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Tunnel Vision

Israel, Apartheid and World Opinion

by ROBERT FANTINA

As the Israeli massacre of Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip continues, a review of some pertinent facts surrounding this tragic, deadly, genocidal situation may be useful.

Military preparedness. Palestine, including the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, has no army, navy or air force.  Israel has one of the most powerful military systems in the world, backed and financed by the most powerful (United States). It has the deadliest and most technologically-advanced weaponry in the world.

The killing of three residents living in illegal settlements was not the cause of the Israeli bombardment and invasion. Earlier, much to Israel’s dismay, the divided government of Palestine, Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Fatah in the West Bank, reunited. Their seven-year separation was seen, disingenuously, as an impediment to a peaceful solution, a solution Israel has no interest in achieving. Further angering Israel was the fact that most of the world, including its favorite puppet and open-ended check book, the U.S., said it would work with the new government.

In May, video showing Israel Defense Forces (IDF; also known as terrorists), shooting unarmed teenagers in the back caused hardly a ripple of condemnation from the international community. IDF terrorists killing innocent, unarmed Palestinians has become so commonplace that it is no longer even news.

The current bombardment and invasion of the Gaza Strip is simply business as usual. Israeli officials have stated that it’s necessary to ‘mow the lawn’ of Gaza periodically, bringing its residents, already impoverished and suffering because of the illegal blockade imposed by Israel, to the most absolute level of suffering imaginable.

The U.S., which for years has made a show of trying to broker a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine, has no interest in doing so. The Israeli lobby donates countless millions of dollars to the election and reelection campaigns of U.S. officials, and that, not human rights, the will of the people or international law is what establishes U.S. policy towards Israel. The U.S., with a straight face, embarks on negotiations, as Israel continues to build illegal settlements. Israel has no reason to accommodate anything the U.S. asks, because of the influence that Israeli lobbies have on Congress and the White House. The U.S. has refused to condemn such blatant violations of international law, not to mention basic human decency, as the bombing of school, mosques, hospitals and United Nations refugee centers.

The U.N. has issued at least ninety (90) resolutions critical of Israel, more than it has of all other nations combined. And the number would be greater, but the U.S. has begun vetoing any such resolutions critical of Israel.  A further indication of U.S. hypocrisy and bias towards Israel is the fact that, in 2002, the U.S. invaded Iraq after one (1) resolution, saying that Iraq was in violation of international law.

The United Nations, and most of the world, recognizes Palestine’s boundaries as those that existed prior to 1967. Israel has no interest in giving Palestine any borders; the complete annihilation of Palestine, its nation, people and culture, is Israel’s only goal.

Israel’s total disdain for world opinion is obvious, but the BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanction) movement, modeled after the same movement that greatly contributed to the success of ending apartheid in South Africa a generation ago, continues to grow. Academics and entertainers refuse in increasing numbers to visit Israel. While this takes a toll on the Israeli economy, that country can always count on the U.S. to supplement any loss. Currently, the U.S. gives Israel over $3 billion annually. That comes to $9 million dollars every day of the year. Palestine, of course, receives nothing from the U.S.

That Israel is an apartheid regime cannot be denied. In the occupied West Bank, Israel builds roads that Palestinians cannot drive on. And if a new Israeli road crosses over an existing Palestinian road, Palestinians cannot even cross over it.  Palestinian homes are routinely bulldozed, with only a few hours notice, to make room for illegal Israeli settlements. Farmers must apply to Israel for permission to plant on their own fields, and to harvest their own crops. It is not unusual for Israel to grant permission to plant only after planting season has passed, or to harvest only after the crops have long since spoiled. If farmers are fortunate enough to get permission to plant and harvest at reasonable times, when taking their crops to market, they may be delayed at illegal internal checkpoints for so long that the crops spoil. Palestinians in need of critical and acute medical attention may be delayed at illegal checkpoints for so long that they die. Countless women in labor over the years have been delayed so long at illegal checkpoints that they give birth there. Dozens of newborns in need of medical attention have died, because IDF terrorists manning the illegal checkpoints have arbitrarily delayed them at the checkpoint.

Also, it must be remembered that Israel was established only through the violent, forced displacement of over 750,000 Palestinians from their homes. Another 10,000, at least, were massacred. Some of those who, as children, were violently driven from their homes in 1946 and 1947 still remember the horrors of those days. And things have not improved for them since that time.

As evidence of Israel’s clear and countless violations of international law and human decency are sent around the world through social media, its isolation in the world community can only grow. Any parent, regardless of nationality of political affiliation, feels the grief of Palestinian mothers and fathers, shown in unspeakable anguish, as they cradle the battered, bloodied, mangled bodies of an innocent toddler, blown apart by U.S-supplied, Israeli weapons. The cruelty of pictures shown on shirts worn by IDF terrorists, outlining a pregnant Palestinian, with the caption, ‘One shot, two kills’ can only horrify. The shock of seeing people who believe they are safe in a U.N. shelter, perhaps for the first time in weeks feeling that they and their precious children are safe, only to be shredded into bloody, unrecognizable masses by Israel bombs, cannot but cause sympathy where it justly belongs, with the victims of these horrors.

The current massacre of the Palestinians by Israel may destroy the tunnels, used mainly to smuggle much-needed goods into the Gaza Strip, but Israel is already taking a terrible toll in the public relations arena. Its lies and horrific crimes are being boldly exposed. The world’s citizens are finally taking notice. It may take some time, but their governments will inevitably follow.

Robert Fantina’s latest book is Empire, Racism and Genocide: a History of US Foreign Policy (Red Pill Press).