Civilian casualties mount in Palestine from Israeli aggression, as western politicians and the press neglect the facts on the ground
Palestine has been faced with one of its worst attacks since 2012, with bombs pounding across the Gaza strip consecutively since the 8th of July, and a ground offensive since the 17th. Gaza is one of the densest cities in the world with a population of 1.7 million. The death toll now stands at over 400, with over 2500 injured. Many of those murdered are children, including four boys who were shelled to death on Gaza’s beaches in view of world media. The numbers are ever-growing into mountains of blood and shattered bones. Medical supplies are running low due to the vast number of casualties, homes are reduced to ashes and survivors are faced with psychological damage as a result of the constant fear of death.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu comments that this is a war against Hamas and they are not bombing civilian territories. His words contradict the UN report which confirms that almost 80 per cent of the deaths in Palestine are of civilian citizens. A startlingly large number of the victims are children being slaughtered like lambs to feed Israel’s sadistic hunger for control of Palestinian land. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman says, “Israel must go all the way… A full takeover of the Gaza strip is Israel’s only course forward.”
Israeli politicians propagate a warped definition of what it means to be violent extremists, and their actions openly violate international humanitarian law. Since when did schools, homes, refugee camps and even disability centres stop being civilian territories? When did infants, barely able to walk, become terrorists? This is collective punishment – and the only real risk Netanyahu and his supporters face is the risk of drowning in all the blood they are spilling.
While Palestinian children are constant victims of Israeli aggression, Israeli children are encouraged to visit the Armoured Corps Memorial in Latrun and envision themselves killing Arabs. This provides a perfect example of how hatred and racism is consciously taught, damning numerous Israeli children to a life devoid of compassion for their Palestinian peers. The extensive control that Israel enforces across its occupied territories hardens young Israeli hearts to resemble the rubble to which they reduce Palestinian homes.
Unfortunately, much of our most respected media outlets are complicit in Israel’s crimes against Palestine. The BBC, along with many others, have taken a pro-Israeli bias in reporting the current massacre in Gaza, misleadingly portraying the conflict between Israel and Palestine as an equal struggle. They have also failed to cover the mammoth protest outside the Israeli Embassy on the 11th of July, where ten thousand people of various backgrounds took to the streets of London in an effort to provide Palestine with justice. The BBC continues to have sympathetic ears solely for Israel’s 66-year-long reign of terror, exemplified in former emails from the newly-appointed Middle East online editor, Raffi Berg, which have shown a careful effort to downplay Israeli violence. Feet stomped against asphalt, fists ripped into the air and throats roared with cries for Palestine’s freedom, as flags of red, black, white and green danced in the wind. It is united campaigns, such as this, that restore hope for humanity every time Zionists so viciously crush it, but still, the shouts for freedom are static noise to the BBC, even when the protest on 15 July took place on their doorstep.
There have also been protests in many other cities in the UK and abroad, including Paris, Hong Kong, Karachi, South Korea, Netherlands and across the US. Some protests faced violent crackdown: Indian troops fired into a pro-Palestinian protest in Kashmir, killing a teenager. Nevertheless, mainstream news has overlooked the determined unity for Palestine, and France has become the only western country to ban pro-Palestinian protests.
Tragically, David Cameron has echoed BBC prejudice after a Downing Street spokeswoman stated that Cameron “reiterated the UK’s staunch support for Israel”. The prime minister also recently remarked that “Israel has a right to defend itself”, a statement uncannily similar to one made by President Obama. Amnesty International is now calling on the UK government to halt the supply of arms to Israel, which amounted to £6.3 million last year alone.
Further ignorance has ensued in the claims by some that the popular expression “Freedom for Palestine” is code for “Kill the Jews”, a false and deceiving assertion. Orthodox Jewish rabbis attended the London protests, declaring that they wish to see Palestine free, while waving Palestinian flags and quoting the Torah in Palestine’s defence. One rabbi made a speech against Israel’s violent actions, as the rest joined with the crowd declaring, “Israel is a terrorist state”. These men, high authorities of their faith, could not possibly be wishing death upon their own people.
Yesterday, an estimated 100,000 participated in protests in London to increase pressure on David Cameron with regards to his alliances. It was an opportunity for people from all over Britain to come together, put their foot down and demand justice. BBC, surprisingly, produced a small online article on the event, but not without offering Israel’s excuse for its ground attack in Gaza. Palestine will be heard through the voice of thousands here in the UK, regardless of and the silence of our politicians.
It truly is a heart-breaking time for humankind when hundreds of protests must take place to spread the simple message that it is wrong to kill children.
Image from: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/07/19/gaza-london-protest-pictures_n_5601766.html?utm_hp_ref=uk
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