Articles / The Goal of Peace
Posted by ilyana on June 30, 2006 - 05:06 PM
Israel attacked Palestine and took 1/3 of their Democratically elected Parliment into custody. This was in retaliation for the kidnapping of one Israeli soldier. Read the following Op-ed report and then ask your local news media WHY they aren't questioning this action by Israel.
"But what was even more appalling was the response of American media, which didn't think the kidnapping of a third of the government of a supposedly sovereign state authority was all that significant. Consider this headline and subheads from the Washington Post: West Bank Settler Killed / An 18-year-old Israeli settler was found executed today. Israel arrests more than 80 Hamas officials.
Geov Parrish WorkingForChange.com
Whitewashing a criminal government US press buries Israeli kidnapping of Palestinian parliament
It's bad enough that the Israeli government went and seized as political prisoners, essentially as hostages, 87 Hamas members of the Palestine Authority (PA) parliament yesterday, including eight cabinet ministers. Once again, Israel has demonstrated its contempt for virtually every known code of conduct honored by civilized (and, usually, even by uncivilized) governments around the globe.
But what was even more appalling was the response of American media, which didn't think the kidnapping of a third of the government of a supposedly sovereign state authority was all that significant. Consider this headline and subheads from the Washington Post: West Bank Settler Killed / An 18-year-old Israeli settler was found executed today. Israel arrests more than 80 Hamas officials.
Those "arrests" weren't even mentioned in reporter Scott Wilson's story until the fourth paragraph. Imagine an analogous situation: an Al-Qaeda terror cell storms the U.S. Capitol and takes 180 Congresspersons, a third of the Senate and House, hostage. And throw in a few cabinet members for good measure. Meanwhile, the U.S. military kills an Afghan civilian sympathetic to the Taliban. What sane media outlet would lead with the Afghan killing?
But that's what it's like here in America. Just as Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert noted last week, the life of an Israeli is, in the eyes of the Washington Post, "even more important" than that of a Palestinian. By a lot. And, for that matter, it's even more important than what may well turn out to be a critical turning point in Israel's illegal military occupation of the Gaza Strip and West Bank: the dissolution of the Palestinian Authority. An Israeli death, tragic to be sure but only one of the countless deaths in this six-decade tragedy, is somehow more important than the collapse of Palestinian self-government, to the extent that such self-government ever existed.
The New York Times, to its credit, mentioned the seizure of scores of PA government officials in the lead sentence of its story. And, again, it was mentioned in the sixth paragraph. And, again, in paragraphs 11, 12, 13, and 16 of a 32-paragraph story whose other 26 paragraphs focused mostly on the Israeli military incursion into the Gaza Strip and other related developments.
The IDF's assault on Gaza is appalling, but it is nothing new. Its retaliation for the kidnapping of one Israeli soldier is only the latest example of the mass collective punishment of Palestinians that has been in full force since Palestinian elections gave Hamas control of the PA parliament last winter. Since then, Gaza has been in lockdown, under siege, its borders closed off by Israel, with entry of food, medical supplies, and humanitarian aid shut down. Over the last two weeks, heavy Israeli shelling of Gaza civilian areas has been the Israeli response to a handful of wayward rockets launched, as they have been for years, along the border.
No Palestinian ever believed the Israeli fiction that Israel had "withdrawn" from Gaza and no longer controlled it; this latest assault on the lives, welfare, and dignity of Gaza residents has been terrifying, but it's not much of a surprise. It's the logical extension of Israel's international crimes against humanity -- the collective punishment of a civilian population, banned under the Geneva Conventions -- that have been going on for nearly half a year, and which the United States and European Union have been actively complicit in. And as Palestinians have died, and the survivors have begged for help and support from abroad, American media, for months, has turned a deaf ear.
Victimizing the residents of the Gaza Strip isn't all that new, but jailing a third of the Palestinian Authority's leadership is. This is the story U.S. media should be covering, because it is likely to signal the end of the Palestinian Authority. Amidst the chaos this week, the two rival parties that have battled for control of the PA, Fatah and Hamas, reached an agreement that, among other things, recognized Israel's right to exist. It should have been a watershed moment, but it was buried by the (probably not coincidental) Israeli aggression. And, so, every Palestinian has learned the lesson: the PA is a cruel charade of self-governance: mangled by Israel, strangled by Israel and the U.S., spurned by the rest of the West, whenever Palestinian voters or their duly elected representatives don't do exactly what Israel and their international enablers demand. What sort of autonomy is that?
Dr. Eyad El Sarraj, an activist under siege in Gaza, yesterday expressed what seems to be the popular response to the parliamentary kidnappings and Gaza shelling: "By destroying the infrastructure again and again of the Palestinian Authority, by arresting ministers and Members of Parliament, and by preventing Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, from leaving Gaza, [Israel] unveils the true nature of its relation with the Palestinian Authority. It was the one thousandth error of Arafat not to dissolve the Palestinian Authority when he was under siege. The poor man thought that being a President would have given him protection. Abu Mazen [Abbas] should now dissolve the Palestinian Authority before he meets the same fate."
Such calls are echoing through occupied Palestine today: the PA is worse than useless, because it helps maintain the fiction that Palestine has an independent leadership. It masks the pervasiveness and brutality of a grotesquely illegal military occupation that has just entered its fortieth year. And its so-called "democracy" is an excuse for cruel, mass collective punishment if Palestinian others cast their ballots in their own interests, rather than those of Israel or America.
This cannot go on. Israel is, in essence, trying to permanently cement the existence of an apartheid state decades after the rest of the world's colonies disintegrated. Israel's occupation, too, will not last. The only question is whether the transition to a more just arrangement will be largely peaceful, as it was in South Africa, or whether it will be far more grim. Israel's kidnapping of 87 elected Palestinian leaders is an enormous step in the direction of grim. As with each of the last several years of Israeli crimes, it is a step that almost without question was taken with the foreknowledge and approval of the Bush administration.
That, rather than the death of a single Israeli citizen, is the story American media should be covering.
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