“When Israelis in the occupied territories now claim that they have to defend themselves, they are defending themselves in the sense that any military occupier has to defend itself against the population they are crushing… You can’t defend yourself when you’re militarily occupying someone else’s land. That’s not defense. Call it what you like, it’s not defense.” — Noam Chomsky

How can we know the truth when all we ever hear are lies?

Something very strange is going on. One of the world’s most powerful armies is using overwhelming force in one of the world’s most densely populated areas, firing from land, sea and air, killing women and children, destroying infrastructure, sewerage plants, TV stations, hotels, homes, offices, mosques… but it is the victims who are to blame.

President Obama says that Israel has the right to defend itself. The BBC never mentions Palestinian casualties without talking about Palestinian rockets.

The suggestion is that it is rocket attacks from Gaza which provoked the violence and that Israel only ever responds to attacks made against its citizens. This is simply not true, as any observation of the actual timeline would show.

On November 4th Israeli forces shot dead an unarmed man inside Gaza. On November 8th a 13 year old boy was killed while playing football. On November 10th Gaza militants attacked an Israeli Jeep, wounding four soldiers. The Israelis responded with a concerted attack lasting three days, in which five civilians were killed, three of them children.

That is the actual beginning of the crisis. A tentative ceasefire was called, until Israel targeted and killed Ahmed Jabari, the commander of the military wing of Hamas on the 14th November. After that, as we know, rockets were fired, and the Israelis responded with overwhelming force.

The implication is clear. Israel is allowed to use any degree of force it likes with absolute impunity, while rockets fired from Gaza constitute a terrorist attack. The final death toll was as follows: 158 people were killed in Gaza, 103 of them civilians. Of those, 30 were children – 12 under the age of 10. More than 1,000 people were injured. Five Israelis were also killed.

The grief of a Mother robbed of her child knows no bounds. The grief of a Father turns to thoughts of revenge. Thus the cycle of violence continues, and the war will have no end. Still the Western media continues to justify this, by representing the two sides as if there is some sort of equivalence: as if home made rockets lobbed from the broken down slums behind the ghetto walls are the same as the high-tech sophisticated US-made weaponry at Israel’s disposal.

Gaza has no army, no air force, no navy, no command-and-control structure, no surveillance system, no body-armour, no tanks, no heavy artillery, no uniforms, no communications, no satellites, no laser guided missiles, no drones, no Iron Dome Anti-Missile Defence System. Nothing. Just some rockets which almost invariably miss their targets. Just some AK 47s and some hand guns. Just the rocks which the Gaza youth throw at Israeli armoured cars, which bounce off harmlessly, and which serve no other purpose than to relieve the thrower of their frustration. It really is a case of David vs Goliath. Only now Goliath is the Israeli army, and David is the child of Gaza.

And let’s be clear about this too: Gaza is a ghetto. It is a ghetto in the literal, not the figurative, sense: meaning a walled area in which a racial group is incarcerated in impoverished circumstances. Ghettos were originally built to house Jews in European cities. During the Second World War, the Nazis forced the Jewish population into ghettos in order to segregate them from the rest of the population. When members of the ghetto offered resistance, the Nazis responded with overwhelming force.

Now here’s an interesting fact for all of you who still think that Israel is doing this to defend itself. Ahmed Jabari, the man whose death lead to the current cycle of violence, was actually engaged in negotiating a long-term ceasefire with the Israelis. He was the man responsible for handing the captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, back to the Israelis in Egypt last year. That very morning, only hours before his vehicle was targeted by Israeli missiles, Ahmed Jabari had received a draft ceasefire agreement which could have been the basis of a future settlement. By killing this man Israel was killing off any hope of a negotiated ceasefire. So do you still think that Israel is interested in peace?

Advertisements