An Old Man and a Young Man in Gaza

By Heathcote Williams

Old man protests Gaza

A bearded old man holds a placard:
"You take my water, burn my olive trees,
Destroy my house, take my job, steal my land,
Imprison my father, kill my mother,
Bombard my country, starve us all,
Humiliate us all, but I am to blame:
I shot a rocket back."

From the Zionist Book of Psalms
A selection of ungodly chants
Are used to justify the destruction
Of a country and its inhabitants:

"We must blow Gaza back to the Middle Ages
Destroying all the infrastructure including roads and water"
– Eli Yishai, former Deputy Prime Minister.

Amen

"There should be no electricity in Gaza,
No gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing…
We need to flatten entire neighborhoods…
Flatten all of Gaza"
– Gilad Sharon, Ariel Sharon's son in the Jerusalem Post.

Amen

"There are no innocents in Gaza. Mow them down …
Kill the Gazans without thought or mercy."
– Michael Ben-Ari, an ex-member of the Knesset.

Amen

Gaza should be "bombed so hard the population
Has to flee into Egypt"
– Israel Katz, a Minister of Transportation.

Amen

Gaza should be "wiped clean with bombs",
– Avi Dichter, a Minister of Home Front Defense.

Amen

Israeli soldiers must "learn from the Syrians
How to slaughter the enemy",
– Israeli Rabbi Yaakov Yosef.

Amen

Here is Ze'ev Jabotinsky, admirer of Mussolini
And the godfather of Zionist terrorism,
Justifying the flattening of Arab villages in 1948
And turning their inhabitants into refugees in vast numbers
"The world has become accustomed to the idea
Of mass migrations and has become fond of them."

Jabotinsky adds, "Hitler, as odious as he is to us
Has given this idea a good name in the world."

Amen

It is ironic that Jabotinsky used Hitler
As precedent for the transfer of the inhabitants
Since forcible expulsion
Was among the charges against Adolf Eichmann –
An architect of the Nazi Holocaust
Captured in Argentina, and tried and hanged in Israel.

Undeterred, the former chief rabbi,
Mordechai Elyahu, has urged Israel,
Its army and its government
To "employ the Nazi choice"
Against the Palestinians.
To carry out a series of carpet bombings
Of Palestinian population centres in Gaza;
He urges the "indiscriminate killing of civilians".
On religious grounds.

Amen

The Chabad Lubavitch Rabbi Schneerson,
A self proclaimed Messiah
Whose followers await his return from the dead,
(As if the Rabbi hadn't preached
Enough when alive by his making the claim
That his religion heralded a new Master Race) –
Has a devoted and powerful acolyte, Rabbi Manis Friedman,
Who declares that the "only way to fight a moral war"
Is to "destroy the Arabs' holy sites" and "to kill them."
To "kill men, women and children", and to eliminate anyone
Who stands in the way of a Greater Israel.

Friedman embraces Israel's ruthless colonizing power
With an Old Testament ferocity –
With what Christopher Hitchens has called,
"The root of religious evil" –
Whereby the Torah can be misused
To mow down men in a mosque
With an automatic rifle,
And such vengeful triumphs
Given a country's blessing:

Streets in Israeli cities
Are routinely named after armed cuckoos –
Murderous Israeli heroes
Who've evicted indigenous birds
From the Palestinian nest,
And then killed them.

The Head of Israeli's National Defense College,
Professor Arnon Sofer,
Outlines his country's Defense strategy:
"If we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill.
All day, every day."

Amen

Colonel Yoav Gal, an Israeli Air Force pilot,
Tells Israel's Army Radio
"I believe that it [Operation Cast Lead]
Should have been even stronger! Dresden! Dresden!
The extermination of a city!
Not even a stone will be thrown at us. Because we're Jews.
I want the Arabs of Gaza to flee to Egypt.
This is what I want. I want to destroy the city."

Amen

Ethnic cleansing is Israel's origin
Not peace:
Netanyahu tells students at Bar Ilan University,
"Israel should have exploited the repression
Of the demonstrations in China,
When world attention focused on that country,
To carry out mass expulsions
Among the Arabs of the territories."

"The Palestinians are like crocodiles,
The more you give them meat, they want more"
Says Ehud Barak, when Prime Minister of Israel.

Despondently, the philosopher Martin Buber
Once told a New York audience,
"When we followers of the prophetic Judaism
Returned to Palestine...the majority of Jewish people
Preferred to learn from Hitler rather than from us."

Enflamed when Palestinians fight back
With increasing desperation
And despite overwhelming odds
To try to regain their ancestral land,
Israelis chant "Death to the Arabs"
"A Jew is a brother, an Arab is a bastard".

In front of their Arab neighbours,
A song is sung by settlers at Purim
Praising Baruch Goldstein's massacre
Of 29 Palestinians at prayer during Ramadan:
"Dr. Goldstein, there is none other like you in the world.
Dr. Goldstein, we all love you… he aimed at terrorists' heads,
Squeezed the trigger hard, and shot bullets,
And shot, and shot."

At this settler hero's funeral, Rabbi Yaacov Perrin
Famously claimed that even one million Arabs
Are "not worth a Jewish fingernail".
Goldstein's mass murder created suicide bombers –
Some two hundred amongst ten million Palestinians –
Which led to Israel's land-grabbing apartheid wall.

The Israeli lawmaker, Ayelet Shaked, calls
For the genocide of Palestinians on Facebook
And she advocates "the slaughter of Palestinian mothers
Who give birth to 'little snakes,'"
"The entire Palestinian people is the enemy."
She urges their complete destruction,
"Including its elderly and its women."

The new media are used to demonize the innocent
And to host persistent irrationalities:
A Jerusalem city councillor in charge of municipal security, Aryeh King, publicly advocates the murder
And the mutilation of non-Jews:
"I am calling out to all the Pinchases that are here …
Every one of us has a mission …
The Rebbe, who is here with us, expects us to commit acts of Pinchas."

Pinchas (Phineas in English) in the Torah was so incensed
By interracial (Jewish-Midianite) sex
That he took a sword and plunged it through both bodies
Of a couple in the middle of their lovemaking.
Then with a medieval fervor, Rabbi Noam Perel
Advocates scalping Arabs
By removing their genitalia –
A blood sacrifice to a mad mind-set
Of mystical thuggery.

Two Israeli girls hold up a banner
"Hating Arabs is not racism, it's values!"
Placing the Hebrew word for "Arabs", ARAVIM,
Into Twitter reveals young Israelis desiring
That Arabs die or be tortured to death.

The US House of Representatives
Votes unanimously to reaffirm its full support for Israel.
US jets duly declare war on Arab children
Whose futures they disintegrate.

In the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis,
Eight members of the Al Haj family
Are killed, including five children.

Five children killed in Gaza
Four Arab children, fishermens' children
First cousins from the Bakr family, aged nine to eleven,
Playing football on the Gaza beach in July, 2014,
Are shot dead by an Israeli gunboat.

Dead boy in the sand
A 12-year-old boy loses 18 members of his family in an air raid
From US planes including his father, a schoolteacher,
A photograph of Abdul Rahman Al-Batsh
Shows his shoulders slumped against a car.
It's the moment that he's discovered
That his father is amongst the dead.

Grieving boy
Later Abdul Rahman would say,
"They think we are worth nothing. They are killers,
They have no humanity,
And one day I will avenge my father."

Israel receives more aid from the US
Than the whole of the continent of Africa
Whilst the US population remains docile.
The Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman,
Says that Israel must "go all the way" in Gaza.

Comfortably seated on camp chairs and sofas
Some fifty Israelis gather to eat popcorn
And watch from a Sderot hilltop
As bombs rain down from US-supplied F-16s.
They clap and applaud each deadly blast
From 1,000-pound iron fragmentation bombs.

Israelis cheer Gaza bombardment
"We are here to see Israel destroy Hamas," Eli Chone,
A 22-year-old American tells Allan Sørensen,
Of Kristeligt Dagblad, pointing to a dot of light in the sky.
"It is a fighter who is about to dive. This means that it is about to shoot."

The conquerors' fans draw up their chairs;
Swigging on beers as they tend their barbecue
And watch Gaza burn from their vantage-point
In Sderot (once the Palestinian village of Najd).

One says, "this is our entertainment."
Someone points out that Hamas
(Rather than it having been elected)
Is "a death-cult" and Palestinians "enjoy martyrdom"
So "we're doing the Arabs a favour."

A lurid cocktail of triumphalist hatred,
Mixed with smoke from burning flesh,
Blinds them to Palestine's righteous yearning
For self-determination,
Their right in international law;
Their right to be unencumbered by occupation;
To be free from being Israel's penal colony;
Free from being stateless in a brutalized Bantustan –
A colonized people who are jeered at and decried
For their minimal attempts to fight back.

Later that night a bomb would land on a Gaza care home
Filled with elderly patients who cannot move
And with children who are already disabled;
Both are bombed in their wheelchairs or in their beds.

The Rabbi Noam Perel, head of Bnei Akiva
The world's largest religious-Zionist youth organization,
Urges on his Facebook page that the IDF,
The Israeli Defense Force be transformed
Into an army of avengers,
"Which will not stop at 300 Philistine foreskins"

Palestinian boy kidnapped and murdered A young man in Shuafat, Jerusalem,
Muhammad Abu-Khdeir,
A 16-year old boy with a knowing, elfin smile
Is pulled into a car
And kidnapped in East Jerusalem
While waiting to go into the mosque.

He is tied and beaten;
He has gasoline poured into his mouth
And he is burned alive.

His body is found in the Jerusalem Forest;
Battered in the head
And with soot deposits in the lungs
Suggesting he's still breathing
When set on fire.
Ninety per cent of his body is burned.

Another victim of Israel's slow motion genocide –
A holocaust which, this time,
Is being financed and uncritically supported
By 'the good guys',
By the internationally 'great and the good',
By the craven chorus of the compliant
Who ritually pipe up to defend
Israel's right to defend itself –
To defend the indefensible,
And to supply the money
The weapons, and the excuses
To enable it to do so.

On Friday July 2014
The Israeli Defence Force
Invades Gaza by land.
An Israeli soldier posts a selfie
Of himself having black camouflage paint
Applied to his face.

He tweets, "From the Field: Our soldiers preparing to enter Gaza.
The whole nation stands behind us"
Another tweets: "We have hit Hamas hard,
And we will continue to hit Hamas hard."

Tzipi Livni, Israel's Justice Minister,
Says she backs the invasion "wholeheartedly".
And expresses "love and confidence in our soldiers strength".

Israel's soldiers' strength is misused
To produce genocide as well as a scorched policy
Whereby 800,000 olive trees in Occupied Palestine
Are destroyed to drive Palestinian farmers from their land.

King Herod revisits his massacre of the Innocents,
But this time round he has the mainstream media
On his side: his spin doctors have them swallowing
His party line that toddlers are terrorists if they're Arab,
And Herod has journalists fired who don't please him.

"Expel the Palestinians, and populate Gaza with Jews",
Urges the Knesset's deputy speaker, Moshe Feiglin,
"Israel must attack Gaza even more mercilessly"
To expel the population "with maximum force".
The deputy speaker of Israel's parliament, the Knesset,
Promotes war crimes as a state sanctioned tactic:
After "softening" the targets with firepower
He recommends the IDF "conquer the entire Gaza."

He is emboldened by the US's blank cheques,
And in their support of Israel's heroism
In attacking a defenceless population,
Few see fit to mention that Israel's
First victim in its ground invasion of Gaza
Is a five-month-old baby killed
By an Israeli tank in southern Rafah
On July 17, 2014 – almost as if King Herod
Has returned to rule his zombie state.

The "most moral army in the world"
Is reportedly targeting women and children,
And even animals.
A doctor speaking to Al Jazeera says that the Israeli army
"Is shooting at anything moving in Shujaiyah"
And consequently the streets of East Gaza are strewn
With dead bodies and severed limbs.

A Norwegian doctor in Shifa hospital, Mads Gilbert,
Is overwhelmed by the ground invasion:
By the carloads of those "maimed, torn apart, and bleeding; Shivering, and dying - all sorts of injured Palestinians,
All ages, all civilians, all innocent."

"The heroes in the ambulances," he continues,
"And in all of Gaza's hospitals
Are working 12-24 hour shifts, grey from fatigue
And inhuman workloads – they care, they triage,
And they try to understand the incomprehensible chaos
Of bodies, sizes, limbs, walking, not walking, breathing,
Not breathing, bleeding, not bleeding humans. HUMANS!"

With these words Dr Gilbert addresses himself
to the President of the United States.
Predictably there's no response.

Palestinian baby wounded
Israel's vision of itself was once
As a "light unto the nations".
It has no need of the fearful hatred,
Fuelling its bombs and its bullets,
Unless it wishes to fade away –
Putting out the light that might enable it
To see the stranger as a friend.

By Heathcote Williams, with grateful acknowledgements to Angela Godfrey-Goldstein

Stop the War Coalition 86 Durham Road London N7 7DT email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Tel: 020 7561 4830