A State of denial: Israel

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On April 9, 1948, several weeks before the end of the British Mandate in Palestine, Zionist commandos of the Irgun, headed by Menachem Begin, and Stern Gang raided Deir Yassin, a peaceful Palestinian village that lay outside the area designated by the UN to be included in a future Jewish state. [1]

Ariel Sharon, then Minister of Defense, led the 1982 Lebanon invasion on the pretense that he only intended to stage a limited incursion into Lebanon to wipe out PLO “terrorists.” The real aim of Sharon’s full-scale invasion, however, was the total eradication of PLO, and building a military buffer zone in southern Lebanon (which lasted for 22 bloody years) thus fortifying the Israeli occupation of the West Bank.

Israel’s heavy artillery and warplanes pounded the capital for 40 days. An estimated 17,500 Lebanese and Palestinian civilians were killed.

Utter ruthlessness and disregard for human lives.

It’s deja vu, 20 years later. Sharon is once again, pounding Palestinian populated areas with brute and impunity, to root-out the “terrorists.” Still.

Since the intifada erupted, in September 2000, Palestinian deaths in West Bank and Gaza have exceeded 1000. 85% of which were civilians; 25% children under 18 [4].

From those shot dead, 50% were a result of upper body (head, neck, chest and abdomen) direct hits; 60% from live ammunition [4].

“Caught in the crossfire”? Don’t insult my intelligence.

Over 18000 have been injured. 30% were children [4].

Ha’aretz (Hebrew daily newspaper) correspondent Amira Hass interviewed an IDF sharpshooter who admitted that IDF rules of engagement give soldiers a freehand to shooting children above the age of 12 [5].

“If you say you have seen children that have been hit in the head a lot, then it is sharpshooters,” the sharpshooter told Hass [5]. No surprise. IDF soldiers are amongst the best-trained and equipped in the world.

New York Times Middle East Bureau chief Chris Hedges, relayed his own experiences in the occupied territories:

Okay, so there will be other serious theological problems.

“Yesterday at this spot the Israelis shot eight young men, six of whom were under the age of eighteen. One was twelve. This afternoon they kill an eleven-year-old boy, Ali Murad, and seriously wound four more, three of whom are under eighteen. Children have been shot in other conflicts I have covered-death squads gunned them down in El Salvador and Guatemala, mothers with infants were lined up and massacred in Algeria, and Serb snipers put children in their sights and watched them crumple onto the pavement in Sarajevo-but I have never before watched soldiers entice children like mice into a trap and murder them for sport.” [6]

IDF troops shoot and kill civilians at will, with total impunity from the international community as well as their own military commandants, as the Israeli Human Rights group, B’Tselem reveals:

“Over the years, B’Tselem has received hundreds of letters from the Judge Advocate General’s office regarding events in which Palestinians were killed, injured, or beaten by soldiers. In some of the cases, Military Police investigations were opened, and in some, the Judge Advocate General’s office only conducted an internal investigation. Most of the replies that B’Tselem received state that the soldiers acted properly and that no action was taken against the soldiers involved” [7].

So much for “the authorities are investigating the incident.”

It is mighty hypocritical of Israel sympathizers to call a Palestinian who, in desperate retaliation, where international law and Human Rights don’t count, blows himself up as a “terrorist” while calling Israel’s organized and murderous devastation of Palestine and its people as “self-defense.”

One, the Israeli, is state-sponsored terrorism, the other, the Palestinian, is reciprocal terrorism.

[Notwithstanding that Palestinian attack on Israeli targets within the occupied territories, are considered legitimate self-defense. Various UN resolutions have reaffirmed the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for liberation from colonial domination and alien subjection, “by all available means including armed struggle” [8]]

Israeli killing of Palestinian civilians is unintentional? Pure accident? Please.

Isn’t this the same mentality, Zionism, that attacked Deir Yassin and some other 500 Palestinian villages and slaughtered and depopulated its inhabitants, to make way for the new Zionist state? [9]

Those who say there is no moral equivalence between what the Palestinians are doing and what the Israelis are doing, are absolutely correct. There is no comparison between desperate acts of a virtually demilitarized nation struggling for its basic human rights and a powerful ruthless entity committed to Zionism:

“Among the Jews, a theory, plan, or movement for colonizing their own race in Palestine, the land of Zion, or, if that is impracticable, elsewhere, either for religious or nationalizing purposes; — called also Zion movement.” (Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.)

Notes:

[1] http://www.deiryassin.org

[2] In his book, “The Revolt: The History of Irgun,” Begin wrote that there would have been no security for the State of Israel without the “victory” of Deir Yassin (P. 162)

[3] According to the Red Cross

[4] http://www.palestinercs.org

[5] “Don’t shoot till you can see they’re over the age of 12,” Ha’aretz, November 20, 2000

[6] “Gaza Diary: Scenes from the Palestinian Uprising, http://www.harpers.org/online/gaza_diary October 2001

[7] B,Tselem, 11/13/01

[8] UNGA 3070, 3103, 3246, 3328, 3481, 31/91, 32/42 and 32/154

[9] http://www.palestineremembered.com

Mr. Baha Abushaqra is a Media Activist with Palestine Media Watch.

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