Canary in a Moral Coalmine: Will the West continue to ignore the Warning Calls in Israel and Palestine?
While the entire globe watches Brazil in anticipation of a sensational World Cup final, butchery ensues in Gaza as another Israeli offensive begins. As of this writing, the death toll has reached 82, with casualties at a staggering 520 (as of Wednesday) in the three days since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge. The majority of these lives lost belong to innocents without connection to any sort of crime. Thanks to committed activists and loved ones of the deceased, these casualties are not just the proverbial numbered dead. Their names, ages, and causes of death are being carefully recorded and broadcasted for the whole world to see from various media outlets (al-Akhbar English, 972 Magazine, etc.). This is but a small act of defiance against the monstrous media bias against Palestinians, who so commonly and frequently are written off as terrorists.
But when one examines the media coverage of the situation at large, it is easy to be taken aback at the amount of sheer misinformation being spread. Popular news outlets and show hosts like Diane Sawyer, who so famously portrayed the victimization of a Palestinian family as an Israeli one, have rallied to the aid of a supposedly defenseless Israel against the Hamas Goliath. BBC, the Independent, Fox News, CNN have all relayed similar false juxtapositions. But where is this coming from? Reality on the ground shows a very different, horrifying example of outright collective punishment (considered a war crime under international law) against the people of Gaza.
Trailing in the wake of the triple murder of Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel, and Eyal Yifrach, the Israeli government has claimed that their favorite boogeyman, Hamas, is responsible for this crime. However, this Gaza-based party has denied responsibility and remains shockingly quiet on the issue, contrary to its historical inclination to claim responsibility for its actions. This has not daunted Israeli authorities, who chose to execute an all-out assault on Gaza in the name of vengeance and retribution.
What justice does this really represent? No evidence has been brought forward concerning Hamas’ culpability, and yet the entire population of Gaza is now suffering a military airstrike and potentially an upcoming ground invasion. Members of the Western public were outraged to find their leaders had invaded Iraq without proof of the presence weapons of mass destruction, so why are they so quiet when Israel follows suit?
The home raids in the West Bank alone saw the theft of $3,000,000 worth of Palestinian property without the procedural receipt of goods and their return/compensation upon clearing them of any supposed threat. Then there came the subsequent lynch mobs conducted by extremist Israelis throughout Jerusalem and the grotesque incineration of 15 year-old Mohammad Abu Khdeir, whose killers have not as of yet been brought to justice. With Defence for Children International-Palestine recording 214 child prisoners as of May 2014 (some of whom have been subject to torture during their detainment), one must wonder what rationale is really behind these attacks against the Palestinian people.
If one then probes the issue of Hamas and its armed retaliation against Israel since the beginning of this most recent attack, it is evident that these rockets fired are just that: reactionary. The entirety of the Palestinian entity in the Middle East does not possess armed forces and has a limited-functioning government that seems more self-serving than protective of the people’s interests. The only form of protection comes from armed resistance, which is what Hamas has traditionally provided.
As the supposedly enlightened champions of democracy, surely North American and European governments can see the farce Israel is presenting to the world; and yet, silence ensues. Palestinian-American teenager Tarek Abu Khdeir is beaten to a pulp, left with a disfigured face, and all that is offered are some words of slight censure and a call for an investigation. Being the cousin of the recently murdered Mohammad, can this arbitrary arrest and battery be considered merely coincidental in the behavior? Even Israelis are beginning to call out the inconsistencies in the entirety of the conflict, questioning both the occupation and the reasoning behind their government’s policies.
So where is the “judicious” Western media to provide balanced news coverage? What major media outlet is discussing the moral depravity of this occupation? This outright assault on the human rights of Palestinians is a blatant affront to the so called democracy that Israel says it promotes.
If the West continues to ignore the proverbial warning calls of the canary in this moral coalmine, it will find itself buried under severe historical censure and condemnation in years to come. With the incremental genocide being committed against the residents of Gaza and the proactive ethnic cleansing going on in the Israeli state and the West Bank, the world powers consistently ignore the obvious colonial occupation that is both ongoing and life-threatening to the indigenous population. With the Israeli public itself becoming more aware and vocal against these violent actions, one must wonder what it is that the West and the Israeli government are fighting so hard to defend. Because if it is the idea of a bastion of democracy in the Middle East, they are only fooling themselves. The world is beginning to see the reality of what modern colonial occupation looks like.
Samantha Borders is a MA Palestine Studies graduate from the University of Exeter in the UK. Her work consists of historical and theoretical analysis, and has published with various media outlets regarding the occupation of Palestine, American foreign policy, and various social issues. She divides her time between the Middle East, UK, and USA.
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