My site has recently enjoyed a visit from Wilbur the Hasbara Donkey, whose personal mission appears to be to seek out Internet mentions of the siege of Gaza and then spam-troll the comments sections with talking points straight from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In the course of the discussion I discovered that Wilbur (going by his hilariously unlikely pseudonym "Bob") has declared elsewhere that "The people of Gaza are at war with Israel". Yes, I suppose—in the same sense that the people of the Warsaw Ghetto were "at war" with Germany, that is.
But I have to say I appreciate his candor. I think it's helpful to know that the position of creatures like Wilbur is that the people of Gaza are at war with Israel, and that the people of Gaza—from infants to grandmothers, apparently—are therefore all valid targets for Israel's collective punishment. This puts them right in line with official Israeli policy, as outlined in Dov Weissglas's description of the purpose of the siege of Gaza:
"It's like a meeting with a dietician. We have to make them much thinner, but not enough to die," said the prime minister's adviser Dov Weissglas.
Israel is sensitive to the PR needs of our modern world, you see, and the Israelis realize that they can't just "kill and kill and kill" the "animals" in Gaza "all day, every day," no matter how much they might like to. No, it's necessary to carefully meter their collective punishment. That goes both for their diet and their economy generally, as described in this U.S. embassy cable (thank you, Bradley Manning):
As part of their overall embargo plan against Gaza, Israeli officials have confirmed to econoffs on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge (see reftel &D8).
(Wait, did we say "Gazan economy"? On multiple occasions? We actually meant "Gazan pipeline for heavy weapons from Iran"! Could you please update all your archived embassy cables with the preferred hasbara phrase?)
In fact, the Israeli NGO Gisha managed to obtain the Israeli government document describing how to "keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse" and "make [the Palestinians] much thinner, but not enough to die"—including the explicit acknowledgment that even these minimal guidelines for punishment could be ignored in the case of "a policy of deliberate restriction." I'm sure the Germans maintained similar documents regarding their procedures for the inhabitants of the Warsaw Ghetto. As an Israeli officer in the Occupied Territories once infamously said (or reasonably said, in Wilbur's fetid little value system):
In order to prepare properly for the next campaign, one of the Israeli officers in the territories said not long ago, it's justified and in fact essential to learn from every possible source. If the mission will be to seize a densely populated refugee camp, or take over the casbah in Nablus, and if the commander's obligation is to try to execute the mission without casualties on either side, then he must first analyze and internalize the lessons of earlier battles - even, however shocking it may sound, even how the German army fought in the Warsaw ghetto.
Yes, it's clear that the Israelis—and their faithful servants like Wilbur—have been "analyzing and internalizing", not to mention actively applying, the valuable "lessons" of the Warsaw Ghetto. And what could possibly be wrong with that? After all, the people of Gaza are at war with Israel.
I have some personal experience with this. I was in the West Bank in 2002, just a week after the Israelis pulled out of the Jenin refugee camp, and I saw exactly how the Israelis "internalized the lessons" taught by the Germans: as they swept through the camp, they had spray-painted the Star of David on the walls of many of the houses on one street, and elsewhere throughout the camp. In the mosque in the center of Jenin—which the Israelis had taken over and used as a sniper tower—we found an empty can of spray paint they'd left behind, and a Star of David drawn on the chalkboard of the kindergarten in the basement. There was smashed glass everywhere I went, in Jenin, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Rafah and Hebron. As I listened to it crunching beneath my shoes and surveyed the destroyed homes, shops, and offices, and the cars crushed like tin cans by Israeli Merkavas and bulldozers, I couldn't help but think of it as a Palestinian Kristallnacht.
But that's of no concern, because the people of Gaza are at war with Israel. Or to translate it from hasbara back into reality: Israel is at war with the people of Gaza.