No, I did enter a large number of caveats. I did say the Palestine struggle is very tough now, because it’s salience has been drastically dramatically reduced because events in Yemen, Saudi, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria, so the Palestinian struggle has lost its political and moral salience. Then, most of the significant states in the Arab world are either out of the picture because they have been decomposed, or they support Israel — the Saudis, the Gulf states, Egypt, Jordan — they all support Israel. And the Palestinian Authority wants to see Gaza destroyed. So those factors were now working against nonviolent civil resistance.
But I said, if two conditions are met, it has a possibility. One is they have to adopt in a very strict way nonviolent civil resistance. I also said Hamas has to move to the side.
And to my shock they did it. They have no Hamas flags at the demonstrations. The organization is really democratic, they just have, they’re the most moderate force, by the way, in what’s called the High Commission, because they’re trying to strike very strictly to nonviolence.
So that condition was achieved. It’s not a Hamas phenomenon. It’s really a mess, nonsectarian, phenomenon. But I said there was one other factor and I was very optimistic. I said the solidarity movement is now dormant, however if you engage in mass nonviolent resistance I think the solidarity movement will come back to life. You might recall the joint Operation Protective Edge. There were tens of thousands of people demonstrating in London. It was a huge international outcry of outrage and indignation. And I was really bewildered that they did engage in the mass nonviolent civil resistance and the solidarity movement was missing in action.
JS: So, this week, Israel is not only celebrating the founding of the state of Israel, but also it’s the date of the creation of the Israeli Defense Forces, the combined defense forces, and I want to read a quote to you that I know you’re familiar with from a lecturer at the IDF National Defense College, Arnon Soffer. He said this in 2004: “When 2.5 million people lived in a closed-off Gaza, it’s going to be a human catastrophe. Those people will become even bigger animals than they are today. With the aid of an insane fundamentalist Islam, the pressure at the border will be awful. It’s going to be a terrible war, so if we want to remain alive we will have to kill and kill and kill, all day, every day.”
NF: Now let’s just stop for a moment, go to my website. It’s going to be a little ways down, it’s going to be Netanyahu’s speech before the Jewish nation. Read what he says:
JS: “It’s easy to declare the people of Gaza must be exterminated, but it’s not an easy task to accomplish. Most of you will know what it’s like when 100 bodies lie together, when 500 are there or when there are 1,000. To have executed this ghastly charge and to have remained decent, it has earned us a glorious page in the annals of history. We have the moral right, we have the duty to our people to kill this people who would kill us. We have carried out this most difficult task out of love of our people and we have suffered no defect within us, in our soul or in our character.”
NF: Yeah. We’re killing this people who want to kill us. It’s a terrible task. We all shoot and cry, but that’s what we have to do.
JS: So, whose words did I just read there?
NF: If you substitute “Gaza” for “Jews,” that was Heinrich Himmler. It’s a very famous speech of his, where the Nazis, like some others who came later, they derived this kind of sick pleasure in pitying themselves.
JS: I understand but the notion that is put forth consistently by Israeli political figures, or I just mentioned this geographer who’s an instructor at the IF university that Israel has a right to kill these people because it’s in their defense, and that is sort of how it’s framed. And if you say anything about Gaza on social media you get hounded immediately by people saying, “Are you saying Israel doesn’t have a right to defend itself?”
NF: That’s exactly what the U.N. report said. You have the right to defend the border from attack. You have no right to cage in a people in an unlivable space who are slowly being poisoned. You regain, you reclaim your right when you do three things:
One, you end the illegal blockade of Gaza. Two, you end the illegal occupation of alien territory. And three, you give the people in Gaza and the West Bank the right to self-determination and statehood. The denial of all of those three rights, not one fundamental right, not two fundamental rights, three fundamental rights, the denial of those rights means you lose any right to quote-unquote “defend yourself.” Until and unless you end those three consecutive, compounded, illegal situations.
There’s a fundamental principle of international law. I won’t give you the Latin, I’ll give you the English. You can’t get a right from a wrong. If you are inflicting on Gaza an illegal blockade, an illegal occupation, and you’re illegally denying them the right to self-determination, you don’t have a right to self-defense. You lost that right because you do not have the right if you are inflicting a wrong. If a rapist is raping a woman, and then a woman starts pummeling a rapist, the rapist doesn’t have the right to hit back in self-defense. You lost that right to self-defense the moment you start raping the victim. And it’s the same elementary principle there. You have only one right. It’s a right to pack up and leave and to stop tormenting and torturing those people. That’s your only right. Once you pack up and you leave and all the legalities are in place: No blockade, no occupation, the people are able to exercise the right to self-determination and statehood once the situation has become legal and legitimate, Israel has the right to self-defense.
I have said that from the moment I began being involved in this conflict more than 35 years ago. When all of these so-called radicals, when all of the radical posing and posturing, with all of their inane slogans about BDS and one-state, I have stayed very steadfast and firm and paid a very big price.
Yes, Israel has the right to defend itself but not until and unless it stops tormenting and torturing the people of Palestine, and, in particular, the people of Gaza. Until and unless, they have no right except to pack up and leave.