The latest slaughter of the people of Gaza aims to normalize massacres against civilians as an accepted response to a disobedient population. Western politicians and media have given Israel a gentle scolding for a specific massacre of children but quickly return to their script saying 'Israel has a right to defend itself', or, 'blame Hamas'.
This particular war crime (collective punishment) is not new or unique to Israel. For example, on August 5th four civilians were killed in Afghanistan by NATO warplanes. This follows the killing of an American general. Killings in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere although under-reported, have been continuous under Obama. Collective punishment against civilian populations is obviously illegal and will never be admitted but the frequency with which this happens suggests that this is a tactic that is heavily relied on by Western and Israeli forces.
Typically, abusers will minimize their crime, they will deny it, or they will blame the victim. One way or another, they will rationalize it not only for the audience but for their own mental health. They convince themselves that they were justified. This is true of the man that beats his wife or children and it is true of Israel and its all too loyal voice in the world, Western mainstream media.
These massacres appear to have created a significant crossroad for public consciousness due to the exposure it was given. If we turn away, as is our collective custom, we are marching in step with Israeli brutality as surely as CNN does. This is not a moment in history where we can afford to remain silent. If this passes the acceptability test under the scrutiny it has received, it will give a green light not only to Israel. It will also embolden future despots and tyrants to crush dissent with unbridled military force. We have already wandered way too far down that path.
Jackboots on the Throat of Palestine
In 2005 and 2006 Hamas won elections to the dismay of Israel and the United States. Their contemptuous treatment of democracy when the wrong party is elected has been on full display in Egypt the Ukraine and elsewhere but the electoral success of Hamas has resulted in multiple massacres of Palestinian voters. Israel and the West have no wish or desire to make peace in Palestine. On the contrary. As former US President Jimmy Carter points out:
“This tragedy results from the deliberate obstruction of a promising move toward peace in the region, when a reconciliation agreement among the Palestinian factions was announced in April. This was a major concession by Hamas, in opening Gaza to joint control under a technocratic government that did not include any Hamas members. The new government also pledged to adopt the three basic principles demanded by the Middle East Quartet comprised of the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, and Russia: nonviolence, recognition of Israel, and adherence to past agreements. Tragically, Israel rejected this opportunity for peace and has succeeded in preventing the new government's deployment in Gaza.
Two factors are necessary to make Palestinian unity possible. First, there must be at least a partial lifting of the 7-year-old sanctions and blockade that isolate the 1.8 million people in Gaza. There must also be an opportunity for the teachers, police, and welfare and health workers on the Hamas payroll to be paid. These necessary requirements for a human standard of living continue to be denied. Instead, Israel blocked Qatar's offer to provide funds to pay civil servants' salaries, and access to and from Gaza has been further tightened by Egypt and Israel.”
Israel and the United States aim is to fracture Palestinian solidarity. Severing the West bank and Fatah from Gaza and Hamas would further isolate Gaza. It is a crucial war aim for Israel. This violence is in response to increased Palestinian cohesion. On June 2 the Palestinians formed a unity government under Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas. Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel responded by saying Israel will approve 1,500 new housing units for Israelis on Palestinian land. "I congratulate the decision to give a proper Zionist response to the establishment of the Palestinian terror cabinet," Minister Ariel said. "The right and duty of the State of Israel to build across the country to lower the housing prices is unquestionable, and I believe these tenders are just the beginning."
Media Complicity and Shocking Cowardice
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” -Joseph Goebbels
The series of massacres that Israel has carried out against the innocent people of Gaza is obscured with large, blatant, in your face lies. The spectacle of the Israeli war machine grinding the people of the Gaza ghetto into living hell and death is shocking. Western support of the lies that make it possible is crucial. Western politicians and media are not only giving Israel the message they can carry on with impunity, they are providing a green light to future atrocities not only for Israel; they are generally normalizing the wholesale slaughter of human beings.
The Israeli/Western narrative is not a twist of the truth or an exaggeration. They use blatant lies in full public view. The obvious contempt that Israel, Western politicians, and CNN (MSM) have for the audience follows a decade of American war and atrocities where war crimes have silently passed the court of public opinion. They believe they can take the commission of war crimes in public view up a notch. And they have.
The Western narrative informs us that Palestinian children are caught in the 'crossfire' after children are targeted and murdered in cold blood. That is why they make so much of human shields allegations. It bolsters the notion of 'crossfire'. Civilians are actually targets and Israel's pat response is, 'we do not target civilians' or 'Hamas did it' or, 'we are investigating'.
Cheerleaders for Israel make the claim, repeatedly, that if projectiles, Hamas fighters, or missile firing occur at a location, no matter how many children may be present, it is a legitimate target. The question Western media avoid as much as possible is: Why? Why are those specific Hamas fighters, projectiles, or hot spots sufficiently important to warrant the wholesale murder of 2,000 human beings? In reality, Israel's destruction of projectiles, Hamas fighters, or a hot spots will make no difference whatsoever to resistance fighters military fitness. On the contrary. The more they kill the more they legitimize resistance and the more they kill, the less secure Israel is.
Another scenario would be more consistent with US foreign policy (collateral damage) in Afghanistan and Pakistan over the past decade. That is, Israel punishes the local population for its support of Hamas through mass murder and destruction of public infrastructure and after the air strikes kill innocent men, women, and children they brazenly claim the enemy was utilizing human shields. This particular lie has no rational merit. Those that use it must have the intellectual wherewithal to imagine the absurdity of Hamas fighters standing before the sophisticated American weaponry of the IDF in an open field to shoot glorified firecrackers at Israel.
The large lies, the little lies, the demonization of Hamas and Palestinians in general all serve to kick up sufficient dust and smoke so that at the end of the day, observers tire of trying to figure out who is truthful and who is lying. CNN will pack away their cameras, the world will focus on Iraq or the Ukraine and again, Israel will get away with murder. The people of Gaza will hunker down in their open air prison and we will forget about them. And that is exactly what Israel, the USA, and CNN are counting on.