Death and destruction fill the air as Israel launches its fourth military operation in Gaza (2009, 2012, 2014 and 2021). There is no “conflict” between Israel and Palestine, and there’s no justice either. But there is plenty of hypocrisy to fill the halls of power. (Check out my request at the end of this post.)
Perhaps the best example of the hypocrisy was illustrated when journalist Mehdi Hasan interviewed Israeli Embassy Spokesperson Elad Strohmayer to discuss the Israeli government’s position on the current violence. The responses from Strohmayer are standard Israeli hasbara which has controlled the public perception and discourse for decades. Warning: It’s difficult for anyone informed about the facts on the ground to listen to this interview, but I’m glad I did.
Hasan’s persistent questioning illustrates one example of the current hypocrisy. Let me explain.
The Israeli military is targeting high-rise residential buildings in Gaza for destruction. Thanks to the US military aid that Israel receives every year ($3.8 billion), Israel has the world’s highest grade weaponry and munitions available (the subject of a future blog post).
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) says it is the most moral army in the world, often citing the fact that it calls Palestinian families in Gaza to warn them in advance of the impending destruction of their homes. Families and businesses have a matter of minutes to flee before the IDF’s missiles strike. What do you take with you under those circumstances? Mohamad Qadada decided not to take his company’s equipment – Planet for Digital Solutions which he founded in 2017 and it grew to employ 30 people – because there might not be enough time.
Hasan questions Strohmayer about the targeting of civilian apartment buildings in Gaza. Isn’t it contrary to international humanitarian law to target civilians? If Israel is justified in targeting apartment buildings in Gaza, isn’t Hamas justified in targeting civilians in Tel Aviv? Strohmayer is in a pickle, and sticks with the Israeli hasbara, but Hasan is relentless. Have a listen.
I’ve heard the disingenuous rebuttal that “Israel’s targeting is precise, reducing the loss of civilians”. That explanation falls on deaf ears to the families and friends of 1000s of civilians killed in Gaza as a result of Israel’s precise targeting since 2009. The rebuttal continues . . . “Hamas is indiscriminately firing rockets on cities and towns in Israel with no care paid to the civilians in harms way.”
First, Hamas is not the beneficiary of billions of dollars every year to design and acquire high-precision munitions. Their rockets are certainly not capable of precision targeting, as are the IDF’s weapons. Second, Palestinians are not the beneficiaries of an “Iron Dome” to protect them from Israel’s munitions. There is absolutely nowhere to escape to for shelter in the Gaza Strip. Third, and most importantly, one party is the occupier while the other has been occupied for decades.
The hypocrisy in this example is that Israel #1 has greater military power than the Palestinians, #2 has greater political power than the Palestinians, #3 has had greater media power than the Palestinians to control the public narrative, and #4 is the occupier controlling and subjugating the Palestinians for decades.
Now listen to Hasan’s very last question in the interview above. The Israeli spokesperson, by way of his honest answer, confesses that Israel has no desire to end the occupation. Israel wants the status quo to continue, “allowing the Palestinians a path forward for their own state”, so that Israel has more time to gobble up the occupied Palestinian territories in the West Bank, and demolish any possibility of a functioning economy in the Gaza Strip.
Israel’s strategy is clear for anyone to see, if they’re not blinded by Israel’s hasbara. Sadly, history shows that President Biden is unable to objectively stand apart from his faithful allegiance to the State of Israel. (See video below.)
Times are changing. More members of the U.S. Congress are not blinded by Israel’s hasbara.
“The Democratic Party has moved to the left on Israel in recent years, partly because of Mr. Netanyahu’s strong alliance with Mr. Trump and other Republican leaders, and also because many of its younger activists and members of Congress are more openly sympathetic to the Palestinian cause than those of Mr. Biden’s generation.” https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/11/us/politics/biden-israel-palestinians.html
“More than two dozen Democratic members of Congress have urged the administration of US President Joe Biden to prevent the displacement of Palestinians in East Jerusalem by exerting “diplomatic pressure” on Israel.
The letter, addressed to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and sent on Wednesday, denounces Israel’s plan to displace Palestinians in the Jerusalem neighbourhoods of al-Bustan and Sheikh Jarrah.
It was led by Marie Newman, a congresswoman who unseated a staunchly pro-Israel centrist Democrat in Chicago last year.” https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/jerusalem-democrats-urge-biden-team-prevent-displacement-palestinians
Times are changing. Israel and other states cannot control the narrative on Israel and Palestine any longer. Maybe there is room for hope. (A future blog post will describe what that hope looks like.)
REQUEST: I’m raising funds for UNRWA-USA to support the mental health services for Palestinian refugees in Gaza. If you want to help, please check out my #Gaza5k team page here. Shukran.