Tag Archives: Palestinians

West’s Failure to Act Will Be Cause of the Next Gaza Massacre, by Jonathan Cook

Does Israel really need to gun down Palestinian protestors? Good luck even asking that question, much less answering it. From Jonathan Cook at antiwar.com:

There are no calls for embargoes on sales of arms, no demands for war crimes investigations, no threats of trade sanctions

The contrasting images coming out of Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories on Monday could not have been starker – or more disturbing.

Faced with protests at the perimeter fence in Gaza, Israeli snipers killed dozens of unarmed Palestinians and wounded more than 2,000 others, including children, women, journalists and paramedics, in a hail of live fire. Amnesty, the international human rights organization, rightly called it a “horror show”.

Such horror is now so routine that TV anchors could only headline the news as the worst day of bloodshed in Gaza in four years, when Israel massacred civilians in its last major military assault.

Already gasping from the chokehold of Israel’s decade-long blockade of Gaza, local hospitals are now collapsing from the weight of casualties.

A few kilometers away, meanwhile, Israelis were partying.

So-called “liberal” Tel Aviv was busy “chicken dancing” with Netta, who had just won the Eurovision Song Contest and gave a free open-air performance to celebrate.

And in Jerusalem, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was glad-handing a bevy of US officials, including Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and policy adviser. They were there to beam for the cameras as the US opened its embassy in the occupied city.

The move pre-empts negotiations over the city’s fate and sabotages Palestinian ambitions for East Jerusalem to become the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Netanyahu’s grin said it all. As he mouthed platitudes about “Middle Eastern peace”, he finally had Washington’s blessing for all of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. And next year Europe will give its implicit blessing too by hosting the Eurovision Song Contest there.

But amid the euphoria, a few Israeli commentators understood that politics is about more than power – it’s about imagery too. The champagne-quaffing in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem while Gaza drowned in blood left a profoundly sour taste in the mouth.

There was more than a whiff of hypocrisy too in statements about “defending borders” from a state that has refused to declare its borders since its creation exactly 70 years ago – as well as from a Netanyahu government currently trying to establish a Greater Israel over the Palestinian territories.

To continue reading: West’s Failure to Act Will Be Cause of the Next Gaza Massacre

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Fifteen Thoughts About Israel, by Caitlin Johnstone

Israel is the Middle Eastern branch of the Western empire. From Caitlin Johnstone at medium.com:

1. I hate writing about Israel. The accusations of anti-semitism which necessarily go along with literally any criticism of that nation are gross enough, but even worse are the assholes who take my criticisms of the Israeli government as an invitation to actually be anti-semitic. They really do hate Jews, they really do think that every problem in the world is because of Jews and they post Jewish caricature memes and calls for genocide in the comments section on social media and it’s incredibly gross and I hate it. It feels exactly as intrusive, jarring and violating as receiving an unsolicited dick pic. But the Israeli government keeps committing war provocations and massacring Palestinians, so it’s something I’ve got to talk about.

2. Anti-semitism (or whatever word you prefer to use for the pernicious mind virus which makes people think it’s okay to promote hatred against Jewish people) is a very real thing that does exist, and I denounce it to the furthest possible extent. Anti-semitism is also a label that is used to bully the world into accepting war crimes, apartheid, oppression, and mass murder. Both of those things are true.

3. There were dozens of Palestinians killed and well above a thousand injured in the Gaza protests over the US moving its embassy to Jerusalem yesterday. I haven’t found any report of so much as a single Israeli injury. The only way to spin this as the fault of the Palestinians is to dehumanize them, to attribute behaviors and motives to them that we all know are contrary to human nature. To paint them as subhuman orc-like creatures who are so crazy and evil that they will keep throwing themselves at a hail of bullets risking life and limb just to have some extremely remote chance of harming a Jewish person for no reason. This is clearly absurd. A little clear thinking and empathy goes a long way.

4. Trump could have prevented all this violence by doing what previous administrations had done and keeping the US embassy in Tel Aviv. Experts warned that this would happen. Trump ignored them. He is ultimately responsible for the mounting pile of corpses resulting from this provocation.

5. The Trump campaign was given $25 million by billionaire oligarch Sheldon Adelson (the largest campaign donation made by anyone to any candidate), who provided a further $5 million for Trump’s inauguration. Adelson is a sociopathic pro-Israel hawk who once called on the US to drop a nuclear bomb on Iran. He was present at the opening of the Jerusalem embassy, getting what he paid for.

To continue reading: Fifteen Thoughts About Israel

The Dark Side of Israeli Independence, by Brett Wilkins

Nobody asked the Palestinians if they wanted to make room for a Zionist state. From Brett Wilkins at antiwar.com:

On May 14, 1948, Israel declared its independence. Each May 15, Palestinians solemnly commemorate Nakba Day. Nakba means catastrophe, and that’s precisely what Israel’s independence has been for the more than 700,000 Arabs and their five million refugee descendants forced from their homes and into exile, often by horrific violence, to make way for the Jewish state.

Land Without a People?

In the late 19th century, Zionism emerged as a movement for the reestablishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, then part of the Ottoman Empire. Although Jews ruled over kingdoms there more than 2,000 years ago, they never numbered more than around 10 percent of the population from antiquity through the early 1900s. A key premise of Zionism is what literary theorist Edward Said called the “excluded presence” of Palestine’s indigenous population; a central myth of early Zionists was that Palestine was a “land without a people for a people without a land.”

At its core, Zionism is a settler-colonial movement of white, European usurpers supplanting Arabs they often viewed as inferior or backwards. Theodore Herzl, father of modern political Zionism, envisioned a Jewish state in Palestine as “an outpost of civilization opposed to barbarism.” Other early Zionists warned against this sort of thinking. The great Hebrew essayist Ahad Ha’am wrote:

We… are accustomed to believing that Arabs are all wild desert people who, like donkeys, neither see nor understand what is happening around them. But this is a grave mistake. The Arabs… see and understand what we are doing and what we wish to do on the land. If the time comes that [we] develop to a point where we are taking their place… the natives are not going to just step aside so easily.

Jewish migration to Palestine increased significantly amid the pogroms and often rabid anti-Semitism afflicting much of Europe in the late 19th and early 20th century. As control of Palestine passed from the defeated Ottoman Turks to Britain toward the end of World War I, British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour declared “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” Israelis and their supporters often cite the Balfour Declaration when defending Israel’s legitimacy. What they never mention is that it goes on to state that”nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.”

To continue reading: The Dark Side of Israeli Independence

American Empathy Gap: Massacres in Gaza and US Silence, by Danny Sjursen

Most Americans ignore the Palestinian issue and the US media, when it reports on it, generally slants toward Israel. From Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:

For a writer, any criticism of Israeli military action is a veritable “third-rail” in American politics. Touch that nerve and you’re open to charges of anti-Semitism or worse.

Still, recent events in Gaza demand that some of us, at least, shed light on the plight of Palestinians.

Let us begin with a thought experiment: imagine dozens of unarmed, protesting Caucasian Christians or Jews – say, Israelis or Europeans – were shot dead by heavily armed brown folks, like, say Palestinian Muslims. What would we call this? That’s easy: terrorism. How would the media cover such an event? Simple: extensively and emotionally, probably for many days. The smiling faces of the victims would be splashed across the screens of television networks from Fox News to MSNBC.

Heck, for proof just look to the recent past: terror attacks in France and Belgium, for instance. Certainly, even decades back, Americans demonstrated more empathy for white, Christian victims. When, in 1972, British paratroopers fired into a crowd of demonstrators in Northern Ireland, killing thirteen, the episode was christened Bloody Sunday. I come from a city (New York) where sympathy for the catholic Irish was so robust that certain bars overtly collected money in tip jars for “terrorists” in the IRA well into the 1990s.

Well, something remarkably similar has occurred over the last two weeks, as thousands of Palestinians – protesting the deplorable conditions for the 1.8 million human beings besieged in Gaza – were subjected to Israeli Army gunfire that has left dozens dead and hundreds wounded. To date, not a single Israeli has been killed. This is typical of the recurrent violent episodes in Gaza. Scores or hundreds of Palestinians die – often including many women and children – whilst a few, if any, Israelis are killed or wounded. Still, mainstream U.S. media covers each incident as though there is parity of blame, responsibility, and suffering. It’s a very old and very persistent farce.

To continue reading: American Empathy Gap: Massacres in Gaza and US Silence

Israel and the Palestinians: A Problem Without a Solution, by Justin Raimondo

Sometimes problems are intractable, and the long-running Israel-Palestinians certainly seems to fit the bill. Here’s an article that won’t satisfy partisans of either side. From Justin Raimondo at antiwar.com:

Some of my longtime readers may have noticed that I haven’t written about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in many moons. There’s a reason for that: actually, two reasons.

1) Israeli society has become so sick and perverted by authoritarianism and religious fanaticism that I was in danger of committing one of the worst sins a writer can be guilty of: repeating myself (and, subsequently, boring my readers). Worse still, I was boring myself: after all, what can one say about a country that bases its very existence on an ancient book supposedly divinely inspired, and justifies the systematic repression of the indigenous population by reference to the same? How many times can one condemn it?

2) The Palestinian “resistance” movement is infected with the same hateful poison as Israeli society. Last I checked, they had initiated a new “intifada”: the Knife Intifada. The idea was to have Palestinians stab as many Israeli civilians as possible. In short, as part of their public relations campaign to make the world more sympathetic to their cause, they launched what amounted to a horror movie – only this was real life. Dozens of Israelis were stabbed.

Although I’ve been sympathetic to the Palestinian case – after all, property rights are the key plank in the libertarian platform, and stealing Palestinian land has been the Israeli method from the very beginning – they lost me with the “Knife Intifada.” I mean, you can’t get much creepier than that.

And the violent imagery hasn’t ended: indeed, the Palestinians have escalated their campaign. The latest is publicizing “the slap” – a blow to an Israeli soldier delivered by Ahed Tamimi, a Palestinian teenager, in an incident widely viewed on Youtube and promoted by the Palestinian leadership as symbolic of their movement. Here is the video: you’ll note that AHED and another female Palestinian keep hitting the soldier, harassing and provoking him, until he lashes out. Then she slaps him across the face.

To continue reading: Israel and the Palestinians: A Problem Without a Solution

The Case of ‘Soldier A’ by Uri Avnery

From Uri Avnery at antiwar.com:

Editor’s Note: Reporting the identity of “Soldier A” is a violation of the Israeli military’s gag order and is a crime in Israel. The author would have faced prison for naming him. Most Western media outlets have complied with this gag order. However, a few outlets, including the Intercept (as well as some of the Soldier A’s supporters who have celebrated him) have named him as Cpl. Elor Azaria.

It seems that everything possible has already been said, written, proclaimed, asserted and denied about the incident that is rocking Israel.

Everything except the main point.

The incident revolves around “the Soldier of Hebron”. Military censorship does not allow him to be called by his name. He may be called “Soldier A”.

It happened in the Tel Rumaida neighborhood of the occupied South West Bank town of Hebron, where a group of super-extreme right-wing settlers live in the midst of some 160,000 Palestinians and are heavily protected by the Israeli army. Violent incidents abound.

On the day in question, two local Palestinians attacked some soldiers with knives. Both were shot on the spot. One of them was killed, the other was severely wounded and was lying on the ground.

The place was full of people. Medics were tending to the wounded soldier (but not the Palestinian), several officers and soldiers were standing around, together with some of the settlers.

After six minutes Soldier A appeared on the scene. He looked around for 4 minutes, then approached the wounded assailant and coolly shot him dead with a bullet to the head from close up. The autopsy showed that this was indeed the shot that killed the Palestinian.

As a finale, the camera clip shows Soldier A shaking hands with one of the settlers, the infamous Baruch Marzel, a leader of the outlawed party of the late Meir Kahane, who was designated by the Supreme Court as a fascist.

Up to this point, there is no discussion about the facts. For a simple reason: the whole incident was videoed by a local Palestinian man from close up. The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem has provided many Palestinians with cameras for just such an eventuality.

(B’Tselem is a Biblical name and means “In (His) image”. According to Genesis 2, God created the human being “in His image”. This is one of the most humane verses of the Bible, since it means that all human beings, without distinction, are created in the image of God.)

The camera plays a central role in this incident. In the present intifada, many Arab assailants have been killed in such incidents. There is a strong suspicion that many of them were executed after they were already “neutralized” – army-speak for Arab assailants who cannot cause harm because they are dead, severely wounded or taken prisoner.

Under Israeli army orders, soldiers are not allowed to kill enemy attackers once they no longer constitute a danger. On the other hand, many politicians and army officers believe that “a terrorist should not be allowed to stay alive” after an attack. This was an informal order by the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir (himself an outstanding former terrorist).

To continue reading: The Case of ‘Soldier A’