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  >  Authoritarianism   >  Ehud Olmert, Zionist warmonger, hosted by Kathmandu think-tank, speaks on how to wage war and build ‘peace’
November 12, 2023 6:30 pm

Ehud Olmert, Zionist warmonger, hosted by Kathmandu think-tank, speaks on how to wage war and build ‘peace’

By Sanjaya Jayasekera

The Nepal Institute for International Cooperation and Engagement (NIICE), a Kathmandu based think-tank has joined the bandwagon of lies and slanders in rationalizing the Zionist genocide in Gaza against Palestinian people, and is sponsoring war mongers in its public platforms.

On October 31, NIICE had invited former Prime Minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert to speak on “Israel Palestine Conflict: A Way forward for Peace”. However, rather than being a discussion on ‘peace’, as one would expect as per the topic, the speech and Olmert’s answers to the few questions presented – representing the ideology of the imperialist-backed Zionist ruling class – were simply aimed at justifying war and the Israeli onslaught against the Palestinians. 

At the time his speech was being delivered, the Israeli genocidal bombardment in Gaza had continued for  three weeks, killing over 8000 Palestinians,  over one third of the killed being children. Every ten minutes a kid was being killed. Yet, even from the very start of the programme, neither the speaker nor the moderator showed any empathy or made any reference to this mass massacre of innocent men, women and children.

In explaining the “context” in which the webinar was held, the moderator, Dr. Pramod Jaiswal, the Director of NIICE, referred only to Hamas’ “large scale invasion” of Israel and “offensive attack” on civilian communities on October 07, and not a single word to the carnage in Gaza Strip.The organizer’s intention to suppress any talk of the bloody side of the Israeli onslaught was evident. Carrying on, Olmert, during his speech, referred to this attack several times and the nature of atrocities committed, and  endeavoured to portray the Hamas strike as the most unprovoked and unreasonable crime on earth. For both Jaiswal and Olmert, there had been no Palestinian deaths at all, and the history starts from October 07!

Throughout his entire speech, Olmert was talking about how to wage the war, not how to stop it; how to kill more people, and not how to immediately stop a genocide. The speech was filled with lies, slanders and war-mongering.  

Hamas’ unprovoked ‘savage’ attack?

Olmert started with usual propaganda lies in respect of the October 07 attack. He said the attackers had carried out the “worst atrocities”: They had “butchered, beheaded, slaughtered” citizens and “raped young ladies in their homes”; “two, three years olds were burnt to death,” he said attemting to assert the “savagery”, “brutality”of Hamas, without any proof whatsoever. It is well known now that the claim of kids to have been beheaded as claimed by Benjamin Netanyahu is wrong.  

Admitting that since 1967 Israel controlled Gaza, Olmert lied about illegal occupation: “In 2005, we decided that we don’t want to control Gaza. And we decided to pull out completely from Gaza. …I was the one who initiated this move to pull out from Gaza, because I said we will have to take care of our defence and security, but we can’t continue to be occupiers of other people. Prime Minister at that time General Sharon agreed with me and together we made this dramatic decision and Israel pulled out entirely from Gaza. So from 28th August 2005, Israel does not control Gaza, Israel does not occupy any piece of land from Gaza…but the Hamas organization from day one started to attack the state of Israel. Literally, a day after the Israeli evacuation, Hamas was already shooting short range rockets against Israel townships. Over the years it had spread and expanded into intolerable proportions. Palestinians improved their weaponry system. They were starting to shoot rockets. They were doing it for a very long time.…All these years the Palestinians were trying to penetrate, and not only were they not prepared to negotiate with us, they didn’t want to find a pattern of living alongside the state of Israel without any conflict, particularly since we pulled out and there was no piece of land we occupied which can be claimed by the Palestinians.., And the international borderline is recognized by the United Nations. So there  is no question that Israel does not occupy any piece of land. But, in spite of this Hamas was not prepared to negotiate. Over the years we had many such confrontations.”

Collateral Damage 

This is what he has to say about civilian deaths crudely referred to as “collateral damage”: 

“Finally we started to move ground forces into Gaza. Once we started our ground forces, immediately there was a wave of criticism, emerging from everywhere: Europe, America, from other places criticizing Israel for the collateral damage which is inflicted on non-involved civilians and what they call the humanitarian question..”

Olmert questions, “I need to ask everyone, particularly those who say from the outset, whether they understand Israel’s right to respond and support Israel’s counter-attack against Hamas. How do they think we can counter their [Hamas] attack? They must understand that the Hamas organization is very skilfully stationed, positioned, in the center of towns. The headquarters of Hamas is the ground floor of the biggest hospital in Gaza [A blatant lie and they soon attacked hospitals, causing hundreds of civilian deaths. Israel forces bombed four hospitals including al-Shifa hospital on November 10]. Their bunkers from where they shoot their missiles, the command positions of Hamas, all of them are in the center of towns, many of them are in the ground floor of schools, or hospitals or public facilities. The reason is very simple. They use the civilian population as a human-shield, in order to protect themselves. They don’t really care for the quality of life of the Palestinians. They don’t really care for the possible ramifications of their terrorist actions against us, what it may bear on the lives of the innocent people that live in Gaza. [Is it? Fine. Does Israel care about international humanitarian law? Do Hamas actions rationalize collective punishment, targeting civilians to the extent of ethnic cleansing? genocide?] [parentheses are  by the writer]

Olmert’s war and ‘peace’ strategy: 

Hamas  wants, he says, “to say to the International community, look at what israelis are doing, but we are doing what we can, number one we need to reach out the leaders of the Hamas organization because if we will not eradicate Hamas, if we will not break the ability of Hamas to carry out these terrorist  actions, then how can anyone ever expect to be able to make peace between us and the Palestinians, if the Palestinians are dominated by a most extreme terrorist, violent, radical religious organization [Israel wants to decide who they want to talk with on behalf of Palestinians, and for that matter destroy any party that opposes their partisan proposals] when they agree to make peace if they continue to be the dominant force amongst the Palestinians in Gaza. So we have to react and  what we are trying to do in order to avoid the unnecessary collateral damage and the loss of lives of many citizens that live in Gaza, we advise them to move out of the center because the center they have the command positions, they have the bunkers, they have the weapons hiding places for themselves and their leaders, in order to avoid collateral damage [‘collateral’, close to 9000 innocent civilian deaths!], we advise the civilian population to move out from the center of towns into the South part of Gaza [and they bombed the South too], where their humanitarian needs will be provided by Israel in coordination with America, Egypt and other more moderate countries. And everyday now there are at least 50 huge trucks coming from Egypt to Gaza to where the residents of Gaza [their humanitarianism so huge that they supply 50 trucks with humanitarian aid for 2 million people, after demolishing all their livelihoods, cutting water, electricity and fuel and even bombing the remaining bakeries!] were advised to move and they are provided with all the needs; but one thing we have to accomplish and this is destroying the military control of Hamas [at any cost] in Gaza.”

Olmert attempted to separate the interests of Hamas from the wishes of the Palestinian working people for freedom from oppression, and equate the people with Palestinian accomplices of imperialism and Zionism who are ready for whatever concessions they demand. He suppresses the fact that there is no possibility of existence for Hamas without mass support of the Palestinians: “Hamas doesn’t want Palestinian authority to make peace with Israel, Hamas wants Palestinians not to compromise with Israel because if they compromise with Israel that weakens the ability of Hamas to carry on this frontal attack against the Jews and the State of Israel and this is not in their interest. So one must understand that by killing the leaders of Hamas we are contributing to the option of making peace between us and Palestinians. The end game of this operation is hopefully we will destroy Hamas, we will then appeal to the Western countries particularly to America, which is very friendly to us – and the President visited Israel just to reemphasize American commitment to the security of Israel. We would like to convince our friends that at the end of military actions by Israel they have to send an International force like NATO intervention force for Gaza after the Israeli operation [which Gaza do you mean, after the mass extermination?]  to restore certain level of civil organization and civil administration in Gaza that will take care of the services that need to be provided to the residents, also we believe that the intervention force [as in Iraq, Afghanistan; as an occupying colonial power and to install their pawn proxies] will remove all the remnants that may have been left from Hamas in order to allow Gaza to start a long recuperating process from the almost endless military confrontation which took place between Israel and Hamas over the yearsOnly after a period of  time that the International force will be present in Gaza [Colonialism is back. They decide who represent and plan for the Plestinians] and take control of it and completely get rid of all those parts of Hamas which may have been left there, will the Palestinian authority be able to come to the Gaza, not on the bayonet of Israel but on the wings of the international force which has nothing to do with Israel, but which will be installed at the end of the confrontation. 

Now all this has to lead to a political process between us and the Palestinian authority and this political process must lead to the famous Two-State solution which I proposed to Mohamed Abbas, the leader of Palestine, which he failed to respond to… This is something we have to move forward after military confrontation and may be in order to make it more possible considering the nature of the present Israeli government, we’ll have to change the Israeli government, something many of us want to do anyway, and to have a government which is aiming at establishment of a two-state solution as the pattern of the relations between Israel and the Palestinians and also a possible vehicle upon which we can justify the military actions against Hamas now, because that may lead to the uprising again of the Authority as the dominant force amongst the people.”

’67 Borders?

During the question and answer time, he was asked, ‘Can Israel and Palestine coexist with all the historical trauma that they share?’ He replied, 

“…the end game has to be a peace process [sealed with incessant bombardment and on the thousands of bodies buried] between Israel and Palestinian authority which will be based on what is known as a two-state solution [So, prolonging the oppression and bloodbath for another 75 years to come], in other words, what we need to do is to help the Palestinians to exercise their right to self-determination [having broken their backbone, under duress and at gunpoint] in the territories of the West Bank and Gaza more or less along the line of ’67 borders. ’67 is the time where we had war with Jordan, Egypt and Syria as a result of which Israel occupied, in an act of self-defence – we occupied the territories in the West Bank and in Gaza. So, we are prepared, we will have to be prepared, Israeli government will have to be prepared – hopefully there will be a new government in Israel; I am not in support of the present government –  so that government will have to announce that we are accepting the two state solution, the Palestinians will have to accept the Israeli announcement and will have to sit together work out the details of the framework of two states for two peoples, Palestinian state and the State of Israel.”

These statements are bogus and mere rhetoric.  When he was prime minister, Olmert’s ‘peace plans’ were, as part of calculated maneuvers to suit larger imperialist geostrategic demands, designed to remove some isolated settlements in the West Bank, while permanently annexing the larger settlements and east Jerusalem, fully honouring the hawkish greater Israel expansionist plans and building a separation wall. It was Olmert, as Sharon’s spokesperson, declared that Israel is ready to kill the then PLO Chairman, Yasser Arafat. [Refer to Israel: Bush endorses Olmert’s West Bank land grab. (wsws.org, 25 May 2006)]

Palestinian national identity is a very late process which has matured only towards the 70s and the 80s in Gaza and West Bank

Asked, whether he considered the Balfour declaration was the root cause of the existing problem, Olmert once again asserted the military strategy to win the war  and continued with the treachery of historical falsification:

“Balfour declaration was made on the 02nd November 1917, which means 106 years ago. It was the confirmation of the historical rights of the Jewish people to the ancient homeland. Now in 1917, there was not a Palestinian State, no one talked about Palestinian state, no one claimed to have established a Palestinian state and there was not any population which at that time was identified as a Palestinian peoples  that lived in the Middle East. I think that what eventually developed into what now is known as the Palestinian people is a very late phenomenon, which actually started only in the mid 50s of the 20th Century [What a shameful and brutal falsification of history!]. That is, a long time there was always a certain conflict between the Jews that came to live in the land of Israel, particularly after the second world war, after the Holocaust and so on, and that time there were few Arabs, relatively speaking, in numbers, that lived in here what is known as the Holy land, the ancient land of Israel. And there were conflicts between us and them. Their national identity, the definition of the people that lived in Israel as the Palestinian people, as distinct from Jordinians, from Syrians, from Egyptians, from Lebanese is a very late process which has matured only towards the 70s and the 80s of the 20th Century, not too many years ago. 

In any event, we recognized the Palestinians as a distinct people, we recognized their right to exercise self-determination. We think that the natural place for them is where they are, in Gaza and in the West Bank [What? So, for Olmert, historical territories of Palestinians consist only of Gaza and the West bank, and there was nothing called Zionism capturing lands of the others!] They actually signed an agreement that will define the framework of this peace treaty on 13th September 1993, and what is known as the Oslo agreement. 

So, now what needs to be done is to get rid of those amongst the Palestinians which are not  prepared to compromise with Israel, not prepared to make peace and relieve, release Palestinian authority to have the necessary freedom and political support which is essential for them in order to engage in a process of negotiation with Israel [This is Zionist ‘peace’ strategy – break the backbone of the opponent with bombardment, and have agreements signed at the gunpoint, or  sign treaties with an accomplice or with an imperialist-backed pliant puppet regime]

US imperialism warns Iran 

Olmert was asked whether he saw any possibility of the war escalating with other Arab countries. His language of war is self-explanatory:

“…In our part of the world, stability cannot be guaranteed, and to make any prophecy about how things will develop is a little bit too risky”, he said. The “enemy in the North“, the Hisbullah organization, he said, suffered ‘painfully’ under his regime 17 years ago, and “they may not want to repeat this experience now”. Olmert said, “yet…Hisbullah wants to assist the Palestinians in the South and they believe that by splitting, forcing Israel to split its attention completely from the South also to the North, will weaken the Israeli ability to deal with two fronts at the same time. This is the reason why there is a concern about the expansion of this war.”

“And also, one must understand that Hisbullah as well as Hamas are long arms of Iran. Iran finances them and provides them with the weapons and the training for military operations. So, the question is whether Iran will trigger Hisbullah to engage itself in the military confrontation we have now in order to weaken the ability of Israel to act as we believe we need to. I think, while Hisbullah will continue to bother Israel with all kinds of skirmishes in the border with confrontation [“confrontation”, a word used a dozen times in his talk] on a narrow scale, they will not broaden the bases into a full-fledged confrontation with Israel because that may be very very devastating to Hisbullah. 

“America wants to signal to Iran that Iran should be very careful not to interfere with the events [yea, the world’s policeman only can interfere anywhere with anything!],  and America brought here two aircraft carriers, the USS Gerald R Ford and USS Eisenhower, huge, huge, huge carriers with thousands of soldiers and with missiles, and weapons and, in a way, they signal Iran, ‘Hey, guys you be careful, if you start now to broaden the base and to enlarge the front into a full-fledged war, a direct war with Israel, Israel will not be alone, we America will be fighting with Israel’. So, this is a warning to Iran and I believe that will be sufficient in order to keep Iran from any direct involvement in the military confrontation.”

A question was also asked about Israeli intelligence failure on October 07. His reply was as high-handed and arrogant as was the rest.

Olmert’s culture 

Finally, he was asked, where would this conflict be heading? How can we have peace? What would be the best solution?

According to Olmert, “the threat to the stability of the world, not just in our part of the world, in any part of the world, in Afghanistan, Pakistan, in Iran, it’s all with the ultra-orthodox, extreme fundamentalist, radical elements [Sure? American imperialism, its lackeys and NATO have nothing to do with the increasing insecurity and global threat of world war?],  which are not interested in particular piece of territory or any political game, they  want to destroy the basis of our culture, our values our way of life and make it something entirely different [The culture Olmert and the Zionist ruling class said to belong to is not the culture of ordinary Jews, who have rejected Zionism and Apartheid]. We are not of course prepared to succumb to these and we will not. So, I think, if we will succeed in stopping Hamas and destroying Hamas [Talking about destroying Hamas, when every small kid of Palestine is turned an enemy out of a full-fledged genocide?] its military power, the chain of command of Hamas, then I think there is a good chance that a new cycle of political negotiations between Israel and Hamas will be resumed. And at the end of the day, this is the desire, the dream, this is what the peace loving people want everywhere [No, peace loving masses really want to rally for the dissolution of the Zionist, pro-imperialist, capitalist state and build a United Jew-Arab Socialist Republic]. 

A long-time member of the Likud party, Olmert served as a cabinet minister in the 1980s, the mayor of Jerusalem between 1993 and 2003, and then entered the Likud-led cabinet of Ariel Sharon. He joined Sharon’s breakaway Kadima party in 2005, becoming prime minister after Sharon in January 2006, and served till 2009. During his period in office, Olmert launched a war on Lebanon and Gaza in 2006, imposed an illegal blockade on Gaza, and mounted a further assault on Gaza in 2008-2009. As prime minister, Olmert ordered artillery bombardment of residential areas in northern Gaza killing civilians, including young children. Olmert was sentenced in 2006 to six years in prison for bribery when he was mayor of Jerusalem, and served an eight-month jail term.

Questions to Olmert

Olmert prompted this writer (President of the Colombo Action Committee and a human rights lawyer based in Colombo) to raise the following questions (via chat box as the questions were raised via text) once his speech was over:

  • There will be no Palestinian civilization for any peace, as the Israeli regime is waging a genocidal war. More than 8000 civilians have been killed so far.  This is war crime and crime against humanity. This Zionist-imperialist onslaught should end now. Do you stand with these crimes or denounce them?
  • Do you accept the Palestinian boundaries of at least in1967 [green line]? Do you accept that you are an illegally occupying force of the historical Palestinian territories?

None of these questions were presented to Olmert by the moderator, Jaswal.

What is NICE?

This writer then challenged Olmert with the statement , “You are simply a Zionist war-monger. You should not have any place in the civilized world to be invited to speak”. 

Soon after, Jaiswal immediately deleted this text and disconnected the writer from the webinar. NIICE claims itself to be “an independent, apolitical and non-partisan think tank” missioned to “advance the cause of peace and harmony through analyses and debates”! Such is their ‘peace’, no less their ‘democracy’!

NIICE had recently sponsored another Zionist strategist in its platforms. On October 20, it had held a webinar on the topic of “Reconsidering Israeli Strategy vis-a-vis Palestinian national Barbarism” and had hosted Dr. Dan Schueftan, former Senior National Security Advisor of Israel, advisor to two former Israeli prime ministers, and professor of the university of Haifa, who branded Palestinians as “a very different kind of people” from the Zionist “us”, to the extent of dehumanizing Palestinian people. 

Further Reading:

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and the putrefaction of official Israeli politics

Israel: Bush endorses Olmert’s West Bank land grab

Israeli Prime Minister Olmert resigns

[This article was originally published by thesocialist.lk here on November 12, 2023]

theRepublic.lk aims at developing critical knowledge on concepts, principles and philosophies of public law from an interdisciplinary and internationalist approach. It encourages its readers and contributors to engage in critical legal studies from a Class Approach to Jurisprudence and International law.

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