And so the killing goes on
By: Linda S. Heard
I’ve just seen a photograph of the sweetest tiny girl, a Palestinian child little more than a baby, hugging her dead father. I’ve watched televised footage of a distraught father clinging to his young daughter who’s missing half her head, screaming “Please wake up. I’ve brought you a toy.” There are so many children in Gaza now without mothers and fathers, and so many parents grieving the loss of their kids.
Some 1,700 human beings encaged inside a strip of land are under attack by the region’s most powerful military. As I write, 165 have been killed; over 70 percent of those killed are civilians, one-third of those women and children. Over 265 homes have been demolished; we see teddy bears and toys in the rubble. Hospitals have been attacked. A ground invasion may be on the cards. The residents of northern Gaza have been told to evacuate. No sirens here, no bomb shelters, no Iron Domes and nowhere to run. And what is the international community, the principled international community that endlessly babbles on about human rights, doing to stop this massacre? Oh yes, Obama is making demands of Egypt, Turkey and Qatar (not forgetting one of the Iraq War’s main architects Tony Blair) to persuade Hamas to quit firing rockets. The United Nations Security Council has put out a mealy-mouthed, limp non-binding statement, following days of negotiation with a truculent US over the wording, asking both sides to adhere to the 2012 cease-fire agreement — with no timeframe. Well, isn’t that just peachy! Netanyahu has said loud and clear that he won’t bend to pressure from outside because the security of Israelis is his only priority.
In the meantime, the western media is going out of its way to project equivalence, airing footage of Israelis complaining they can’t sleep and have to interrupt their lives with dashes to bomb shelters. A middle-aged woman on a kibbutz said her dogs were disturbed by the loud booms. How inconvenient! It does not show the nightly open-air theater on the Israeli side of the Gaza border, where Israelis munching on snacks gather to watch the bombing show as though it were a firework display or the Israeli gangs on the West Bank chanting “Death to Arabs” and worse.
Netanyahu’s slick talking mouthpieces, Dore Gold and Mark Regev, are doing the rounds of CNN, BBC and Al-Jazeera, their propaganda manual engraved on their brains because after all, they’ve done their dog and pony act twice before, once in 2009 and, again in 2012. The same old arguments are regurgitated. Hamas is to blame because it uses civilians as human shields. Those bombed-out dwellings weren’t homes but structures for terrorist operations and in an attempt to avoid those attacks being categorized as war crimes they’ve designated those homes as terrorist operation centers. “What would you do if your country was being targeted by missiles,” this grinning propagandist duo inevitably asks? Problem is most countries aren’t occupiers and even if they were, they surely wouldn’t expect an occupied population to be well-behaved little victims, lowering their heads to be patted each time they are kicked and humiliated, each time they see their children thrown into prison for throwing stones, their house demolished or their land grabbed to make way for gated communities with manicured gardens reserved for people based solely on their religion. I have no doubt that the chain of events that resulted in this crisis has been manipulated and amplified to suit the Israeli government’s agenda.
It’s no accident of fate that just when Fatah and Hamas mend bridges to form a unity government that was blessed by the US, the EU and the UN, however half-heartedly, all hell breaks loose. Netanyahu deliberately raised the temperature following the murder of three young Israeli colonists, creating an atmosphere of hate.
Israel arrested over 450 Palestinian “suspects,” demolished homes and targeted leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza. Hamas responded as it always does with rockets. And now Netanyahu had the pretext he dreamt of which is to bury the peace process, the two-state solution, for all time. He’s never wanted peace; he merely paid lip service to the process to keep the international community off his back. Netanyahu’s reasoning is we withdrew from Gaza and we got rockets, so we would be foolish to hand over parts of the West Bank to Palestinians because we’ll get more rockets.
Of course, that reasoning is flawed because the Palestinian state he pretended to agree to would be demilitarized without any control over its borders or airspace. It’s true that Israel pulled its colonists out of Gaza kicking and screaming, but Gaza cannot be classed as free when residents are barricaded-in by Israel’s total blockade and when Israel can go on a bombing spree any time it feels like it. Once again the world has abandoned the Palestinian people crying out for help. Israel has impunity. Israel can do no wrong. Israel is the only victim here. So folks, who won the World Cup?
And so the killing goes on…