December 30, 2008

Terrorism By Any Other Name

The truth about Israel’s “defensive” war.

Most of us Americans are living in Plato’s cave, chained to the ground, mistaking reality for a bunch of shadows being projected onto the walls before us. Nothing is what it seems. Everything that our puppet masters tell us is either a half-truth or an outright lie.

They told us they were taking away our civil liberties for our own protection. They told us that they needed to invade Iraq to keep the world safe. They told us that they would never—not them, not ever—torture prisoners of war. And now they’re telling us that the Israeli government is morally justified in its current war against the Palestinians.

Mass murder, of course, is never justified, and that’s exactly what’s happening in the Middle East right now, as Israel F-16 fighter jets and Apache helicopters continue devastating the Gaza Strip, killing hundreds of men, women, and children.

While most world leaders have urged Israel to stop its campaign, the Bush administration has rushed to its side, calling the IDF’s actions defensive. Yes, only in Bizarro World, as Justin Raimondo calls it, could murdering civilians be considered defensive.

In supporting this outrageous claim, Israel apologists have pointed to recent rocket attacks from Gaza, noting that last Wednesday alone militants fired 80 rockets into southern Israel. Though no Israeli was killed, these attacks forced the Israeli government to finally say that enough was enough and decide it needed to protect its people. Or so the argument goes.

But it needs to be pointed out that, just as Israel claims it’s responding to Hamas aggression, so too did Hamas, when it was firing those rockets last week, claim that it was responding to Israeli aggression. For over a year, let’s remember, Israel has been imposing a merciless blockade on the Gaza Strip. An Amnesty International report back in August claimed that 80% of Gazans “now depend on the trickle of international aid that the Israeli army allows in,” compared to 10% a decade earlier. The reported continued:

Even patients in dire need of medical treatment not available in Gaza are often prevented from leaving and scores of them have died. Students who have scholarships in universities abroad are likewise trapped in Gaza, denied the opportunity to build a future…

Israel has banned exports from Gaza altogether and has reduced entry of fuel and goods to a trickle—mostly humanitarian aid, foodstuff and medical supplies. Basic necessities are in short supply or not available at all in Gaza. The shortages have pushed up food prices at a time when people can least afford to pay more. A growing number of Gazans have been pushed into extreme poverty and suffer from

Gaza’s fragile economy, already battered by years of restrictions and destruction, has collapsed. Unable to import raw materials and to export produce and without fuel to operate machinery and electricity generators, some 90 per cent of industry has shut down…

The above conditions, it should be noted, existed in the middle of a six-month ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, a time in which the Israel government had, believe it or not, slightly eased the blockade.

The ceasefire, which was supposed to last until December 19, came to an end on November 4 when IDF forces entered Gaza, purportedly to destroy a tunnel, and ended up killing a Hamas gunman. From that point forward, intermittent fighting between the two sides resumed and Israel’s stranglehold on the Gazans tightened. Earlier this month, the Israeli government even prevented a delegation from Qatar from bringing $2 million in cancer medication into Gaza.

Now I’m not trying to oversimplify the matter. I’m not saying that Israel is completely evil and Hamas completely good. My point is to simply illustrate the absurdity of the Israeli/American narrative.

It’s wrong for Hamas to fire rockets into Israel. But it’s equally wrong for Israel to murder innocent Gazans—be it in the form of a military attack or economic blockade. The majority of Gazans, just like the majority of Israelis, are not terrorists and murderers, but innocent people who want nothing more than to live in peace. To brutalize these people in an attempt to avenge or deter Hamas is just another form of terrorism.

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