Israel and Palestine: Who is The Victim and Who Is the Aggressor?

Posted by CODEPINK Staff

By Ann Wright

The Israeli characterization of themselves as "victims" is refuted by their violent, inhuman and unjust treatment of the Palestinians whom they refer to as the "aggressors." Indeed, the Israeli government is the true aggressor and the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank are the victims.

Sometimes the absurdity is more than you can take. I was in Gaza for five days, arriving less than a week after the Israeli military pounding of Gaza that killed 180 and wounded over 1,000 Palestinians. Six Israelis were killed by rockets fired from Gaza during the eight days of conflict.

On TV shows broadcast to a U.S. audience, Israeli officials and supporters in the U.S. such as Alan Dershowitz, said with straight faces while reading from the Israeli government script, that 7 million Israelis were the "victims" and the 1.7 million in Gaza were the "aggressors" in the latest round of large-scale Israeli military attacks on Gaza and the responding rockets fired from Gaza. Many Americans know so little about the conflict that they believe the Palestinians are always the "aggressor'" and that Israel is always the "victim" of unjustified Arab hatred and hostility.

What is seldom mentioned on US television shows is that the "victim" has the biggest military in the region with the most advanced air, land and sea forces, has nuclear weapons (which, by the way, they have never allowed to be inspected) and an annual $3 billion dollar military aid gift from the United States.

The "aggressor" has no air force, no ground force and no naval force, and the various militias in Gaza use primarily $150 rockets made by hand from tubes and propellant smuggled across or under the border with Egypt.

The American audience hears the "victim" relying on the charge that the "aggressor" hides its rockets in civilian areas to justify the incredible disproportionate use of force and the targeting of the "aggressor's" non-military civilian infrastructure such as civilian government buildings, including virtually all police stations, civilian vehicle depots, and government documentation facilities for travel documents and property deeds and the council of ministers office, as well as schools, and sports fields.

Most Americans don't realize that the "aggressor's" land is very small -- only 25 miles long and five miles wide, and very densely populated. There is little space where there are no civilians. In fact, virtually the only area with no civilians is the Israeli declared no-go zone, 1,000 meters (3,000 feet or 10 football fields) into Gaza land that has been cleared of homes and agricultural crops to give the Israeli Defense Forces a "kill" zone where anyone who comes into the area is shot.

Many Americans never bother to think how strange it is that the "victim" could have the power to have instituted a land-and-sea blockade on the "aggressor,"  in which the "victim" directly controls access to the "aggressor's" land on three out of four borders, including the sea, and strongly influences control on the fourth border (Egypt).

The "victim" claims that its blockade of the "aggressor" is simply a means of keeping out weapons from the territory, but the blockade has always included a stark limitation on food and materials allowed into Gaza, and also a ban on almost all exports from the aggressor, crippling the economy, while having no connection to weapons imports.

Dov Weisglass, an adviser to the victim's former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, explained the rationale of the blockade: "The idea is to put the 'Aggressors' on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger."

A 2008 study by the "victim's" Ministry of Defense of the minimum daily humanitarian food needs of the "aggressor" revealed that the "victim" allowed in to the aggressor's territory substantially less than the minimum daily amount of food needed by the population.

Among the items the "victim" prohibited being imported into the aggressor's territory from 2006 until June 2010 were notebooks, cilantro, sage, jam, chocolate, French fries, dried fruit, fabrics, and toys. With the international condemnation of the "victim's" June 2010 murder of nine international activists on the Freedom Flotilla, the "victim" was forced to allow more products in the "aggressor's" land.

The "victim" still restricts imports of basic construction materials, despite a shortage of approximately 250 schools and some 71,000 housing units, and restricts travel between the two territories of the "aggressor."

On the eve of "victim's" November 2012 military attack on the "aggressor" -- Operation Pillar of Defense -- the "aggressor's" population had lower per capita incomes than they did in the 1990s.

The "victim's" navy keeps the small fishing fleet of the "aggressor" penned in to the shore and regularly wounds if not kills "aggressor" fishermen and steals fishing vessels, using the excuse that weapons may have been brought in by sea, yet not one fisherman has ever been charged with weapons smuggling. The "victim" continues to break the current ceasefire almost daily by shooting at fishermen.

The "victim's" self-declared formal "no-go" or "kill" zone inside the aggressor's territory covers more than 3% of the total land area and another 14% within which entry is effectively restricted due to a real risk of gunfire, thereby excluding 35% of the land suitable for farming from use by the aggressor farmers. The "victims" routinely shoot "aggressors" who are not even in the "kill" zone.

The "victim's" military routinely drives tanks and bulldozers into the "aggressor's" land, purposefully making deep, destructive ruts in fertile land.

The "victim" has imprisoned 4,700 of the "aggressors" as prisoners, including 300 minors under the age of 18. Most have no charges filed against them. The "aggressor" has no "victims" as prisoners.

While the "victim" repeatedly cites "aggressor" statements that it doesn't recognize the "victim's" state, for the past 60 years the "victim's'" senior governmental leaders have stated unequivocally that they want the "aggressors" eliminated.

In a 1956 Knesset speech, the "victim's" Prime Minister David Ben Gurion said: "If I believed in miracles, I would pray that Gaza would be washed down into the sea."

The "victim's" Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said in 1993: "If only it [Gaza] would just sink into the Sea." In the victim's slang, "go to Gaza" means "go to hell."

The "victim's" Deputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai stated: "We must blow Gaza back to the Middle Ages, destroying all the infrastructure, including roads and water."

The "victim's" transport minister and member of Netanyahu's Likud party, on 11 November 2012 said: "We must detach from Gaza in a civilian manner -- electricity, water, food, and fuel -- and transition into a policy of deterrence, just like in Southern Lebanon."

Avi Dichter, the "victim's" Minister of Home Front Defense said: "There is no other choice, Israel must carry out a formatting action in Gaza, actually format the system and clean it out, the way we did in Judea and Samaria during Operation Defensive Shield."

A member of the "victim's" parliament, the Knesset, Michael Ben-Ari says, "Brothers! Beloved soldiers and  commanders -- preserve your lives! Don't give a hoot about Goldstone! There are no innocents in Gaza, don't let any diplomats who want to look good in the world endanger your lives[;] at any tiniest concern for your lives -- Mow them!"

Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, son of the "victim's" former Chief Rabbi and spiritual leader of the Shas party, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef has said: "The army has got to learn from the Syrians how to slaughter and crush the enemy."

Gilad Sharon, the son of the "victim's" former prime minister Ariel Sharon, in the Jerusalem Post: "The residents of Gaza are not innocent, they elected Hamas. The Gazans aren't hostages; they chose this freely, and must live with the consequences." We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn't stop with Hiroshima -- the Japanese weren't surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too." (for references see here.)

The "aggressor" government is cited for refusing to accept the "victim's" three conditions for talks: that it recognize the "victim," renounce violence, and agree to accept all agreements previously accepted.

Yet, the "victim" and its main ally, the United States, have refused to recognize an independent state for the "aggressors" with the victim and Washington most recently voting against UN non-member state status for the "aggressor."

Neither the "victim" nor its ally the United States has renounced violence, and nonviolent protests by the "aggressor" against the "victim's" occupation have been brutally repressed by the "victim." When the World Court found the "victim's" construction of the apartheid wall in the occupied West Bank of the "aggressor" to be in violation of that convention, the "victim" refused to remove it and the United States supported its refusal.

The "victim" signed the Oslo Accords which state that "The two sides view the aggressor's West Bank and the Gaza Strip as a single territorial unit, whose integrity will be preserved during the interim period," and yet has pursued a violent policy of separating Gaza from the West Bank.

The "aggressor's" government has indicated on numerous occasions that it was willing to accept an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, along with a truce.

The "victim" claims it can't trust the "aggressor" government to maintain cease-fires. Yet a study found that from 2000 to 2008, it was the "victim" that "overwhelmingly kills first after a pause in the conflict," and that this pattern "becomes more pronounced for longer conflict pauses," with the "victim" unilaterally having interrupted 96% of the periods of nonviolence that lasted longer than a week and 100% of the periods of nonviolence lasting longer than nine days.

In June 2008, a six-month truce was arranged between the "victim" and the "aggressor," and was broken by the "victim" on the night of Nov. 4-5, 2008. In the next 22 days, the "victim" killed 1,440, wounded more than 5,000 and left homeless 50,000 aggressors. In contrast, 11 "victims" were killed, five by their own military in friendly fire incidents.

In November 2012, a draft proposal for a long-term cease-fire, with mechanisms to ensure compliance, had been agreed to by a negotiator for the "victim" and by the "aggressor's" deputy foreign minister, and was submitted to Ahmed al-Jabari, the "aggressor's" militia chief, and to the "victim's" Israeli security officials for their consideration. Jabari, who had authorized the negotiations, received a copy of the proposal the day he was assassinated by the "victim's" specific targeting of him through an air strike that destroyed his car and burned him alive.

The Israeli characterization of themselves as "victims" is refuted by their violent, inhuman and unjust treatment of the Palestinians whom they refer to as the "aggressors." Indeed, the Israeli government is the true aggressor and the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank are the victims.

For a list of questions to test your knowledge about Gaza and Israel, please take the "Gaza Quiz" by Stephen Shalom.

Author's Website:

Author's Bio:

Ann Wright is a 29 year US Army/Army Reserves veteran who retired as a Colonel and a former US diplomat who resigned in March, 2003 in opposition to the war on Iraq. She served in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia and Mongolia.She has made 4 trips to Gaza, including one week ago following the Israeli 8 day attack on Gaza.  She is the co-author of the book "Dissent: Voices of Conscience." (


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  • Alexistori Gonzalez
    followed this page 2020-03-09 14:58:12 -0400
  • Roie Randelman
    commented 2020-02-13 17:15:14 -0500
    As someone who is jewish I can tell you that there are many many Palestinians living in Israel. Those who do not move to Israel are not in Israel because they simply refuse to. In the past may Palestine sent 690 missiles at Israel aiming at residential homes and hospitals. The iron dome system managed to stop a whopping 240 and managed to diverge many more. Only 21 hit residential homes but still. Being an aggressor means you attack first. Defending your civilians is not the same. Could you that the counter attacks argue that it is overkill? sure. I’m willing to consider it. But Israel does not send attacks. Israel sends COUNTERatacks.