Sunday, August 10, 2014

Israel's colonial repression

Anyone who has read about the fighting in Gaza will have noticed that Israel is defending the massive number of civilians killed by claiming that the Hamas fighters are hiding behind civilians.

That claim is right. However, hiding among civilians is standard guerrilla strategy. Yet most countries fighting a guerrilla uprising will not use the kind of methods Israel is using. A good example is how the US reacted to the guerrilla it faced in Iraq and Afghanistan: although it's behavior was far from perfect it took considerable effort to avoid civilian casualties. That was not totally altruistic: they were aware that winning "hearts and minds" is an important part of subduing a guerrilla war.

Yet Israel's strategy is not new. It was often used in colonial wars. It was also how the US dealt with insurgent Indians in the 19th century. It shows an attitude where the other side is seen as subhuman.