In the run up to American Elections on November 6th, Palestinians and Israelis enjoyed relative peace for weeks. Israeli airstrikes and rocket launches in Gaza were nonexistent, just the way it had been four years earlier.
Back in the summer of 2008, Egypt brokered a truce between Hamas and Israel. The armistice lasted until Nov 4th, the same day as Barack Obama’s first election victory. On that day, Israel launched a military strike on Hamas to destroy a tunnel on the Gaza-Israel border. One member of Hamas was killed along with the ceasefire as Hamas retaliated with rocket fire.
The violence escalated for two months until Israel’s invasion of Gaza near the end of December. Israel withdrew its forces less than three weeks before the Jewish state’s national elections in early February. The assault destroyed $2 billion of Gaza assets, left roughly 1400 of its people dead and brought with it a humanitarian crisis. 13 Israeli soldiers along with three civilians died.
Unfortunately nowhere does history repeat itself more than the Middle East. On November 8th 2012, two days after Obama’s reelection and just a couple months away from elections in Israel; a thirteen year old boy was gunned down by an IDF machine-gun near the Gaza/Israel border while playing soccer outside his home. Just like four years prior, the rockets from Gaza started to fly in retaliation and again Israel is threatening invasion.
Barack Obama stated that peace in the region must begin with “no missiles being fired into Israel’s territory,” as if to say the responsibility of the situation rests solely on Hamas. In both instances the IDF was clearly to blame for the outbreak of violence, but the leaders of western nations have twice now pinned the blame on Hamas. The corporate media, even Al Jazeera, aren’t doing any justice by reporting that Israel’s response is to simply defend themselves from rocket attack.
Israel added fuel to the fire last week with the political assassination of Hamas’ military chief Ahmed Jabari. The slaying of Jabari is seen in Israel as on par with Barack Obama taking out Osama Bin Laden. It should serve quite useful to Benjamin Netanyahu’s reelection chances in January, but no one mentions that.
Prime Minister Harper, a staunch supporter of Israel said on Friday that “we condemn this terrorist group’s attacks on Israel, we recognize and support Israel’s right to defend itself against such terrorist attacks.” Obama meanwhile made a similar statement on Sunday saying the US is “fully supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself.”
These similar declarations come from two of the world’s most influential leaders who instead of working toward peace in a non-biased capacity, continue to support the actual aggressors diplomatically and in the US case monetarily and militarily.
The fallacy that angers me most is the double standard people have regarding the circumstances. For some reason, the superpower in the Middle East (funded by the global superpower) has a right to defend itself however it sees fit. On the other hand, a territory occupied for almost half a century with little infrastructure left has no right to armed resistance or self-defense.
The powerful Israeli lobby in Canada and the United States has done a tremendous job of preventing critical commentaries in the political arena and in the mainstream media. Those who have the courage to speak out or condemn the actions of the Jewish state are frequently labeled Anti-Semitic and are refused exposure in the western media.
The media in western democracies has been just as supportive to Israel as it was to the United States in the run up to the war in Iraq. No one questions anything or digs deeper for information. In fact, from what I’ve seen the press in Israel is far more critical of their own country’s engagements than we are. The evidence we receive has such a pro-Israel bias that some Jews I know outside my family now describe Palestinians in the same fashion the Nazis once described Jews, it’s ridiculous.
Peace will never come to the region so long as the powers that be on either side continue to profit either financially or politically from the religious hatred that has long since boiled over. There is money to be made in war along with political capital and all it does is keep the Palestinians in despair and Israelis in fear.
- As I write this, Israeli air strikes have killed 75 people (including 12 from one family and 18 children).
- Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai has said, “The goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages”
- Hamas’ conditions for a truce include open borders and international guarantees that Israel will halt all attacks on Gaza, including targeted assassinations
- Three Israelis have been killed by Hamas rocket fire from Gaza
- The occupation of Palestine is now at 45 years, 5 months and 9 days.