Earlier today I was again hit in the face with American exceptionalism and ignorance from a colleague in the states. A video I shared that outlines Israel’s “urbicide” leveled at the Palestinians provoked yet another ostrich remark of utter callousness and stupidity. For those English language readers still in the dark about what Netanyahu is up to, here’s a short primer.
First, I need to provide the reader with a full but concise definition of what urbicide is. The term, first used by author Michael Moorcock in 1963 to describe the urban restructuring of the US, has been applied to described places like Sarajevo, Gaza and the West Bank, Zimbabwe, post-Katrina New Orleans, and Iraq. For the purposes of this report, I will use the term urbicide in the same context as experts who claim the “strategy” is a part of genocide. In this vein applying the strategy to destroy people’s homes, is tantamount to destroying the people themselves. And in the video of which I speak, the one my colleague did not even bother to watch fully, there is proof Israel has exacted an unthinkable toll on the people of Palestine. It does not matter that Turkish Radio and Television Corporation produced the short film. What matter is whether or not the allegations of the documentary piece hold up under scrutiny. In today’s world, citizens must weigh each piece of evidence no matter where from, and make the proper determination – is it “fact or fiction?” Let’s examine the TRT assertions to determine their accuracy.
In the short “The killing of the city,” the TRT World piece supposes to look at Israel’s urbicide exacted on Palestinian cities. The short starts with the moderator claiming former Israeli Prime Minister Arial Sharon’s philosophy was to kill Palestinians by destroying their houses. The TRT production cites Sharon, claiming he announced his strategy for the Palestinians saying; “It is better to level the entire village with bulldozers, row after row.”
While my old school chums prefer to water down and divert Israeli cruelty and crimes by saying “It depends on which media you listen to. They all have a different angle,” the reality is, what he actually said was much worse. During his run to become Prime Minister, the depth of Sharon’s hatred of the Palestinians shone through. When asked what he would do about Palestinians from Beit Jala shooting at the illegal Jewish settlement of Gilo, Sharon replied:
“I would eliminate the first row of houses in Beit Jala.” And if the shooting continued? “I would eliminate the second row of houses; and so on. I know the Arabs…For them, there is nothing more important than their house. So, under me you will not see a child shot next to his father. It is better to level an entire village with bulldozers—row after row.”
The man whose military career earned him the nickname “Butcher of Beirut” was called a “man of peace” by US President George W. Bush. So, what is the truth about Israeli leadership’s ideology?
In the Turkish TV short the narrator goes on to describe what urbice is, telling audiences Israel’s plan for reasoning with Palestinians is using “siege warfare” on them. The definitions of the TV network are spot on, not open for argument. This is truth. The video goes on to show modern examples of urbicide in encyclopedic fashion by reiterating the Serbia and Zimbabwe cases. The Turkish narrative goes beyond defining urbicide and condemns the Israelis for not simply wrecking the homes and society of the Palestinians, but for simultaneously carrying out the construction of “illegal” settlement building. Let’s examine this claim.
For the sake of brevity, I’ll cite Wikipedia here:
“The international community considers the establishment of Israeli settlements in the Israeli-occupied territories illegal under international law, because the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 prohibits countries from moving population into territories occupied in a war.”
On this aspect of Israel policy there is no argument. What Netanyahu and his predecessors have done by creating these “simultaneous” settlements is a crime under anybody’s version of international law – anybody’s but the Israelis’, that is. The United Nations has been clear on this too, a recement UN Security Council proclamation validates what the TRT info video asserts:
“Israel’s Settlements Have No Legal Validity, Constitute Flagrant Violation of International Law, Security Council Reaffirms”
Returning to the focus, the TRT piece tries to show the systematic destruction of the Palestinians. Urbicide is reframed later in the video to reinforce the reality in Palestine – Sharon’s other nickname “The Bulldozer” comes into play. The nickname, the policies that earned him that name, they are matters of fact too. The narrator continues delving into the core of urbicidal warfare:
“By killing their cities, you can completely erase the people’s surroundings and make life unbearable.”
The short TRT video ends showing the Palestinians resisting the US backed Israeli war against them. Watching the events of today, connecting with people on the ground in places like Gaza, even watching corporate controlled mainstream coverage of the situation, no one in their right mind could draw any other conclusion. Israeli snipers gaming the shooting of unarmed civilians, the endless footage of the IDF brutalizing children and women, the carnage that is the infrastructure of Gaza, Israel’s crimes are stinking to high heavens. Al Jazeera reported recently on a particularly bad day for protesters of the Great March of Return movement going on now:
“Israeli soldiers shot dead three Palestinian demonstrators and wounded more than 950 at the Gaza border, despite the UN human rights chief urging Israel to stop using excessive force against Palestinian protesters.”
The fact my old high school chum is content with the status quo in the Middle East is not the problem here. The fact he is an example of the clear majority of Americans is. My countrymen, by and large, are perfectly willing to convict and sentence the Palestinians (or Russians or anybody) to certain destruction based on hearsay. My people are not even willing to take the time to discern facts anymore. Old friends raised their ostrich heads before me on Twitter or Facebook periodically – when I strike some nerve of their consciences – to defend the indefensible. If God is watching, trust me he hates it. Let me drive home my point on Palestine though.
In a 2002 piece by Stephen Graham, the author of “Cities Under Siege: The New Military Urbanism,” gives us this introduction using British Israeli intellectual and architect Eyal Weizman’s assessment of Israeli spatial strategy:
“In his open Democracy project, the ‘politics of verticality’, Eyal Weizman demonstrates graphically just how central the construction of Jewish settlements and access roads are to Israel’s strategy for attaining three-dimensional control over the geopolitical spaces below, within and above the occupied territories.”
In the report Graham lays out the diabolical plans the Israelis have put in motion to exact the destructive forces of urbicide onto the Palestinians, and to simultaneously later law and society to aid in their conquest of these people and their land. Short version, the Israelis are not just imprisoning and fighting the Palestinians, they are trying to eradicate them. Meanwhile, my friends in America believe the whole mess is subjective, and that your ire or apathy over the situation depends on a wide disparity of points of view. It is here I must caution, even suggesting this is moronic. The reality is this. There are only two points of view. There is international law and the laws of civilized human beings seeking peace, and there is the Israeli view. No gray area. No ambiguity. No room for further discussion. The Zionists are eradicating a race of people, plain and simple. The question now is, “whose side are you on?” End of story.
Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, he’s an author of the recent bestseller “Putin’s Praetorians” and other books. He writes exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”