Future is Terrifying
Moshe Ya’alon and Israel’s Disconcerting ‘Morality’
By Ramzy Baroud
June 02, 2016 "Information
- Israeli society is constantly swerving to the
Right and, by doing so, the country’s entire
political paradigm is redefined regularly. Israel is
now ‘ruled by the most extreme rightwing government
in its history’ has grown from being an informed
assessment to a dull cliché over the course of only
a few years.
In fact, that exact
line was used in May 2015, when rightwing Prime
Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, formed his thin
majority government of like-minded right-wingers,
religious zealots and ultra-nationalists. The same
sentiment, with almost the exact wording, is being
infused again, as Netanyahu has expanded his
coalition by bringing to the fold the
ultra-nationalist, Avigdor Lieberman.
Wednesday May 25, Lieberman has also become Israel’s
Defense Minister. Considering Lieberman’s rowdy and
violent politics as demonstrated in his two terms as
Foreign Minister (from 2009 to 2012 and, again, from
2013 to 2015), being a Defense Minister in Israel’s
extreme rightwing government in history’ harbors
all kind of terrifying prospects.
commentators rightly pointed to Lieberman’s
past provocations and wild statements – for
example, his 2015 statement threatening to behead
Palestinian citizens of Israel with an axe if they
are not fully loyal to Israel; advocating the ethnic
cleansing of Palestinian citizens of Israel; his
death ultimatum to former Palestinian Prime
Minister, Ismail Haniya, and so on – his
predecessor, Moshe Ya’alon, was spared much blame.
Worse, the former
Defense Minister, Ya’alon, was regarded by some
as an example of professionalism and morality. He is
William Booth in the Washington Post, compared
to the ‘polarizing maverick’ Lieberman. But
‘well-regarded’ by whom? By Israeli society, the majority
of whom support the cold-blooded murder of
adhered to its own definition of political
terminology for a long time. Its early ‘socialism’
was a blend of communal living, facilitated by
military onslaught and sustained by colonialism. Its
current definition of ‘left’, ‘right’ and ‘center’
are also relative, only unique to Israel itself.
Lieberman – the former Russian immigrant, club
bouncer-turned-politician who is constantly
rallying the roughly one million Israeli Russian
Jews around his ever-violent political agenda –
Ya’alon is now an example of level-headedness and
quote that has been reproduced numerous times in the
media is that of Ya’alon stating the reason behind
his resignation is that he has lost confidence in
‘Netanyahu’s decision- making and morals’.
Let’s examine the evidence.
took part in every major Israeli war since 1973, and
his name was later associated with the most
atrocious of Israeli wars and massacres, first in
Lebanon and, later, in Gaza.
‘morality’ never dissuaded him from ordering some of
the most unspeakable war crimes carried out against
civilians, neither in Qana, Lebanon (1996) nor in
Shujaya, Gaza (2014).
refused to cooperate with any international
investigation conducted by the UN or any other
monitoring group into his violent conduct. In 2005,
he was sued in a US court by the survivors of the
Qana massacre in which hundreds of civilians and UN
peacekeepers were killed and wounded in Israeli
military strikes in Lebanon. In that case, neither
Israeli nor American morality prevailed, and justice
is yet to be delivered.
who received military training early in his career
at the British Army’s Camberley Staff College,
continued to rise in rank within the army until 2002
when he was appointed Chief of Staff of the Israeli
Defense Forces. He was in that post for nearly three
years, as a result of which he ordered the
assassination of hundreds of Palestinians and
oversaw various massacres that were carried out by
the Israeli army during the Second Intifada.
was terminated by the then Defense Minister, Shaul
Mofaz, in 2005. In this case, too, it was
immorality, not morality, that played a role in the
conflict between him and his superiors. Ya’alon was
– and remains – an ardent advocate for the illegal
colonialization of Palestinian land. In 2005, he
vehemently rejected the so-called redeployment from
the Gaza Strip, in which a few thousands illegal
settlers were relocated to Jewish colonies in the
crimes caught up with him in New Zealand in 2006 –
over the assassination of a Hamas commander, Saleh
Shehade, together with 14 members of his family and
other civilians. An arrest order was issued but
revoked later, under heavy political pressure,
allowing Ya’alon to escape the country.
to the helm of the army in 2013, just in time to
carry out the devastating war on Gaza in 2014, which
killed 2,257 Palestinians in 51 days. The UN
monitoring group, OCHA, estimated that over 70
percent of those killed were civilians, including
destruction of Shujaya, in particular, was a
devised by Ya’alon himself. In a July 2013
meeting with UN Secretary-General, Ban-Ki-Moon,
Ya’alon informed the UN chief that he would bomb the
entire neighborhood in case of war. He did.
2015, he was still unrepentant. Speaking
at a conference in Jerusalem, he threatened to
kill civilians in case of another war on Lebanon.
“We are going to hurt Lebanese
civilians to include kids of the family,” he
through a very long deep discussion. We did it then,
we did it in (the) Gaza Strip, we are going to do it
in any round of hostilities in the future,” he said.
He also spoke implicitly of dropping a nuclear bomb
repeatedly gave the Israeli Occupation army the
green light to carry out ‘shoot
to kill’ policy against Palestinians to fight
rising ‘tension’ in the Occupied Territories.
the words of Ya’alon during a visit to a military
base in Gush Etzion in November 2014:
“It must be
clear that anyone who comes to kill Jews must be
eliminated. Any terrorist who raises a gun, knife or
rock, tries to run over or otherwise attack Jews,
must be put to death.”
Palestinians have been killed in recent months in
Occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Many of
those killed are stone-throwing children who are
facing Israeli army vehicles along with thousands of
trigger-happy Jewish settlers.
In his first
public remarks since his resignation, Ya’alon
accused a ‘vocal minority’ in Israel of targeting
the country’s “basic values”, stating that the
country’s “moral compass” has been lost.
thing is that many Israelis agree with Ya’alon. They
see the man who has been accused of carrying out war
crimes for most of his career as an example of
morality and basic values.
Lieberman has demonstrated to be a loose cannon and
a political liability, Ya’alon has openly spoken of
targeting children and repeatedly lived up to his
likes of Ya’alon, a man with a blood-stained record
becomes the face
of morality in Israel, once can understand why
the future of that country brings little hope,
especially now that Lieberman has brought his Israel
Our Home Party to Netanyahu’s terrifying nest of
Ramzy Baroud has been writing about the Middle East
for over 20 years. He is an
internationally-syndicated columnist, a media
consultant, an author of several books and the
founder of PalestineChronicle.com. His books include
“Searching Jenin”, “The Second Palestinian Intifada”
and his latest “My Father Was a Freedom Fighter:
Gaza’s Untold Story”. His website is www.ramzybaroud.net.