How are we to comprehend the amazing, breathtaking, double-standard and complete total disregard by the media, for what Palestinian civilians are living through under the world’s longest military occupation?
Since December 13, at least 28 Palestinians, most of them unarmed civilians and 11 of them children, have been killed by the Israeli occupation. Yasser Arafat had made his call for an end to all Israeli and Palestinian violence on December 16, yet Israel’s raids, demolitions and siege have continued unabated.
South African media hosts and reporters as well, have consistently repeated that ‘there has over the past three weeks been a “relative calm” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict’. It is evident therefore, that when Israel’s weapons are used to destroy the lives of hundreds of people, already suffering under a suffocating blockade and daily bombardment, reporters have not a word to say.
On January 9, 2002, Palestinian freedom fighters killed four Israeli soldiers. Immediately the media stated ” Hamas shattered a three week lull in violence.”
The Israeli government soon implemented collective punishment. On January 10, 2002, Israeli occupation forces carried out a massive attack against Palestinian refugees in Rafah in the occupied Gaza Strip, destroying more than 70 civilian homes, and leaving 700 people homeless. What will become of the hundreds of new refugees who sat weeping in the rubble of their homes? How many times will these people be driven by Israel from their homes and lands?
What happened may accurately be described as war crime: Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states that:
“No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited. Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited.”
The fact that the UN Security Council has repeatedly demanded that Israel abide by the Convention; the fact that last month the United States stood against 118 countries, including many of its closest allies who convened in Geneva to examine Israel’s grave and constant breaches of the Convention, is of no interest to any of our mainstream print or broadcast media in South Africa.
At present, the South African government is hosting a meeting with Palestinian and Israeli delegates. It is necessary to urge the South African government to insist that the Israeli State give an unconditional undertaking to abide to all United Nations resolutions, and to demand an end to Israel’s fifty year illegal occupation.
It is also noteworthy that some Muslim Ulama have gathered again to affirm support to Palestinian resistance, confirming that martyrdom operations are the most effective tool to liberating Palestine.
A conference for Muslim Ulama met in Beirut on 10 January, under the slogan of ‘Saving Al-Quds and supporting the Palestinian people, a religious duty’. Speakers said that dangers of the Zionist entity were not limited to Palestine alone but rather all Arabs, Muslims and humanity at large. They criticized the Oslo agreements because they only provided the Palestinians with a limited self-rule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on condition that security of Israel would be guaranteed.
Ali Akbar Mohtashemi delivered a statement on behalf of the Islamic Republic of Iran affirming that liberating Al-Quds from Zionist occupation was the most important question in the Islamic World. Notwithstanding the many differences of opinion among Muslims regarding the Iranians, their government’s strong stand on Palestine is welcome and significant.
Khaled Mishaal, Hamas political bureau chief, delivered a statement affirming that his Movements strategic option was resistance until final liberation. He rejected negotiations and the settlement process describing them as a failure, noting that political agreements had divided the Palestinian people and posed as a stab in the back of resistance.
For his part, Hassan Nasrallah, secretary general of the Lebanese Hizbullah party, called for avoiding internal fighting and for reviving the spirit of resistance in the Islamic peoples.
It is understandable therefore, that Islamic Jihad has since dumped all deals on a cease-fire: “There is no justification to keep our hands tied behind our backs as Sharon is continuing his massacres against us”. The mainstream media however, seeks to vilify the victim, by reporting “there is reluctance by the Palestinians to end violence”.
It is most fortunate that in our Muslim communities, the presence of Islamic radio stations and newspapers are able to give us a clear, unbiased picture of what is really going on. Many Muslim and non-Muslim citizens in the world who are repeatedly ‘brainwashed’ by Zionist propagandists, now seek an alternate perspective of the current world order. Insha Allah, many people around the world would soon realise that the Americans and her allies reflect evil and hypocrisy.