Gaza made the front page of The New York Times recently, with an article highlighting the fears of residents who suspect Hamas of building tunnels under and near their homes. The topic was ready-made for the newspaper, fitting perfectly into the Israeli (and Times) spin on the besieged enclave.
According to the accepted narrative, the problems in Gaza are due to Hamas, and Israel is free from blame. Thus we find the tunnel story played prominently on the front page under the headline “As Hamas Tunnels Back Into Israel, Palestinians Are Afraid, Too.”
There is much cause for despair in Gaza—fishermen and farmers come under attack, drinking water is ever more scarce, patients are desperate for adequate medical care—but the Times has failed to highlight any of these issues, which are so clearly due to Israeli actions and policies.
The official Israeli line is that Hamas oppresses the residents under its control, and Israeli political leaders use this charge to help justify their airstrikes on Hamas sites and other actions, such as restrictions on the delivery of building materials to Gaza. The Times has been a willing partner in this effort.
So it is no surprise when the newspaper informs us that Hamas has rebuilt many of the tunnels it used during the assaults on Gaza in the summer of 2014, and this is causing anxiety for some Gaza residents who live near signs of underground construction work. They fear that Israel will bomb their neighborhoods to destroy the tunnels.
The story is just what the Israeli army press office ordered, and the Times willingly promotes this propaganda effort even as it shows little interest in even more urgent concerns that plague the residents of the strip. It had nothing to say, for instance, when Israel arrested 20 Gaza fishermen over less than a week this month and confiscated seven of their boats (here and here) even though they were fishing within the approved limit set by Israel.
Israeli harassment of the beleaguered fishermen has been a constant over the years: According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Israeli forces detained 71 fishermen and confiscated 22 fishing boats in 2015, firing on fishing boats at least 139 times, wounding 24 fishermen and damaging 16 boats. The attacks have continued without letup this year.
The Times, however, has almost totally ignored the subject. The paper took notice briefly last month, when Israel announced new rules allowing Gaza boats to sail farther out to sea, and the story most certainly made the grade because it was a chance to show Israel in a benevolent light. The Times has been silent on the issue ever since.
Farmers with land near the border fence also face frequent attacks by Israeli soldiers who fire live ammunition at workers tending their fields, and Israel has destroyed crops and farm buildings, spraying fields of spinach and peas with herbicides and leveling land with bulldozers.
The Times has failed to report these incursions as well, although the United Nations documents them in weekly reports, and other news sources routinely tell of the assaults.
According to the UN, as of May 16, the Israeli military had made 30 incursions into Gaza this year. Its forces entered the enclave at least 56 times during 2015. These mini invasions—which include tanks, bulldozers and live fire—are breaches of the truce agreement made to end hostilities in 2014, but the Times has not seen fit to report them.
Instead, the newspaper prefers to raise the alarm about possible attacks from Gaza via the tunnels, ignoring the relevant context: the frequent shootings and other assaults by Israeli forces and the nine-year blockade, which finds not a single mention in the tunnel article.
Israel blocks the entry of needed medical supplies into Gaza, denies doctors the right to upgrade their skills in foreign countries and prevents many patients from leaving the enclave to receive the treatment they need. It has destroyed electrical equipment, wells and water treatment plants, and the lack of potable water has reached such a critical stage that only some 5 percent of the water in Gaza is safe to drink.
The Times, however, has shown no interest in exploring these crucial issues. It follows a prescribed narrative in deflecting blame from Israel and demonizing Hamas. The tunnel story fit this bill and thus merited a prime placement on page 1 above the fold.
Two more Palestinian fishers were attacked and detained off the coast of the Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning, 17 May, Ma’an News reported. Samih and Ibrahim Zayid were attacked by an Israeli gunboat while fishing, ordered off the boat, and detained; their boat was towed to the Ashdod port.
This comes after the detention and boat confiscation of 10 Palestinian fishers on Sunday, 15 May. Two of the fishers, Khamis Baker and Hasan Madi, remained imprisoned while the other eight were released. Two more fishing boats were confiscated on Sunday. Another fishing boat was damaged and submerged by the gunboat’s attack; the damaged boat was later recovered by Palestinian fishers. Dozens of shells were fired at the fishers and their boats; the fishers were ordered to take off their clothes, jump into the water, and swim toward the gunboats.
While Israeli authorities in April expanded the fishing zone designated for Palestinian fishermen to nine nautical miles in the southern Gaza Strip, and retained the six-mile zone in the north, fishermen regularly report detentions, live fire, and boat confiscation within these limits,” reported Ma’an.
According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Israeli forces detained 71 fishermen and confiscated 22 fishing boats throughout 2015, and opened fire on Palestinian fishermen at least 139 times over the course of the year.
PCHR noted that it “considers that attack as a grave violation of the fishermen’s right to sail and fish freely and to protect their property in the Gaza waters. Moreover, PCHR believes that such attacks against Palestinian fishermen constitute a form of collective punishment against them which aims to target fishermen and their livelihood. Furthermore, PCHR calls upon the international community to provide protection for Palestinian fishermen and their right to sail and fish freely, and to stop all forms of collective punishment against fishermen and their property which violate the international humanitarian law and the international human rights law.”
The Union of Agricultural Work Committees, a Palestinian grassroots organization, works with fishers and farmers in Palestine to defend their land and seas and their right to farm and fish in the face of occupation attacks. Saad al-Deen Ziadah of UAWC said that “Most of these attacks and violations occurred within the allowed fishing area by Israeli navy forces. These arrests are generally carried out under very intense situations – the Israeli navy shooting bullets and shells at the fishermen and their boats. It has been recorded that the Israeli navy targets the outboard engine of the boats, which is the ‘soul of the boat’, as the fishers say.”
UAWC video on Palestinian fishers in Gaza:
PressTV Documentaries | May 6, 2016
It has been ten years since the strict, harsh and inhumane Israeli, blockade on the Gaza Strip. During the siege, the Israeli occupation has launched four major military offensives against the people of Gaza, in 2006, 2008/9, 2012 and 2014; the latter was the most deadly and destructive …
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GAZA – Israeli forces on Sunday morning opened fire on Palestinians farmers in the southern Gaza Strip, local sources said.
Locals told Ma’an Israeli forces deployed east of Khan Yunis opened fire on farmers, preventing them from reaching their lands. No injuries were reported.
An Israeli army spokesperson said they could not confirm the incident.
The incident comes after Israeli forces targeted the southern region of the small Palestinian territory with airstrikes for four consecutive days beginning Wednesday evening. Several were injured and a Palestinian woman was killed by Israeli shelling.
Israel said airstrikes were launched in response to Palestinian resistance groups targeting its troops with mortar rounds in an attempt to thwart Israeli military excavation activities in search of Hamas-made tunnels. However, Israel’s regular incursions inside Gaza’s border areas were perceived by many as the instigator of the hostilities.
The exchange was seen as an unusual escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip since a 2014 ceasefire was brokered after Israel’s devastating 50-day assault on the besieged coastal enclave that left some 2,200 dead and 11,000 injured.
Hamas, Gaza’s de facto ruler, had widely observed the 2014 ceasefire; Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yalon in March said Hamas “hasn’t fired a bullet” since the war, and following Thursday’s hostilities, Israeli newspaper Haaretz quoted a senior Israeli army officer as saying that Hamas had even been instrumental in preventing terrorist attacks and rocket fire directed at Israel.
However in the almost two years since the ceasefire was declared, regular violations have been committed on the Israeli side.
Israeli bulldozers frequently enter Gaza territory, carrying out land-leveling and excavation operations while accompanied by military vehicles, with four such incursions recorded by the UN between April 26 and May 2.
On a near daily basis, the Israeli army fires “warning shots” on Palestinian fisherman, farmers, and shepherds entering the Israeli-enforced “buffer zone,” implemented after Israel imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip a decade ago.
Due to the high frequency of the attacks, live fire often goes unreported.
While Israel typically cites security concerns when targeting Palestinian agricultural areas, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights has reported in the past that fishermen are often targeted when they pose no threat.
Approximately 35 percent of Palestinian agricultural land in Gaza is inaccessible without high personal risk, according to the center.
In 2015, Israeli naval forces opened fire on Palestinian fishermen at least 139 times, killing three, wounding dozens, and damaging at least 16 fishing boats, according to the UN Agency for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Israeli forces also regularly open fire on Palestinian protesters during Friday demonstrations held along Gaza’s border, with injuries sustained by live fire and rubber-coated steel bullets reported nearly every week. At least 25 Palestinians have been shot dead by Israeli forces in Gaza clashes since the beginning of October, according to UN documentation.
Three Israeli wars of aggression on illegally besieged Gaza since December 2008 perhaps aren’t enough for Israel’s killing machine.
Repeated inter-war ground, air and sea attacks occur regularly. Is Israel preparing the ground for another major assault – blaming Gazan victims like it always does for its high crimes against peace?
On Wednesday, Israeli tanks shelled two Hamas watchtowers provocatively. Senior Hamas official Musheer al-Masri called the attacks “dangerous developments and an obvious breach of the ceasefire in Gaza.”
“The Israeli occupation should avoid testing the Palestinian resistance. The enemy should realize that the toll would be in proportion to the Israeli crimes.”
“The Israeli escalation is a new development, and the Palestinian resistance is (deciding) how to react.”
Hamas’ armed wing al-Qassam Brigades responded with mortar fire on an Israeli bulldozer. An Interior Ministry source reported no casualties, just damage.
Islamic Jihad spokesman, Daud Shihab, said “Israel has not ceased its hostilities against the Palestinian people since the ceasefire was agreed on in 2014.”
“There are continued onslaughts and infiltrations in both Gaza and the West Bank and in other locations in Palestine.”
Gaza remains illegally blockaded since June 2007 – for political, not security reasons. According to an April UN report, about 75,000 Palestinians remain displaced from Israel’s summer 2014 naked aggression.
Affected families are forced to “liv(e) in store rooms, unfinished units, substandard apartments in relatives’ or neighbors’ buildings” or wherever else they can find shelter.
Some live in damaged homes, others in prefabricated shelters. War and displacement affected women and children hardest.
Over 30% of displaced females “liv(e) in shelter conditions… lacking safety, dignity and privacy, including tents, makeshift shelters, destroyed houses or the open air.”
Nearly all affected families lack resources and construction supplies to rebuild. Most funds pledged for reconstruction weren’t delivered.
Israel blocks or greatly restricts building supplies entering the Strip on the phony pretext of being useful to Hamas or other resistance groups.
The UN warned “(a)t the present rate, it will take years to address the massive reconstruction and repair needs, adding to the general frustration of the population following years of movement restrictions, rising unemployment and poverty.”
Gazans suffer hugely under open-air prison conditions. Israel attacks the Strip at its discretion.
Are things heading for another war? Does Israel want remaining parts of Gaza turned to rubble – thousands more of its residents slaughtered or injured?
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.
Gaza, Occupied Palestine – After more than six months risking their lives while ploughing, planting seeds and weeding their land, and after investing a large amount of money on seeds and on renting a tractor, the Qudaih family from the village of Khuzaa were finally ready to start harvesting their barley and the wheat two days ago.
We arrived at the fields, located around 100 metres from the fence, at 7am. Around 9am one jeep from the Israeli occupation forces stopped in front of the farmers and a group of soldiers emerged. After a few minutes they fired several shots in the air, then returned to the jeep and left.
45 minutes later another jeep arrived. This time the soldiers fired shots on the ground next to the farmers and the ISM activists that were with them. The shots were near misses, just a few centimetres from their feet. As if this was not terrifying enough, next they fired shots close to the farmers’ and activists’ heads. At that moment most of the farmers started to run away from their fields terrified by the whistling sounds of the bullets flying around them: One Bedouin man that was picking herbs for his animals laid down on the ground hiding behind his donkey, while the soldiers fired shot more than five times just a few centimetres from him. The shooting didn’t even stop when everyone started to run away, preventing the farmers to secure their horse cart holding what little harvest they had collected until they were attacked.
These families now have to choose between losing all the money invested as well as their main sustenance for the year, or continue trying to harvest the crops on their land – despite the risk of someone getting killed or disabled.
The Israeli authorities are furious after a UNESCO resolution stated that the Temple Mount and holy sites in Hebron and Bethlehem are an “integral part of Palestine.” The organization also criticized Israel, “the occupying power,” for planting fake graves in Muslim cemeteries.
Two tourist destinations, the Cave of the Patriarchs in the heart of the old city of Hebron and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem, are named in the paper as “Palestinian sites.” The draft decision by the UNESCO executive board on occupied Palestine was released April 11.
UNESCO “reaffirms that the two concerned sites located in… Hebron and in Bethlehem are an integral part of Palestine” and “disapproves the ongoing Israeli illegal excavations, works, construction of private roads for settlers and a separation wall inside the Old City of… Hebron, that harmfully affect the integrity of the site,” the statement says.
UNESCO slammed Israeli attacks on Muslims in the Temple Mount, which it only refers to by its Arabic name, Al-Haram Al-Sharif, and its holy site, Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The organization “strongly condemns the Israeli aggressions and illegal measures against the freedom of worship and Muslims’ access to their Holy Site Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al Sharif, and requests Israel, the Occupying Power, to respect the historic Status Quo and to immediately stop these measures,” the statement says.
Al-Aqsa Mosque became the flashpoint for bloodshed in 2015, amid mounting tensions over the holy site, sacred to both Muslims and Jews.
UNESCO called on Israel to stop “banning Muslims from burying their dead in some spaces and by planting Jewish fake graves in other spaces of the Muslim cemeteries.”
The group also criticized “the continuous Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip,” which causes an “intolerable number of casualties among Palestinian children,” as well as “the attacks on schools and other educational and cultural facilities and the denial of access to education.”
Israeli authorities have reacted with anger to the UNESCO document.
“This is yet another absurd UN decision,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, as cited by Israeli media.
“UNESCO ignores the unique historic connection of Judaism to the Temple Mount, where the two temples stood for a thousand years and to which every Jew in the world has prayed for thousands of years. The UN is rewriting a basic part of human history and has again proven that there is no low to which it will not stoop,” he added.
This is not the first UNESCO resolution that condemns Israel for aggression at holy sites in Jerusalem and the West Bank. In October 2015 the group issued a document which censured Israel for limiting Muslim access to Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and reaffirmed that the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem are Palestinian sites.
The document was passed by 26 votes to six – those against being the US, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Estonia.
Protesters slam UK firm over profiting from Israeli war crimes
Scores of pro-Palestinian activists in the UK have demonstrated outside the headquarters of an arms manufacturing company, accusing it of benefiting from Israel’s deadly crackdown against Palestinians.
The protesters gathered in front of the UK headquarters of aerospace manufacturer Thales, in Crawley, on Friday and expressed their anger against the company’s partnership with Israel’s Elbit Systems to develop a surveillance drone, nicknamed Watchkeeper, used by the regime against Palestinians.
The rally was held by the Sussex Stop Arming Israel campaign and was supported by other human rights groups, including the Inminds. The main messages of the protest were “Stop Arming Israel” and “Thales profits from Israeli war crimes.”
“Thales UK has a billion pound contract with Israel’s largest arms company Elbit Systems to develop a fleet of drones. Human Rights Watch has documented [the drones] as being used by Israel to deliberately target Palestinian civilians in Gaza,” said Inminds chair Abbas Ali.
“It’s sickening that Elbit markets this killer drone as being extensively ‘field tested’ in ‘real life’ situations — using the slaughter of Gaza’s people as a marketing ploy to gain a competitive advantage,” he added.
The Watchkeeper drone, which is produced through a joint venture dubbed UAV Tactical Systems, is modeled on Elbit’s Hermes 450, a UAV that has been used in action by the Israeli military. According to the Sussex group, the drone is developed under a contract awarded by the UK’s Ministry of Defense.
Thales UK is a subsidiary of the French company Thales, and is currently considered as the UK’s second largest military company.
Tel Aviv is under fire by rights groups for its indiscriminate attacks against Palestinian civilians. In one instance of Israel’s brutality, at least 2,140 Palestinians, including 557 children, lost their lives during the regime’s offensive against the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2014.
The aggression also left 11,100 Palestinians wounded, including 3,374 children and 2,088 women, and displaced over 170,000 others.
GAZA CITY – Israeli naval forces on Thursday detained four Palestinian fishermen off the coast of Rafah City in the southern Gaza Strip and seized their fishing boats.
Fishermen told Ma’an that Israeli forces opened fire on the fishing boats before detaining them, although no injuries were reported. They said the incident took place within the designated nine nautical mile fishing zone.
An official with the Agricultural Work Union, Zakariya Bakr, identified the detainees as brothers Iyad and Ahmad Omar al-Bardawil and brothers Bilal and Muhammad Jihad Musleh. He said two fishing boats were confiscated.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an they were looking into the reports.
On Thursday, another two Palestinian fishermen were detained off the coast of Khan Younis after they allegedly passed beyond the designated fishing zone.
As part of Israel’s near-decade long blockade of the coastal enclave since 2007, Palestinian fishermen have been required to work within a limited “designated fishing zone” off the coast, which was extended to nine nautical miles last week.
Israeli forces regularly detain Palestinian fisherman off the coast of Gaza working within the fishing zone, generally for alleged security reasons. According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Israeli forces detained 71 fishermen and confiscated 22 fishing boats throughout 2015.
The center said that Israeli naval forces also opened fire on Palestinian fishermen at least 139 times over the course of the year, wounding 24 and damaging 16 fishing boats.
“These attacks occurred in a time where the fishers did not pose any threat to the Israeli naval troops, as they were doing their job to secure a living,” the center said.
Now, at last, The New York Times has turned its sights on Gaza fishermen, a much beleaguered group, which has persevered under constant harassment and crippling restrictions. It has long been well under the radar as far as the newspaper’s reporting is concerned.
This week, however, we have an above-the-fold story on page 5 accompanied by a color photo of two fishermen with their nets. What has prompted this long overdue attention? It is the opportunity to present Israel as the benevolent caretaker of the besieged Gaza Strip.
Thus we find a headline announcing the following: “Israel Expands Palestinians’ Fishing Zone Off Gaza.” The story below reports the decision to increase the allowed zone from 6 to 9 nautical miles and the relief and excitement of Gaza fishermen and officials.
The article ends with a quote from Israeli officials, saying that the expansion was part of an effort to “improve the economy and foster stability” in the West Bank and Gaza, and so the story is framed around Israeli efforts to help struggling fishermen and Palestinians in general.
Thanks no doubt to the efforts of Times stringer Majd Al Waheidi of Gaza, readers find hints of the grim reality that fishermen there have actually faced over several years. We learn that Israeli gunboats have been firing on fishermen as they go to sea, and we hear the story of Ismail al-Shrafi, 62, who lost his boat five months ago when Israeli sailors confiscated it, injuring his son with live fire in the process.
The story, however, provides no data to place the case of al-Shrafi in context. Readers do not learn that during 2015, the Israeli navy fired on Gaza fishermen at least 139 times, wounding 24 fishermen and damaging 16 boats. Another 22 boats were confiscated, and 71 fishermen were detained.
According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, all these incidents took place within the legal 6-mile zone, but the Times notes that an army spokesperson denied that the navy had fired on boats within the permitted area.
The article, by Al Waheidi and Isabel Kershner, also states that over the weekend the navy “sank a suspected smuggling boat,” but it fails to inform readers that witnesses have contradicted this account. According to Palestinian news sources, the navy fired on several boats near Rafah, setting fire to one fishing vessel and causing it to sink.
The Times is denying readers the complete story here, but its most egregious paragraph is the final one in which officials claim that the expansion of the fishing zone was “part of a policy of loosening restrictions” to help the Palestinian economy.
In fact, Israeli policy appears to be aimed at impeding, rather than bolstering, economic progress in Gaza and the West Bank. Here are just a few examples of how Israeli actions and regulations impact the Palestinian economy:
- The same day the fishing zone was expanded from 6 to 9 miles, four Israeli military bulldozers entered the Gaza strip to destroy farmland planted with wheat.
- According to the PCHR, 35 percent of Gaza’s agricultural land “can only be accessed under high personal risk” because Israeli troops frequently fire on laborers in the fields.
- Israeli policies have caused the Palestinian telecommunications sector to lose $1 billion over the past three years, according to a World Bank report.
- Through a regime of permits, licenses and visas, Israel has cut into the Palestinian tourism industry, deflecting jobs and income to Israel.
- Israel confiscates some 80 percent of the water in the West Bank for its own use and charges Palestinian residents for the water it sells back to them.
- A United Nations report stated that in spite of the occasional loosening of restrictions, Gaza’s economy will continue to deteriorate as long as Israel maintains its blockade of the territory.
Times readers, however, are told that Israel is trying to help, loosening restrictions to “improve the economy.” Thus we find the headline this week announcing a generous move to allow fishermen more access to their own Gaza Sea.
It seems that the newspaper’s editors are credulous consumers of Israeli spin, readily quoting the self-serving claims of officials and making no attempt to verify the facts. Readers—as well as the courageous fishermen of Gaza—deserve better.
Follow @TimesWarp on Twitter
Gaza Strip, Occupied Palestine – At around 9am on Thursday, the 31st March, four Israeli bulldozers entered the Gaza Strip at El Fakhuri. They came in order to destroy agricultural lands located near the border, once again violating the indefinite truce that ended the 2014 Israeli aggression against Gaza.
Meanwhile more than thirty tanks were located along the fence line, pointing at the Palestinian farmers who kept working on their lands despite the great risk that they face doing so.
In less than a month the wheat harvest season will start. The families who own land near the border don’t know what will happen then, as no one seems to do anything to stop the systematic aggression. The wheat harvest is vital for the families ability to feed their children.
AIPAC is a rogue lobbying group with enormous influence in Washington, one-sidedly supporting Israel at the expense of regional peace and Palestinian rights.
Bernie Sanders addressed its annual conference in spirit, not in person, delivering his remarks in written form – expressing longstanding support for a ruthless apartheid state run by hate-mongering Zionist zealots.
“Israel is one of America’s closest allies,” he said, “and we – as a nation – are committed not just to guaranteeing (its survival), but also to its people’s right to live in peace and security.”
Fact: Both countries partner in each other’s high crimes, Sanders failed to explain.
Fact: Israel’s survival isn’t threatened. Its only threats are ones it creates. Sanders paid no heed to its longstanding reign of terror on defenseless Palestinians.
Fact: Calling their freedom fighters “terrorists” mocks their dignity, humanity, and “right to live in peace and security” Israel systematically denies them.
Claiming as president he’ll “work tirelessly to advance the cause of peace as a partner and as a friend to Israel” belies reality.
No peace process exists, not now or earlier going back decades. Israel rejects it out-of-hand, pretending otherwise, wanting historic Palestine for Jews only, its people denied their fundamental rights.
Sanders knows what he won’t explain, one-sidedly supporting Israel while pretending otherwise. His voting record belies his claim about being “a friend not only to Israel, but to the Palestinian people.” When did he ever introduce legislation supporting their rights? Never!
He backs naked Israeli aggression on the phony pretext of responding to Hamas rocket attacks, used only in self-defense.
Saying he “believe(s) that Israel, the Palestinians, and the international community can, must, and will rise to do what needs to be done to achieve a lasting peace” ignores what never happened before and won’t now.
Again, Sanders knows what he won’t say, maintaining the fiction of efforts for regional peace when none exist. Washington and Israel systematically undermine them.
His formula for peace isn’t reality based. After decades of Israeli state terror, slow-motion genocide affecting an entire population, punctuated by intermittent premeditated wars, apartheid worse than South Africa’s, and governance of, by and for hate-mongering Zionist zealots, how can anyone believe it wants peace and stability.
Sanders is like all the rest, demanding “Hamas and Hezbollah renounce their efforts to undermine the security of Israel… Peace has to mean security for every Israeli from violence.”
Saying “attacks of all kinds against Israel” must end is code language for wanting Palestinians denied their international law guaranteed right of self-defense.
Adding “peace also means security (and well-being) for every Palestinian,” their right to “self-determination, (and) ending ‘what amounts’ (sic) to the occupation of Palestinian territory, establishing mutually agreed upon borders, and pulling back settlements in the West Bank (like earlier) in Gaza” ignores no possibility of achieving any of the above.
Sanders failed to explain Ariel Sharon’s so-called disengagement from Gaza transferred its settlers to stolen Palestinian West Bank land, displacing Palestinians from what’s rightfully theirs.
It put Jews out of harm’s way ahead of three Israeli wars of aggression on Gaza – in 2008-09, 2012 and 2014, along with frequent aerial and ground assaults, an entire population terrorized and besieged for nearly a decade with no prospect for relief.
Sanders saying “economic blockade of Gaza” must end ignores its political imposition, unrelated to security concerns.
Expressing rhetorical support for “a sustainable and equitable distribution of precious water resources so (both sides) can thrive as neighbors” ignores his one-sided support for Israel for 30 years.
He willfully lied, claiming Israel’s 2014 Gaza war followed “weeks of indiscriminate rocket fire into its territory and the kidnapping of (its) citizens.”
Operation Protective Edge was planned months in advance, naked Israeli aggression unrelated to Hamas rockets (launched only in self-defense after repeated Israeli provocations) and nonsensical kidnapping claims.
Sanders can’t get his facts straight, including false claims about Hamas “construct(ing) a network of tunnels for military purposes.”
They’re built as a vital lifeline, supplying goods essential to survive, restricted or prohibited by Israel’s suffocating blockade, one of many examples of its genocidal policy – what Sanders never explains.
His address featured numerous examples of misinformation and one-sided support for Israel. Rhetorically expressing concern for Palestinian rights rang hollow.
Throughout his political career, he never cared. Why should anyone believe he turned a new leaf.
Judge him and other politicians only by their voting record. Rhetoric is meaningless.
Stephen Lendman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.