qassam [rocket] fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, they will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah because we will use all our might to defend ourselves”.

Shoah’- as I understand it – is the Hebrew word for ‘Holocaust’. Vilnai was promising nothing less genoicide.

Shocking? Yes.

Yet, for many who have visited occupied Palestine and worked with the Palestinians and Israelis who struggle for Justice and Peace it is not “news” – or to clarify, it is not news that what we witness in Palestine is nothing less than ethnic cleansing.   

But there is still something shocking about hearing it said out loud, and by a member of the Israeli government. Incitement to genocide is a punishable crime under the international Genocide Convention.

While his comments are shocking, perhaps what is more shocking is the silence of the world. 

A Palestinian mother carries the body of her 21-month-old girl ...

A Palestinian mother carries the body of her 21-month-old girl Salasabeel Abu Jalhoum after medics said she was killed early on Sunday when an Israeli missile landed near her house in the northern Gaza Strip March 2, 2008 Photo from Reuters on Yahoo News 



19 responses to “Israeli threats of Genoicide

  1. Uh Sher – everybody knows that targeting civilians is the Hamas- Palestinian contrivance of choice in their ongoing resistance.

    Hamas was democratically elected by a wide majority, and its four guiding principles are:
    1: Islamic supremacy over the world
    2: Destruction of Israel
    3: Demonization and extermination of Jews
    4: Promoting terror, suicide terror, and violence

    Considering item #3 in particular, what can you say about this charter?

    By the way, the word shoah is a synonym for “violent calamity.” It wasn’t until 1942 when the historian BenZion Dinur used the word shoah to describe what was happening to European Jews that the definition of the word expanded to include the idea of “genocide.”

    Since the general usage of the word still means “violent calamity,” Vilnai is not referencing genocide in this case.

  2. I like this post. It’s honest. Im not very proud of my county these days. I’m also not a fan of Hamas. Look, it’s a war. War rarely brings out the best in anyone. Both sides are behaving badly. Homicide bombings are wrong. And, I have to acknowlege when I look at the numbers – that Isreal has done more than our share of promoting terror and violence as well. Far more Palestininans have been killed. And far more civilians

  3. Erin and Elijan,
    Sorry for the laziness of replying to you both at the same time… it’s been a long day.

    Anyhow, thanks for your posts. Yes, I too am angry and sad over the loss of Israeli lives. I’m angry and sad over the loss of any lives in senseless wars! If I give the impression that I somehow support the suicide bombings, I’m sorry. I certainly don’t!

    And I do understand the fear that leads to the attacks on Gaza, and I understand the feelings of voicelessness and powerlessness that lead to suicide bombings.

    Far wiser people than I have spoke of the “downward spiral of violence”. I see both “sides” (although, I almost hesitate to say it that way… it’s so oversimplified… there more than 2 sides to any conflict….) But back to the point…I see both sides caught in that spiral.

    And when I look at the root of that spiral I see the occupation, and the forced removal of Palestinians from their homes and land.

  4. I don’t understand how you or anyone could say they “understand the feelings” that lead to suicide bombings.

    Do you think that Israel is an illegal state – a colonial creation on Palestinian homeland?

  5. I find the description, a “downward spiral of violence” to be spot on. What I appreciate most about this post (and your entire blog, for that matter) is your recognition of the people, not the states. These are people— living in a war zone— and none of us outside of that region can really state what we’d actually do if living in one. Your work has taken you to this war zone and as such, I appreciate your ability to still speak with compassion for the people who live on both sides of it.

  6. Thanks Jen! I wonder if you give me too much credit. I think one of the gifts about traveling – that is also so hard – is that you get to know people so there is a real face on the pain and suffering. I am scared for my friends in Gaza right now. And it’s the same w/ other travels. When I hear about the violence in Kenya I think of the family who shared their table with me and wonder if they are ok. I don’t know that one can travel in Palestine and Israel without feeling compassion for all sides.

  7. ” … I see the occupation, and the forced removal of Palestinians from their homes and land.”

    Do you believe Israel is an illegal state?

  8. Erin, your question deserves more than a quick answer in comments so you inspired a new post, see: “an answer to the question”.
    – Sher

  9. Elijan mentions “looking at the numbers”: Here are the numbers as of yesterday according to B’Tselem. Between 27 February and 3 March, at least 106 Palestinians were killed and hundreds more were wounded. Over half of those killed (including 25 children) were civilians.

    During the same period, one Israeli civilian and two Israeli soldiers were killed by Palestinians.

  10. Hezbollah and Hamas are working toward the total elimination of Israeli society and the Israeli state and the Jews therein.

    With this combination of this singlemindedness and $ from the Islamic Republic of Iran, it’s likely that their kill-rate will increase with time.

  11. Pingback: “Defining Recognition in the Palestinian/Israeli Conflict” « Michigan Peace Team’s Weblog

  12. The four standards of the Hamas Charter are in direct opposition to all international humanitarian principles.

    They are:

    1: Islamic supremacy over the world
    2: Destruction of Israel
    3: Demonization and extermination of Jews
    4: Promoting terror, suicide terror, and violence

    How can somebody with a strong commitment to nonviolence fail to recognize this pap?

  13. Hamas is not Synonymous with Palestininas

  14. Rachel brings up a good point in her last comment – “Hamas is not synonymous with Palestinians.” Yes, Hamas was elected – and yes, my elected officials do not always truly represent me. I am always grateful when I travel that people are so willing and able to separate the US government from US citizens. And yet, I also want to be cautious not to get caught up in some “good Palestinians ; bad Hamas” trap.
    Instead I think it is wise to look at who/what is Hamas? Were they elected in free and fair elections? (By all accounts of independent monitors the elections were as free and fair as could be in an occupied land). Why were they elected?

  15. Hamas is an Arabic acronym for the Islamic Resistance Movement, and was created in 1987 during the first intifada. Hamas’ charter bars recognition of Israel. And yes, Hamas has engaged in many violent acts, including attacks civilians. And no, this is clearly not something I support.

    But Hamas has another side as well. It has established an extensive social services network, especially in the Gaza Strip. Many Palestinians have gotten much needed aid from Hamas — aid that has permitted families the basic necessities to survive in the face of a brutal occupation.

    Hamas, although barring recognition of Israel in the charter , has always shown a willingness to adapt to changing circumstances. For example, in the past, Hamas had refused to engage in Palestinian elections, but they have obviously changed their views on this point.

    Even before that there were many indications that, while they may never accept the “right of Israel to exist” (and this is simply not a reasonable for realistic demand), they were prepared to find ways for Israel and Palestine to live together in Peace.

    As with most things Hamas is much more complex and there is much more to the situation than most of us learned in history or read about in the corporate media.

  16. Trust me – I know history. I am not tainted by corporate media.

    There’s nothing complex about wanting to exterminate the Jews and “raise the banner of God over every inch of Palestine,” in order to establish an Islamic Republic.

    The sentiment was around long before the Peel Commission.

  17. Howdy Erin. Sorry, I didn’t mean the last comment to sound so snarky.

    I know you have a good grasp of history beyond what they spoon feed us, and I know that you are aware of media bias and of alternative and indy sources. I was responding not just to you – but in general.

    And, in general, yes, I do think it is much more complicated than “Hamas = Evil”. That said, as I read back over the post and comments – including my comments back – it’s odd. I never meant to set myself out there as some great defender of Hamas. Yes, I do think it is much more complicated than most of us hear about, certainly much more complex then “Hamas = Evil.”

    And, that does NOT mean I necessarily have some great love for Hamas and it certainly doesn’t mean I believe “Hamas = All Good”.

    I realize too the content seems to have moved away from the original post and my original thinking…. which has nothing to do with Hamas. Which has to do with my anger, frustration, sadness, feeling of helplessness over what is happening in Gaza. It has to do w/ my thinking about the everyday people living in Gaza and in the West Bank.

  18. I don’t believe anyone could imagine the original post or these response comments show support for Hamas. The point has been turned, altered.

    And to quote Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

  19. The content of the original post had to do with accusations of Israeli indictment to genocide.

    Do you think that any goodness brought about by the Hamas extensive social services network is far outweighed by their own blatant genocidal mission?

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