Jillian C. York

Jillian C. York is a writer and activist.

Debunking the Myths

This piece is written by Yaman Salahi and was originally circulated privately. I am posting it with his permission.

1. Israel Wants Peace

It takes quite a bit of chutzpah to claim that Israel “wants peace” as Israeli fighter jets drop hundreds of tons of bombs on the Gaza Strip, killing hundreds, destroying universities, hospitals, pharmacies, schools, homes, and social welfare offices. Rather than leading to peace, this claim actually only covers up for Israel’s continued violence and intransigence. There has not been a single day in the past 60 years where there was not at least one Israeli gun pointed at a Palestinian, whether at the checkpoints that lace the West Bank, or on the battle field during Israel’s frequent ground incursions into West Bank cities, or from the air as Israel drops bombs on Gaza. If that is what an aspiration for peace looks like, God save us from seeing an Israeli aspiration for war.

Entertaining the point is futile though, as it, too, is false. According to Haaretz, the Israeli government has been preparing for this attack on the people of Gaza since it signed a truce with Hamas six months ago. More disturbingly, the article implies that Israel’s signing of a truce with Hamas was actually part of a long-term strategy to declare war on Gaza, a disingenuous move contrary to any claimed “desire for peace.”

On top of this, a Vanity Fair article published last April exposed the long-term conspiracy between the Israeli government, the Bush administration, and opportunistic elements of the Palestinian political faction Fatah to overthrow the government in Gaza, thereby derailing any hopes for a genuine peace process.

Israel has always used similar strategies meant to undermine Palestinian independence and autonomy in its pursuit of puppets willing to help prop up Israeli control of the Palestinian people. It always fails because the strategy is inherently flawed, but at great human expense to the Palestinian people. It prefers to deal with corrupt Arab dictators than to reconcile its racist state ideology with the fact that Palestinians are real people with legitimate claims to land and who can pick their own leaders and decide their own interests for themselves.

2. Israel is Defending Itself From Rockets

Palestinians have basically no weapons that pose a significant threat to Israel as a political establishment, or to Israelis as citizens. That has been the case for decades. Israeli soldiers have not even set foot into Gaza yet because they are attacking safely at a distance via fighter jet. Gaza has no anti-aircraft defense systems, it has no weapons capable of defending from jet attacks. In other words they don’t stand a chance, and it doesn’t “remain to be seen” who will be the military victor (aka, the most successful killer) after these attacks on Gaza come to a temporary end.

Nevertheless, Israeli PR will attempt to discuss “the horror of rockets raining down on southern Israel.” Let’s be very clear about what these rockets are. There is a picture below from The Israel Project, an Israeli PR group. Notice these rockets are mostly intact, even after crashing into the ground.

The idea that they actually pose a menacing threat worthy of a military response of ANY sort is comical. The American media has really dropped the ball on this one, allowing hysterical sensationalist and exaggerated propaganda claims from the Israeli government to go unquestioned.

I don’t doubt that ordinary citizens are worried about these things falling from the sky, but let’s face it, in Israel you are several times more likely to be involved in a domestic murder than to be a victim of one of these rocket attacks according to numbers from Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics. In 2008, there have been over 300 cases related to murder or attempted murder in Israel. In the past 6 years, the projectiles coming from Gaza have caused less than two dozen deaths in Israel.

I’m not trying to rationalize these attacks or say that they’re okay. I think they’re stupid and have no positive effects whatsoever. But to equivocate these rockets, which cannot be directed with any precision whatsoever, with the hundreds of tons of real rockets that Israel has been dropping on Gaza’s population non-stop for the past three days, is absurd.

3. Israel is Liberating Gaza From Hamas

Israeli PR understands that it doesn’t look so good when Israel invades and overthrows the democratically elected government of another people. That is why it is trying to frame itself as liberating Gaza from Hamas, as if Hamas–not Israel–was occupying Gaza and in Tom Segev’s words, “holding Gaza residents hostage,” when, in fact, Hamas is a political party that was democratically elected by the people of Palestine in 2006. One absurd corollary of this myth is that Israel is only attacking Hamas, as if its bombs are not killing and wreaking havoc on all Palestinians in Gaza, and as if a schoolteacher who happens to have voted for Hamas is a legitimate military target who poses a threat to Israel.

Since 2006, Israel has been holding the people of Gaza hostage, having imposed an embargo and siege on the Gaza Strip that has created unbearable conditions for its residents. Palestinians in Gaza have reached a point of desperation, building tunnels across the border with Egypt to import necessary goods because Israel and Egypt keep the normal border routes closed as punishment of the Palestinians for the way they voted.

The notion that Hamas is a group of “thugs,” according to George Bush, that is keeping Gaza under its grasp against the will of the people of Gaza couldn’t be further from the truth.

4. Hamas Is a Front Group for Iran

Because Iran has bogeyman status in the United States, Israeli PR plays up this line to claim that Israel is confronting a threat from Iran in Gaza. This plays into a long history of Israeli propaganda that presents Palestinians as everything but Palestinians: first they were part of a Soviet threat, then al-Qaeda, and now the current Iranian government.

Hamas is, first and foremost, an independent and grassroots Palestinian political movement that, interestingly, was once tacitly supported by Israel when it had wanted to undermine secular Palestinian groups. Like Israel, it uses violence for political ends, and frequently targets civilians, but on a notably smaller magnitude. Calling it “Iran-backed” implies that its agenda is controlled by Iran, which is a false claim. The Palestinian resistance to Israeli apartheid pre-dates whatever the bogeyman of the day is.

—-

Here is what Israel’s war on the innocent people of Gaza looks like so far. Courtesy of American-made weapons and American tax dollars. To put it into perspective, as mentioned here, the number of people who have been killed by Gaza–in proportion to the size of the American population–is 61,000.

(*I’m not posting the rest of the photos for the sake of brevity, and for the fact that it’s all around you. Turn on a reliable television station, google it. There’s no shortage of photos of this massacre)

20 Comments

  1. Thanks Jill…
    Happy new year and may we get rid of the terrible injustices and sorrows in this world… in Palestine in particular.

  2. 1) Making blanket statements about a country or even its government is absurd. Israel is no more for or against peace than all of the US is for or against peace.

    2) The issue of rocket attacks is just as much a symbolic issue as it is a body count issue. Just look at 9/11. These are not only rational decisions. If they were we wouldn’t have rocket attacks and we wouldn’t have air strikes.

  3. Problem with this kind of reporting: multiple sources mentioned but not one cited (that I saw).

    I’m sorry but 60 years of observation tells me this post is pure well-intentioned propaganda!

    Sorry I don’t buy it!

  4. UNBIASED PERSON

    January 1, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    ARE YOU SERIOUS!!!!! YOU REALLY THINK ISRAEL BROKE THE TRUCE?!?!?!?!??! THE TRUCE HAS BEEN THERE FOR WHO KNOWS HOW LONG!! Yet, I don’t think that people in the gaza strip stopped shooting into sderot did they? SO NEXT YOU WANT TO MAKE SUCH AN OUTLANDISH STATEMENT, DO THE WORLD A FAVOR AND JUST KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT!!!!

  5. I have to apologize for the tormented rage of the last commenter.

    It’s a d__n poor thing that some people are incapable of expressing themselves outside uncontrolled emotion. Self-control, it seems, is an elusive character-trait for them.

    Ironically, Arab nations seem to have a complete lack of it!

  6. And here is an Israeli newspaper writing the same, about Israel breaking the truce…
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1050460.html

  7. Klearchos – do you hope no one will check your sources?

    The Haaretz piece is a hypothetical/critique of a “potential” scenario not a report of facts. Certainly your zeal to prove a point is lost in the lie!

    I didn’t check the Guardian piece after discovering your duplicity … no longer need to!

  8. John,

    a) I didn’t write the piece. I would cite my work.

    b) The Guardian piece Klearchos linked to, first two paragraphs say:

    “A four-month ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza was in jeopardy today after Israeli troops killed six Hamas gunmen in a raid into the territory.

    Hamas responded by firing a wave of rockets into southern Israel, although no one was injured. The violence represented the most serious break in a ceasefire agreed in mid-June, yet both sides suggested they wanted to return to atmosphere of calm.”

    Israel broke the truce. And Israel has been raiding the West Bank this whole time.

  9. “Six months ago Israel asked and received a cease-fire from Hamas. It unilaterally violated it when it blew up a tunnel, while still asking Egypt to get the Islamic group to hold its fire.”

    How hypothetical it sounds that? And from an Israeli source…

    John, do not take it personally, but it speaks the truth and the truth is for the ears who want to hear it… You can pass…

  10. Jillian & Klearchos – I can’t believe you don’t read your own words! It’s like which came first – chicken or egg?

    “six Hamas gunmen” – look up where these idiots were and what they were doing. They were carrying weapons – a “violation” of the truce!

    “blew up a tunnel” from Gaza leading to Israel under the border, tunnel building is another “violation” of the truce!

    Honestly, you can do better!

    If I find an armed, masked-man walking up my driveway, I kill the bastard before he can get in my house and reach my family – laws or no laws – he’s dead!

    Now, I suppose you’ll whine for the dead guy? And would you for my kids and wife? I don’t think you would!

    Intellectualized-relativism has caused the deaths of more innocents in history than the sum of all national defense programs!

    Please don’t expect me to respond anymore – I have more important things to do than discuss the killing of killers with their apologists!

  11. John,

    Why do the tunnels exist? Because Israel cuts off supplies, electricity, and food to Gaza. Tell me you wouldn’t build a tunnel.

    Jillian

  12. We really have to read behind the letters…

    “The attack comes shortly before a key meeting this Sunday in Cairo when Hamas and its political rival Fatah will hold talks on reconciling their differences and creating a single, unified government. It will be the first time the two sides have met at this level since fighting a near civil war more than a year ago.” (From Guardian)

    This is the key issue to read these news… “Divide and Conquer” is the game… Very old game, indeed…

  13. P.S. “If you kill the bastard before it gets to your house” is a murder… You will have to do some time in jail…

  14. Jillian – the border with Israel is not the only border – come on! You are not an unintelligent person! How do you think Hamas gets its Gards and Cassam missiles? Not through tunnels! Egypt and the beach!

    The UN supplies Gaza with all the goodies they need – it is not Israel’s fault that Hamas grabs the aid and sells it on the black market to pay for arms.

    Ask yourself some questions! Why don’t the Pals build their own power plants with all the money they get from the UN and EU? Why don’t they build tunnels into Egypt? They do and Egypt blows them up – where’s your outrage at them!

    Come on, you need to be more informed than you are. No offense intended, but you open yourself up to ridicule when you start a blog and then post this kind of stuff!

  15. I can’t begin to understand what compels people to act in such violence. Both the Israelis and Palestinians are at fault. Both are not innocent in any of this. I understand they both feel very passionate about their land. However, playing this game isn’t doing anybody any good. It’s only bringing more death to the innocent mothers, fathers, and children and so on. What about them? The people who just want to live out their life?

    I recently watched a movie called “Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden? (2008)”. It was a very interesting movie. At one point, the writer Morgan Spurlock visited Ramallah, Palestine and Tel Aviv, Israel. Mr. Spurlock spent a great deal of time with both Jews and Muslims. What was interesting to me was that the Muslims were very hospitable. They didn’t judge him or treat him with any disrespect. They were honest and voiced their concern but never treated him with any hostility. With that being said, Mr. Spurlock also spent a great deal of time with the Jews. To my amazement, the Jews were not as friendly. They even went as far as to get in Mr. Spurlocks face and ask him to leave because he wasn’t Jewish.

    It may sound like I am siding with the Muslims, but I am not. I have no side in any of this. My heart goes out to all the people no matter which side they are on. I do however have a major concern. After reading an article posted on yahoo news, http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090102/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_palestinians_protests, I became disturbed. Posted in this article is “In Sudan, thousands marched in downtown Khartoum from mosques to the main Martyrs Square, urging Muslims to jihad and denouncing Israel and America.” What bothers me is why some Muslims are so quick to blame American people. Every country has crooked government. I don’t care where you come from.

    There is no such thing as a perfect leader. I understand that the U.S. government supplies Israel with their weapons. Do I agree? No I do not. I also understand that the Jewish community is a powerhouse in the United States. I am not saying that all Jewish people are bad. However, I don’t believe in a lot of their ways. Just because I am not a big fan of the Jewish community doesn’t mean I wish them harm. I would hope that the Islamic community can separate the government from the people. There is evil and good in everyone. I know there are some good in Israel and Palestine. I also know there is pure evil in both as well. The point I’m trying to make is nothing good can come of any of this violence on both sides. I pray for the innocent because they are the true victims in all this.

  16. I will add, Nicole, than when Jews were expelled from the Cristian Europe (in 1376 from Hungary, in 1470 from Bavaria, in 1494 from Spain) they found refuge and hospitality between muslims (Ottoman Empire). Soon Jewish traders were granted firmans giving them various privileges.

    Of course, from the one side, it is in Israel’s best interest the history in Gaza to look like a class of religions because in that way Israel gets the support of the ultra-religious part of America and from the other side when such things happen, extremist Islamic clerics find their way to promote their hate preaching…

  17. This was painfully inaccuratein more places than I care to remember. I’m the first to say that Israel has made its share of mistakes and should be criticized.

    However the picture of the rocket and suggestion that they are not dangerous is disingenous and wrong.

    No one with any sense would agree that it is ok to let your neighbor throw rocks at your head every day.

    No one with any sense is going to say that an organization whose charter calls for the destruction of Israel is a good negotiating partner. That is a non starter.

    This is just so ridiculous.

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