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Seven things you need to know about Israel’s latest attack on Gaza

Israel/PalestineMiddle East
on 31 Comments

Being of mild disposition, I am ill suited to describe in detail the thuggery by which the putative Jewish State executed 17 of its 2 million Gaza prisoners (wounding some 1,400 more) by way of inaugurating the Jewish Festival of Liberation last Friday.

Fortunately, however, there is no need of such descriptive talent. The things everyone must know about the latest Gaza massacre — and its rapidly ensuing cover-up — are as simple and uncontroversial as they are abhorrent.

1. Israel’s killings were premeditated.

Before the first demonstrators set foot anywhere in the vicinity of Gaza’s border with Israel, the “most moral army in the world” had openly declared its violent intentions toward any Palestinian reckless enough to challenge Israel’s crippling siegeA hundred snipers, we learned, were to be deployed around Gaza’s prison wall and “prepared to use live fire,” supplemented by “heavy machinery” and even the novelty of “drone-deployed tear gas.” Education Minister Naftali Bennett — who likes to boast about killing Arabs — swore that the Gazans would be kept inside their cage (a place described in a recent U.N. study as verging on uninhabitable) “at any cost.”

Just in case the saber-rattling wasn’t loud enough, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) stressed that so much deadly force was being amassed in one place to “minimize Palestinian casualties.” Minimize, mind you — not prevent; not avoid. If the meaning of that threat escapes you, I suggest you imagine how the world press would have reacted if a heavily armed contingent of Palestinian fighters had been dispatched toward a densely populated Israeli town, with public orders to “minimize” the killing of Jewish civilians — while ensuring that the rascals learned their place.

2. Israeli violence had nothing to do with “security.”

The indefatigable Israeli propaganda mill is churning as hysterically as ever. Yet the Israelis have not even tried to prove that the vast majority of slain protesters were 1) using a weapon, 2) threatening a soldier, or 3) attempting to penetrate the barbed-wire barrier when they were gunned down by rifle fire, while actual evidence shows the precise opposite. In fact, it is far from clear whether any of the 758 adults and children wounded by live Israeli gunfire was — even according to the Israelis — a physical threat to anyone at all.

This glaring if oblique admission proves that of the 17 homicides Israel committed Friday, at least a dozen or more were murders — murders pure and simple — and that they were indefensible even under Israel’s far-fetched definition of “security.” That’s doubtless why the propagandists have been trying so feverishly to change the subject ever since. (Oh, how terrified an armed-to-the-teeth Israeli sharpshooter must feel when he spies, on the far side of a prison wall, a Palestinian teenager carrying a tire!)

3. There were no “clashes.”

Again, I defer to Israeli propaganda. How many injuries to Israeli soldiers have even been claimed in the tsunami of apologetics pouring out of Tel Aviv this week? Zero. How much damage to Israeli property? Zero. How many Israeli civilians threatened? Zero. How many breaches in that precious “security fence”? Zero.

So this bloody escapade was no “clash.” Even the Israelis implicitly admit as much. How can two sides “clash” when one group suffers 1,400 casualties in a fusillade of bullets, while the other group — the one wielding automatic rifles and dispersing tear gas by remote control — endures not a scratch?

4. Israel targeted its victims for political reasons.

Perhaps because its brutality was so blatant, Israel has not even tried to shelter behind the usual pretense of “collateral damage.” On the contrary, its army blandly took credit for the murders, announcing (via Twitter) that “nothing was carried out uncontrolled; everything was accurate and measured, and we know where every bullet landed.”

It follows that Israel and its apologists cannot claim these homicides were accidents, or even “overreactions” — to borrow the tepid phrasing of Bernie Sanders (who is nonetheless to be commended as virtually the only U.S. Senator to notice the massacre in the first place).

In fact, we not only know that the Israelis targeted unarmed victims — we even know why. Military spokesmen specifically admitted “firing towards main instigators” of the protest — meaning that Israeli forces deliberately killed Palestinians whom they suspected of being competent organizers. Got that? Under Israeli rule, Palestinian protest is a crime; directing a Palestinian protest is a capital crime. And in this Kafkaesque penal setting the IDF happily plays a triple role as judge, jury and executioner.

Israel’s Major-General Yoav Mordechai even confessed that his troops tried to bully Gaza’s bus companies into refusing to carry people to the site of the demonstrations. “We warned that measures would be taken against the owners and their companies” for “transferring” Palestinians to the protests, the general said, adding that “demonstrations of anarchy” invite “severe and harsh measures.”

You might want to keep this detail at the ready for the next propagandist (you’re sure to encounter at least one) who insinuates that the snipers who gunned down helpless civilians acted out of fear of a few stones — I mean the ones thrown in defiant symbolism, by a small fraction of the protesters, in the direction of the huge berm atop which the Israeli gunmen trained their high-powered rifles at the bodies below them. As I have noted already, not one soldier suffered so much as a scratch during the protests. No, Israel’s goal was to crush the demonstration in toto — a decision that was taken before a single protester showed up near the border. Stones or no stones.

And yes, Virginia, there is a name for that sort of lethal conduct: the name is terrorism. Israel directed deliberate, deadly violence at Gaza’s civilians with the express goal of intimidating potential dissenters. It requires astonishing chutzpah for the orchestrators of terrorism on such a scale to accuse their victims of being terrorists. But chutzpah is one thing Israel seldom lacks.

5. Israel commits its crimes because the U.S. lets it.

Like other bullies, Israel fights only where it cannot lose. At the United Nations, it reverts to the role of toady and lets Uncle Sam do the slugging. U.S. Ambassador (and former Confederate flag booster) Nikki Haley, who says she dislikes bullies, displayed her true passions at the Security Council over the weekend as she swooned over this latest proof of Israeli manhood. The normally voluble Ms. Haley has so far been unable to catch her breath sufficiently to issue a public statement, but on Washington’s orders she did manage to squelch a draft resolution that would have urged “restraint” and an “investigation” into the circumstances of the civilian deaths. As Karl Rove once reminded a reporter, neither facts nor law have any bearing on those favored by the American titan: “When we act, we create our own reality.”

I should mention, in fairness, that U.S. politicians less patently revolting than Haley have enabled Israeli crimes with equal aplomb. Barack Obama bowed politely to the IDF as it massacred more than 1,400 Gaza civilians (including some 500 children) in 2014, frowning a bit only after Israel’s seventh deadly attack on the women and children who had been cowering in U.N. “shelters.” The result was instructive. The day before Obama finally put his foot down, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had publicly insisted his troops were staying put in Gaza; upon the President’s warning growl, Netanyahu immediately announced their withdrawal. As Norman Finkelstein has pointed out, this instance alone demonstrates the extent of American complicity in Israel’s crimes. The killing lasts only as long as the White House approves it. And the White House can be moved by political protest.

6. Mainstream media, and Jewish organizations, assist in the cover-up.

The proliferation of apologetics in mainstream media for Israel’s deadly violence has been so instantaneous, and so nauseating, that I will only sample the field briefly. Sticking to the liberal end of the spectrum, one finds Ha’aretz‘s Amos Harel lamenting that “Hamas…has found a more effective way of creating friction with the Israel Defense Forces than firing rockets and carrying out attacks through its tunnels.” (How nasty of those Palestinians to get themselves killed just to ruin the mornings of some IDF brass!) In fact, Harel notes, the Gazans have proved so treacherous that “despite the large number of Palestinian casualties not a single rocket has been fired into Israel from the Strip.” What’s a besieger to do? The more lopsided its violence, the easier it is to hurt poor Israel’s feelings.

Major Jewish organizations have been just as sycophantic, most of them looking the other way, while the influential Orthodox Union had the incredibly bad taste to continue advertising a “VIP tour of the [West Bank] security fence” among the trips it sponsors for religious Jews during the Passover holiday. The host of this particular excursion — Col. Dani Tirza — is himself such a shameless propagandist that he lost his job as the barrier’s lead planner after being caught lying to Israel’s Supreme Court. But the Orthodox Union evidently doesn’t mind that, any more than it minds the 2004 ruling of the International Court of Justice that the “security fence” violates basic norms of international law. As Golda Meir reportedly told another Israeli politician, “After the Holocaust, Jews are allowed to do anything.”

7. Israel’s crimes will continue until we make it stop.

Far from feeling remorse over the mayhem on Friday, Israel’s chief army spokesman, Ronen Manelis, proclaimed recently that Israeli troops “will not be able to continue limiting [their] activity to the [separation barrier] fence area and will act against these terror organizations in other places too.”

You heard it. If Israel has its way, things are going to get even bloodier.

And that means it’s up to us.

Israel is not going to stop killing and maiming Palestinians until it has no choice in the matter. And it will have no choice once the United States joins virtually the rest of the world in calling for a halt to atrocities that — if perpetrated against Israelis — would have long ago excited the horrified fury of the Western world.

Among my readers are bound to be many people who, because of their citizenship or their political affiliations, can have an impact on U.S. policy towards Israel. This is the time to throw all our weight against an unholy alliance that has made possible decades of apartheid, ethnic cleansing and — as Friday’s violence reminds us — periodic mass murder. We can resist; we can protest; or we can be complicit. There is no other option. For Israelis, for Jews, for Americans — for all human beings who care about justice in Palestine — there cannot possibly be any such thing as neutrality.

This post first appeared today on Znet.

Michael Lesher
About Michael Lesher

Michael Lesher, an author and lawyer, has published numerous articles dealing with child sexual abuse and other topics, including the Israel-Palestine conflict. He is the author of the recent book Sexual Abuse, Shonda and Concealment in Orthodox Jewish Communities (McFarland & Co., Inc.), which focuses on cover-ups of abuse cases among Orthodox Jews. He lives in Passaic, New Jersey. More information about his work can be found on his web site www.MichaelLesher.com.

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31 Responses

  1. yourstruly
    yourstruly
    April 5, 2018, 10:57 pm

    Gaza and the Warsaw Ghetto

    same place
    different times
    while the world stands by
    genocide
    live

    • mondonut
      mondonut
      April 7, 2018, 2:07 pm

      World’s Worst attempt at Genocide

      Year Population Growth Rate (%) Growth
      2018 679,000 2.86% 55,000
      2015 624,000 3.05% 87,000
      2010 537,000 3.28% 80,000
      2005 457,000 3.43% 71,000
      2000 386,000 3.56% 62,000

  2. Richard Baldwin Cook
    Richard Baldwin Cook
    April 6, 2018, 10:29 am

    Thanks for the excellent exposition / talking points:

    Permit me to add an item to the list:

    Israel’s multiple murders and injuries of unarmed civilians last weekend amounts to a breach of the so-called “Leahy amendments” to our human rights statutes, which require withholding US aid to foreign military units who are shown to have committed grave human rights violations.

    Here are excerpts from the US Code:

    “No assistance shall be furnished under this Act or the Arms Export Control Act to any unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of State has credible information that such unit has committed a gross violation of human rights.” See 28 USC 2378d

    “Of the amounts made available to the Department of Defense, none may be used for any training, equipment, or other assistance for a unit of a foreign security force if the Secretary of Defense has credible information that the unit has committed a gross violation of human rights.” See 10 USC 2249e

  3. Misterioso
    Misterioso
    April 6, 2018, 10:41 am

    Heads up!! Live streaming available.

    http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/1815329/4785887fd6/579056211/e6f57fa55d/

    Institute for Palestine Studies

    “Gaza From the Inside”

    “The Institute for Palestine Studies [IPS], in partnership with the Palestine Center, cordially invites you to a presentation by IPS Senior Fellow Brian Barber. Just back from a visit to Gaza, Professor Barber will concentrate in this talk on the current vexing conditions in Gaza and the attendant range of emotions to cope with them.”

    When: Friday April 6, 2018 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM
    Where: The Palestine Center 2425 Virginia Avenue NW, Washington DC 20037
    Live streaming available starting at 1:00 pm today.

    “The Gaza Strip is an intense place – not just for its pockets of extreme crowding, but also for its emotions: of love, pride, sorrow, frustration, and challenged resolve. Gaza is also a vital place, indeed it is indispensable to any lasting peace in the region. While excessive commentary and analysis abound about Gaza, there is precious little coverage that communicates the feel of the place and its inhabitants as they endure ever-more-strangulating constraints. Professor Barber attempts to do so in this presentation with an assemblage of photos, video, and, most crucially, narratives of the people he has come to know well through long stays in the Gaza Strip over the past 23 years.”

    “Brian K. Barber, Ph.D., is an Institute for Palestine Studies Senior Fellow and International Security Program Fellow at New America. He is also Professor Emeritus of child and family studies at the University of Tennessee, where he founded and directed the Center for the Study of Youth and Political Conflict. He is editor of the 2009 Oxford University Press volume Adolescents and War: How Youth Deal with Political Conflict and has regularly published studies on global youth, including on Palestinians, in leading academic outlets such as The Lancet, Social Science & Medicine, and Global Public Health. His writings or interviews, particularly on Gaza, have also appeared online at Medium, Jadaliyya, New America Weekly Wonk, Muftah, InformedCOMMENT, Alternet, and openDemocracy. In his forthcoming non-fiction book, Barber follows the lives of youth who participated in the first intifada through adulthood based on successive interviews over the past 23 years.”

  4. WTraveler
    WTraveler
    April 6, 2018, 10:56 am

    IDF soldiers bravely “protect” Israel by shooting down unarmed demonstrators who live under deplorable conditions in the world’s largest open air prison. Their crime- being a Palestinian unfortunate to live in Gaza. When the US government stops its unconditional political, military and financial support of apartheid Israel, the tide will turn and things will change. A growing number of US tax payers are wondering why the US government is giving Israel a check for $3.8 BILLION dollars a year, all without any debate or discussion whatsoever.

  5. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson
    April 6, 2018, 12:08 pm

    RE: “What’s a besieger to do? The more lopsided its violence, the easier it is to hurt poor Israel’s feelings.” ~ Micael Lesher

    PUT ANOTHER WAY: What’s a narcissistic besieger to do? The more extreme the violence caused by its ‘narcissistic rage’, the easier it is to cause poor Israel a narcissistic injury (that might well trigger an even more intense bout of narcissistic rage resulting in even more extreme violence.

    ■ ISRAEL AS YOUR CLASSIC NARCISSIST HAVING RECURRENT FITS OF ‘NARCISSISTIC RAGE’ – http://mondoweiss.net/2018/04/grassroots-pressure-impunity/#comment-912052

  6. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson
    April 6, 2018, 12:23 pm

    P.S. ALSO SEE: “Is There a Way Beyond Israeli Madness?” [Will the Chosen People and the Exceptional People Go Down Together?] | by John Grant | Counterpunch| August 31, 2012
    [EXCERPTS]

    The patient, by the name of Israel, walks into the room and instantly bursts into a tirade of arguments conclusively proving his credentials, and says that he is better than everyone else. – Ofer Grosbard, “Israel On The Couch: The Psychology of the Peace Process”

    . . . The problem Americans have with Israel is that the region it exists in is in the midst of a major political sea change, while Israel is frozen in time and holding on to its militarist, right-wing policies of extending settlements in the West Bank. It’s a policy that harks back to the ideas of the British-trained militarist Ze’ev Jabotinsky’s Iron Wall, which is based on the idea a live-and-let-live policy between Jews and Arabs is impossible and, thus, Jews must militarily control and repress Palestinians . . .

    . . . How does a people turn back a racially-oriented demonization program with roots that extend back many decades? How do you ratchet down a nation’s narcissism so people are able to simply see the other as a human being? . . .

    . . . On our part, Americans and the United States need to stop being a permissive yes-man and begin to show Israel some tough love. We need more US criticism of Israel. No doubt this approach will be received with gales of cynical laughter from hardliners … but so what?

    In my mind, the Israeli narcissistic and arrogant mindset would benefit from a little Buddhist detachment, more of the posture that sees the world not of separate individual selves and egos but of human beings as part of a larger flow of life. The Buddhists call the self-obsessed, separatist state-of-mind that Israel thrives on and defends with weapons as “the illusory self.”

    “Once one identifies with a permanent self-concept, the pride and craving adhering to this become the pivot from which an egocentric world arises,” writes Gay Watson, a psychotherapist attuned to Buddhism.

    David Loy puts it this way: “To become completely groundless is also to become completely grounded, not in some particular, but in the whole network of interdependent relations that constitute the world.”

    I’m not suggesting Israel become a Buddhist nation. The point is for Israelis, and more important Americans, to figure a way out of the worsening condition of “us versus them” to avoid the need to obliterate them and set off a war that no one really wants. The point is to re-shape our minds to make “the other” less threatening to permit talking.

    I’m not holding my breath that Benjamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman are going to become peace activists.
    But I’m done as an American being a silent stooge while Israeli militarist madness fuels hatred and sets the stage for war.

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/08/31/is-there-a-way-beyond-israeli-madness/

  7. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson
    April 6, 2018, 12:37 pm

    RE: “Israel’s crimes will continue until we make it stop.” ~ Michael Lesher

    BERTRAND RUSSELL:

    “The aggression committed by Israel must be condemned, not only because no state has the right to annexe foreign territory, but because every expansion is an experiment to discover how much more aggression the world will tolerate.

    “The refugees who surround Palestine in their hundreds of thousands were described recently by the Washington journalist I.F. Stone as “the moral millstone around the necks of world Jewry. . . ”

    ” . . . All who want to see an end to the bloodshed on the Middle East must ensure that any settlement does not contain the seeds of future conflict. Justice requires that the first step toward a settlement must be an Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied in June, 1967. ~~~ from Yours Faithfully, Bertrand Russell: A Lifelong Fight for Peace, Justice, and Truth in Letters to the Editor, By Bertrand Russell, Ray Perkins (Jr.), pages 411 – 412

    SOURCE – https://books.google.com/books?id=3TfJcZMS6TIC&pg=PA411&lpg=PA411&dq=%22the+aggression+committed+by+israel+must+be+condemned%22+Bertrand&source=bl&ots=-dbVZzi6gv&sig=CVYs-Rckv2Trw6f159EO-N_SxHY&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjg7PLo6aHaAhVSylMKHUf7DAAQ6AEIMTAB#v=onepage&q=%22the%20aggression%20committed%20by%20israel%20must%20be%20condemned%22%20Bertrand&f=false

    ■ GRAPHIC

  8. Misterioso
    Misterioso
    April 6, 2018, 12:46 pm

    http://imemc.org/article/army-kills-one-palestinian-injures-at-least-100-including-five-who-suffered-serious-wounds-in-gaza/

    Gaza Strip, TODAY, Friday, March 6/18

    “Army Kills Three Palestinians, Injures At least 252, Including Many Who Suffered Serious Wounds, In Gaza”

    EXCERPT:
    “Updated: Israeli soldiers killed, Friday, three Palestinians, including a child, and injured at least 252 others, including may who suffered life-threatening wounds, and moderate injuries, in several parts of the Gaza Strip, after the army resorted to the excessive use of force against nonviolent protesters.

    “A Palestinian child, 16, was killed by Israeli army fire east of Gaza city. His name is yet to be verified. Initial reports indicate the child was shot with a live round in the head. His death brings the number of Palestinians who were killed by Israeli army fire today, Friday, to three, in addition to a fourth Palestinians who died from serious wounds suffered last week.
    Ten Palestinians were shot with live fire in the head and chest, in Khan Younis alone, the Red Crescent in Gaza has reported.

    “The Health Ministry and the Red Crescent in Gaza has confirmed that the soldiers killed Majdi Ramadan Shbat, 38, east of Gaza city, after shooting him with a live round in the neck.
    In addition that 252 Palestinians were injured by army fire, including many who suffered life-threatening wounds, and serious injuries, in addition to dozens who suffered the severe effects of teargas inhalation.

    “52 of the wounded suffered severe convulsions and threw up due to the effects of the gas bombs.

    “The Israeli army is firing long-range gas bombs that reaches the make-shift hospitals.

    “Dr. Ashraf al-Qedra, the spokesperson of the Health Ministry in Gaza has confirmed that the soldiers killed Osama Khamis Qdeih, 38, from Abasan al-Kabeera town, east of Khan Younis.
    He added that Qdeih died from serious wounds he suffered after the soldiers shot him with live fire, east of Khan Younis.”

  9. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson
    April 6, 2018, 1:09 pm

    RE: “U.S. Ambassador (and former Confederate flag booster) Nikki Haley”

    A SMALL SAMPLING OF TRUMP’S USE OF RACIST ‘DOG WHISTLES’

    Trump’s racism has gone from dog-whistle bigotry to megaphone …
    https://www.cnn.com/2018/01/12/opinions/trump-has-gone-from-dog-whistle-bigotry-to-megaphone-prejudice-opinion-dantonio/index.html
    Jan 12, 2018 – Michael D’Antonio says the President’s comment about “shithole countries” is in the same vein as his saying that there were admirable folks among white nationalists and his general negative depictions and descriptions of non-whites. The politics of divide, exploit, repeat is one that Trump has practiced for …

    Trump: Maxine Waters is ‘a very low IQ individual’ | TheHill
    http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/377789-trump-maxine-waters-is-a-very-low-iq-individual
    Mar 10, 2018 – President Trump hit “low IQ” Rep. Maxine Waters during a campaign rally speech on Saturday, mocking the California Democrat for calling for his impeachment.

  10. Mayhem
    Mayhem
    April 7, 2018, 11:31 am

    The author doesn’t get this right:
    “Israel is not going to stop killing and maiming Palestinians until it has no choice in the matter. ”
    Israel already has been put into the invidious position of having to kill Gazans because they are willing to become martyrs, egged on to do so by bribes. If the Israelis don’t stop the Gazans from breaking through the fence the consequences could be very drastic indeed.
    Moreover bus drivers in Gaza have been compelled by Hamas to drive people to the border or face jail if they refuse to comply.

    • annie
      annie
      April 7, 2018, 12:03 pm

      that last line about the bus drivers, i don’t buy it. i read in a highly statistically challenged daily beast article bus drivers in Gaza had been compelled by Hamas to drive people to the border “or relinquish his vehicles” (presumably so others could use the buses to attend the protest). so where did you get your info mayhem, about the jail time?

    • oldgeezer
      oldgeezer
      April 7, 2018, 12:37 pm

      @mayhem

      don’t be asinine. Israel wasn’t put into any position. It kills because it wants to.

      There was so much threat to Israel and the fence that local residents of Israel near the fence gathered to enjoy the preferred spectator sport in Israel of watching defenseless Palestinians get slaughtered.

      https://twitter.com/EranEfrati/status/982436385201246208?s=19

      • annie
        annie
        April 7, 2018, 1:06 pm

        it’s making the rounds oldgeezer: https://twitter.com/benabyad/status/982543281585295360

      • mondonut
        mondonut
        April 7, 2018, 2:17 pm

        They were not defenseless.

        Defense #1: Stay away from the fence
        Defense #2: Do not throw things at soldiers
        Defense #3: Do not tell a sovereign nation you intend to tear down their borders and march on their land.

        Oh yeah, I know “it is not their land”, “it is not a border”, blah, blah, blah.

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer
        April 7, 2018, 2:47 pm

        A few years ago Rivlin said that Israeli society was sick. It is way way beyond that now. What kind of a pervert would gather to watch people being killed. And the Israeli news station posted that as it is was a positive thing. Best seats in town!

        There are no words adequate to describe the level of perversity in this. Exceeded solely by the perversity of using armed snipers against unarmed civilians.

      • Maghlawatan
        Maghlawatan
        April 7, 2018, 3:57 pm

        Israel is not stable.

    • eljay
      eljay
      April 7, 2018, 3:22 pm

      || Mayhem: The author doesn’t get this right:
      “Israel is not going to stop killing and maiming Palestinians until it has no choice in the matter. ”
      Israel already has been put into the invidious position of having to kill Gazans because they are willing to become martyrs … ||

      Yup, the rapist kidnapped the women, chained them in his basement and continues repeatedly to rape them, but they are the ones putting him in the invidious position of having to brutally beat them because they have nothing to lose. Shame on those selfish bitches for making the rapist look bad!

    • Michael Lesher
      Michael Lesher
      April 7, 2018, 8:46 pm

      I know most readers here will not need any clarification from me. But if the IDF’s sycophants are going to claim that any attempt by Palestinians to escape from Gaza justifies mass murder, let’s not let them forget a bit of context.

      The densely-packed Strip, which even the U.K.’s Israel-supporting David Cameron described as an “open-air prison,” is being strangled in a brutal, illegal Israeli siege — a siege that has been at its most crippling for over a decade now — under which 2 million people, fully half of them children, are physically trapped in conditions a recent U.N. report described as verging on uninhabitable. More than 95% of the water in Gaza is unfit for human consumption; hospitals are shutting down (I mean, even the ones the IDF has not shelled) due to lack of electric power; 100,000 people remain homeless since 2014, when Israel systematically demolished 18,000 homes, because the Israelis still will not allow rebuilding. Add to that the constant attacks by drones, sniper fire and periodic missile and artillery bombardment, and you have some idea of the daily reality of living in the concentration camp Gaza has become.

      Nor can Gazans reasonably hope for relief through diplomacy: the Israelis have twice agreed, formally, to lift the siege — after the massacres known as Cast Lead (2009) and Pillar of Defense (2012) — only to renege both times. The result? Silence from the U.N.; and from the U.S., a fat cash reward as America’s military support for Israel, already illegal under U.S. law, was increased to a publicly-acknowledged $3.8 billion annually.

      Now, we all know the poster (“Mayhem”) was lying through his teeth when he claimed that every Palestinian homicide victim was trying to break through Israel’s prison wall. But suppose it were true. Can people be faulted for trying to escape an illegal, inhuman siege? What if 2 million Israeli Jews, including a million Israeli children, were caged up in similar conditions and shot with high-powered rifles at the first sign of trying to break out? Wouldn’t our proud Israel apologists be defending the right of those suffering civilians to freedom, to life? Why is it only Palestinians who have to justify their right to live to the satisfaction of Israeli armchair “security” experts?

      I omitted these matters from my column because I was hoping to reach a wide audience and wanted to focus on the simplest and least controversial points — I didn’t want to give the crime-boosters any excuses to derail the argument into quibbles about “narratives” and “background.” But here on Mondoweiss we should be prepared to go a bit farther. It’s not just Israel’s methods that are criminal. It’s the entire Gaza policy. And at least until Israel keeps its twice-broken promise to lift the siege, any Gazan who tries to escape is not “threatening” Israel; he or she is exercising the most basic of human rights.

      (By the way: we know that Israel tried to bully Gaza bus companies NOT to drive people to the demonstrations, because an Israeli general publicly admitted this. Are we really supposed to believe that bus drivers could be “compelled” to FORCE people to go to the protests against their will? Even an Israeli propagandist would have to be pretty dim to make such a claim, I think.)

      • Maghlawatan
        Maghlawatan
        April 7, 2018, 11:40 pm

        Great points. Israel frames the Gaza issue in terms of international law when it suits but in reality there is no law because Israel runs its Gaza logic from somewhere deep in group trauma.

        Gaza is Zionist hell. 80% of the people are dependent on international food aid. This is worse than an earthquake zone and it is policy.

        Gaza is Israel’s solution to 1948. And the solution is broken.

        Zionism is a manufactured culture. Its core memes and understandings of the world go back to a hypertext rather than shared cultural experience. Because it is only 140 or so years old.

        One of the core memes in the hypertext is that the Palestinians are vermin. This drives the sniper policy. If vermin are congregating on your border you shoot them. Simples.

        But the people of Gaza are not vermin and they know that Israeli logic is insane . Because they are from southern Israel.

        So Gaza is also emotional chess. It is human will versus a sick empire. Probing thev Israeli weaknesses that the nukes can’t protect.

        In a parallel universe it could have become a Jewish holiday. Unarmed people fighting impossible odds.

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer
        April 8, 2018, 1:20 am

        Very well said Michael.

        My only nitpick is describing Israeli actions as criminal. They are far beyond that now and the world needs to stop appeasing them and say all lives matter and enough is enough. The murder spree has gone on for far too long.

      • April 8, 2018, 10:25 am

        Thank you Michael. Context is everything.

  11. Ossinev
    Ossinev
    April 7, 2018, 12:18 pm

    @Mayhem
    “Israel already has been put into the invidious position of having to kill Gazans”.
    Love the “invidious” LOL.
    Most moral ROE:
    “I’m gonna take you down – down, down, down
    So don’t you fool around
    I’m gonna pull it, pull it, pull the trigger
    Shoot to thrill, play to kill

    Shoot to thrill, play to kill
    I got my gun at the ready, gonna fire at will
    Yeah”

    I can just hear those unbelievably moral and highly accurate IDF snipers ( you know the ones who can`t tell the difference between a leg and a head) rocking along to this one.
    I wonder if they get to have kill symbols stitched on to their uniforms – you know like the WW2 fighter pilots ?

    As ex Israeli PM good old Ehud Barak predicted the seeds of Fascism in Israel have taken root and the country is now festered with Fascist boils.
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/ehud-barak-israel-infected-by-seeds-of-fascism-1.5385754

    Echoing his words good old ex Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon:
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-politics/shake-up-in-israeli-politics-prompts-seeds-of-fascism-warning-idUSKCN0YE1I6

    • annie
      annie
      April 7, 2018, 1:09 pm

      it’s just so invidious for those snowflake snipers they had to shoot palestinians as they were running in the opposite direction! it’s so invidious they simply had to target palestinian journalists covering the event!

      • ritzl
        ritzl
        April 7, 2018, 9:07 pm

        Self-invidious-izing indeed! :)

  12. ritzl
    ritzl
    April 7, 2018, 9:04 pm

    One of the best things anyone could do to inform people on this would be to construct a timeline. At the moment we have competing still images without a timeline context.

    Major question is what was happening before the shooting/murders started. This isn’t an attempt to justify the unjustifiable. It’s a request because the Israeli/MSM image flood is post-tear gas and shooting, thus supporting the “clashes” fiction and not the unjustified use of force (murder) reality.

  13. Frankie P
    Frankie P
    April 8, 2018, 7:25 am

    By the way, Michael Lesher,

    Do YOU support those things that I mentioned: a formal UN censure of Israel, a cutting off of ALL US aid to Israel and UN and US santions? I do. Looking forward to your honest response.

    Frankie P

  14. Maghlawatan
    Maghlawatan
    April 8, 2018, 8:43 am

    Gaza was a cordon sanitaire between Egypt and the Haganah in 1948. The Egyptian Army provided a safe refuge for Palestinian farmers until the end of the war expecting them to be allowed to return home. The location is NOT inside Egypt because the people were Palestinian.
    Israel does not respect the laws of war so the cordon sanitaire became something permanent. And then Israel began to pauperise Gaza with the aim of driving everyone out . Israel bombs hospitals, sewage and water plants. Gaza is supposed to be a permanent solution but it can’t be. Israelis are now reaping what they sowed 1948-18. Gaza is the ultimate contradiction to the greatest lie of Zionism : “a land without a people”.

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