|A Palestinian man reacts as he sits atop rubble after his home was demolished in Jabel Mukaber, a village in the suburbs of East Jerusalem, in this February 5, 2014 file picture (Reuters)|
by Wasif al Hourani
The world’s media, particularly the US media, is giving maximum coverage to the attack on the Kehilat Bnei Torah synagogue that killed five people, four of them Jewish religious leaders. The general slant of the coverage talks of the horror and violence of the attack and that it should be condemned. The coverage devoted to this violence in the US media in particular, is fare greater than violence directed toward Palestinians or the conditions they have to endure under Israeli occupation and in the face of Zionist racist policies. One might refer to this reporting as the Custerization of the conflict in Palestine. We shouldn’t be surprised. The US media described the US mercenaries that were killed in Fallujah as “contractors.”
Here is another way of looking at it.
In response to the ongoing occupation of Palestinian land and daily violence directed at the Palestinian people, especially young children, two courageous Palestinian freedom fighters fought back despite limited means and attacked the Kehilat Bnei Torah synagogue in Jerusalem on Tuesday. These heroic fighters knew that their resistance would mean their certain death.
Four colonial settlers, three Americans and one British were killed along with a member of the police force that protects them. The four religious leaders are known to have extreme right wing and sexist views. The western media is appalled. “I felt like I was in a butchers shop.”, one of the colonists, a medic who was praying nearby told the media. Had he visited Gaza during the Israeli slaughter there it would have felt more like a slaughterhouse.
The US Secretary of State, John Kerry was alarmed: “To have this kind of act which is a pure result of incitement…… is unacceptable.”, he said. It was not “unacceptable” for Mr. Kerry to send the Israelis more weapons and bullets because they ran short of them after killing so many Palestinian women and children in Gaza last year.
Netanyahu has called for the demolition of the freedom fighter’s homes, a common practice aimed at deterring the Palestinian people from resisting the occupation of their land or retaliating against colonist/settler violence. Demolitions are carried out without any evidence of the families of resistance fighters being involved.
The Israeli’s have demolished thousands of Palestinian homes displacing huge sections of the population. Israel demolished the homes of Bedouins in the Naqab (Negev) region in September. It was standing against this barbaric practice that cost the American activist, Rachel Corrie her life. Caterpillar, the US heavy machinery manufacturer sells the IDF the bulldozers knowing full well they are used to displace the Palestinian population.
The Bedouin live in what the Zionists call “unrecognized villages” so they are denied infrastructure assistance as well as basics like electricity and water. There are an estimated 80,000 Palestinian Bedouin in this area. Earlier this year, “The International Red Cross announced…….it would stop delivering tents to Palestinians made homeless by demolitions in the Jordan border region of the occupied West Bank, citing Israeli obstruction and confiscation of aid.” (Reuters.) The Zionist regime justifies its ethnic cleansing of the area by citing a historical claim to biblical lands. An American Zionist born in Brooklyn has more rights there than a Palestinian Bedouin.
But the assault on Gaza and other Israeli military activity in occupied lands is the greatest destroyer of homes and displacer of people. At least 60,000 people lost their homes, due to the war on Gaza at a cost of about $4 billion. The Zionist regime is an expensive ally for the world’s aid donors.
No decent human being under normal circumstances gloats at the violence at the attack at the synagogue in Jerusalem on Tuesday but we do not live under normal circumstances, we are living under a brutal occupation.
In the occupied territories, Palestinians live under constant fear for their lives, especially the lives of the children. All Palestinian males are suspect and routinely arrested and tortured. Threats against the family of those arrested are the norm, the choice is to become an agent or a “snitch” for the occupiers or your family will suffer. The Nazi’s used similar tactics.
The US media in particular is very biased in reporting on the conflict in Palestine and the history of it. In wartime, one’s fighters are welcomed as heroes for killing the enemy they are not accused of murder or terrorism unless it is suitable one’s enemies to do so.
Menachim Begin and other prominent leaders of Israel were all “terrorists” from the British standpoint. So were the American revolutionists. One man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist.
But in this era of mass communication, we have an obligation to look beyond the mainstream media and find out the truth. We owe it not only to the victims, we owe it to ourselves.