Objectivity on Violence

On Wednesday Israeli occupation forces killed eight (some reports say 13) Palestinians in an assault on Hay AzZaytouna (Olive tree Neighborhood) in Gaza. Among those killed were three teenagers: Sami Badawi (16), Akram AbuAjami (17), and Sameh Toteh (16). Like many other such assaults, the mainstream media in the US ignored this event or made cursory mention of “operations”. No mainstream newspaper mentioned their names let alone describe this as terrorism. The next day a Palestinian suicide bomber killed 10 Israelis. These and other attacks inside Israel are described in detail and the media never shied from using the labels of massacres and terrorism in those instances. The net result is that Israeli lives and deaths become valued while Palestinian lives and deaths are diminished or erased from our conscience.  

According to human rights organizations, four times more Palestinian civilians were killed by Israeli forces than vice versa. These same organizations (like Amnesty, Btselem, and Human Rights Watch) clearly showed that Israeli forces do target civilians.  State sponsored terror is an organic and natural part and parcel of colonization and settlement of native lands.  The Israeli colonization program over 5 decades has left 5 million Palestinians as refugees or displaced people and cornered those remaining into Bantustans/Ghettos being surrounded by high walls and watchtowers. There are individual acts of Palestinian terrorism but the media does not report on the more systematic Israeli terrorism or the reasons for all this violence. Over 530 Palestinian towns and villages were erased completely. Residents were driven out by careful use of massacres (33 between 1947-1949 and dozens more since then), intimidation, deprivation, land confiscation, and outright expulsions.

Oppressors always draw attention to the “savagery” of the “uncivilized” natives: whether natives are blacks fighting against apartheid in South Africa, Native American resistance to white colonization, or Algerian resistance to French colonization. Colonizers always justify their actions by focusing on the extreme examples of the most cruel and violent attacks by the natives (e.g. burning people alive in South Africa, scalping and killing white settler women and children in North America, Algerian massacre of French settlers). Extreme violence and terrorism are the expected tail of a bell shaped curve of resistance, which continues until its underpinnings are tackled (the injustices of discrimination, occupation and colonization).

We try desperately to treat the symptoms of diseases that we helped create and fund while ignoring the etiology of those diseases. Examples are too numerous to mention. The US government supported Saddam Hussain in Iraq even as he did his worst atrocities. The US military supported and trained the Mujahideen in Afghanistan (you know the group that included Usama Bin Laden) because they were fighting the Soviet Union. Not learning from these mistakes, we now funnel $5 billion per year to the Israeli effort to finish colonizing and ethnically cleansing Palestine of non-Jews. And while we insist that countries as distant as North Korea stop developing WMD, we veto UN resolutions to protect Israel while it breaks US law by receiving aid while having the third or fourth largest stockpiles of WMD in the world (nuclear, chemical, and biological).

In the last couple of years, Israeli occupation forces demolished over 5000 Palestinian homes, rendering over 30,000 people homeless. This is done with Caterpillar bulldozers made and paid for by the US. A colonial state is slowly finishing the destruction and ethnic cleansing started in 1947, all using our tax money. Meanwhile, a few who worked as lobbyists and advocates for this Zionist state are in the highest position in the US government (people like Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith, and Wurmser). And judging by statements of leading democrats (except people like Kucinich and Sharpton), not much would be different under a democratic administration.

The media intentionally suppresses the peaceful and rational voices of millions, including thousands of Jews and hundreds of Jewish organizations, calling for an end to our aid to the Israeli apartheid system until it agrees to implement International law (including the rights of refugees to return to their homes and lands and be treated equally). History shows that only justice brings peace. Apartheid walls, occupation, and oppression cannot impose peace. The sooner we learn this and act on our knowledge, the sooner we will stop sacrificing money and precious lives in protection of racist ideologies of separation and control of other people.