Obama, Palestinian Children And Israel’s Terror
During his visit to Israel on July 2008, President-elect Barack Obama told the media: “If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters [Malia, 10 and Sasha, 7] sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that. I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.” However, on the slaughter of Palestinian children by Israeli forces, Obama has failed to condemn Israel and seems to espouse sickening contradictions.
On Saturday 27 December 2008, U.S.-supplied Israeli F-16 warplanes, Apache attack helicopters and artilleries unleashed premeditated and indiscriminate genocidal attacks on the densely populated and Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip. The aggression includes ground invasion, aerial and naval bombardment of the besieged Gaza using banned weapons such as cluster bombs, napalm-like white phosphorus bombs and new very high explosive weapons known as Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME), which cuts its victims to pieces and causes cancer in survivors.
More than 660 Palestinians, most of them civilians and half of them are women and children, have been slaughtered. Whole families have been massacred. More than 2,950 Palestinians have been wounded – the large majority of the wounded, are women, children and civilian men – since the start of the aggression on December 27, 2008. According to AFP, at least 50 Palestinians, including 12 children, were killed by Israeli soldiers in the ground invasion, which is started on Monday, January 05 2009 targeting mostly civilian targets, particularly homes, hospitals, schools, mosques and markets.
The attacks on the Palestinian society in Gaza, which has been on life support for the past two years, was a carefully planned blitzkrieg designed not only to topple HAMAS – the only free-elected democratic government in the Arab world –, but also to terrorise the Palestinian population and force them to leave their homeland. In addition, Israel use of overwhelming fire-power and brutality against defenceless population aimed at bullying other nations in the region and restores Israel’s military self-fabricated image of ‘invincibility’ after its defeat in Lebanon in 2006. In other worlds, Israel is massacring innocent civilians to rebuild its military reputation and manipulate (Israeli) public opinion.
Israel broke the so-called “ceasefire” on the night of Obama’s election victory on o4 November 2008, a perfect timing. In fact Israel broke the ceasefire on several occasions every time innocent Palestinians were killed. The firing of the home-made Qassam rockets by HAMAS at Sderot (Najd), which was ethnically cleansed Palestinian town, is just a pretext. It is based on fabricated lies sold by the media as a newspeak reminiscent of Nazi’s propaganda. Thirty innocent Palestinians were killed by the Israeli occupation forces and hundreds of patients died as a result of the Israeli-imposed siege on Gaza during the ceasefire. No Israelis were killed in this period. It is a one-sided “ceasefire”.
The Israeli attack is unprovoked and unjustified act of aggression against totally defenceless civilian population. Gideon Levy of the Israeli daily Ha’aretz, succinctly summed up the attack as a “brutal and violent operation”, and unnecessary for self-defence. “The diplomatic efforts were just in the beginning, and I believe we could have got to a new truce without this bloodshed … to send dozens of jets to bomb a total helpless civilian society with hundreds of bombs-just today, they were burying five sisters. I mean, this is unheard of. This cannot go on like this. And this has nothing to do with self-defence or with retaliation even. It went out of proportion, exactly like two-and-a-half years ago in Lebanon,” added Levy. It is a one-sided slaughter of defenceless population rising against a Nazi-like Ghetto occupation.
In order to inflict massive terror and maximum civilian casualties, the Israeli attacks begun during a Palestinian traffic police graduation ceremony and just as thousands of Palestinian school children were coming home from schools. Children are attacked on the street, in schools, in their homes and even when they hide in mosques.
Palestinian children, who make up more than half of the 1.5 million population, are traumatised, living in fear of the next Israeli bomb that will destroy their home and kill them. “Many kids have stopped eating. They are inactive, they barely talk, they cling to their parents all the time,” Sajy Elmaghinni, of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Gaza told AFP. According to the British group, Save the Children, even before the Israeli aggression, there are more than 50,000 children suffering from malnutrition as a result of the (two-year) Israeli military blockade of the Camp.
On Saturday (December 27, 2008) (the first day of the aggression), Israeli air-to-ground missiles struck a group of students leaving the Gaza Training College, next to the headquarters of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza. The students were waiting to board their buses to go to their homes in Khan Yunis and Rafah, in the southern Gaza. The strike killed eight students, ages 18 to 20, and wounded 19 others.
On Sunday night (December 28, 2008), U.S.-supplied Israeli F-16 warplanes attacked the Gaza’s Imad Aqil mosque, destroying the building and nearby home and killing five innocent sisters: Tahrir, 17, Ikram, 14, Samar, 13, Dina, 8, and Jawaher, 4. The F-16 warplanes and the bombs are paid for and maintained by American taxpayers.
On Monday (December 29, 2008), an Israeli helicopter fired two missiles into the Rafah refugee camp. One struck into the home of the al-Absi family in the Rafah refugee camp killing three brothers – Sedqi, 3, Ahmad, 12, and Muhammad, 13 – and wounding two sisters and the children’s mother.
On Tuesday (January 06, 2009), Israeli forces attacked al-Fakhora school run by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, in the northern town of Jabaliya. The deliberate and indiscriminate attack killed at least 45 innocent civilians, mostly children and wounding hundreds. According to UN officials, 350 people had been sheltering at the school which the UN regularly gave the Israeli army exact geographical coordinates of its facilities to try to keep them safe from attack. Spokesman for UNRWA said all UN buildings were ‘clearly identified’.
This is just a handful of countless examples of Zionfascist terrorism deliberately targeting innocent civilians.
On December 30, 2008, Michael Hogan of Vanity Fair challenged Obama to stand-up to Israel’s terror against the Palestinian people and free himself of America’s chronic double-standards and pathological hypocrisy and stand-up for Israel’s terror against the Palestinian people. Hogan writes: “Early next year, I’d like to hear him say something like this: ‘If somebody uprooted my family, placed us in a glorified refugee camp, and wouldn’t allow us to travel or trade with the outside world, I would do everything in my power to fight back. I would expect Palestinians to do the same thing’.” Hogan’s challenge failed on deaf ears. Without America’s immoral contradictions, it is hard to envision how the slaughter of Palestinian children would be possible. The U.S. gives Israel $3 billion in U.S. taxpayer money each year. The F-16 bombers, Apache attack helicopters and bombs Israel is using on Gaza’s children were paid for by the Americans.
As an excuse, Obama insisted that, he would not comment on Israel’s aggression in Gaza because “there is only one president at a time”. However, Obama’s silence contrasted with his willingness to comment on the economy and the Mumbai (India) attacks last November. Of course, Obama and every U.S. Congressman and Congresswoman, every Western journalist and pundit know that Israel is deliberately targeting of Palestinian children and its use of Palestinian children for training to kill and as human shields to protect Israeli soldiers from Palestinian resistance fighters.
When George W. Bush, the U.S. most decorated war criminal, finally responded, he blamed the violence on the Palestinians. Indeed, the U.S. has for the second time in four days vetoed a UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire and an end to Israel’s atrocities making it very clear that the U.S. wants to see more dead Palestinian children before a ceasefire. Without America’s immoral contradictions, it is hard to envision how the slaughter of so many Palestinian children would be possible.
With the full complicity of the U.S. and the Europeans, the Israeli army is having a field day attacking 1.5 million defenceless Palestinian refugees. With foreign journalists banned from entering Gaza – despite court order to let them –, the U.S. wants the slaughter to continue and the Europeans are sending their ‘Quartet’ envoy, the war criminal Tony Blair, on a PR mission designed to appease Israeli leaders and manipulate public opinion in support of Israel’s war crimes against the Palestinian.
The Palestinians have been imprisoned and starved by the Israeli army for the past two years inside the largest and most densely populated Concentration Camp with the full collaboration of the Europeans and Tony Blair himself. The Palestinians are left to defend themselves with home-made and ineffective weapons. The situation in Gaza before the Israeli aggression was not dissimilar that of Iraq before the 2003 illegal aggression which preceded by 13-year-long genocidal sanctions. After the genocide came the violent aggression and Occupation.
It is preposterous to compare Israel’s terror and genocidal policies with Palestinian armed resistance. The home-made rocket is used by the Palestinians as a weapon to protest against Israel’s terror. The war is one-sided aggression. Israel is a murderous occupier with the fourth largest army in the world. It has openly used violence since it inception 1948 to dispossess the Palestinians of their land. Israel is widely known as an obstacle to peace in the region. Further, Israel is in flagrant violation of humanitarian international law, the Geneva Conventions and every UN Resolutions.
While Israel’s long occupation of Palestinian land and Israel’s war crimes against the Palestinian people have been rightly described as the moral equivalent of the Nazi war crimes in Europe, Israel is unconditionally supported – military, financially and politically – by the U.S. and major Western powers. Nazi war crimes have become the West’s moral compass to justify Israel’s genocide of the Palestinian people.
As Palestinian children started to fall en mass to Israeli bombs, Israeli leaders embarked on a PR mission in Europe. The aim of the PR mission is to distort the truth about Israel’s aggression and justify Israel’s ongoing genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. Speaking to reporters on the steps of the Elise Palace in Paris, Tzipi Livni, Israel’s pathological liar, publicly declared that Israel intention is the total destruction of Gaza. Contradicting all the evidence of a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, Livni declared; “There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza”.
On Monday night (January 05, 2009), Christopher Gunness, a spokesman for UNRWA, the UN aid agency for the Palestinians, told Amy Goodman by phone fro Gaza, food is urgently needed and people are facing “serious hunger”, with supplies for just 48 hours. “One million people are without electricity. Crucially the hospitals in Gaza are running on emergency generators … Medical supplies are in critically short supply. When you have a situation where houses are being blown up and women and children are being maimed, I would say that’s a humanitarian crisis.”
Furthermore, Dr. Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian medical doctor in Gaza told the media: “I ask where is the international community, who has this big organisation to come to disasters. We are two doctors from the West. Where are the others? They are not let in, because the Israelis say there is no disaster. Now, how can they know? They never came here, they never saw. They don’t care. So this is the worst man-made disaster for the time I can think of”. The reality is that Israel is working very to create more disasters using the mainstream western media to manipulate world public Opinion and spread Zionfascist propaganda.
As I wrote earlier, in addition to its Nazi-like propaganda system, Israel is protected by a global propaganda campaign led by the like of the BBC, CNN, New York Times, Washington Post, Fox News, the Murdoch Press (just of a few of the most pro-Israel propaganda organs), and many other Western media outlets that work tirelessly to propagate Israel’s Zionfascist ideology and portray Israel as a righteous victim that is only “defending itself”. Israel can also count on the UN propaganda machine to distort reality on the ground and justify Israel’s Nazi-like war crimes.
The Israeli society as the historian and scholar, Ilan Pappe rightly describes as a deep-seated racist and extremist society. Pappe writes; “Today in Israel, from Left to Right, from Likud to Kadima, from the academic to the media, one can hear this [Israeli] righteous fury of a state that is busier than any other state in the world in destroying and dispossessing an indigenous [Palestinian] population”.
As Israel continues to perpetuate war crimes the bulk of the so-called “international community” remains silent. Only a few at the UN had the courage to break the silence. Richard Falk, the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and international law Professor at Princeton University pleaded publically: “I call on all Member States, as well as officials and every relevant organ of the United Nations system, to move on an emergency basis not only to condemn Israel’s serious violations, but to develop new approaches to providing real protection for the Palestinian people”. Falk urged the UN to move “to protect a civilian population being collectively punished by policies that amount to a Crime Against Humanity”. Falk’s plea was ignored and he has since been demonised.
Commenting on Obama’s concern for Israeli Children, the Palestinian-American commentator, Ali Abunimah writes: “Obama has identified his daughters repeatedly with Israeli children, while never having uttered a word about the thousands of Palestinian and Lebanese children killed and permanently maimed by Israeli attacks just since 2006. This allegedly post-racial president appears fully invested in the racist worldview that considers Arab lives to be worth less than those of Israelis and in which Arabs are always ‘terrorists’”.
It is still early to tell if Obama will break with George Bush’s criminal legacy and make any significant changes to America’s imperialist and violent foreign policy that infected the U.S. since the end of World War II. So far (and as a Senator), Obama has shown no courage to stand up – with the rest of the civilised world – to Israel’s terror against Palestinians. He has shown to be just another creation of the pro-Israel Jewish Lobby that dominates the U.S. ruling class. Palestinian children are dying; Shame on you, Mr. Obama.
A world-wide boycott of Israel and condemnation of Israel’s war crimes against the Palestinians will force Israeli leaders to rethink their brutal occupation of Palestinian land and flagrant violations of international humanitarian law.
Ghali Hassan is an independent writer living in Australia.