30 November, 2012
A Palestinian woman collects her belongings after an Israel attack by US supplied weapons
The Western Media and Israel’s Bombardment of Gaza
Hameed Abdul Karim
Israel’s unilateral bombardment of Gaza received the expected support from the American media which in turn extended to the rest of the Western media including the BBC. All described it as a ‘war’ like as if a battle was being fought between two armies of equal military and economic strength.
What was not mentioned was that the Hamas was equipped with primitive rockets while Israel was armed to the teeth with American supplied high tech weaponry. Neither was the fact that Israel is the 8th powerful army in the world, known by its Orwellian term as ‘Israeli Defense force (IDF). This is the ‘defense’ force that has attacked all its neighbours since its creation. Israel continues to occupy sections of lands belonging to its neighbours till today. Besides it’s the only nation that talks of attacking one country or another – Iran in particular – like as if it’s planning a day of fun and frolic prompting Norman Finklestein, a leading anti Israel activist, to describe Israel as a lunatic state. Finklestein is a Jew and his parents were survivors of Germany’s Nazi camps.
As Israel fired one volley after the other on the impoverished 24 square mile enclave of Gaza, the Western media jumped to whitewash its crimes. The narrative that emanated from the West was that Israel was innocent and all what the ‘poor little Jewish state’ was doing was to protect its civilians from the ‘barbarity’ of Hamas’ rockets that were being fired into Israel. Israeli spokesman, the Australian-Israeli citizen Mark Regev, parroted the threadbare line that Israel was responding to Hamas’ rockets and that if only Hamas stopped their ‘terrorism’ everything would be hunky dory. No mention need be made of Hamas’s record of keeping the truce. Neither should it be mentioned that it was Israel who is in the habit of breaking truces whenever it suits them. This time there is an election around the corner, like in 2008 when Israel ‘tested’ its US supplied White Phosphorous Gas on unarmed civilians in Gaza. It’s reported that Benyamin Netanyahu will certainly win the election come January largely because of his ‘firmness in dealing with Hamas’ terrorism’. Killing the ‘other’ to win elections is not a new phenomenon in modern day ‘democracies’!
BBC described Israel’s assault on Gaza as ‘violence’ like as if it was reporting a brawl at a football match. This ‘violence’ erupted when Israel broke the truce when it assassinated Hamas’s Ahmed Jabari described as a ‘strongman’ a la Saddam Hussein. That’s when history started, not in 1917 with the Balfour Declaration. And guess what? According to the Israeli paper Haaretz,(15 November, 2012) Jabari was working on a draft for a permanent truce agreement with Israel, according to Israeli peace activist Gershon Baskin who had mediated the release of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Not surprisingly the Western media ignored this salient fact and continued to dehumanise the Palestinians in its usual predictable manner. Sure Ahmed Jabari was a Hamas ‘militant’ and on account of that he was not human. And so his murder was justified as yet another ‘humanitarian’ killing or to use US-Israeli Orwellian terminology - ‘targeted assassination’.
Jabari’s murder clearly indicates that Israel is not interested in peace at all, despite its hoary claims of looking for ‘partners for peace amongst the Palestinians’. Those who had fallen for this Israeli myth have paid with their lives. Yassir Arafat, as non- Western media reports first indicated, was allegedly murdered with poisonous gas and Ahmed Jabari will not be the last of ‘peace partners’ to be killed as long as the Western media covers up Israel’s murderous blood lust.
All the while that Israel inhumanely bombed Gaza, the Western media never failed to add the rider that ‘the US has designated Hamas as a terrorist organisation’ which made the reader or viewer think that it was kosher to kill Palestinians and if a few children were killed in the process it would be Hamas’s fault for bringing this tragedy on themselves. Instead the narrative was that Israel had to ‘retaliate’ as any ‘democracy’ would in such a situation. Words like ‘democracy’, ‘civilians’ and peaceful co-existence’ were bandied about to justify Israel’s atrocities and to befuddle the already biased mindsets of Western viewers and readers. Obama came with the statement that ‘Israel has the right to self defense’ like as if Israel was at risk of being ‘wiped off the map’ like Palestine was. What Obama and other Western leaders do in supporting Israel in its terrorism is to allow Israel to flourish in their favourite pastime - the sense of victimhood. No mention is ever made of the daily humiliation and suffering of the Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli oppressors. No mention is made of the Israeli occupation of Palestine or its gross violations of international law like ethnic cleansing since its creation in 1948. No mention is ever made of the Palestinians inherent right to be free from Israeli occupation. No mention is ever made of the Palestinians’ right to resist Israeli occupation.
The perpetual dehumanising of Arabs in general and Palestinians in particular helped reinforce the strong biases this time around as well. Unfortunately for the West the ‘Arab Spring’ has removed some of the rigid prejudices that were held with movements like the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) in the U.S. and anti-austerity movements in Europe emulating Thahir Square. This has dented the West’s ‘dehumanising’ strategy of the ‘other’ like nothing has. The Arabs appear all too human now.