Like all conflicts, the Israeli/Palestine conflict has two stories to tell. In the U.S. media, from Fox News to the allegedly “leftist liberal press” (CNN, NBC, The New York Times and other mainstream media), only the Israeli side of the conflict is reported. This is a classic “propaganda by omission” technique and is very effective in shaping opinions and beliefs.
Without exception, we are told: “Israel has the right of self-defense.” President Obama endorsed this, saying that no nation should tolerate missiles landing in their territory from abroad. U.S. policy grants only Israel such rights. Yemen, Iraq, Sudan, Pakistan, Libya and any other population on the receiving end of our military hardware from the sky should welcome such gifts, I suppose.
Contrary to U.S.-media-manufactured opinion, the Palestinian retaliation against Israel is not irrational Jew-hating. Its source is both historical and ongoing. Since the 1948 creation of Israel in what was then known as Palestine, the Palestinian people, having family roots in the region dating back thousands of years, have endured the theft and destruction of their lands, homes, belongings, lives, culture and history. Palestinians call this time Al Nakba, “The Catastrophe.”
In the 65 years under military occupation, which they have full legal rights to resist, thousands of villages have been erased from the land. Olive groves tended for centuries by generations are routinely burned and uprooted, homes are reduced to rubble by bulldozers. Grandfathers and their grandchildren are shot dead by both settlers and soldiers as they try in vain to save their livelihood. Wells are destroyed and Palestinian villages are surrounded by armed settlers who shoot Palestinians for sport. They can’t even use the same roads that Israelis use under penalty of death or indefinite detention and torture. Such is daily life for Palestinians in Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank.
Military checkpoints are a never-ending daily source of frustration and humiliation. It is not uncommon at checkpoints to delay ambulances until the patient dies. The continuing Gaza embargo restricts imports of food, medical and construction supplies, creating malnutrition and disease. All this and a total ban on exporting cripples the local economy; Mitt Romney couldn’t have been more wrong in blaming their poor economy on Palestinians’ weak entrepreneurial ambitions—what an ass!
And what was Israel’s response to the Palestinians’ recent U.N. “upgrade”? Three thousand more homes for Jewish settlers to be built on land currently owned by Palestinians. Those evicted will have nowhere to go after their homes are bulldozed with all of their belongings inside; Israel does not compensate Palestinians for confiscated lands.
For those open to fuller understanding of this mess, I refer you to the archives of DemocracyNow.org, and three documentaries: Occupation 101, Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land and Where Should The Birds Fly? (Warning: All contain gruesome video footage banned from U.S. media.)
CLEE PAUL AMES