Israeli response has been unjust, disproportionate

From having lived in Hebron for 3 years up until 2011, I now write often of Palestine and Israel and the injustices perpetrated through the Israeli occupation. At times, I know the reader may wonder whether there is anything else on my mind.

The truth is that when a grave injustice happens in Palestine, I feel compelled – seeing before me the faces of so many children and people whom I love there – to share the on-the-ground-information I’ve received, differing from the popular media explanation given to the crisis.

Such is the case with the three Israeli teenage boys who allegedly were kidnapped two weeks ago. Now, a few days after finding the dead bodies of the three youths, and with no evidence for the claim, the Israeli government and its military have raided and demolished hundreds of Palestinian homes, and have arrested more than 500 Palestinians, including 24 members of Parliament, with no due process.

The military has invaded hundreds of schools and universities and has killed 10 Palestinian children. (I wait impatiently for the day when each Palestinian child’s life has the same value in the mind of the media as do the lives of the Israeli children.)

The United Nations Security Council called a special meeting in response to the horrific punishments Israel has been foisting upon Palestinians in response to the kidnappings – it seems in Israel’s response to the alleged crime not to matter a bit whether the Palestinian is guilty or not. The undersecretary general to the United Nations called (before the boys’ bodies were found) the situation “alarming.” The permanent Palestinian observer to the United Nations called for the entity to act on behalf of the Palestinians. No statements could be made to the world community from the United Nations because the criticism toward Israeli actions was blocked “by a certain few.”

I quote the words of Juan Cole, a highly respected professor of history at the University of Michigan, and an expert on Middle East history:

In the way of politics, the killing will be used by the Israeli right wing to demonize all Palestinians and to justify collective punishment of innocents among them, and as a pretext to take further property and rights away from them. Benjamin Netanyahu seems to think he can use the murders as a basis for a campaign to destroy the Hamas Party-Militia in Gaza altogether. But Hamas is a side effect of Israeli brutalization of Palestinians in Gaza, who live under an economic siege, and if it were destroyed, something worse would take its place. Intolerable situations produce resistance, and resistance movements often are fanatical. Of course, the Israeli crackdown actions will produce a backlash from Palestinians in turn.

It is particularly saddening to me to read the language coming across in our media which consistently calls any protesting Palestinians “militants” while incursions by Israel into Gaza are regularly called self defense. It is a very rare moment that our media will ever portray Palestinians as having a right to some measure of self defense as their homes are demolished, their land is confiscated for illegal settlement building and their precious water is stolen.

It also troubles me that never does Israel take any of the blame for any rockets being fired at them. Unacknowledged by the media, too, these qassam rockets are homemade and have surely brought infrastructure damage, but in contrast to the hundreds of Palestinians killed by the powerful Israeli military, 13 Israelis have died due to these homemade rockets. Where is truthful journalism in our day?

I give The Advertiser-Tribune a lot of credit for being willing to publish my contributions to its editorial page.


More information from Juan Cole: