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Does It Matter What Israelis Do?

by SAUL LANDAU

Western leaders met in Paris last week to discuss possible intervention in Syria where almost 10,000 people have died over the last year of internal conflict. The West has never even considered holding such a meeting on Israel’s murderous behavior, however, despite a July 5 UN report that claimed that over the last five years Israeli forces have killed nearly 2,300 Palestinians and injured 7,700 in Gaza (statement from UNOCHA, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.)

The UN agency said that 27 percent of the fatalities in Gaza were women and children in a report highlighting the effects of Israel’s blockade.

Six years ago Israel imposed its sea and air blockade of Gaza. Under the blockade, Gaza exports have dropped to less than 3 percent of 2006 levels.

UNOCHA said, “The continued ban on the transfer of goods from Gaza to its traditional markets in the West Bank and Israel, along with the severe restrictions on access to agricultural land and fishing waters, prevents sustainable growth and perpetuates the high levels of unemployment, food insecurity and aid dependency.”

Israel’s naval blockade has also undermined the livelihood of 35,000 fishermen, and Gaza farmers have lost around 75,000 tons of produce each year due to Israeli restrictions along Gaza’s land border, the UNOCHA report said.

Half of Gaza’s youth is unemployed and 44 percent of its people are food insecure.

Mark Regev, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said Thursday that because Gaza’s ruling party Hamas is a “terrorist organization, the blockade was necessary.”

“All cargo going into Gaza must be checked because Gaza is controlled by Hamas, an internationally recognized terrorist organization,” Regev told Reuters in response to a petition by 50 aid groups, including six UN agencies, calling on Israel to lift the blockade.

The West abhors the Syrian – disobedient – government, allied to Iran, and adores Israel, no matter what it does to the Palestinians. The media does little to dramatize the obvious double standard criteria used to measure the worthiness of the two neighboring governments. Iran, the West’s post Cold War bad guy, found a friend in Syria and that alone has condemned the Syrian government. The fact that Saudi Arabia has armed and financed rebels entering Syria in the name of “democracy” should cause at least some news absorbers to feel a bit skeptical over the anti-Syria campaign.

It doesn’t seem to matter what Israelis do. For example, Arutz Sheva, the nationalist Israeli press, reported that “declassified FBI documents from a 1985-2002 investigation implicate Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in an initiative to illegally purchase United States nuclear technology for Israel’s nuclear program.

“Netanyahu was allegedly helped by Arnon Milchan, a Hollywood producer with ties to Israeli prime ministers and U.S. presidents.”

Grant Smith at antiwar.com had reported that “Netanyahu worked inside a nuclear smuggling ring.” Here’s an example of what is found in the report:

“On June 27, 2012, the FBI partially declassified and released seven additional pages from a 1985–2002 investigation into how a network of front companies connected to the Israeli Ministry of Defense illegally smuggled nuclear triggers out of the U.S. The newly released FBI files detail how Richard Kelly Smyth – who was convicted of running a U.S. front company – met with Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel during the smuggling operation. At that time, Netanyahu worked at the Israeli node of the smuggling network, Heli Trading Company. Netanyahu, who currently serves as Israel’s prime minister, recently issued a gag order that the smuggling network’s unindicted ringleader refrain from discussing ‘Project Pinto’.”

The Hebrew paper Ma’ariv continued the report on this incident.

“According to FBI documents released by the United States, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was involved in smuggling in the 70s from the U.S. components of Israeli nuclear program, and assisted by the businessman Arnon Milchan, who according to previous publications was a former Mossad agent.

“The documents describe the findings of the investigation… performed between the years 1985 to 2002 on about how a network of front companies a U.S. security firm illegally smuggled equipment used for weapons seeds out of the U.S.”

We live in the Golden Age of Empire Judaism, said Prof. Marc Ellis. “Greater Israel” means Jewish settler expansion in a denial of Palestinians and their rights. It also means perpetual conflict, maybe war, in the region. Is this why our Congress pledges eternal love to Israel? Is this why the Israeli lobby pays and threatens our Congress?

When will Western powers meet to decide what to do about Israel so as to lessen the damage she causes to Palestinians, her neighbors and the region? Israel has baffled the U.S. political apparatus. It gets away with imposing apartheid against Palestinians, stealing their land and stirring up war against its neighbors. One negative word from a U.S. pol on Israel brings heavy pressure, intimidation and money for opposing candidates – along with charges of anti-semitism.

How pathetic that a small group of right-wing Jews allied to right-wing Israeli parties, has buffaloed U.S. politicians and media. One former Congressman described the Israeli lobby as the equivalent of a pit bull that bites the Congressman’s leg in the morning and holds on during lunch and the afternoon. The Congressman sleeps with the bull’s teeth in his leg and wakes with it the next morning. No wonder Members don’t want to antagonize this angry dog!

I don’t suggest Palestinians form an equivalent lobby, but rather that the media develop a little courage and report accurately on events in Israel and Palestine. Just spread reviews of the new film “5 Broken Camera,” in which a Palestinian West Bank farmer documents the encroachment by army-backed settlers that bulldozed his village’s olive trees to  make room for Israeli apartment houses. Israel’s treatment of West Bank Palestinians is no better than its behavior toward residents of Gaza.

Saul Landau’s WILL THE REAL TERRORIST PLEASE STAND UP screens at Washington DC’s Avalon Theater, 5612 Connecticut Ave 8 pm, august 14 and at the San Jose Peace an Justice Center on Aug 3, 7 PM 48 South 7th St., San Jose CA.

SAUL LANDAU’s A BUSH AND BOTOX WORLD was published by CounterPunch / AK Press.

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