Wednesday, 23 July 2014


On 23 Juluy 2014, Navi Pillay, U high commissioner for human rights, announced that Israel's military action in Gaza during July may constitue a "war crime" because the tagrets were children and the demolition of houses. The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva has convened an emergency discussion on the matter. However, there is absolutely no doubt that the US will block any effort to bring to justice the war criminals, largely because Washington had given Israel the green light on the operations that resulted in war crimes.

There is no doubt that even the most monstrous human being that is still in possession of his faculties, a modicum of moral fiber, and just a touch of humanity would not admit that it is appropriate to kill children, that they are collateral damage victims, or any other excuse that we have heard from Tel Aviv and its supporters in the US and the West. This is not a lesson in moral absolutism, but at least human beings ought to agree on some basic principles, including killing of children is immoral and a war crime to be punished accordingly. The exact same principle is applied to all people, including Hamas when it too engages in killing Israeli children, and the same punishment must be accorded to that group as well for its war crimes. The World Court at the Hague has only proceeded with cases against Africans and some from the former Yugoslav Republic, leaving out anyone from the white-dominated Western World, thus making a mockery of the court.

Double standard practices at the World Court aside and ethical issues notwithstanding, what we have in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that has been going on since the 1940s and because of unequivocal US backing of Israel owing to a great many factors from early Cold War ideology to tangible American Jewish lobby interests, this conflict has no end with most of victims falling on the Palestinian side. At the root of this conflict is US complicity because of massive aid provided to Israel on a sustained basis, but also broader Western complicity that simply follows the US lead on Middle East policy.

The other major issue here is Arab indifference, largely because the West has been very successful in keeping the Arabs divided, and they have been using the Palestinian conflict largely as a pretext to maintain the status quo, while in essence cooperating with the US that always backs Israel no matter what war crimes it commits. Israeli war as a way of life has been institutionalized within Israel, serving defense interests at home and in the West, but causing many Israelis a great deal of unease regarding the future of their children.  
The Israeli war and collective punishment of Palestinians that has women and children as the majority of the victims is causing a great deal of guilt among humane and rational Israelis who want to see an end to the conflict and a permanent political solution. 

At the same time, I was struck by an article in the Jerusalem Post that Arab media was more interested in the Soccer World Cup out of Brazil than it was on what Hamas and Israel were doing. The Israeli newspaper notes that with the ISIS Jihadists in Syria and Iraq attracting attention, a possible Kurdish declaration of independence from Iraq, and a host of other areas of conflict in Muslim countries, from Yemen and Libya to Afghanistan Arab media has not taken as much notice. This view is confirmed by Turkey’s Premier Erdogan who insists that Arab indifference is as reprehensible as the silence of the US and the entire Western World over this issue.

It is estimated that in the last fourteen years, about 1400 Palestinian children have been killed and many more wounded; more than seven thousand children have been detained, interrogated and tortured by Israeli authorities; about half of the children exposed to intermittent war conditions suffer from post-traumatic stress disorders. Israeli policy under the current and past regimes has been that the only children taken into account as human are Israeli, while Palestinian children are those belonging to terrorists. This view was very clearly expressed in a letter from Prime Minister Netanyahu to Obama in December 2012 on the occasion of the Sandy Hook massacres in the US. Reverting to the “victimization” mindset and using the reprehensible holocaust of Jews by Nazis, the Israeli government gives itself license to engage in collective punishment and insist that it is beyond accountability of international war crimes laws. The reason for this is only because the US that enjoys military superpower status provides all the diplomatic, military, economic, and massive propaganda cover for Israel whose only issue is security for itself even if it means killing en masse and indiscriminately.

The more serious issue is how the US and Western media have been covering the most recent slaughter of Palestinian children by Israel. Amid the mass destruction of Gaza, the US and most Western media outlets have been focusing on other stories. The tragic downfall of the Malaysian airliner over eastern Ukraine has been the big story, and the conclusion has been that Moscow is responsible. Never mind that the black boxes have not been examined, that no independent investigation has reached any conclusion, the only issue is Russia is at fault, while the pro-Nazi Ukrainian regime has no responsibility despite the plane flying over Ukrainian air space.

Iran’s potential to develop nuclear energy that can also be used to develop nuclear weapons is another story. Never mind that Israel has nuclear weapons, that it is killing children in Gaza, that it is destabilizing the already unstable Middle East thanks to Jihadists and US support of such rebel elements in Syria, the real issue for the Western media is to make sure Iran does not develop nukes at some point in the future. Even the New York Times that likes to claim “objectivity” has been almost silent on the massacre of Palestinian children, while devoting lots of space to the three Israeli teens missing since July 2, 2014. The three innocent Israeli teens deserve lots of coverage without question, but do the 1400 massacred Palestinian deserve any? 

Even more absurd as well as grosslly inaccurate is another NYT story on why many Americans are siding with Israel the militartist aggressor intent on ethnic cleansing rather than the Palestinian victims. The New York paper argued that the reason is because Arab Spring failed to bring about democracy in the Arab World. In the entire history of Israel is there any time when war was launched against Palestinians and Arab neighbors that the US and the media-manipulated public opinion ever sided with Palestinians? Blatant racism on the basis on religion and skin color is very evident here, but even worse, we have a very clear case of journalism that is hardly worthy of the title. I would have far greater respect for such media outlets if they simply stated that they are mouthpieces of Tel Aviv and Washington. Instead, we have a double-standard practiced on a sustained basis not just by the US media, but the European as well, trying to find just about any pretext to demonize the victims in the conflict. Under such conditions, why is anyone surprised when Turkey’s premier Erdogan lashes out at racism of the West against Muslims?  

I was not at all amazed that according to a public opinion poll in Israel, one-third to as many as one-half of Israelis do want to have Palestinians working for them or work next to them. Nor am I surprised that all studies show that Western media is heavily pro-Israel and anti-Muslim, depicting Muslims as terrorist with strong racist undertones and stereotyping them, while personalizing the stories of the Israelis. This is not to argue that Hamas is made up of boy scouts that the Arabs are angels and the Israelis are evil. Nor does anyone have the right to argue that Israelis are the new Nazis in the Middle East, despite their policy of apartheid that is very similar to that of former South Africa. 

Israel has every right to self-defense and peace within its own borders. The issue is do the Palestinians have any rights other than perpetual occupation and tyrannical conditions under Israel? And what is the political and moral responsibility of the US here? Must short-term profits of defense contractors take precedence over everything else in the world? Can the military solution that Israel chose with US compliance lead to anything but more cyclical violence? Because Israel did not approve of US diplomatic solutions in Syria and Iran, nor US rapprochement with Iran, Obama had to give the green light to the Gaza military operations, while in return promising as few million dollars to the Palestinians to take care of their medical and other needs.

The ultimate insult in these small wars that Israel engages peridocally is that the US, which has approved and backed them, steps in after mounting world protests to present itself as the "peacemaker" and objective intermediary. That the militarist supowerpower behind Israel tries to present itself as the peace broker is insulting to all people, but especially to Palestinians who know that the US has had a role in killing their children. It is an insult to all humanity that on one from the US would ever stand trial for war crimes, just as no one from Israel would face such trial, presenting themselves as peacemakers and victims instead. Even worse, the media would gladly propagate to project the image of Israel as the real victim in the war it launched in Gaza and the US as the peace broker.

The US and Israel hoped to send a message to Iran, Syria and Russia by engaging in this latest Gaza conflict of July 2014. However, this too has already failed because most of the world sees very clearly behind the thin veil of US-Israeli militarism. The policy of militarism has already failed for the US trying to impose its hegemony over the Middle East and the trans-Caucasus region. In the end, China, Russia, and Iran will enjoy the benefits in these regions. Just as the US-backed rebels in Syria have become a major problem for the US because the ISIS jihadists are threatening Iraq’s territorial integrity, and just as there is no military solution for Syria, Iran, any more than Ukraine, there is only a political solution for Palestine, a political solution that die-hard ideologues refuse to accept and defense contractors dread because their profits will be negatively impacted. The clock is ticking on the end of Pax Americana, as it is on the indifferent dictatorial Arab regimes secretly backing the US in its support of Israel. Killing children for proft, killing children for ideological reasons, killing children because of indifference places one in the lowest depths of humanity's pile, or of Dante's Inferno. 

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