Noam Chomsky: Israel’s Assault on Gaza a 'Hideous Atrocity'
Hideous. Sadistic. Vicious. Murderous. That is how Noam Chomsky describes Israel’s 29-day offensive in Gaza that killed nearly 1,900 people and left almost 10,000 people injured. Chomsky has written extensively about the Israel/Palestine conflict for decades. After Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009, Chomsky co-authored the book "Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel’s War Against the Palestinians" with Israeli scholar Ilan Pappé. His other books on the Israel/Palestine conflict include "Peace in the Middle East?: Reflections on Justice and Nationhood" and "The Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians." Chomsky is a world-renowned political dissident, linguist and author, Institute Professor Emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he has taught for more than 50 years.
Below is a video intereview with Chomsky, followed by a transcript:
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: To talk more about the crisis in Gaza, we go now to Boston, where we are joined by Noam Chomsky, world-renowned political dissident, linguist, author, Institute Professor Emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he’s taught for more than 50 years. He has written extensively about the Israel-Palestine conflict for decades.
AMY GOODMAN: Forty years ago this month, Noam Chomsky published Peace in the Middle East?: Reflections on Justice and Nationhood. His 1983 book, The Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians, is known as one of the definitive works on the Israel-Palestine conflict. Professor Chomsky joins us from Boston.
Welcome back to Democracy Now!, Noam. Please first just comment, since we haven’t spoken to you throughout the Israeli assault on Gaza. Your comments on what has just taken place?
NOAM CHOMSKY: It’s a hideous atrocity, sadistic, vicious, murderous, totally without any credible pretext. It’s another one of the periodic Israeli exercises in what they delicately call "mowing the lawn." That means shooting fish in the pond, to make sure that the animals stay quiet in the cage that you’ve constructed for them, after which you go to a period of what’s called "ceasefire," which means that Hamas observes the ceasefire, as Israel concedes, while Israel continues to violate it. Then it’s broken by an Israeli escalation, Hamas reaction. Then you have period of "mowing the lawn." This one is, in many ways, more sadistic and vicious even than the earlier ones.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And what of the pretext that Israel used to launch these attacks? Could you talk about that and to what degree you feel it had any validity?
NOAM CHOMSKY: As high Israeli officials concede, Hamas had observed the previous ceasefire for 19 months. The previous episode of "mowing the lawn" was in November 2012. There was a ceasefire. The ceasefire terms were that Hamas would not fire rockets—what they call rockets—and Israel would move to end the blockade and stop attacking what they call militants in Gaza. Hamas lived up to it. Israel concedes that.
In April of this year, an event took place which horrified the Israeli government: A unity agreement was formed between Gaza and the West Bank, between Hamas and Fatah. Israel has been desperately trying to prevent that for a long time. There’s a background we could talk about, but it’s important. Anyhow, the unity agreement came. Israel was furious. They got even more upset when the U.S. more or less endorsed it, which is a big blow to them. They launched a rampage in the West Bank.
What was used as a pretext was the brutal murder of three settler teenagers. There was a pretense that they were alive, though they knew they were dead. That allowed a huge—and, of course, they blamed it right away on Hamas. They have yet to produce a particle of evidence, and in fact their own highest leading authorities pointed out right away that the killers were probably from a kind of a rogue clan in Hebron, the Qawasmeh clan, which turns out apparently to be true. They’ve been a thorn in the sides of Hamas for years. They don’t follow their orders.