Saturday, 17 November 2012

Who are the terrorists?

At the time of writing, Israel is calling-up thousands of military reservists to augment its full-time army. Soldiers and tanks are being sent to the border with Gaza. The signs point to another possible Israeli invasion of the small Palestinian enclave.

The last major Israeli offensive, over the 2008/2009 new year period, resulted in the deaths of around 1,500 Palestinians, including women and children. That invasion saw Gaza bombarded from the air by Israeli military jets and on the ground by missiles fired from tanks. Gaza is one of the most heavily-populated places in the world – 1.7 million Palestinians live in the area just 25 miles long and between 3.5 and 7.5 miles wide. Israel knew then – and knows now – that its aggression would result in the deaths of civilians.

A majority of Gaza residents are refugees, forced from their homes and their lands to make way for the State of Israel and for Jewish settlers. Although electing its own government, Gaza is under the control of Israel, which enforces a blockade – air, land and sea – and polices the border.

Against such oppression – both historic and current – some sections of the Palestinian population in Gaza attempt to ‘tweak the nose of the giant’ by firing rudimentary rockets into Israel. Against the state-of-the-art military hardware of Israel, the Palestinian rockets are more like a Blue Peter version – home-made using washing-up bottles and sticky-back plastic. Most of the rockets have no guidance system and fall harmlessly onto Israeli countryside (land stolen from Palestinians).

That is the reality of the situation, but western media, including the BBC, regurgitate Israeli propaganda by reporting that the Jewish state is simply ‘protecting’ its population and ‘retaliating’ to ‘Palestinian attacks’.

The current Israeli military build-up on the border of Gaza comes after some rockets were fired from within the territory – again the Israeli spin-machine has portrayed this as Palestinian aggression, and western media reports the story from that perspective: the headline on the BBC News web site read – “Gaza rocket fire kills Israelis”. However, the untold story is that more Palestinians were killed by Israeli rockets in Gaza on one day last week than Israelis killed by Palestinian attacks in the past three years.

Palestinian rockets were targeted at Israel last week after the Jewish state killed Ahmed al-Jabari, described as a ‘military leader’ of Hamas, the political party that forms the democratically-elected government of Gaza. al-Jabari had actually been involved in talks with Israel to broker a peace deal. He was travelling in his car with others when an Israeli air-strike wiped him out, along with his companions and civilians who just happened to be nearby. The attack was filmed by the Israeli military and was posted by them on YouTube.

In this action, Israel is following the lead of its staunchest ally, supporter and funder – the United States of America. Since the supposedly liberal Democrat Barak Obama was first elected President in 2008, America has embarked on a policy of extra-judicial killings. No longer does the USA seek to bring ‘the bad guys’ to justice: now it simply ‘takes them out’, often by blowing them up with missiles launched from unmanned drones. Somewhere in the Pentagon an unidentified military officer sits with a joystick, guiding his drone to its kill, in much the same way as adolescents sit in their bedrooms playing computer games – but the Americans, and the Israelis, kill for real.

When countries like America and Israel abandon the rule of law, when they set-aside due process and small things like accumulating evidence of wrong-doing, presenting it to a court and securing convictions, then there is little to differentiate them from those they brand as ‘terrorists’.

If Israel embarks on another military offensive in Gaza, firing American-made missiles into residential streets where Palestinian children cower in fear, then that will be nothing more than another act of state-sponsored terrorism.

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