Saturday, May 2, 2015

Who Retaliates

Did you see it in the news?  ABC reported that Israel retaliated against a rocket fired from Gaza. One crude, unguided, homemade rocket landed in an open field in the southern part of Israel, causing no injury to anyone or damage to any structure. However, the news was of “Israel’s retaliation.”

The news faithfully reports the violence, yet seldom mentions the cause of that violence. It is presented as authorities controlling riots. These authorities, however,  are occupying someone else’s land, fighting to seize more land and water that does not belong to them. How can it be retaliation when Israel is the aggressor?

Hanon Ashrawi comments:

It is not presented as an army using its arsenal against young people who are largely unarmed, who are besieged, who are protesting because of the occupation against the total oppression of their whole nation… Israel is the aggressor, killing people in their own homes on their own land, yet it is presented as though the Palestinians attacked Israel which is now simply “retaliating.”[i]

According to: Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, Only 4% of Network Reports even mention the word “occupation.”

Neither the Associated Press, nor ABC News, included in their story of “Israel’s retaliation” the context of that rocket, the one and only rocket fired at Israel from Gaza this year.”[ii]  At the same time, unreported in the mainstream media during that same time:

In the three months January-March, there were six military incursions - when Israeli forces invaded the Gaza Strip then withdrew – and 67 shooting attacks on land and at sea.[iii]

According to our news media, attacks on Palestinians are normal, certainly not news worthy.  It is only when someone from the occupied territories fires back that it merits a story.  As long as no Israeli is forced to duck, it is seen as a time of “calm” no matter how many Palestinians become victims of Israel’s aggression.  “Israeli forces injured dozens of Palestinians and foreign activist on April 3rd using live fire to suppress weekly marches in West Bank…another Palestinian was injured and dozens more suffered excessive tear gas inhalation during clashes with Israeli forces at the weekly march at Bil’in.”[iv] No headlines in my paper.

On April 2nd, Israeli soldiers arrested Palestinian parliamentarian, Khalida Jarrar for “unspecified reasons.”  She joined 16 other Palestinian lawmakers currently serving time in Israeli prisons.[v]

The next week, April 10th,  a Palestinian man was shot and killed by Israeli forces at the funeral of his cousin who had died from unattended medical complications while in an Israeli prison.  Thirteen others attending the same funeral were injured by live ammunition and rubber coated bullets.[vi]

The following Thursday, two Palestinians were shot and injured when Israeli soldiers raided their refugee camp.

The next day, Israeli soldiers attacked the weekly protest against the illegal wall and settlements near Ramallah, wounding five, including two by live ammunition.

Settlers attacked Palestinian shepherds, forcing them at gunpoint to go into their homes. Israeli forces arrived and arrested the shepherds.

Back in March, Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian fisherman.[vii]

At least 30 children across the West Bank sustained gunshot wounds when Israeli forces used live ammunition to quash protest during the first three months of 2015.

In summary: Since 2000, Israeli security forces have killed over 8,896 Palestinians. At least 1,900 of those have been children.[viii]

A report from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Occupied Palestinian Territory found that, overall, Israel was responsible for 2,314 Palestinian deaths and 17,125 injuries last calendar year...Defense for Children International – Palestine has documented abuse and torture that Palestinian children endure in Israeli prisons, where they are denied due process.[ix]

Today, there are nearly 6,500 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails; 500 of them held under administrative detention without charge or trial. There are 200 child prisoners, 24 women prisoners, and 14 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council behind bars… There are 1500 sick prisoners including 16 severely ill in the Ramle prison clinic, 24 with cancer and 80 with severe illnesses.[x]

Yet compared to a small rocket fired into a field in Israel, none of this merits attention in our news media. I can only imagine the coverage if this were violence against Jews?

Thomas Are
May 2, 2015

[i] Documentary: Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land, The Media Education Foundation, 2004.
[ii], Israel Retaliates to Gaza Rocket Attack, No Injuries, AP , Jerusalem, April 23, 2015
[iii] Philip Weiss, One rocket from Gaza outweighs 6 Israeli Incursions and 67 Attacks,  Mondoweiss, April 27, 2015
[iv] Same article as above, Mondoweiss, April 27, 2015
[v] +972 Magazine,  Israeli soldiers arrest feminist Palestinian lawmaker, By Haggai Matar
[vi] From, Today in Palestine, Al-Awda-News, April 10, 2015
[vii] Philip Weiss, One rocket from Gaza outweighs 6 Israeli Incursions and 67 Attacks,  Mondoweiss, April 27, 2015
[viii] Kate, 30 Palestinian Children have been shot with Live Ammunition in Protest last 3 Months.  Mondoweiss, March 25, 2015.
[ix] Sarah Lazare, 2014 Deadliest Year for Palestinians Since 1967, UN Report Finds. Common Dreams, March 27, 2015.
[x] AL-AWDA-News, Palestinian Prisoners Day, April 17, 2015.

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