Collective Punishment & Butchering Babies is Self-Defense?
Israeli “self defense” is NOT what is going on, even though there is relentless 24/7 US mainstream media propaganda to camouflage the ruthless unleashing of the Israeli/US-paid-for mass killing war machine.
In "Eyeless in Gaza" Jonathan Cook calls out Netanyahu’s protests of waging a “necessary” war of self-defense against rockets and tunnels. He writes:
The logic is deeply flawed. Israel is occupying and besieging Gaza, conferring on its inhabitants a right under international law to fight for their freedom. How does the oppressor, the lawbreaker have a right to self-defence? If Israel objects to being scratched and bruised, it should stop choking its victim.
Cook contends that what the Netanyahu regime is up to is the serious opposite of self-defense.
It seems Netanyahu wanted to end a strategic threat: not Hamas rockets or tunnels, but the establishment of a unity government between Hamas and its long-time rivals Fatah. Palestinian unity risked reviving pressure on him to negotiate, or face a renewed and more credible Palestinian campaign for statehood at the United Nations.
Noam Chomsky in "Outrage" similarly asserts:
The unity agreement not only undercuts Israel’s claim that it cannot negotiate with a divided Palestine, but also threatens the long term goal of dividing Gaza from the West Bank and pursuing its destructive policies in both of the regions.
Ironically, the Israeli government is far more terrified not of a terrorist Hamas but a diplomatic and peace-mongering one. How extraordinary the extensive demonization of Hamas when Hamas had been negotiating with the PLO of the West Bank for the greater good of all Palestinians and had not set off any rockets for 19 months before a very serious 18-day provocative rampage against Hamas on the part of the Israeli government over the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens back in July. The tragedy was exploited to frame and collectively punish Hamas and the West Bank and Gaza. The kidnapping and murder it has been revealed but not widely broadcast was not an Hamas operation. That truth was irrelevant to the agenda of the Netanyahu regime.
Chomsky points out that for the past 14 years on average Israel has killed at least two Palestinian children each week. Where has that been in mainstream news? A month before the brutal murder of the three Israeli teens, two Palestinian teens were shot dead in the West Bank. Those murders received NO attention in the mainstream media. That indifference is routine.
Chomsky quotes Middle East analyst Mouin Rabbani:
“The institutionalised disregard for Palestinian life in the West helps explain not only why Palestinians resort to violence, but also Israel’s latest assault on the Gaza Strip.”
Chomsky explains Israeli provocations against Hamas and the Palestinians.
According to Israeli military sources, Israeli soldiers arrested 419 Palestinians, including 335 affiliated with Hamas, and killed six Palestinians, also searching thousands of locations and confiscating $350,000. Israel also conducted dozens of attacks in Gaza, killing 5 Hamas members on July 7.
Hamas finally reacted with its first rockets in 19 months, Israeli officials reported, providing Israel with the pretext for Operation Protective Edge on July 8.
Yet Israel postures as having the “Most Moral Army in the World”. Israel’s ambassador to the US has suggested it be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
By the end of July, Chomsky reports, 1500 Palestinians had been killed, 70% of them civilians. Hundreds of these victims were women and children. This compared to 3 civilians killed in Israel.
Large areas of Gaza have been turned into rubble. Gaza’s main power plant was attacked, which was not the first time that had been done by Israel. The power plant attack not only impacts access to electricity for Gazans but drastically reduces even further their access to fresh water.
Israel with sophisticated, surgical-striking weaponry has repeatedly attacked rescue teams and ambulances stresses Chomsky. Four hospitals have been directly attacked by Israel, another war crime. One of them received a mention in the New York Times that some of the 17 patients managed to evacuate along with 25 doctors before heavy bombardments destroyed the building. The NYT did not mention what hospital spokesman Dr. Ali Abu Ryala revealed:
"We evacuated them under fire. Nurses and doctors had to carry the patients on their backs, some of them falling off the stairway. There is an unprecedented state of panic in the hospital."
Before this latest slaughter war in Gaza, Chomsky reports that at least 57% of Gaza households were “food insecure” and 80% were receiving food aid. Anemia in children under two years old in Gaza was at 72.8%. 90% of the water in Gaza had been deemed unfit for human consumption. Now horrifying conditions thanks to Israeli war crimes are profoundly worsened with Israel deliberately attacking water and sewage systems along with homes, mosques, hospitals, schools, churchs, UN shelters, etc.
Chomsky expresses disgust at the merciless siege of and savaging attacks on Gaza. He cites Israel’s “cheery expression” of “mowing the lawn” to describe its exercises of “shooting fish in a pond” which it maintains is a “war of defense.” Chomsky:
Once the lawn is mowed and the desperate population seeks to reconstruct somehow from the devastation and the murders, there is a cease-fire agreement. These have been regularly observed by Hamas, as Israel concedes, until Israel violates them with renewed violence.
Why does Israel break the peace, break ceasefires? One strong reason lately is because of growing diplomatic regard of Palestinian political advancement. Time for Israel to provoke a game of "uproar" posing as “self defense” to undo such progress.
Peter Symonds in “Gaza death toll climbs over 1,800” adds to the description of a devastated Gaza:
The overall Palestinian death toll since Israel launched its military onslaught on July 8 climbed to 1,865—80 percent of whom are civilians according to UN estimates. More than 9,000 people have been injured. About 460,000 people, out of a Gaza Strip population of 1.8 million, have been driven from their homes.
Much of the essential infrastructure in the small, crowded enclave, including its medical services, has been damaged or destroyed. According to the UN, a third of hospitals, 14 primary healthcare clinics and 29 ambulances have suffered damage. Hospitals and clinics lacking medicines and other essential supplies are trying to cope with the ongoing influx of dead, dying and injured.
Glenn Greenwald in “Cash, Weapons and Surveillance: the U.S. is a Key Party to Every Israeli Attack” had this to say about the (in some mainstream media quarters) “celebration” of Gazans being alerted their homes were to be imminently bombed.
Israeli officials laud the humanity of the army, which even goes so far as to inform residents that their homes will be bombed. The practice is “sadism, sanctimoniously disguising itself as mercy,” in the words of Israeli journalist Amira Hass: “A recorded message demanding hundreds of thousands of people leave their already targeted homes, for another place, equally dangerous, 10 kilometers away.” In fact, no place in the prison is safe from Israeli sadism.
Greenwald mentions in his article the immediate plight of a church in Gaza that has received notice of imminent bombing. The priest and three nuns are presently caring for 29 handicapped children and 9 elderly women all who can not be moved. Their prayers are futile against a predatory and merciless Israel.
Greenwald praises five principled Latin American states, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador and Peru, that have withdrawn their ambassadors from Israel, following the course of Bolivia and Venezuela, which had broken relations with Israel already.
The stances of these countries sharply contrast with the responses of the United States. Greenwald:
President Obama, in his press conference on Friday, said ”it is heartbreaking to see what’s happening there,” referring to the weeks of civilian deaths in Gaza – “as if he’s just a bystander, watching it all unfold,” observed Brooklyn College Professor Corey Robin. Robin added: ”Obama talks about Gaza as if it were a natural disaster, an uncontrollable biological event.”
The hideous revelations elicited a different reaction from the Most Moral President in the World, the usual one: great sympathy for Israelis, bitter condemnation of Hamas, and calls for moderation by both sides. In his August 1 press conference, he did express concern for Palestinians “caught in the crossfire” (where?) while again vigorously supporting the right of Israel to defend itself, like everyone. Not quite everyone. Not of course Palestinians. They have no right to defend themselves, surely not when Israel is on good behavior, keeping to the norm of quiet-for-quiet: stealing their land, driving them out of their homes, subjecting them to a savage siege, and regularly attacking them with weapons provided by their protector.
Greenwald asserts that Israel once a country that was admired is now one that by many is “feared and despised, a course it is pursuing with blind determination today in its resolute march towards moral deterioration and possible ultimate destruction.”
Justin Raimondo in "Israel, Genocide, and the ‘Logic’ of Zionism" writes of a “Judeo-Nazism” that massively has arisen in Israel. He stresses how the statistics of this one-sided conflict with Gaza reveal “an inordinate percentage of those killed and horribly maimed by Israeli strikes are children.” There have been 7 attacks on UN schools in Gaza in the past 10 days according to the Guardian. UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon has spoken against the bombings of UN shelters. According to him the Israelis "have been repeatedly informed of the location of these sites," and yet they continue to be intentionally targeted.
In disgust Raimondo coins this Gazan slaughter war a “kill the kiddies” campaign, which has been dramatized in pictures and videos, one example was when Palestinian kids were playing on a Gaza beach and “blasted to bits by an offshore Israeli warship.” (The Israeli watch-the-war-from-the-hilltop, lawn chair and picnic basket people easily can google that one to be relished and appreciated!)
Christian Christensen in “Children of Crisis” has referred to the Gazan children as “children in a perpetual state of shock, pain or death.” Christensen addresses the present phenomenon of a double standardized Islamaphobia among the vast majority of America’s citizenry and western cultures. Some good news is that sweeping prejudice is getting shaken up right now due to sustained expressions of outrage from informed people of conscience worldwide.
The tragic side of this is that while massive war criminality by Israel is being exposed finally and globally, hundreds and soon thousands of innocent men, women, children, the elderly are being slaughtered.
Christensen is not optimistic about the ending the power of institutionalized racism gripping our governments and peoples:
So, when media organizations now show the dead and suffering children of Gaza, they force media consumers to overcome decades of dehumanization and relentless Islamophobia in order to empathize. Some can, but my guess is that many cannot. When you create the image of an Other who is less than human, fanatical and living in a perpetual state of violence (with the Other usually pitched as the instigator of that violence), then their dead children become divorced from the emotions of love and grieving, and are instead connected to apathy, distance and clinical pragmatism.
Patrick Cockburn in “How the Invasion of Gaza Strengthens Hamas” maintains that as Israel achieves and congratulates itself for hundreds and hundreds of indiscriminating Palestinian “kills” it is losing big politically :
Usually, the sufferings of the four million Palestinians penned into Gaza and the West Bank are invisible to people in the rest of the world. But over the past month we have seen, night after night, pictures of Palestinian families, with their maimed and terrified children, vainly seeking safety amid shattered houses and hospitals. Israeli spokesmen sound shifty and heartless as they claim that there is no proof of Israel’s culpability for the shelling of a UN hospital or a children’s playground, suggesting that a Hamas rocket might have fallen short. These denials and evasions might work in a short war but, by the time 264 Palestinian children had been killed, as of Friday, they only serve to convince people that Israelis do not care how many Palestinians they kill.
According to eye witness reports of Chris Hedges alluded to in "Why Israel Lies," when Palestinian children, baited by Israeli soldiers on loudspeakers from their armored jeeps -- in the Arabic language of these children, no less -- are verbally provoked to pick up and fling stones at the military vehicles the kids are then readily killed or wounded by the Israeli soldiers.
According to Hedges such deaths and woundings are reported by the mainstream media of both Israel and the US as “children caught in crossfire.” Crossfire?
Hedges relates that when he was in Gaza himself he watched F-16 attack jets drop “1000-pound iron fragmentation bombs on overcrowded hovels in Gaza City.” Homes and entire apartment blocks were demolished to expand the “buffer zones” between the victims/targets of Gaza and the encircling Israeli (US-enabled) war machine.
According to Hedges such wide-scoped devastation is later reported as the “demolition of the homes of terrorists” and/or “surgical strikes on bomb-making factories” by the mainstream media so very obligingly and Orwellianly mendacious.
Israeli and US RACISM and TERRORISM have grown exponentially thanks to the lies encircling deliberate ethnic cleansing of Palestinians by Israel and millions of other Middle Eastern peoples by the US/NATO/Israel war machines.
THE BIGGEST LIE IS SUCH MASS MURDERS HAVE BEEN DONE -- ARE BEING DONE -- IN “SELF DEFENSE”!!!
By painting a picture of an army that never attacks civilians, that indeed goes out of its way to protect them, the Big Lie says Israelis are civilized and humane, and their Palestinian opponents are inhuman monsters. The Big Lie serves the idea that the slaughter in Gaza is a clash of civilizations, a war between democracy, decency and honor on one side and Islamic barbarism on the other. And in the uncommon cases when news of atrocities penetrates to the wider public, Israel blames the destruction and casualties on Hamas.
And since most supporters of Israel do not have a desire to know the truth, a truth that would force them to examine their own racism and self-delusions about Zionist and Western moral superiority, like packs of famished dogs they lap up the lies fed to them by the Israeli government.
But the Big Lie is also consciously designed to send a chilling message to Gaza’s Palestinians, who have lost large numbers of their dwellings, clinics, mosques, and power, water and sewage facilities, along with schools and hospitals, who have suffered some 1,650 deaths since this assault began—most of the victims women and children—and who have seen 400,000 people displaced from their homes.
The Big Lie makes it clear to the Palestinians that Israel will continue to wage a campaign of state terror and will never admit its atrocities or its intentions. The vast disparity between what Israel says and what Israel does tells the Palestinians that there is no hope. Israel will do and say whatever it wants. International law, like the truth, will always be irrelevant. There will never, the Palestinians understand from the Big Lie, be an acknowledgement of reality by the Israeli leadership.
According to Hedges the Israel Defense Forces website reads, “Hamas exploits the IDF’s SENSITIVITY towards PROTECTING civilian structures, particularly holy sites, by hiding command centers, weapons chances and tunnel entrances in mosques.” [my emphases] Also, "[Israeli] officers are tasked with an enormous responsibility: to protect Palestinian civilians on the ground, no matter how difficult that may be...”
Hedges’ response to the mendacious IDF site commentators:
“In Hamas’ world, hospitals are command centers, ambulances are transport vehicles, and medics are human shields,” ...
As Hedges sees it, "The Big Lie" being “used like a bludgeon by Israel, as perhaps it is designed to be, ultimately reduces all problems in the world to the brutish language of violence ...”
Ahdaf Soueif in “The End of Impunity” writes:
Benyamin Netanyahu complains that the media show pictures of “telegenically dead” Palestinians. It’s true; my timeline looks like a perverse beauty contest for dead babies and traumatised kids. There are the “before” shots: Essam Ammar, 4, from Gaza City, wears a yellow check shirt and holds a somewhat bedraggled flower, Hind Shadi Abu Harbeid, 10, from Beit Hanoun has clearly been playing with her mother’s nail varnish; she rests her chin on paint-tipped fingers and gazes away from camera, a small smile touching the corners of her mouth and lighting up her eyes. Hatem and Yasmeen al-Yazji hug each other, soft hair flopping over foreheads, big smiles revealing gappy baby teeth. Then there are the “after” images: children on hospital trolleys, children in ambulances, children burned, children blinded, children buried under rubble.
What these dead children tell us, beyond everything else, is this: that Israel believes itself unassailable. There is no doubt that Egypt’s complicity, newly - brazenly - explicit, has helped. But Israel has acted with impunity for a long time. Remember the Turkish activists it killed on board the Mavi Marmara as they headed for Gaza? Remember Operation Cast Lead in 2008? And how, in 2012 the world was shocked when the 4 children of the Dalou family were killed in Gaza. In the last week, the UN noted a child is killed every hour in Gaza. Israel raises the ante every time. Then it sells more weapons “combat tested” in the killing fields of Gaza.
Interesting additional point on the cravenness of the Israeli/US slaughter war machine overlords, particularly the arms dealers. Not only are they exterminating Palestinians but they are battle-testing uber profitable and deadly plenty more where these came from sale war armaments, not to mention spreading rampant violence gobally by enabling parallel and powerful fellow sociopathic racist and terrorist overlords against other oppressed minorities.
Ahdaf Soueif explains that for 8 years 1.8 million people have been locked into a small geographic area. Israel on the north, east and west. Hostile now Egypt on the south. The tyrannical controllers ration and reduce access to medicine, books, calories, CDs, bricks, etc. -- you name it, the Gazans are readily deprived of it.
Many of the parents and grandparents of the Gazans originally fled to Sderot but now that is an Israeli settlement, protected earnestly by Israeli security forces, where the Israeli settlers aforementioned “drag deck-chairs to the hilltop and picnic and cheer as they watch their army’s bombs fall on the people they’ve displaced, the people whose lands they’ve stolen” explains Soueif.
But terrorism is using violence to impose a political condition. Terrorism is Israel imposing a siege on a people because they voted for a government Israel didn't like. Terrorism is bombing imprisoned civilians and schools and hospitals. ...
Israel requires the Palestinians to recognise Israel as a “Jewish state”. That is, to accept that the Palestinians living in Haifa, Yafa, Nazareth, Akka etc will always be second-class citizens in their country. Israel ruptures logic; it wants to be a democracy practiced on the basis that some people are “chosen” and others are not. And if that won’t work then it wants the “not chosen” to disappear.
Soueif maintains that the tide is turning, and the latest “killing-spree” of the Israeli/US-paid-for war machine has finally penetrated the “hearts and consciences of people across the world.”
Protests have marched in cities from Reykjavik to Tokyo. A tower block in Bogota is lit in the colours of the Palestinian flag. #ICC4Israel is trending on Twitter. Dutch children have made a video speaking the words of dead Palestinian children. Hardened newsmen and women have suddenly dropped the “parity” approach and spoken of the horror they’re witnessing in Gaza.
In London, when a group of Jews opposed to Zionism climbed on top of a red double-decker to declare their stand with the Palestinians they were met with a huge cheer. On Sunday a group of rabbis in Washington DC disowned Israel’s actions. Jewish citizens across the world declare “Not in my Name” to what is fast becoming described as Israel’s war crimes.
Protests have erupted across Haifa, Nazareth, Tel Aviv and the occupied cities of Palestine. Young people have clashed with Occupation forces in Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Ramallah, Hebron and many other places. They have also given martyrs, shaheeds, in this latest round of killing.
Soueif brings up the Arabic word for a witness, “shahed”. She explains that the “intense form” of the noun is “shaheed,” a “martyr whose sole function now is to bear witness.”
A shaheed is buried as he died; no undressing, no washing, no rubbing with oil. The shortest of prayers, then he is folded gently into his clean, white shroud and sent to his Maker with his evidence intact: the burst lung, the pierced heart, the shattered bones. See, Lord, what they have done to your creation!
Israel, the light unto the nations, ... It rains the light of conflagrations and explosions on Gaza. Its white phosphorus makes pretty trails in the sky. It beams a wall of light onto the sea. Sometimes the wall is 6 miles from the shore, sometimes it’s 3; it’s the limit beyond which Israel forbids the fishermen of Gaza to work in the water. And so Israel makes of light a killer and a jail, it makes democracy the prerogative of the chosen, resistance becomes terror, and the “most moral army” in the universe targets and kills children playing on a beach.
No more. It was not just the arms dealers and their clients who were watching the Israeli display over the last weeks. The citizens of the world are paying attention. And they have taken Palestine to their hearts. There’s a rising demand for an arms embargo against Israel, for trials for war crimes, and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Campaign is getting stronger. None of this will bring back one dead loved one. We mourn the dead and grieve with the living. We also resolve to do everything we can to heal this terrible wound in the heart of the world.
[cross-posted on open salon]