Beginning on the night of June 28, 2006, Israel launched a massive land, and air assault and invaded the Gaza Strip, in which over 5,000 soldiers followed hundreds of tanks and armored carriers, while scores of helicopter gunships and fighter jets fired missiles and rockets into populated centers, destroying the basic infrastructures of over 1.4 million Palestinians.
“It is the duty of Israeli leaders to explain to public opinion, clearly and courageously, a certain number of facts that are forgotten with time. The first of these is that there is no Zionism, colonization or Jewish state without the eviction of the Arabs and the expropriation of their lands.” (Ariel Sharon, former Likud Party Prime Minister, Agence France Press, November 15, 1998).
“We must expel Arabs and take their place.” (David Ben Gurian, former Labor Party Prime Minister, 1937).
“There’s no such thing as a Palestinian people. It is not as if we came and threw them out and took their country. They didn’t exist.” (Golda Meir, former Labor Party Prime Minister).
“Israel will create in the course of the next 10 or 20 years conditions which would attract natural and voluntary migration of the refugees from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank to Jordan. ” (Yitzak Rabin, former Labor Party Prime Minister)
“You don’t simple bundle people onto trucks and drive them away. I prefer to advocate a positive policy, to create, in effect, a condition that in a positive way will induce people to leave.” (Ariel Sharon, August 24, 1988)
“The partition of Palestine is illegal. It will never be recognized…Eretz Israel will be restored to the people of Israel. All of it. And forever.” (Menachem Begin, former Likud Party Prime Minister).
“I believed and to this say still believe, in our people’s eternal and historic right to this entire land.” (Ehud Olmert, Israeli Prime Minister, to the US House of Representatives, June 2006)
“But this is not merely faulty reasoning; arresting people to use as bargaining chips is the act of a gang, not of a state.” ( Haaretz Editorial, June 30, 2006)
Beginning on the night of June 28, 2006, Israel launched a massive land, and air assault and invaded the Gaza Strip, in which over 5,000 soldiers followed hundreds of tanks and armored carriers, while scores of helicopter gunships and fighter jets fired missiles and rockets into populated centers, destroying the basic infrastructures of over 1.4 million Palestinians. The Jewish State’s pretext for total war was to free a captured Israeli soldier held as a prisoner of war (erroneously described as a “kidnapped” soldier) held by a Palestinian resistance group.
Even the pro-Israeli financial press saw through Prime Minister Olmert’s flimsy excuse: “…the disproportion between the means and ends suggest this (the release of the Israeli prisoner) may be a pretext” ( Financial Times, July1, 2006). The FT goes on to argue that the purpose of Israel ’s assault was to destroy the democratically elected government, claim that it had no one to negotiate with and then… “unilaterally (setting) new borders for an expanded Israeli state, by annexing large swaths of the occupied territory on which the Palestinians had hoped to build their independent state” ( FT July 1, 2006, p.8).
On July 6, Israeli forces led by armored carriers invaded Northern Gaza and declared that they were annexing territory as a “buffer zone” ( BBC News July 6, 2006), confirming the predictions of the editorial writers of the FT, and moving a step further toward the ‘Final Solution’. By the end of the day, Israeli Armed Forces had re-conquered a major swathe of Gaza in a North-South pincer operation, killing 22 Palestinian civilian and resistance fighters and wounding scores. While European and US politicians urge “restraint” the Israeli blitz drives deeper into Gaza, ignoring all the diplomatic niceties and Geneva Conventions, confident that the Lobby will ensure that no US (and therefore European) constraints will be imposed. While 300 left and progressive British Jews signed an advertisement in the Times of London, no such statement has emanated from their US counterparts – perhaps they are waiting till Israel ’s re-conquest is a fait accompli.
Israel’s strategic goal as each and everyone of its Prime Ministers, Labor, Likud or Kadima, have explicitly stated is the total control of all of Palestine by the Jewish state, the forcible seizure of Palestinian land and the expulsion of millions of Palestinians from the “ Land of Greater Israel ”. This totalitarian vision of a Final Solution has advanced methodologically over the years, accelerating over the past year through the systematic destruction of the elementary conditions for Palestinian survival.
From the Present to the Past
The 6/28 assault was directed at destroying the Palestinian leadership (BBC News July 1, 2006). Over 60 Palestinian leaders were arrested or driven from office, including the arrest of 8 cabinet ministers and 20 other members of Parliament. In justification for the arrest of the democratically elected Hamas cabinet ministers and deputies, Israeli Defense Minister and Labor Party leader, Amir Peretz, ranted, “The masquerade ball is over…the suits and ties will not serve as cover to the involvement and support of kidnappings and terror” ( BBC News, July 1, 2006). Peretz, the political executioner of the invasion, has been the darling of the US and European ‘Center-Left’ and the favorite of self-styled ‘progressive’ Jewish intellectuals and rabbis. The Israeli destruction of the Gaza electrical power station and water supply, its bombing of bridges connecting North and South Gaza, follows a systematic effort to starve the 1.4 million Palestinians living in Gaza.
Under the total embargo imposed by the Jewish State to strangle the Palestinian economy in order to “ create the conditions for voluntary departure” as former Prime Minister Rabin so exquisitely described ethnic cleansing… “over 48 or the 60 factories in an industrial park have (been) shut or are relocating to Egypt or other Arab countries”. ( New York Times, July 3, 2006).
The blockade of entry points and the systematic murder of civilians, including entire families, leading up the invasion formed a clear pattern of provocation, to justify the invasion. In the weeks leading up to 6/28, Israel mobilized its armed forces on the borders of Gaza, in preparation for a massive attack, giving the lie to the claims by the Jewish state that it was ‘responding’ to the capture of its soldier. Throughout 2006, Israel waged psychological and military warfare throughout the Gaza territory. Between January to May 30, 2006, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, the Israeli military launched 18 assassinations, euphemistically referred to as ‘extrajudicial executions’ or ‘targeted assassinations of militants’; between March 29 to May 30, 77 air strikes on population centers, government offices, infrastructure and productive facilities; and nearly 4,000 artillery shells were fired by Israel between March 29-May 30.
As the Israeli armed forces positioned themselves for their 6/28 blitzkrieg, the Jewish state escalated its provocations, increasing their killing of Palestinian civilians. Between May 26 and June 21, a total of 44 Palestinians were killed, 30 of whom were civilians, including 11 children and 2 pregnant women (PCHR, June 2006 Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in Palestinian Territory ).
The Israeli tactic was to commit such grotesque crimes against defenseless civilians as to force the democratically elected Hamas government to renounce its 18 month voluntary cease fire and retaliate in defense of its people. Hamas refused and Israel, not to be denied its ‘land grab’ invented the pretext of the freeing of the Israeli soldier ‘hostage’.
Concomitant with the terror campaign and preceding Israel’s bloody June campaign, the Jewish State and its overseas political ‘lobbies’ in the US effectively halted all funding to the democratically elected government, including hundreds of millions of dollars of tax revenue which was collected by the Jewish State on Palestinian imports and which belongs to the Palestinian Authority. Poverty levels quadrupled and child and infant malnutrition multiplied. The salaries of 165,000 government employees, including medical workers, teachers and police, which directly support over 1 million Palestinians, went unpaid for months, raising the levels of extreme poverty to over 80% of the population in Gaza and 64% for all Palestinians. The poverty line for Palestinians set at $2.10 a day is an inadequate measure of living standards. Since the starvation blockade tactics of January-May were not sufficient to break Palestinian resistance and topple the Hamas government and facilitate the land grab, Israel escalated the civilian terror campaign in June culminating in the invasion and physical destruction of what remained of the economy and the semblance of governance. The totalitarian methods of terror, starvation and enclosure were tightening the noose – for the Zionist Final Solution of the Palestinian Question, or as the smiling fascist Yitzak Rabin once stated, “the conditions which would attract natural and voluntary migration of the refugees from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.”
The Final Destruction of Six Myths about the Jewish State and the Lobby
Israel ’s storm trooper tactics so devastatingly demonstrated in the invasion of 6/28 and its totalitarian vision of massive ethnic cleansing leave few doubts about its ultimate goals and political methods.
“ Israel is violating in Gaza the most fundamental norms of humanitarian law and human rights law – its conduct is indefensible. Over 1,500 rounds of artillery have been showered on Gaza …Sonic booms terrorize the people. Transport has been seriously disrupted by the destruction of roads and bridges. Sanitation is threatened.” (John Dugard, United Nations Envoy to an emergency meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council, July 4, 2006)
In response, with all the cant, hypocrisy and arrogance for which Israeli politicians are infamously renowned, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Itzhak Levanon blustered that the emergency meeting was a “planned and premeditated attack on Israel…We find ourselves in an absurd situation in which the Human Rights Council, convened into urgent session, ignores the rights of one state and holds a special meeting to defend the rights of the other side.”( BBC News July 5, 2006)
Apparently the distinguished diplomat was referring to the Council’s ignoring the “rights” of Israeli fighter and helicopter pilots to bomb Palestinians civilians into fleeing in terror across the Egyptian border.
1. Israel and Democracy
In December 2005, in the most democratic election ever organized in the Arab East, the Hamas Party was elected to power by the majority of Palestinian voters. Even President Bush, before he was chastened by the Jewish Lobby, publicly conceded the democratic character of the Palestinian election process. The Israeli State rejected the outcome and orchestrated a massive well-financed international campaign through its US and European Jewish lobbies to isolate and undermine the newly elected regime. Instead of recognizing the democratic mandate, Israel labeled the regime ‘terrorist’; it ignored Hamas unilateral ceasefire and escalated its murderous military attacks. Above all it succeeded in establishing an economic blockade, exercising its hegemony over the US and through the latter over the European Union. Israeli animus to Palestinian democracy and its citizens’ role in freely electing its representatives clearly marks Israel an enemy to an open pluralistic Arab society. Obviously the same applies to the major Jewish organizations in the US – AIPAC, ADL, the Presidents of the Major Jewish Organizations, which parroted Israel’s attack on Palestinian democracy, as they have done on every other policy, no matter how unconscionable, as in the murder of Palestinian children and families. The Israeli animosity to Arab democracy is widely transmitted into the US body politic by their Zionist followers in the lobbies, government, mass media and business.
2. Israel and Peace
The week prior to the Israeli invasion, Hamas and the PLO agreed to negotiate with Israel, giving tacit recognition to the State of Israel. Most of the mass media published reports of the accord and the European Union welcomed the agreement, stating it was the beginning of a process. The Financial Times reported: “The crisis (Israeli invasion of Gaza ) has overshadowed a vital agreement reached by Hamas and Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority President, on Tuesday that includes an implicit Hamas acceptance of a two state solution to the Middle East conflict. A copy released by Hamas…refers to the Palestinian goal of a state on all the land occupied in 1967…” (my emphasis) ( FT June 29, 2006. p.8). Israel responded by rejecting negotiations and launched the new war to destroy the Palestinian State. In fact the Israeli State never at any point even recognized the elected Hamas government as a negotiating adversary let alone a partner.
As Noam Chomsky has documented, at every point since the 1980’s, that the PLO have carried out a ceasefire, proposed a two state solution and explicitly recognized the State of Israel, the Jewish state launched the invasion of Lebanon, assassinated prominent leaders or launched military assaults, killing activists and civilians, in order to force the Palestinians to withdraw their offer.
The Israeli regime absolutely refuses to accept a negotiated prisoner release and exchange proposed by Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, US client Mubarek and most of the European Union. Israel holds at least 9,000 Palestinian political prisoners including 335 children and several hundred women, most of whom have not been charged, almost all have been tortured, and the great majority are civilians seized in their homes or in the street. In a word, most civilians are kidnap victims of the Israeli Defense (sic) Forces, not captured combatants as is the case of the lone Israeli soldier. The Palestinians have repeatedly called on Israel to free the five hundred kidnapped Palestinian children and women hostages in exchange for their captured soldier. Israel responded by intensifying its military assaults and widening the net to include all Palestinians. At a cabinet meeting on July 2, Olmert stated, “I have given instructions to intensify the strength of action by the army and security services to hunt down these terrorists, those who sent them…and those who harbour them” ( Aljazeera July 2, 2006). In other words, the resistance organizations (dubbed ‘terrorists’) combating Israeli military incursions include all major Palestinian organizations; those who “send them” – includes all the elected political authorities; and those “who harbour them”, includes hundreds of thousands of families, friends, neighbors, community and civic groups, doctors and nurses – in a word, civil society. This is a totalitarian order to criminalize and target almost the entire political and civil society of Palestine.
3 Israel and Political Rights
Israel ’s re-occupation of Gaza and imposition of martial law is accompanied by the criminalization of the entire electoral political class: cabinet ministers, parliamentarians and party activists. Israel ’s Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Perez told CNN (July 2, 2006), “They (Palestinian government officials) will be put on trial and they will be accused of participating and supporting terrorist acts against the civilian government (sic).” To make its point in the best traditions of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, the Israelis bombed the executive offices of the Palestinian Prime Minister, setting the building on fire. As if to demolish even the memory or thought of a Palestinian government, the Israeli military juggernaut is destroying the entire Palestinian infrastructural basis for political life: buildings, leaders, parties and elections.
Systematically and with a bureaucratic efficiency, which would have won the admiration of Adolf Eichmann, the Jewish State proceeded with daily demolitions of every conceivable structure necessary for civilized life. On July 3, 2006 it bombed the university in Gaza City. On July 4 it bombed the Ministry of the Interior. On July 5 Israelis invaded Northern Gaza and the criminal story continues. For those who believed that this invasion was merely an episode in search of a prisoner of war, Yuval Diskin, head of Israel’s secret police, Shin Bet, stated that the “…operation in Gaza could last months.”( Aljazeera July 2, 2006). With monumental cant and hypocrisy, Major General Amos Yadlin, Israeli Army Chief of Intelligence, having arrested or driven underground the entire Palestinian leadership declared that “…mediation efforts were stymied because no one knows whom to talk to about Shalit (the Israeli POW).”
4 Israel and Terror
While Israel was destroying the very basis of Palestinian existence as a people, it was launching 24 hour artillery assaults, continual sonic booms by low flying jets, forcing the dehydration of the entire population in scorching heat by destroying drinking water supplies, living in darkness, deprived of food and confined to their homes or shelters. An entire people, without an army of their own, under military siege is holed up in an ever shrinking territory. This is the State of Terror in its most expressive and malignant form: “Collective Punishment” is not directed at securing the release of the Israeli POW; it is directed at making life for the Palestinian people so unbearable, so lacking in the most basic conditions for survival, that they will either be forced to flee or rise up in a heroic last stand, to which Israel will respond with all its murderous military might or as the distinguished academics, journalists, ideologues and Presidents of the Major Jewish Organizations will describe it : “a vigorous Israeli response to Palestinian terrorism”.
5. The Jewish Lobby: The Central Issue
While the Israeli assault on Gaza grinds on so does the propaganda and activism in its favor by all the major Jewish/Zionist organizations in the US andEurope. In a review of the Daily Alert (the daily organ prepared for the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations in the US) since the beginning of the invasion of Gaza, one finds automatic and uncritical support for every single Israeli assault on Gaza: electrical power plants because they have “dual use”; water supplies and sewage treatment plants are “military targets” because they are used by the captors; terrorizing children and civilians is to “let them know what Siderot (an Israeli border community and home of the Defense Minister) have been going through”; intensified and prolonged Israeli repression of the Palestinian population because “Hamas and Fatah are terrorist organizations and they must be treated as terrorists and crushed by all means necessary”. ( Daily Alert July 3, 2006).
There is a Zionist international division of labor: the military assassins operate in Israel, the verbal assassins operate out of the plush suites of the head offices of the Presidents of the Major Jewish Organizations.
Nothing captures the power of the Jewish lobby as much as the Euro-American response to Israel ’s full scale assault on Gaza. Bush supports Israeli action even when it grossly violates Washington’s ‘rules’ for the IDF offense: it destroyed a US financed power plant, it blew up bridges, roads and water lines contrary to Bush’s admonition to “avoid damaging infrastructure and harming civilians”. Israel can stick their fingers in both of Bush’s eyes and have his backing because it knows that the Jewish lobby will mobilize a near unanimous Congressional endorsement, a favorable media focus on the Israeli ‘hostage’ and a virtual blackout on massive Palestinian suffering. Thanks to the Jewish lobby, Israel ’s totalitarian terror directed toward a ‘Final Solution’ only elicits laughable proposals from the United Nations to negotiate a peaceful resolution, when the only legitimate elected negotiators are in jail or hiding and threatened with assassination.
On July 5 the European Union (EU) castigated Israel ’s “disproportionate measures” and not Israel ’s invasion and violation of the United Nations Charter on the rights of nations to self-determination. This meek, shameful betrayal of the EU’s own principles is exacerbated by its equating Israel ’s invasion with the Palestinian capture of an active military combatant. ( La Jornada ( Mexico City ), July 6, 2006). The difference between Lobby-dominated US backing of Israel ’s invasion and the EU boils down to the “appropriate amount of force” which Israel should apply in invading Gaza.
What accounts for US support for Israeli ethnic cleansing, despite impudently and blatantly repudiating the US “moderate” guidelines on destroying Palestinian democracy? No one in their right mind can claim that the Israeli assault on Gaza is because of US policies, interests or US imperial power. The entire campaign from the beginning to end to destroy the democratically elected Hamas government was made and packaged in Israel and executed with the willing complicity of the executives among the Presidents of the Major Jewish Organizations in America – including but not confined to AIPAC. The daily assaults and assassinations in Gaza and the West Bank were carried out under the direction of Israeli Generals, Shin Bet and Mossad, approved by the Israeli Defense Minister and Prime Minister without consulting or even feigning to advise Washington. The campaign to isolate and destroy Hamas was overwhelmingly organized by the Jewish Lobby; it succeeded in securing a near unanimous endorsement in the US Congress and complete backing in Washington. It successfully got the Bush Administration to pressure the European Union to boycott the Hamas government.
There is no evidence that implicates Big Oil in the Israeli drive to ‘cleanse’ Palestine of Arabs. There is no evidence that Israel was acting on behalf of US strategists. There is a wealth of reports, documents, statements and actions taken by the Israeli regime and its US transmission belts that they imposed US complicity, engineered the entire operation in accord with their own totalitarian methods at the service of their own designed strategy to secure the ‘Final Solution’: Jewish rule over the entire Palestinian territory.
The Jewish Lobby has dutifully followed every twist and turn in the Israeli propaganda line on its devious road toward a purely Jewish Palestine.
For example, Israel claimed it couldn’t negotiate with the Palestinians because they refused to recognize Israel (even Arafat publicly and categorically proclaimed he favored a Two State solution in the 1980’s). The Lobby ignored Arafat’s pledge, then labeled his proposal as unreliable, then turned around and endorsed his role as a legitimate interlocutor at the Oslo meeting after Israel passed the line that he was a statesman and not a terrorist. With Sharon scuttling the agreement, the Lobby switched to re-labeling Arafat a terrorist and blamed the PLO for failing to accept the creation of separate Palestinian Bantustans.
The Jewish State claimed that it couldn’t deal with an illegitimate undemocratic regime. The Lobby parroted the line, calling Israel the “only democracy in the Middle East ”, while it exercised colonial rule over 3.5 million Palestinians. Subsequent to the free elections which were won by Hamas, the Israeli State rejected the democratic outcome; the Lobby “forgot” about its democratic rhetoric and again parroted the line of its Israeli masters – democratically elected authorities who are not approved by Tel Aviv are not acceptable.
Israel launched a series of measures to destroy the Palestinian economy and blockade trade and financial life; the Lobby automatically endorsed it, promoted US complicity and supported the collective punishment of the Palestinian people for having been so irresponsible as to support a nationalist government inclined to eliminate corruption.
Israel blew up US financed power plants; the Lobby supported Israel over their own government.
Israel built the segregation wall. The World Court condemned it. The Lobby defended it repeating the Israeli State line: It’s a ‘Security Fence’.
In other words, the evidence of the Lobby acting as a transmission belt for Israeli state policy under all conditions is overwhelming. In the face of all rational considerations, the Lobby automatically gives unquestioned support to Israel ’s violations of peace, democracy, human rights, international court rulings, United Nation’s resolutions. This is especially true even when the Israeli State blatantly ignores US policy. There is no question that the Lobby’s primary political loyalties lay with the State of Israel.
The Jewish Lobby’s whole-hearted backing of Israel’s assault of Gaza illustrates once again that there is no crime, no matter how terrible and perverse, which Israel commits, which will not be supported by the respectable professors, investment bankers, journalists, surgeons, policy advisers, real estate moguls, lawyers, school teachers and other ordinary folk who make up the activist base of the Major Organizations.
6 Israel and Prisoner Exchanges: The Record
The Israeli government and all its principle spokespeople have repeatedly rejected negotiations directed toward a prisoner exchange, calling the demand “outrageous”, “extortion” and likely “to encourage terrorism”. The Jewish State’s line was predictably echoed and amplified by its representatives in the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations (CPMJO) repeatedly throughout the Israeli invasion in their propaganda sheet, Daily Alert. The editorial pages of the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times were full of opinion pieces supporting the Israeli line opposing prisoner exchanges written by members or supporters of the (pro-Israel) Jewish Lobby.
The historical record provides a totally different account of Israel ’s policy on prisoner exchange and extortion. Israel has on numerous occasions negotiated with so-called ‘Palestinian terrorists’ the exchange of prisoners and consummated deals. As Esther Wachsman, the mother of an Israeli soldier who died in an operation to release him, emphatically stated (and as everyone in Israel knows), “All this talk about not speaking to the terrorists is nonsense, in the end they released Palestinian prisoners with blood on their hands for three dead soldiers and they released Sheikh Ahmed Yassin for two Mossad agents.” ( BBC News July 1, 2006).
Equally the misplaced indignation of Israeli officials and the officials of the Jewish lobby against “extortion” is laughable, were it not so tragic. Israel systematically holds family members, relatives and entire neighborhoods of suspected activists hostage, some are even imprisoned and tortured in order to extort information or force the suspects to turn themselves in.
The practice of accusing the victims of the crimes which the executioners are about to commit, as Albert Camus once noted, is the hallmark of totalitarian regimes.
Beyond the Jewish State and Lobby’s hypocrisy, cant and outright lies accompanying the refusal to negotiate a prisoner exchange is an equally important question: Why has the Israeli regime, contrary to its past practices, refused to negotiate? The explanation for Israeli intransigence is that it does not want their soldier released, at least not until they have devastated and re-occupied Gaza. The refusal to negotiate this time is a coldly calculated and cynical move to prolong the invasion and increase their stranglehold on the Gaza economy in order to accelerate the “voluntary” departure of the Palestinians. The lowly corporal is being sacrificed to the Greater Good of Greater Israel; for all the sentimental photos of the lad published in the Lobby influenced mass media, there is no accompanying concern with the cynical refusal of the Jewish State to negotiate his release.
The danger is that Israeli fundamentalism is implicating not only the US mass media and state, it’s happening in US civil society, which already is suffering from police state regulation from our own rulers in the White House. Beyond the terrible plight and injustices of the Palestinians in Gaza, and US complicity is the larger question of a new air war against Iran. If Israel, through its Jewish lobby and backers in the government, can induce a US invasion of Iraq, if it can secure US and EU complicity in destroying a democratically elected government in Palestine in the course of ethnic cleansing, could the same power configuration lead to a full scale attack on Iran ? The precedents have been established. The political machinery is in place. Is it a question of timing or pretext? Can some as yet unforeseen or unpredictable event or political force intervene to forestall the Zionist juggernaut? The first step is to explain the problem: to name the pro-Israel power bloc at work, to expose the issue of dual loyalties, to face down the vicious slander campaigns emanating from the agents of the Israeli state and to begin a nationwide educational and political campaign to end Israeli crimes against humanity and its Lobby’s shameful apologetics for the ‘Final Solution’.
Mass Media Propaganda at the Service of Ethnic Cleansing
As is predictable from past responses to Israel ’s savaging of Palestinian communities and civilians, the response of the mass media to the Israeli onslaught was almost entirely in line with the outlook of the Jewish Lobby. I have chosen to analyze one of the more reputable sources – the British Broadcasting Corporation ( BBC), rather than the more overt Lobby mouthpieces like the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and New York Times, or the blatant television and radio stations, to illustrate the problem. On July 1, 2006, Alan Johnston, the BBC News reporter in Gaza provided an ‘overview’ of the war situation.( BBC News July 1, 2006). The key to the pro-Israel account is set in the background to the Israeli invasion: “The best of governments would struggle here. And Hamas came to the task with an attitude toward Israel that guaranteed that it would be engulfed by problems.”
The “attitude” at least what was expressed in Hamas’ behavior was: (1) upholding a one-year cease fire with Israel, despite continued Israeli assassinations; (2) participation in the first free and open electoral process; (3) an offer to negotiate co-existence on the basis of equality and mutual respect with the Israeli regime, which Israel categorically rejected; and (4) the pursuit of peaceful means and appeals to the United Nations against the brutal Israeli boycott. In other words, the BBC turns on its head the background to the invasion: It was Israel ’s hostile and belligerent attitude (and behavior) that “guaranteed that it (Hamas) would be engulfed by problems”.
The second “background” statement to frame the BBC’s defense of Israel ’s invasion reads: “In the past Hamas suicide bombers have hammered at Israel ’s cities, taking hundreds of lives. Hamas called the bombs in the cafes and the buses resistance to occupation. But the West called it terrorism. It plunged the new government into economic and diplomatic isolation. And it will remain an international pariah until Hamas renounces violence and recognizes Israel ’s right to exist.”
The BBC selectively reviews Hamas activities of the past, ignoring much worse examples of Israeli state terrorism, including the murderous invasion of Lebanon, killing 25,000 people, 1,400 alone in Sabra and Shatila Refugee Camps; the Israeli killing of four times as many Palestinian civilians during the two Intidadas; the systematic murder of opponents, called “targeted assassinations” – all of which have been condemned by the UN and most of the Western governments (US excluded). If past behavior of terrorism is a criteria to evaluate regimes, it is Israel, along with the US, which is cited most frequently by the majority of Western opinion polls as the greatest threat to peace. The very founding of Israel was based on terror and violent destruction of hotels, cafes, hospitals, schools and other colonial and Arab properties. The preoccupation of the BBC with Israeli cafes and buses overlooks the Israeli destruction of Palestinian schools, hospitals and homes. By any measure of United Nations voting behavior, it is Israel that is the international pariah by at least a 10 to 1 margin. Hamas’ election participation was endorsed by all Western regimes, including Washington, who initially welcomed the democratic outcome. The blockade of Palestine, led by Israel, the Lobby and the US was not a result of past Hamas behavior, but of present electoral outcomes and Israel ’s vengeance on the Palestinian electorate, as top Israeli officials have publicly asserted. Moreover, as was pointed earlier, one week before the Israeli invasion, Hamas, in signing off on an agreement with the PLO tacitly agreed to a two state solution. The BBC’s prejudicial framework is designed to blame Hamas, the victim of the crimes which Israel, the Lobby and the US are perpetuating against them.
According to the BBC, the Israeli-Lobby-US embargo is thus not imposed against a democratically elected government but against terrorists. Israeli assaults on Palestine in the lead up to the invasion are justified by past Hamas actions, ignoring the provocative murder of 20 civilians during bloody June 2006. The BBC’s ‘framework’ for analyzing the Israeli invasion is a transparent frame-up of a re-colonized nation.
The Israeli re-colonization of Gaza, the bombing and the military mobilization prior to the capture of the Israeli soldier is totally ignored in the BBC overview. Instead we are presented with all the sappy melodrama of a third-rate soap opera in the service of a savage onslaught against 1.4 million Palestinian captives.
“Hamas militants were among those who raided an army post on Gaza ’s border on Sunday. In the dawn light they burst out of a tunnel and surprised a slumbering tank crew. The attacker killed two soldiers and led away 19 year old Gilad Shalit. And when you see the pictures of his pale, bespeckled face on television, it is easy to believe that he is as he is described ‘ shy, bright, with a gift for math’. He is every Israeli’s ‘kid next door.’ And now they are watching him live their nightmare. He is somewhere in the depths of Gaza in the hands of their most formidable enemy.” ( BBC July 1, 2006)
The BBC projects the image of Arab child killers literally coming out of an underground—real live devils – and slaughtering sleepy and freckly-face “kids”, who we are not told had fired thousands of shells into Gaza when they were awake while scanning the horizon for any moving target. There are 9,000 Palestinian prisoners, many are civilians, some are pale or worse, because of legalized torture, a good number are much younger than Gilad, some wear glasses, many are shy and bright with ‘a gift for math’. Their families have lived the Israeli ‘nightmare’ of incarceration, anywhere from 1 to 20 years…not a few days, like tank crew corporal. There are three hundred real Palestinian ‘kids next door’, younger than 18, who are rotting in Israeli jails – and there are thousands of others who have been blinded and crippled by Israeli live ammunition for protesting the occupation. For Israelis, the ‘Israeli nightmare’ takes place with $20,000 USD per capita income, with electrical appliances lighting up the house, swimming pools to lounge around and distract themselves from the ‘nightmare’ of a single Israeli soldier, who, we are told by the BBC, “is in great danger” from the kid-killing “Palestinian militants”. Written without irony or shame, the BBC omits to mention the living nightmare of 1.4 million Gaza inhabitants without water, sewage, electricity and subject to daily barrages of artillery and missiles…
It is not difficult to see that the BBC has incorporated into its narrative the racist Zionist idea that one Israeli life is worth more than 1.4 million Palestinians, or that the psychological anguish of Israeli television viewers is more important than the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian families threatened with physical extermination.
Let it be said that the BBC’s apology for Israeli terror is no worse than the propaganda that passes for news in the rest of the illustrious mainstream publications in the US.
What is striking about the media’s reportage of Israeli aggression is the extent to which it justifies and legitimates the most heinous crimes, with the crudest imagery and sanctimonious language…Neither the Pope, nor the West’s pet ‘Gopher’, Kofi Annan (United Nations Security General) nor any other prominent governmental official – except the Swiss foreign minister – has raised a cry of indignation at this crime against humanity. Thus speaks the power of the Israeli lobbies here and abroad. When Mussolini invaded Ethiopia, the League of Nations wrung their hands and did nothing. When Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia, some Westerners cried appeasement but did nothing. When Israel rapes Gaza, Washington and the EU urges them on.
Since Israel is the aggressor and the Jewish Lobby is deeply engaged and the mass media is flashing the face of the lone Israeli military captive, the US peace movement is virtually dead to the Palestinians’ nightmare.
Even the infamous disclaimers of the power of the Jewish lobby (Chomsky, Palast, Albert and an army of progressive intellectuals and journalists) would be hard pressed to find a ‘Big Oil’ interest buried in the sands and rubble of Gaza. Nor can US government support of Israeli aggression be linked to any ‘geo-political interests in the Middle East ’ as argued by Professor Steven Zunes. The Lobby has spoken and Washington has listened: Israel is to be supported, their lies are truths, their invasion is defensive, their ‘anguish’ is real, their life is a ‘nightmare’; the ‘others’ are terrorists.
The Palestinians’ tiny crowded strip of land is backed up against the sea: a little push from Israeli storm troopers and they will be driven in mass into the sea.
God Bless Israeli crimes against humanity! God Bless US acquiescence! God Bless an impotent American peace movement which places unprincipled tactical alliances above solidarity with humanity!