On Tuesday, June 13, Israeli missile fire killed seven Palestinian civilians in Gaza City. Among the dead were two children. The strike follows an Israeli assault on a Gaza beach late last week which claimed the lives of seven family members–”including five children. In a report released on June 11, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights documented the killing of 14 Palestinians in a 24 hour period due to Israeli attacks. Since the start of the month, Israeli forces have killed more than 30 Palestinians. Apparently, “the most moral military in the world,” as Israeli leaders like to refer to it, has been slipping up lately.
It also appears that the liquidation of the seven Palestinian civilians on June 13 was not newsworthy enough to make the front page of CNN.com–” which features Latest News headlines and World News headlines. Nor did the story appear on Yahoo’s “in the news”. By Tuesday night, Yahoo had the audacity to feature–”in its “in the news” section–”an article entitled, “Sderot is Israel’s ghost town on Gaza frontline.” A day in which eleven Palestinians were killed, Yahoo is reporting on Israel’s impending “security crisis.” The lack of coverage was not due to a global disinterest in the conflict. The Gaza story appeared throughout the day on Google News. The story had more “related articles” than any other featured on Google News today. While this event has killed more civilians than most suicide bombings have in the last couple of years, the story has not been reported in the US press with the intensity that a suicide bombing taking place in Israel normally is.
The Israeli/Palestinian conflict is one of the most pressing issues in international politics. The loss of Palestinian life, however, is not a pressing issue, nor does it seem to be a concern of the US media. The killing of the family last week was a rare instance in which the US media decided a Palestinian tragedy was news. Maybe the outlets realized that blowing up a family picnicking on a beach can cause quite a media firestorm and they didn’t want to miss out on the coverage. Granted, the articles had the usual section addressing how “brutal” the Palestinian “terrorist” groups are, while describing the reign of rocket fire “bombarding” Israel (which have killed a couple of civilians in the last nine months). It would be interesting if CNN, in reporting an attack on Israel, also reported on Israel’s illegal confiscation of Palestinian land, their policy of slow ethnic cleansing, non-recognition of the Palestinian people, and ruthless military and settler occupation that disregards the Geneva Conventions and international law. I know that CNN doesn’t claim to be “fair and balanced” but maybe the “most trusted name in news” should give it a try.
Where is the world community’s condemnation of Israel’s military actions? Where are the words of reprobation from the European Union–”the champion of democracy? I know the death of Palestinians is not as interesting as the World Cup–”but this is getting a bit ridiculous. The West has sided against the Palestinian people–”hoping the move will cause the collapse of the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority. Should the death of innocent Palestinians be considered the necessary collateral damage for the fall of Hamas? If so, how many Palestinians will suffice? In the last five years, Israeli forces killed four women and children a week on average, with barely a peep coming from the international community. If an increase in internal strife is necessary for this collapse, who is to lead the Palestinian people after the fall? How can one expect Palestinian Authority President Abu Mazen to come to the aid of Palestinians? While Abu Mazen slammed the actions of Israel today as “state terrorism,” it is he who benefits from the discord in Palestinian society.
The international community and Israel elected Abu Mazen as the new negotiator for peace. Yet, this only occurred after the world powers and Israel refused to consider him a partner during the 14 months following the passing of Yasser Arafat. No matter how many hoops Abu Mazen jumped through it was never enough, and his charades to appease the West and Israel were a contributing factor in the collapse of Fatah, his ruling party. Suppose Abu Mazen gained power with a newly emplaced Fatah-led government, would peace be around the corner? With the construction of Oslo, it is Abu Mazen who helped create the trenches Palestinians stand in today. It is the Oslo period which led to the biggest expansion of settlements in Israeli history. Why should Palestinian society bring back Fatah’s financial corruption, disingenuous promises of prosperity, and inept policy that miserably failed for fifteen years?
Abu Mazen should begin to realize that he was elected to lead the Palestinian people to a better future. He was not elected to align his political agenda with Western interests. The international community’s firm stand against Palestinian society and democracy is a position that will fail. Hamas is not going anywhere and neither is the will of the Palestinian people. Political ploys and maneuvering by Israel and the West will fall short. This lesson should have been learned after Hamas’ sweeping victory in the parliamentary elections. The Palestinians are at their strongest when they unify–”this is a fact Abu Mazen must come to grips with. It is also what Israel and America fear the most.