Friday, October 20, 2006


Gilles Deleuze, "Spoilers of Peace"

How could the Palestinians be "genuine partners" in peace talks when they have no country? But how could they have a country when it was taken from them? The Palestinians were never given any choice other than unconditional surrender. All they were offered was death. In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the actions of the Israelis are considered legitimate retaliation (even if their attacks do seem disproportionate), whereas the actions of the Palestinians are without fail treated as terrorist crimes. And the death of a Palestinian has neither the same interest nor the same impact as the death of an Israeli.

Since 1969, Israel has unrelentingly bombed and strafed Southern Lebanon. Israel has explicitly said that its recent invasion of Lebanon was not in retaliation for the terrorist attack on Tel-Aviv (eleven terrorists against thirty thousand soldiers); on the contrary, it represents the culmination of a plan, one in a whole series of operations to be initiated at Israel's discretion. For a "final solution" to the Palestinian question, Israel can count on the almost unanimous complicity of other States (with various nuances and restrictions). A people without land, and without a State, the Palestinians are the spoilers of peace for everyone involved. If they have received economic and military aid from certain countries, it has been in vain. The Palestinians know what they are talking about when they say they are alone.

Palestinian militants are also saying that they have managed to pull off a kind of victory. Left behind in souther Lebanon were only resistance groups, which seem to have held up quite will under attack. the Israeli invasion, on the other hand, struck blindly at Palestinian refugees and Lebanese farmers, a poor population that lives off the land. Destruction of villiages and cities, and the massacre of innocent civilians have been confirmed. several sources indicate that cluster bombs were used. This population of Southern Lebanon, in perpetual exile, keeps leaving and coming back under Israeli military strikes that one is hard-pressed to distinguish from acts of terrorism. The latest hostilities have ousted more than 200,000 from their homes, now refugees wanderin the roads. The State of Israel is using in southern Lebanon the method which proved so effective in Galilee and elsewhere in 1948: it is "Palestinizing" Southern Lebanon.
Palestinian militants for the most part come from this population of refugees. Israel thinks it will defeat the militants by creating more refugees, thereby surely creating more terrorists.

It is not merely because we have a relationship with Lebanon that we say: Israel is massacring a fragile and complex country. There is something else. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a model that will determine how problems of terrorism will be dealth with elsewhere, even in Europe. the worldwide cooperation of States, and the worldwide organization of police and criminal proceedings, will necessarily lead to a classification extending to more and more people who will be considered virtual "terrorists." This situation os analogous to the Spanish Civil War, when Spain sereved as an experimental laboratory for a far more terrible future.

Today Israel is conducitng an experiment. It has invented a model of repression that, once adapted, will profit other countries. There is great continuity in Israeli politics. israel believes that the U.N. resolutions verbally condemning Israel in fact put it in the right. Israel has transformed the invitation to leave the occupied territories into the right to establish colonies there. It thinks sending an international peace-keeping force into Southern Lebanon is an excellent idea... provided that this force, in the place of Israeli forces, transforms the region into a police zone, a desert of security. This conflict is a curious kind of blackmail, from which the whole world will never escape unless we lobby for the Palestinians to be recognized for what they are: "genuine partners" in peace talks. They are indeed at war, in a war they did not choose.

Le Monde, April 7, 1978


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