On Wednesday, 21 February this year, Israeli Army bulldozers arrived to destroy the the home of Atta Jaber and lay waste to what was left of the land that had been in his family for 800 years. The arrival of the Zionist Occupation in 1967 presaged doom for this family’s heritage and in 1968, Atta Jaber and his kinsfolk lost 90% of their land, taken by Israel in order to impose the Occupation settlement of Kiryat Arba. Not only was the theft of this land illegal under international law, the malevolence that accompanied it became a harrowing background in the life of the family. With repeated attacks by Zionist fanatics upon persons and property, the settlers would, as they ruined the family’s crops, tell them that their land was now Israeli State land. ICAHD, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions has posted a video in which the settlers can be heard, as they stand upon Palestinian land, telling members of the family that they are not even human. The Israeli soldiers overseeing the house demolition threatened the family with death and injury if they did not leave. Atta showed the ICAHD video producers the scars he received in the brutal Israeli Army violence. Since 1948, the Zionist state has demolished more than 120,000 Palestinian homes.
In March 2013, Atta Jaber appeared before the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva to tell his story. The world knows what Israel is doing but the mainstream news media and Western-aligned governments remain silent about the extent of the inhumanity and the ideological motivation that drives it. As far back as 1937, David Ben-Gurion, who was to become Israel’s first prime minister, revealed in a letter to his son, Amos, the true Zionist view of the Peel Commission’s partition plan for Palestine. There can be no doubt that, for Zionists, Partition was merely a way to establish a foothold in Palestine to facilitate the start of an incremental takeover of the entire land. Ben Gurion wrote:
“My assumption (which is why I am a fervent proponent of a state, even though it is now linked to partition) is that a Jewish state on only part of the land is not the end but the beginning. When we acquire one thousand or 10,000 dunams, we feel elated. It does not hurt our feelings that by this acquisition we are not in possession of the whole land. This is because this increase in possession is of consequence not only in itself, but because through it we increase our strength, and every increase in strength helps in the possession of the land as a whole. The establishment of a state, even if only on a portion of the land, is the maximal reinforcement of our strength at the present time and a powerful boost to our historical endeavours to liberate the entire country.”
While ordinary Palestinians suffer under brutal foreign military dictatorship, Israel’s annexation strategy unfolds incrementally. It quietly gnaws at Palestinian territory at a pace that makes it so easy for the news media to ignore. The silence enables our politicians to hide behind their oft-declared support for a two-state solution and avoid facing the ugly truth. An end to the Occupation would depend both on bringing Israel seriously to account and its repudiation of the Zionist dream. On 12 February, in yet another step beyond its borders, the Israeli Parliament passed a law that places Israeli universities in the Occupied Palestinian territories under the authority of the Israeli Council for Higher Education. Even more aggressive was the Knesset’s passing, on 5 February, of the Regularisation Law which formally ‘legalises’ the theft of Palestinian land – so obviously an integral part of Israel’s vision of the future.
Our news media
Plain, informed reporting and comment concerning Israel, Zionism and the theft of Palestinian land is rare, especially among politicians and in the mainstream news media. Radio New Zealand broadcast recently that violence had declined in Gaza and, on 18 February, the NZ Herald, in a report on the injuring of four Israeli soldiers on the border with Gaza, printed the following observation:
“In the post 2014 war reality established along the volatile frontier, Israel generally carries out limited retaliations to any militant provocations in Gaza. The border area has generally been quiet since the war, but has seen an increase in violence since President Donald Trump’s announcement in December recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.”
The report makes three assertions:
1. that Israel generally carries out limited retaliations to any militant provocations in Gaza.
2. The border area has generally been quiet since 2014 and
3. there has been an increase in violence since President Donald Trump’s announcement in December recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Let’s look at the record and see how these assertions stack up in the light of facts on the ground – and in the air!
“Israel generally carries out limited retaliations to any militant provocations in Gaza.”
So far this year, up until 26 February, there have been 12 Palestinian Gaza ceasefire violations. Nine of these were missile-launchings towards Israel. The remaining three were acts of armed Resistance against Israeli Military targets.
Over the same period, Palestinians suffered 162 Israeli ceasefire violations, resulting in the deaths of three minors (the youngest was aged 15) plus an 18-year-old. There were 91 people wounded or injured and two children, aged 10 and 11, were abducted by Israeli forces. The Israeli Navy hijacked five Palestinian fishing vessels, causing more loss of livelihood and economic decline. There were 11 Israeli air strikes over the period and Palestinian fishing boats came under fire on 46 occasions.
“The border area has generally been quiet since the war”
Regarding the question as to who the Gaza ceasefire violations provocateur might be, the following should be noted: Palestinian violations occurred on six of the days from 1 January to 20 February 2018, while there were Israeli violations on at least 45 days over that same period. These figures make nonsense of the claim made in the same Herald report: that:
“Israel, however, has begun to soften its line of late, appealing for international aid, and may be less inclined to strike hard militarily, even if targeted by rocket fire and border attacks.”
“There has been an increase in violence since President Donald Trump’s announcement in December recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.”
To judge the veracity of this assertion, and to understand from whence originates the violence, it is worth looking at the Gaza Ceasefire violations that occurred in 2017 prior to Trump’s 6 December 2017 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. From the Palestinian side, there were 17, eight of which were missile-firings towards Israel and nine attacks on Israeli military targets. There were, by contrast, 722 Israeli Gaza Ceasefire violations leading up to the Trump announcement. That is a score of 42 to one! The source of the provocation is crystal clear.
Syria – bombarded and misrepresented
Israel’s territorial conquests are not confined to Palestine of course, in Syria the Zionist regime has militarily occupied the Golan Heights, established settlements, illegally annexed the territory in 1981 and, according to the Wall Street Journal 18 June 2017, acted in support of various armed groups fighting in Syria. Author Gregory Shupak writes that Israel admits to having bombed the Syrian Government and that if “Brigadier General Amnon Ein Dar, the head of the Israeli Air Force’s Air Division, is to be believed (Ynet, 11 February 2018), the Israeli military has ‘carried out thousands of missions in Syria in the last year alone’.” As with Gaza, our mainstream news media reports downplay and ignore Israeli aggression in Syria. As Shupak points out, the Israeli Brigadier’s admission makes nonsense of an Associated Press claim on 10 February that “Israel has mostly stayed out of the prolonged fighting in Syria.” The article goes on to reveal the extent of misleading mainstream news media regarding Israeli aggression in Syria, including Reuters, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, and the Washington Post.
Below is an In Occupied Palestine daily newsletter report on Gaza ceasefire violations for just one day – 8 August 2017:
Ceasefire violation – Palestinian attack: Northern Gaza – 20:45, a number of missiles fired towards the Green Line.
Israeli air strike: Gaza – midnight, Israeli military aircraft launched two air strikes on Gaza City, one of them on the al-Nasser neighbourhood, wounding three residents, one of them critically.
Israeli air strike: Northern Gaza – 01:35, Israeli military aircraft launched missiles into north Beit Lahiya.
Israeli Navy attack – economic sabotage: Northern Gaza – 10:25, the Israeli Navy opened fire on Palestinian fishing boats off al-Sudaniya.
Israeli Navy attack – economic sabotage: Gaza – 08:00, Israeli gunboats opened fire on Palestinian fishing boats off Gaza City.
Israeli Navy attack – economic sabotage: Central Gaza – 23:30, the Israeli Navy opened fire on Palestinian fishing boats off Deir al-Balah.
Israeli Navy attack – economic sabotage: Central Gaza – 08:00, Israeli gunboats opened fire on Palestinian fishing boats off Deir al-Balah.
Israeli Navy attack – economic sabotage: Khan Yunis – 23:30, the Israeli Navy opened fire on Palestinian fishing boats off Khan Yunis City.
Israeli Navy attack – economic sabotage: Khan Yunis – 08:15, Israeli gunboats opened fire on Palestinian fishing boats off Khan Yunis City.
2 Israeli air strikes on Gaza – so far, this year, the score is well over 500 Israeli ceasefire violations to 12 Palestinian.
The newsletter continued:
“Besides at least 14 Israeli ceasefire violations this month [August 2017], including attacks on Palestinian fishing boats, agriculture and a refugee camp, the Israeli Air Force launched two night-time air strikes early on 8 August, following a retaliatory Palestinian Resistance missile-launching that landed harmlessly in the Hof Ashkelon Region.
“A spokesman at Gaza’s Shifa Hospital reported that three Palestinians were wounded in the air strikes, including a 26-year-old man who suffered a serious head wound. Most of the very occasional Palestinian missile strikes from Gaza are claimed by Salafist groups. The Israeli Ynet news claims that a “ceasefire has largely held” since a ceasefire agreement was signed, which flies in the face of reality. So far, this year alone, there have been well over 500 Israeli ceasefire violations. The reported Palestinian ceasefire violations this year, including this latest, number 12.”
Israel’s ideological motivation, intentions and territorial ambitions are a matter of record and the Palestinian people have been cruelly betrayed. New Zealand’s sponsoring of Security Council Resolution 2334 was, to a limited extent, an acknowledgement of this country’s duty to defend human rights and international law. Yet still our politicians remain silent regarding Israel’s daily, relentless barbarism and criminal intent. Our news media should be taken to task for their misleading reporting on Israel and Palestine. Is it that our news media allow themselves to be unduly influenced by the Israel Lobby? Or are they simply too disinterested or under-resourced to do their own independent research? It is difficult to discern the cause but, for whatever reason, the repetition of Zionist propaganda is unworthy and unjust. We must all demand greater accountability and honesty from the news media and from our representatives. Let New Zealand build upon the reputation it gained with its sponsorship of Resolution 2334. We have a duty to finish the task we undertook – and we can do it. But first we must call for an end to the inexcusable misrepresentation that so often stands in place of truth.