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Israel's terror against Palestinians
Target: Gaza

July 14, 2006 | Page 5

ERIC RUDER exposes the lies and distortions that the U.S. media use to justify Israel's assault.

ISRAEL'S BLOODY crackdown in Gaza following the capture of an Israeli soldier by Palestinian militants has captured headlines around the world. But if your only guide were the U.S. media, you will quickly find yourself lost in an inverted world in which victims are aggressors and aggressors victims.

For example, Israel is using the soldier's capture as a blanket justification for Operation Summer Rain, the euphemistic name Israel has given to its military rampage through Gaza--which has included the destruction of a Gaza power plant providing electricity to hundreds of thousands of residents, the arrest of 64 Palestinian elected officials and the threat to assassinate Palestinian Prime Minister Ismael Haniyeh.

What else to read

For a collection of essays on the history of Israel's occupation and Palestinian resistance, see The Struggle for Palestine, edited by Lance Selfa. In the March-April 2006 issue of the International Socialist Review, Toufic Haddad wrote an analysis of the Hamas victory in an article called "Palestine's election watershed."

For updates on the current situation in Gaza, visit ElectronicIntifada.net on the Web. Mona El-Farra's blog can be read at www.fromgaza.blogspot.com.

 

But Israel currently holds roughly 9,000 Palestinians as political prisoners, including nearly 400 children. By Israel's logic, Palestinians should have the right to wreck Israel's infrastructure, assassinate its prime minister and kill countless civilians in retaliation.

Israeli officials, their U.S. backers and mainstream media pundits denounce the "audacity" of Palestinian militants who tunneled beyond Gaza's borders to attack Israeli tanks and take a hostage. But Israel regularly targets Palestinians inside their own homes, firing rockets at them in assassination attempts or appearing on their doorsteps to disappear them into the black hole of administrative detention.

In the two months leading up to the soldier's capture June 25, Israeli jet fighters and rockets had killed 90 Palestinians--most of them civilians, including the June 21 death of a pregnant woman and her brother in an air strike that also injured 14 other family members. On June 9, seven members of a Palestinian family were killed while picnicking on a beach, and 32 more were injured.

These killings, as well as the collective punishment that Israel's siege has imposed on Gaza's 1.4 million people, are clear violations of international law, which requires occupying powers to ensure the well-being of civilians under their control.

Gaza statistics

-- 1.4 million people
-- 139 square miles of land (roughly 5 miles wide by 28 miles long)
-- 50 to 60 percent unemployment
-- $600 per capita income
-- 22 hospitals relying on electric generators
-- 30,000 children suffering from malnutrition

 

The Palestinian attack, on the other hand, struck at a purely military target--an act of resistance considered by international law to be the legitimate right of people under foreign occupation.

Israel has the world's fourth largest military, according to international legal expert Marjorie Cohn--and is bankrolled to the tune of more than $3 billion a year by the U.S. The Palestinians have no tanks, no ships, no airplanes or helicopters, and no heavy artillery.

A handful of homemade Palestinian rockets fired from Beit Hanoun in Gaza toward the Israeli town of Sderot fall harmlessly in parking lots or on empty buildings--a fact which Israeli news reports brag about. Nevertheless, Israeli Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter has threatened that "[i]f need be, we can turn Beit Hanoun into a ghost town."

The scale of Israel's atrocities has provoked some criticism, even within Israel--but you wouldn't know it in the U.S.

"It is not legitimate to cut off 750,000 people from electricity," wrote Gideon Levy in Israel's Ha'aretz newspaper. "It is not legitimate to call on 20,000 people to run from their homes and turn their towns into ghost towns...It is not legitimate to kidnap half a government and a quarter of a parliament. A state that takes such steps is no longer distinguishable from a terror organization."

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