Gaza in crisis by Noam Chomsky & Ilan Pappé(Book Review)


Syed Tahir Rashdi
Gaza in Crisis is Noam Chomsky’s clear-sighted analysis of an area in a desperate impasse.From the targeting of schools and hospitals, to the indiscriminate use of white phosphorus, Israel’s conduct in ‘Operation Cast Lead’ has rattled even some of its most strident supporters. In Gaza in Crisis, Noam Chomsky( a global phenomenon. He may be the most widely read American voice on foreign policy on the planet today) and Ilan Pappé( according to John Pilger, ‘a Israel’s bravest, most principled, most incisive historian’) survey the fallout from that devastation, and place the massacre in Gaza in the context of Israel’s long-standing war against the Palestinians. It is a rigorous, historically informed and much-needed analysis of the situation and will be welcomed by all those eager for Chomsky’s and Pappé’s insights into yet another political catastrophe. Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel’s War against the Palestinians is a 2010 collection of interviews and essays from Noam Chomsky and Ilan Pappé that examine Israel’s Operation Cast Lead and attempts to place it into the context of Israeli–Palestinian conflict. The book was edited by Frank Barat, who had conducted his first e-mail interview on the subject with Chomsky in 2005, as a result of his joint dialogue with Chomsky and Pappé, previously published as Le Champ du possible (Aden Editions, November 2008), which forms the heart of the work.Chomsky is a biased author, but he tries to back up his statements in this book with as many facts as possible. Interesting perspective on the Gaza crisis during the start of the blockade policies. I read this primarily for interest in what Chomsky had to say specifically about Israel/Palestine and discovered the sage & very agreeable wisdom of Pappé. Here we have an Israeli-born historian who, far from whitewashing history to suit the remit of the Zionist militia, seeks to despoil their carefully crafted statecraft and expose the truth behind the history put forth not just by Zionists but by their puppet media organisations. It soon becomes clear, through reading the book or just  checking the index, that it leans a little more on the Pappé side in terms of quantity but thinking about it logically one could speculate that it’s possibly been done to introduce people already familiar with Chomsky to the work of Ilan Pappé, myself included. This book consists of 8 chapters, each one of these represents an interview or a dialogue with Naom Chomsky or/and Ilan Pappe. Both are well known knowledgeable Jewish academics. From the title ‘Gaza in Crisis’, I thought the book describes in details what happened in the war on Gaza in 2009. However, the book takes the Palestinian issue as a whole, it describes the basics of the conflict, the US support for Israel, the ‘Ghettoization of Palestine’, the possible solutions to the conflict: one state, two states, bi-national state, , the way ahead: what can be done in addition to the killing fields in Gaza including the war of 2009. It also comments on the peace negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis with the US as the mediator.This work presents an enlightening combination of two of the most principled, informed, and perceptive voices on the Israel/Palestine conlict: Israeli historian Ilan Pappe and US linguist, dissident, and socal critic Noam Chomsky.Gaza in Crises contains a series of relatively short but dense and informative essays and interviews by one or both authors. I find their insights to be highly complementary, as Chomsky generally speaks of the conflict after 1967, while Pappe has conducted extensive research into the events leading up to the 1948 war, relying on the declassified Israeli military archives as well as Palestinian witness accounts.Gaza In Crisis is informative both to people relatively unfamiliar with the conflict and those with more knowledge. While sketching out a broad outline of major events between 1948 and the december 2008 Israel attack on Gaza, there are a few more focused essays presenting material I had no yet encountered in the author’s other work. In particular, Pappe has an essay investigating 5 major trends in US politics and society that he identifies as most influential on US Israeli policy, which I found highly thought provoking. Other essays deal with Nakba denialism, analysis of the one/binational and two state solutions, and the evolution of Israeli policy and brutality in Gaza. A intensive insight into the condition of Palestine. Truly horrifying and eye opening, the oppression of a helpless people who are in need of international help. 1947 began the occupation and the start of Nakbah (catastrophe), the invasion and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian peoples continued for 20 years. This part of the history is trying to be erased from the Israeli timeline. This is a crucial period in which people alive today have endured and still feel the pain. Israel has been backed by the U.S since the occupation, a key factor is Israels success and immunity from the U.N or world pressure. The fact this pressure still continues in todays society is saddening. The U.S are turning a blind eye to the murder of innocent children and families on behalf os using Israel to carry out its terror in the Middle East, Multiple peach deals have been attempted, laws have tried to be passed and embarrassing questions have been asked. Every time Israel and the U.S are the only ones opposing a peace deal.. Their intentions are clear to the rest of the  world.Before Obama came into power he promised peace deals and a eradication of the occupation issues. He is a puppet on a string. In one breathe he talks peace, in the next he promised $10 billion dollars loan to Israel. Money that is used for terror. Gaza is the most densely populated area on earth! Truly a devastating and amazing feat. Israel classes the enemy as anyone across the wall surround Gaza. They do not define between civilian and soldier. They “accidentally” bombed public services, hospitals, universities, schools, power stations and limited the water supply to the strip. These are terror tactics used to starve the Palestinian people into submission. Completing eliminating there societies structure and dismantling them morally. Noam gives very clear factual information on these subjects and gives you the insight into what the west has been covering up for so long.The blocking of humanitarian aid to an area that relies on this for 80% of its population is savage, these are terror tactics that are supported by the U.S. The U.S allows an all zionist lobby to determine the road map and bias the rules on Palestine. As much as some Presidents attempted to make some kind of effort to support Palestine. they did not do enough and did not try enough.I hope one day the occupational issues can be sorted, i hope Jewish people wake up and do their own research. Don’t listen to the biased dogma taught to you throughout school and society. Pick up some of Noams work and research the true facts. The country has mandatory prescription, why is this? Why is it you carry out orders without will? This society structure biased your mindset and gives you a single minded viewpoint. The camaraderie and inclusiveness of the IDF gives you false moral approval, look at why you are carrying out this cleansing and ponder the real reason!