Thursday, 31 July 2014

Gaza: West's weasel words while the slaughter goes on

Gaza's hell on earth
The murder of Gaza goes appallingly on, with the wicked, wilful targeting of a UN school.
Ben White provides another morning update (via facebook):
According to ‪#‎Gaza‬'s MoH, Israel has killed 1,363 Palestinians and wounded a further 7,680 (as of 02.00 local time 31 July) - the death toll includes 315 children. Overnight attacks were significantly less intense than previous days. Wednesday, Israeli attacks killed an estimated 130, including 30+ victims of two separate strikes on a UN school and market. These incidents have only added to the growing chorus condemning Israeli war crimes - for example, Amnesty International yesterday stated that "artillery should never be used against targets in crowded civilian areas". Citing the UNHRC inquiry, Amnesty urged accountability for those responsible for war crimes. By Tuesday, Israeli strikes had damaged 133 schools & 23 health facilities; destroyed or damaged 8,590 housing units. The UN OCHA's latest briefing includes the following: "To 29 July, at least 68 families have lost three or more family members in the same incident, for a total of 360 fatalities; 140 men, 73 women and 147 children." Meanwhile, the Israeli military death toll reached 56 soldiers and officers (in addition to three civilian fatalities).
The US has 'condemned' Israel's bombing of the UN school. Predictably, their short, strangled words have been matched by precisely no political action against Israel. No emergency gathering of international allies to organise sanctions. No freezing of assets. No arms embargo.

Just imagine the response had this and other such massacres been carried out by Iran or Syria.
While US/EU sanctions are immediately slapped on Russia over MH17, Israel continues its mass atrocities with international impunity.     
And bear in mind that such 'condemnation' over the school bombing comes amid reports that Obama and Kerry are 'furious' with Netanyahu. As Jonathan Cook comments (facebook, 29 July 2014):
Look at this. The US is reported to be "fuming" at Israel's stinging personal criticism of John Kerry for his failed efforts to broker a ceasefire tailored precisely to Israel's "needs". So how does a fuming Washington respond, you know the one that is an honest broker in the peace process?

The Guardian quotes Tony Blinken, a senior White House national security advisor, "coming to Kerry's defence":

"Israel has no better friend, no stronger defender. No one has done more to help Israel achieve a secure and lasting peace."

Well, that put Israel in its place!
The UN has also called Israel's attack on the UN school and murder of sleeping children "outrageous and unjustifiable", demanding "accountability and justice".
Noble words. But, again, will that 'outrage' ever translate to meaningful action against Israel? Might this and all the other atrocities perpetrated against children and other civilians, in schools, hospitals, markets and homes, result in an immediate referral to the International Criminal Court and call for sanctions?
What's the point of 'compassionate concern' when it's unmatched by determined efforts to stop the perpetrator of such crimes? 
Israel is engaged in a massive hasbara exercise to portray the attack on Gaza as a 'war on Hamas'.  And, despite their 'condemnations', Obama/Cameron and a 'critical' media dutifully project this key distortion.
Thus could the compassionate-speaking Jon Snow still berate Palestinian/Hamas official Osama Hamdan by demanding: 
 'They are only attacking you because you continue to attack them'. 

BBC reporter Ian Pannell's vivid report from the UN school was, likewise, deeply compromised by this astonishing line:
'The debate will begin immediately about who is responsible for this.'
Even in their endeavours to highlight the suffering in Gaza, Snow, Pannell and others help maintain the fiction of a 'two-sided war', rather than specify a desperate resistance against a siege and occupation which has the resilient support of Palestinians at large.
If it was a 'just' a war on Hamas, why blow up Gaza's only power station and other key infrastructure? If it was a purging of Hamas and the tunnels, why bomb all those hospitals? 
As Cook confirms, the dark truth is that the killing of civilians, particularly children, is actually a central part of Israel's plan, just as it was in 2008/9.

Regev and his co-propagandists must maintain the 'Hamas, not civilians' line for international appearance. But while the weakening of Hamas is vital, the real task is to kill as many civilians as possible, and terrify an entire people into submission.
The same murder and containment also continues across the West Bank, as people rage in the streets in solidarity with their fellow Palestinians in Gaza.
And in Israel too, writes Cook, the Palestinian minority are being increasingly targeted by vigilante mobs and experiencing new levels of political hatred in a massive backlash over Gaza. 
None of this mass murder and apartheid oppression will ever end without real action, rather than facile words. Gaza needs emergency aid. But suffering Palestinians also, just as urgently, need political aid to stop Israel, end the siege and break the occupation.

Yet, what prospect or worth of such 'assistance' from the US/UK, states up to their own necks in criminal militarism and the filthy arms economy that's helping to annihilate Gaza? 

As Ali Abunimah reports:
Hours after Israel shelled yet another UN school sheltering internally displaced families and a marketplace in Gaza, killing dozens of people, an unnamed defense department official revealed to CNN that the US had approved an Israeli request to tap into the one billion dollar weapons stockpile the US keeps in Israel.
Where's all the compassionate journalists ready to challenge Western politicians on that side of the 'war' in Gaza?

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