William A. Cook
RINF Alternative News
In 2010 I edited The Plight of the Palestinians: A Long History of Destruction, a collection of articles by world renowned writers who unveil the genocide taking place in Palestine by the occupying power in this “advanced” civilization of 2014, a slow water torture of constant humiliation, destruction and death as the world watches and nothing is done to bring justice to the people of Palestine. In that text, Dr. Jeff Halper details the quest for “peace” that has been crippled by the state of Israel, the intentional, calculated and indifferent response to the conditions facing the Palestinian people every day. He offers this reality:
Israel’s strategy until today is to bypass and encircle them, making deals with governments that isolate and, unsuccessfully so far, neutralize the Palestinians as players. This was most tellingly shown in the Madrid peace talks, when Israel only allowed Palestinian participation as part of the Jordanian delegation. But it includes the Oslo “peace process” as well. While Israel insisted on a letter from Arafat explicitly recognizing Israel as a “legitimate construct” in the Middle East, and later demanded a specific statement recognizing Israel as a Jewish state (both of which it got), no Israeli government ever recognized the collective rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination. Rabin was forthright as to the reason: If Israel recognizes the Palestinians’ right to self-determination, it means that a Palestinian state must by definition emerge — and Israel did not want to promise that.4 So except for vague pronouncements about not wanting to rule over another people and “our hand outstretched in peace,” Israel has never allowed the framework for genuine negotiations. The Palestinians must be taken into account, they may be asked to react to one or another of our proposals, but they are certainly not equal partners with claims to the country rivaling ours (“The Problem with Israel,” Jeff Halper, 2007).
Seven years ago, November 22, 2007, I wrote an article about George W. Bush’s plan to bring peace to the mid-east, a plan that used the city of Annapolis as its label with Condoleeza Rice acting as emissary from the American government meeting with Israeli and Palestinian officials. That article tracked the reality of the failed peace process from before the Mandate to 2007. It is now 2014 and there is no peace–but there is once again a “peace” initiative under way, an initiative every American President seems obliged to give lip service to knowing beforehand no peace will be affected. Why? Why go through a process all know will not result in peace? Why exercise an illusion? For whose benefit? To what end?
Resting on my bookshelf is a cunning little device, an object I’ve had in my office for decades, a curiosity piece that grabs the attention of children and adults, a strange unfamiliar gadget that appears to have a purpose since it has a handle, two gears fastened to small rounded cylinders that crisscross each other as one turns the handle, it’s called a do-nothing machine. Someone conceptualized it and someone created it and someone turns that handle to do nothing. Why? Why go through a process all know will not accomplish anything? Why spend time on an illusion? For whose benefit? To what end?
There it sits next to The Plight of the Palestinians and it seems to me Obama and Kerry must have one just like it since they initiated a process that they know will accomplish nothing, inspired no doubt by the do-nothing machine. Why? Perhaps it’s to pretend that they are not owned by the Israeli state or perhaps to defend themselves against the perception that they have abandoned any thought of a peaceful two state solution in Palestine or perhaps to extend time once again so Israel can steal more land and create more settlements allowing the slow motion genocide to continue. Perhaps an illusion is better than nothing at all.
But what of the Israeli government; why would they join this farce? That’s puzzling to me since I know from their own words and actions that they have no intention of recognizing the rights of Palestinians to a state much less create one. Indeed they have for 65 years denied even the idea of a Palestinian state, and as Halper has made clear they have torpedoed more than 19 times any attempt to create such a state. Indeed, there is no logic, no rational explanation of Israeli insistence that they want a two state solution, that peace is their desire, that the United States must be the interlocutor to bring the two parties together without pre-conditions and then raise conditions that could not be met and maintain this ruse for 65 years while absconding with all but 11% of Palestine (Israel has used a complex legal and bureaucratic mechanism to take control of more than fifty percent of the land in the West Bank. This land has been used mainly to establish settlements and create reserves of land for the future expansion of the settlements” [see Ifamericansknew.com] during that same period). There must be a deeper explanation that drives the Israeli governments to deceive the world year after year, something we have not yet addressed yet could be an explanation.
Perhaps once again it’s necessary to seek wisdom in fiction, to explore the unknown in narratives that dig deep into the subconscious mind, to burrow inside the human innards, to seek beyond the intestines and muscles and sinews and bones where the true being resides, where heartfelt yearnings reside, where the spring of emotions pours forth its latent reactions to self, where needles and surgical knives cannot go if understanding is to be sought, where self responds to urgings that drive the impulses to desperate acts that self itself does not comprehend, where the inner self is encrusted with the fears of generations pounded into the small child from inception, and identity is an accumulation of accepted hatred that seeps into the being in a collective response that determines all acts as self-survival against any outside of the tribal clan that has indelibly marked each member with a new source of pulsating blood, no longer a heart that throbs in rhythm to the hearts of all humankind, but emanates from a somatic fear that seeks only its own security, its own purpose, its own distinction as its hallmark at the expense of all who threaten its existence.
Franz Kafka, in “A Fragment,” tells a story told to him by his father who heard the story from a strange boatman. “A great wall is going to be built to protect the Emperor. As you may know, the infidel nations, with demons among them too, often gather in front of the imperial palace and shoot their black arrows at the Emperor.” A cryptic fragment certainly, about an emperor, an imperial palace, and a wall to protect the emperor and his people; unfortunately there are infidel nations who gather around the palace and shoot the emperor. Ultimately there is no protection, there is only on-going fear that any action to protect is doomed, and if, as Kafka also maintained “Guilt is never to be doubted,” fear exists inside the wall, always fear inside and out, of self and all others. Curiously, the Zionists have found reason for a wall thinking that it could serve as protection against their manifest enemies oblivious to Kafka’s admonition. In 2004 I wrote about Sharon’s wall of fear.
I would suggest that Sharon’s “Wall of Fear” walls in both the Palestinians and the Jews, that it gives offense to those on both sides, and it offends the moral sensibilities of any civilized person anywhere in the world. Sharon prepared for the building of the wall by laying its foundation in the guts of his people, fear of four million terrorists and fear that the future offered no hope for peace. Having bulldozed the Palestinian Authority out of relevance, he removed the possibility of negotiations, and, by that act, left the Jews without hope for peace, leaving him free to force the erection of the “Wall.”Consider how the Wall walls in the Israeli people: it looms on the horizon a daily reminder that they have failed to achieve their primary goal, a peaceful assimilation of Jews from around the world into a haven, given to them by a remorseful Europe and America, where all could live in dignity and respect, without rancor or fear of racism, hatred and oppression; a daily reminder that they have walled in a poor and deprived people behind barriers that isolate them from the community of nations, from their fields and shops, from relatives and families, not unlike the Pogroms suffered by the Jews in Poland, Austria, Russia, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia; a daily and fearful reminder that someday, somewhere, someone will scale or circumnavigate the Wall as people have done from time immemorial — as the Huns did when they mocked the efforts of the Chinese to keep them at bay on their side of the Great Wall, or the Germans when they laughingly skirted the Maginot Line — to make absurd the efforts of one people to subdue the will of another; a daily reminder that their purported Democracy mocks itself as it seals off an entire population in full sight of the world community despite the vocal objection of that community, indeed, in complete and utter disbelief that the Jews of all peoples could undertake such a heinous act; a daily reminder that they have created a monstrous gray monument to the harm they have inflicted on another people, a monument that in time will have the same effect as the march around Jericho, “And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of their sword”; a daily reminder that visible or no each and every name of an incarcerated Palestinian is carved into that cement just as the names of the fallen Jews, victims of Nazi atrocities, are carved into the marble slabs at the Holocaust Memorial in Florida; and, finally, a daily reminder that this Wall is but the beginning of a Wall that must stretch north and south along the Jordanian border, further north along the Syrian line, west along Lebanon’s southern coast, and south along the Sinai, thus completing the incarceration of the Jews once again” (Cook, “Fence, Barrier, Wall: What’s in a Name?,” 2004).
Could we not ask here as we did of the “Do Nothing Machine” why? What drives the mind to destroy what it claims it must protect? Why build more walls except to keep those not of the tribe out and those within the tribe clean of contamination lest their inner self lose its distinction, its hallmark and find release from the fear that pulses inside threatening its existence by purging it of all that could or would destroy it because it is not of them. The Zionists in forcing the existence of the State of Israel on its people did so by capitalizing on this fear. The world desires to destroy the Jews. There is no protection for the Jews anywhere in the world except in Palestine where their historic rights to the land will prevail and where the Jews will protect themselves from all their enemies; they need only ensure that protection by linking their survival to those nations that have the power and the will to ensure security. This requires control of such umbilical linked “friends,” the United States, England, France, Germany, Canada, Australia who become their “protector” as Rabbi Loew’s Golem protected the Ghetto of Prague in the 16th century (see “A Nation of Golems,” Cook, 2009). It also requires that their protection is sealed by law, hence restrictions on “those who criticize the Zionist state” as H.R. 4009(113th Congress, 2nd Session, 2014) demonstrates, a “Bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to prohibit an institution that participates in a boycott of Israeli academic institutions or scholars from being eligible for certain funds under that Act” (proposed by Mr. Roskam and Mr. Lipinski as sent to the Committee on Education and the Workforce).
There exists a mindset here driven by forces beyond the reasoning mind. Kafka offers a depiction of this phenomenon in “Metamorphosis,” a tale of surrealistic quality where the protagonist wakes one morning to find himself transformed into a gigantic insect. Yet his mental faculties appeared to be stable, his concerns those of a man prevented from getting to his train on time, on how to deal with the problems of those outside his bedroom door who would be repulsed by his demeanor; fear of confrontations followed, fear of his domineering father rose swiftly, loss of his job, loss of the money he provided for his family, the potential upheaval of his life made by his visible transformation into a loathsome insect roused innate fears both of expulsion and death, his words were not understandable, the imminent awareness by all outside that he was different, driven by different realities, unfit to be welcomed into the community, ultimately to be driven out or destroyed. Such is the inner fear that pulses in Gregor’s being and comes to fruition in the night, a nightmare perhaps but presented as true.
Kafka once stated, “I consist of literature and am unable to be anything else.” The house he (Gregor Samsa aka Franz Kafka) lived in, the town that surrounds it, the wall that surrounds the town metaphorically mirror the inner identity of the narrator, walled within walls, wakening inside a room where now, in this night where he, as he did virtually every night, writes the real world within which he lives, a world of fiction where explanations evoke symbols and depictions that convey truth in images and unleash through dreams the latent fears that energize those forced to exist in isolation from all others for their identity is encased in a tribal mind dependent for its meaning and its understanding of self on those who control their reasoning and determine for them not only who they are but why they are and in that vice how they will act. Thus did Kafka’s narrow world of the Judengassen encompass his entire life, one of Europe’s oldest ghettos, what he called “my prison cell-my fortress.” But in the dream of Samsa transformed into a hideous insect, there comes a release from that control as he can scale now the walls of his room and the very ceiling above, a freedom made possible by his release from his “Penal Colony,” an escape from “The Judgment,” an avoidance of The Trial and find a new life, perhaps, in Amerika.
The Metamorphosis captures the condition of the tribal member caught within the society he must accommodate and assimilate into despite the impossibility of that probability, not because the society consciously refuses the assimilation but because the individual fears those not members of the tribe and because he fears they find him odious as the hideous insect depicts. Crushed inside these twin fears, there is no escape for the tribe but the destruction of the perceived enemies regardless of their passivity to the condition of the tribes’ fears.
But Kafka’s brilliant and penetrating analysis of the tribal mind and its insidious control of its members does not end with The Metamorphosis, it is extended and brutalized in “The Penal Colony.” This narrative captures the incapacity of the individual mind to control its own destiny. There is an Officer who is both controller and judge, guided by a simple rule, “guilt is never in doubt,” a rule that applies to those not of the tribe but to tribal members as well; all are guilty, all threaten the security and control of the Zionist entity, hence the epithet “self-hating Jew.” As the Officer describes the penal colony’s procedures for determining guilt, the condemned are totally submissive to the authorities, they do not expect due rights under the law, they understand that those in control have full authority to arrest, imprison and condemn to death whomever they will thus making legal arrest without due process, incarceration indefinitely and execution as well as extrajudicial assassination.
When questioned by an outside Traveler who comes to interview the Officer, the obvious questions seek obvious answers that the Officer finds incomprehensible, how can anyone question the authorities to inflict what they must to ensure the safety of the people? To justify his position the Officer releases the prisoner who was scheduled for execution and gets on the torture machine that he designed to prove that the judgment of the authorities is justified for all because it stipulates that the judgment must “Be Just.” Ironically, Kafka narrates that the machine goes berserk, and the designer of the hideous machine becomes its last victim as it disintegrates into an uncontrollable monster.
What Kafka envisioned is prophetic; when a state imposes its will on all its sister states, it becomes a monster, a metallic Golem perhaps that destroys at will but creates its own grave in the process, as Kafka’s Officer becomes pinned to the needles that were supposed to inscribe on the prisoner’s back the judgment of the authorities but instead leave his body suspended, bleeding and shredded, hanging above the grave into which he was to have been tossed. There it must remain isolated, condemned, and forever abhorred as an atrocity of insanity and arrogance.
Consider the actions of the Zionist State that from its inception under the control of the Jewish Agency, the eleven controllers in the Red House making their determinations for all Jews arriving in Palestine, as described by Dr. Ilan Pappe in The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, to use terror against the British Mandate Government in Palestine, to coerce the members of Parliament in London to overlook their crimes against the British people, to massacre the citizens of Deir Yassin and over 30 other massacres in areas belonging to the indigenous peoples of Palestine, to control by threat and intimidation the new immigrants arriving in Palestine from Europe as depicted by documents seized by the Mandate Police, and available now from the files of Sir Richard C. Catling in the Rhodes House Archives, and one has a clear picture of Zionist power over the Jewish people escaping Germany and elsewhere as they imposed their will on the helpless, both Jew and Palestinian, during the late 1930s and through 1948.
When complicity in crime is imposed on innocent people through coercion and fear, we have an understanding of the truth imbedded in Kafka’s narratives and that gives us pause to realize why this state can attack Iraq to destroy its nuclear plant construction and that of Syria and attempt to force the western world to attack Iran; it makes one realize that invading Lebanon without justified reason, its invasion and retention of the Golon Heights and its invasion and destruction of Gaza happens despite the international laws that should determine the behavior of member nations, and it should make obvious that this state will go to any lengths to control the United Nations by controlling the American Government by controlling its elected officials regardless of the desires of the citizens of the United States.
We need only reflect on the 2008 Christmas invasion of Gaza to understand the irrationality of attacking a defenseless people surrounded by the military power of the IDF with its use of extensive missile force from the air, the eastern borders under Israeli control and from the sea; add to that the needless use of white phosphorus that is both illegal and causes catastrophic pain for those unable to escape its searing pain. Why such brutality against a people incarcerated on all sides without military capability to defend their homes or even the ability to flee the terror of the Jewish invasion? Why inflict such barbaric force when those surrounded had no means to destroy the Zionist state? What irrational behavior erupts in a purported civilized state unless it is itself an irrational fear of self-destruction if perceived enemies are not eradicated as insurance against security (read survival instinct) for the people of Israel? Listen to the voices of those in positions of power and influence that justify the attempted destruction of the Gazan people:
The son of Sharon :’Flatten Gaza, send it back to Middle Ages, they need to die! ’
Interior Minister Eli Yishai said Operation Pillar of Defense would continue and likely be expanded, The war in Gaza “must be so painful and difficult that the terror groups will not think twice but a hundred times before they fire missiles against Israel again…The goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages, only then will Israel be calm for the next 40 years. ” The National Unity Party, Michael Ben-Ari, called for Israeli soldiers to kill Gazans without thought or mercy.“ There are no innocents in Gaza, don’t let any diplomats who want to look good in the world endanger your lives — mow them down! ” A prominent Israeli rabbi, Yaakov Yosef, the son of former chief rabbi, Ovadia Yosef, in a sermon at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron blessed IDF soldiers while urging them “to learn from the Syrians how to slaughter the enemy. ”
How explain these cries of inhumane hate against a place and its people that have never attacked the Zionist state except out of absolute desperation, hopelessness, and despair, the last resort of those who have the right to attack unlawful occupiers of their land and homes? This is the voice of insanity that cannot exist in a sane world where concern, compassion and love should guide our endeavors and foster the drive toward true peace, not a “peace” (shalom) that justifies its rights by demanding absolute control of all that threatens its security as it denies the very thing it claims as its right. This world in this time is not tribal anymore; it is guided by international laws that all peoples of the earth have designed and mutually accept. That should be true of the Israeli State since it has signed acceptance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Geneva Accords that have defined genocide, a definition resulting from the catastrophic incarceration and deaths inflicted on the Jews in Nazi Germany. Yet today this definition is disgraced and defied by the Zionist State as it commits genocide in Palestine as the voices in the book that opened this article testifies, and the world watches and does nothing.
Perhaps now we might understand that fiction can enlighten us more than the silent voices of the intimidated and the damned; Kafka has looked inside the human breast and unveiled the true force that gives life to the horrors inflicted on the people of Palestine and the peoples of Lebanon and Syria and Jordan and Gaza as the Zionist power used the teachings of Judaism to control those seeking security and comfort in what could have been a homeland for the Jewish people but has become instead a lawless and ruthless occupation power and destroyer of the true owners of the land from the time they were offered solace to live with the people of Palestine.
And this brings us to the “Do Nothing Machine” that the Zionists use to deceive the people of the world that it desires a peaceful solution to the crisis by a mutually negotiated two state determination when in reality they desire only the eradication of the Arabs in Israel and all other Arabs that inhabit their land in Judea and Samaria; this has been their goal since they first arrived in Palestine and that “peace Machine” they use will ensure that neither peace nor a Palestinian state will ever exist. Let’s end with the unfortunate prophetic words of Israel’s most ardent exponent and the most vocal of its true face, a terrorist of extraordinary visibility and one accepted by the Israeli people as their Prime Minister, Menachem Begin, head of one of the Jewish terrorist groups, who described Deir Yassin as “splendid,” and stated: “As in Deir Yassin, so everywhere, we will attack and smite the enemy. God, God, Thou has chosen us for conquest.”
There remains only this horrifying possibility: to fill their new state, the Jewish State, the Zionists have utilized the services of “Settlers,” people who think like their ancestors did 3500 years ago, tribally, as those who respond to day to day living instinctively, in fear, always with the tiger lurking in the rocks, always with their enemy tribes anxious to destroy them, always with the mindset that they alone must preempt another lest they become the victim, and always with the rationale that all are potential destroyers and that gives them the right to kill at will by whatever means necessary; yet in bringing this ancient mindset into their midst, the Zionists have created a fearsome and loathsome nightmare not unlike Kafka’s “Burrow” where “unseen enemies crawl through the dark tunnels” and the narrator, Kafka’s only first person tale of horror, feels “threatened not only by outside enemies, but enemies within, in the earth’s entrails,” and they are legendary, and “I believe in them.”
William A. Cook is a Professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California. He edited The Plight of the Palestinians: A Long History of Destruction (2010). He can be reached at: email@example.com.