In an exclusive interview with moqawama.org, Dr. Norman Finkelstein gives his view on the Palestinian cause, of which he has been an everyday commentator, and the soft war of sowing sedition in the region, embodied currently in the Special tribunal scheme being used in Lebanon. The Jewish-American Anti-Zionist political scientist and author has been often lambasted for his approach on topics related to the occupying "Israeli" entity and the US policies. Finkelstein received his doctorate in 1988 from the Department of Politics at Princeton University. For many years he taught political theory and the "Israeli"-Palestine conflict. Dr. Finkelstein, the author of 6 books which have been translated into more than 40 foreign editions is currently an independent scholar.
Restoring "Israel's" Deterrence Capacity, and the Hegemony Policies in the Middle East
Starting with his latest book "This Time WE Went Too Far" and how he perceives the 2008-2009 onslaught on Gaza, Finkelstein said that the (Israeli) attack on Gaza which killed more than fourteen hundred innocent Palestinians had very little of anything to do with what the people of Gaza did or what Hamas did. "If you read in the "Israeli" newspapers, they (Israelis) were very clear they said the purpose of the attack on Gaza was to restore what they call their deterrence capacity. This "deterrence capacity" is "Israel's" fancy term for the Arab world's fear from "Israel"," Finkelstein said.
The scholar underscored "The defeated "Israel" suffered in 2006 during the attack on Lebanon and this "Israel was determined to undo that defeat. "Israel" felt after its defeat in 2006, that the Arab world wasn't afraid of it, and so it had to do something to restore this fear.
Finkelstein pointed out the timing of "Israel's" breaking of the ceasefire during the Gaza war was intentional. ""Israel" was supposed to continue the ceasefire but they broke it, and incidentally they chose Election Day in United States on November 4th knowing that the American Media and the American Public would be focused on the results of the Historical Elections." By that, Finkelstein said there would be no notice of the "Israeli" attack which triggered the resumption of Hamas Rocket retaliation.
"The Shock and Awe" ideology is that which "Israel" adopts in its wars, the same strategy the US used in Iraq in 2003, highlighted Finkelstein. "During the 2006 Lebanon war, in the first 3 days "Israel" killed around 55 Lebanese. On the first day of the Gaza onslaught and within 8 minutes, they killed about 400 Gazans; they wanted to "Shock and Awe", they wanted to terrorize the population and Hamas. That is what they are planning to do in Lebanon," he explained.
Moving on to discuss the Goldstone report, Finkelstein said "It's true that the U.S has the VITO, and it has a lot of persuasive power, but what's also true is that "Israel" had a very big problem with the Goldstone report. After the Goldstone report Prime Minister Netanyahu gave a speech and said that "Israel" had 3 main problems in the world; first Iran, second the missiles, meaning the Hizbullah missiles and the Hamas rockets, third the Goldstone report. Putting the Goldstone right next to Iran shows what a big problem it is to them."
The Bush administration was quite supportive of the onslaught on Gaza and 2006 July war on Lebanon; in fact Condoleezza Rice noted that the war on Lebanon will be the "birth pangs of a new Middle East". In response to this "Condoleezza theory" applied in both wars, the Gaza and Lebanon war, Norman Finkelstein explained there are two sides to this issue.
He explained the first side saying "In the West Bank they are creating a new Middle East, which is to say they are creating "Torture chambers" and "Disney Land ". If you don't like Disney Land you'll be going into a Torture Chamber."
The scholar who lived with the Palestinians in their occupied land during the first intifada, and visits every summer noted that the "Israeli" policy earlier was that trouble comes your way if you act, while no one would care if you talk. But now things have changed, particularly under US direction, and Palestinians living in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are now afraid to talk.
"They are trying to turn the West Bank into a "DEMOCRACY", like Egypt and Jordan, a "Torture Chamber". That's their new Middle East; of course it's a very old Middle East, It's the Middle East of Mr. Abdullah, Mr. Mubarak and Saddam Hussein," Finkelstein explained.
On another note, he explained on the regional developing problems, referring to an analysis Hizbullah Secretary General gave in his last speech. "Sayyed Nasrallah's analysis was correct when he said; in the short term the "Israelis" don't feel they have a Military option yet in Lebanon, Hizbullah is too powerful, and can cause too much destruction. On the other hand he said that "Israelis" see in a long term. There's a problem developing, that the forces in the region are basically moving against "Israel". So he said between the short term, where they don't have a military option and the long term which they can't wait for because it's moving against them. What are they going to do in the Middle Term?"
Also, the US hegemony over the Middle East region has been blatant lately, and things have not been related solely to the Palestinian cause, according to Finkelstein. "The Americans are trying to control the region. I don't think it is accurate to say it is all about Palestine! Palestine has a symbolic value of the whole attempt by the western world to control the Middle East!" he said adding "
As for the increasing pressure and attack on the resistance in the Middle East in General, the Hizbullah in particular, Finkelstein said this stems from "Israel's" fear that the people of the region have become "Defiant".
He explained "The "Israelis" say that the Arabs and Muslims are becoming too defiant, to a point where they are getting too uppity. The Arab world is raging, there is Iran, there is Syria, there is Hamas, there is Hizbullah, and then all of a sudden there's Erdogan from Turkey! The "Israelis" are particularly upset from (Sayyed) Nasrallah because he's an unusual Arab. Sayyed Nasrallah said something in his last speech which I think was insightful, he said what makes our resistance different is that we read. They now have to deal, for the first time in a very long time, with a quite intelligent Muslim and they don't like that at all. Sayyed Nasrallah, two speeches ago was talking about Toni Blair's and Bush's memoirs, he quoted something from the book that was published 4 days earlier!! This is very unusual, they don't like that!!
US, "Israel" and the Soft War Against the Resistance
There has been a soft war played in the Middle East region against the resistance by "Israel", the US and their allies whether internal opponents or European countries, the newest of its plans is the sowing of sedition and strife in Lebanon. To Finkelstein, it is really important to understand the external factor.
"Israel will start committing critical assassinations. So I say that even if the Lebanese themselves didn't go for this trap, they may be pushed to it by a large number of political assassinations, and "Israel" is really clear about what it intends to do. It is really obvious that "Israel" is trying to create seditions here," he explained.
The latest of the "Israeli"-US war tools, according to Finkelstein is the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and its indictment that is being supported by Lebanese opponents of the resistance. "It aims at causing sectarian discord and violence, but that's going to be their (US-Israel) strategy in the Midterm and I think that's what they are doing now. The main purpose of the STL is to create enough sectarian violence to soften the target and then enable "Israel" to come in and do the "Shock and Awe,"" Finkelstein explained.
Initially the Americans and "Israelis" planned to use the STL, I don't think they had a clear vision of how to use it, it was just another tool! It happens that now it became a very valuable tool to them! Through it, they will try to weaken Lebanon and get rid of Hizbullah. In 2006 war, the Lebanese were all united and that was a problem for "Israel"," the scholar said, underlining that "Israel" prefers something like June 1982. "The "Israelis" now are trying to break that unity in Lebanon, by trying to find a collaborator that will facilitate their entry, because they don't want to repeat the 2006 where the whole country is united," he continued.
Politicized or not politicized... another issue that was a main source of argument among the two political campaigns in Lebanon. Now Norman in his turn says "It is clear that it is politicized!"
"There's so much about it that is already shown to be corrupt, and I don't think you can take it seriously any longer as a Tribunal. The first person (in charge) Detlev Mehlis was just a complete crook! Maybe that makes sense when Sayyed Nasrallah noted that there was a member of his aides (Mehlis's aides) that was selling information for 50, 000 $, that's a literal crook." Finkelstein reiterated.
Finkelstein referred back to the Hizbullah SG speech saying "If you recall Sayyed Nasrallah's speech, he made a very specific claim with very specific details, he even named the figure (50,000$)! Most political leaders don't make such specific allegations unless they have evidence , so the reasonable assumptions is that there is something and more than something , to what Sayyed Nasrallah said."
The scholar ended "Washington knows what the consequences are because it knows that it might create domestic conflict and violence! The only reasonable conclusion is that they want to create domestic violence and facilitate "Israel's" target for attack!"