Two former CIA analysts on the effects of Israeli occupation
"We have long played with words about this, labeling Israel's policy 'ethnocide,' meaning the attempt to destroy the Palestinians as a people with a specific ethnic identity.
"Others who dance around the subject use terms like 'politicide' or, a new invention, 'sociocide,' but neither of these terms implies the large-scale destruction of people and identity that is truly the Israeli objective.
"'Genocide'--defined by the UN Convention as the intention 'to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group' -- most aptly describes Israel's efforts, akin to the Nazis', to erase an entire people. (See William Cook's "The Rape of Palestine," CounterPunch, January 7/8, 2006 for a discussion of what constitutes genocide.)
"In fact, it matters little what you call it, so long as it is recognized that what Israel intends and is working toward is the erasure of the Palestinian people from the Palestine landscape. Israel most likely does not care about how systematic its efforts at erasure are, or how rapidly they proceed, and in these ways it differs from the Nazis. There are no gas chambers; there is no overriding urgency. Gas chambers are not needed. A round of rockets on a residential housing complex in the middle of the night here, a few million cluster bomblets or phosphorous weapons there can, given time, easily meet the UN definition above.
"Children shot to death sitting in school classrooms here, families murdered while tilling their land there; agricultural land stripped and burned here, farmers cut off from their land there; little girls riddled with bullets here, infants beheaded by shell fire there; a little massacre here, a little starvation there; expulsion here, denial of entry and families torn apart there; dispossession is the name of the game.
"With no functioning economy, dwindling food supplies, medical supply shortages, no way to move from one area to another, no access to a capital city, no easy access to education or medical care, no civil service salaries, the people will die, the nation will die without a single gas chamber. Or so the Israelis hope.
"A major part of the Israeli scheme--apart from the outright land expropriation, national fragmentation, and killing that are designed to strangle and destroy the Palestinian people--is to so discourage the Palestinians psychologically that they will simply leave voluntarily--if they have the money--or give up in abject surrender and agree to live quietly in small enclaves under the Israeli thumb. You wonder sometimes if the Israelis are not succeeding in this bit of psychological warfare, as they are succeeding in tightening their physical stranglehold on territory in the West Bank and Gaza. Overall, we do not believe they have yet brought the Palestinians to this point of psychological surrender, although the breaking point for Palestinians appears nearer than ever before....
"Bill Christison was a senior official of the CIA. He served as a National Intelligence Officer and as Director of the CIA's Office of Regional and Political Analysis. They spent October 2006 in Palestine and on a speaking tour of Ireland sponsored by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign."They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org."