European colonizers invaded the North American continent, surrounded Native Americans, herded them into ghettos, tortured and exterminated them – men, women, children, and babies alike – stole their land, and took it over for themselves. Under now-binding international law, those were war crimes.
It was, indeed, also war crimes for Native Americans in the ghettos to shoot arrows (or anything else) out from the ghettos and towards the populations of the colonizers that had them surrounded and were massacring them out of existence.
However, only people who support the colonization and extermination of Natives spend as much time condemning the arrow-shooting as they do the instigating and obviously much worse, more important crimes: those of the self-proclaimed “superior” invading people, who herd Natives into ghettos, torture and exterminate them, steal their land for themselves, and cover their cancer-like campaign of murderous expansion by calling it self-defense against “savages” who should be supplanted by the superior beings.
Because Israel is committing these crimes, Israeli propagandists and their supporters crucially need our attention off of them and on “Hamas” and “rockets”, the contemporary versions of Native “savages” and their pathetic, near-worthless arrows, which the savages shoot from their ghettos and towards the people and the populations of the people terrorizing, torturing and exterminating them and stealing their land, the Israeli government.
The world has endured many campaigns of extermination of “savage” indigenous peoples by “superior” races, from the USA to Canada to Australia.
One such campaign is being carried out by Israeli colonizers against the indigenous Palestinian peoples. The campaign is being illegally funded, indeed, made possible, by US taxpayers.
Israeli historian Dr. Ilan Pape here confirms that the parallel between European crimes against Native populations and Israel’s crimes against the native Palestinians is apt. Leading scholar on the conflict Dr. Norman Finkelstein, whose grandparents were exterminated in the Holocaust and whose work has been highly praised by the preeminent Holocaust scholar, Raul Hilberg, also makes the comparison.
The world, its people and legal institutions, do not accept Israel’s campaign against the Natives, and demand that it stops immediately.
The only reason it does not: the USA keeps it going and uses threat of force to block the legal requirement, by the International Court of Justice, that states do all they can do end Israel’s brutal campaign.
In From Dictatorship to Democracy, Gene Sharp instructs that to stop a dictatorial regime, its power sources must be severed. In the case of Israeli dictatorship over Palestine, the power source is the USA.
Do what Amnesty International urges (sign their petition) and stop the USA’s illegal arming of Israel, and we will end Israeli state terrorism against, and Israeli colonization and blockading of, Palestine.
The title of this section is in quotation marks because Israeli propagandists intentionally label as “Hamas” any person or group in Palestine that suits their propaganda purposes, whether the people they are referring to are civilians, are part of Hamas, or are militants totally unaffiliated with Hamas or even acting in open defiance of it.
Israelis want us to believe that Hamas is responsible for all rocket fire into Israel. This is false. Israel wants us to believe this because Hamas is, as Jimmy Carter, Noam Chomsky, and many others have noted, the freely democratically elected government of Gaza. If the government carries out an attack, that is reason, in Israel’s self-serving and dishonest interpretation of international law, to invade Gaza and kill “Hamas”, which means Hamas and anyone else, including thousands of children.
Let us look at an example of how this works, and is currently working:
Before the massacre Israel carried out in Gaza in 2008/09, it said it was launching a major invasion of Gaza to stop “Hamas” rocket attacks.
However, problems with this claim immediately arise when the truth is taken into account:
Israel had already broken the ceasefire and invaded Gaza.
Hamas did fire rockets into Israel before Israel’s planned Gaza massacre operation started, but, as BBC documents, those rockets were in response to an illegal, unprovoked, lethal attack against Hamas members by Israel, which violated the ceasefire. This was, to use Bibi Netanyahu’s phrasing, a “triple war crime” by Israel, as it 1) added to Israel’s illegal occupation of Gaza, 2) was unprovoked aggression, the supreme crime, as well as outright mass murder, and 3) violated a specific ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas that Hamas was, as documented by Amnesty International and others, “very careful to observe“:
Israeli forces crossed into the Gaza Strip and killed six Hamas fighters.
Hamas responded by launching rockets and mortar shells into Israel.
It is true that, as documented in the above BBC article, groups unaffiliated with and acting in direct defiance of Hamas had fired projectiles into Israel before Israel’s triple war crime violated the ceasefire with Hamas.
But, in addition to Amnesty International and other human rights groups, Western and Israeli media also documented that Hamas itself, the government of Gaza, was both carefully observing the ceasefire and doing “everything it could” (Amnesty) to prevent non-governmental groups from carrying out those attacks:
Reuters: “Hamas arrests militants after rocket fire” (July 10, 2008)
Haaretz: “Hamas: Continued rocket fire by Fatah armed group harms Palestinian interests” (June 27, 2008)
Israel Killing Hamas members (which it then did) for attacks by non-governmental groups that Hamas was doing everything it could to prevent, would be like Israel killing members of the US, British, Canadian, or French governments because citizens of each of those countries, independent of their governments and in total defiance of them, have joined lethal Islamic jihads in the Middle East, which they have:
- Daily Mail: “More Brits signing up to fight with jihadist militants in Iraq and Syria than for the UK Army Reserve“
- Daily Mail: “France unveils plan to stop youths joining jihad“
If Israel were to invade any or all of those countries, say the USA, and kill Obama, Biden, Kerry, Clinton, and others, and claim it was because citizens discussed in the above report were US government officials or were being sponsored by the US government, that would be both false and ridiculous, and would be accepted by no one. It should likewise be accepted by no one when Israel does this to Hamas, the government of Gaza.
Israel Murdered Hamas Members Knowing How They Would Respond – With Rockets
We should note that when Israel broke that ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and murdered Hamas members, Israel knew Hamas would use the best technology it had, unguided projectiles, to respond.
This is revealing of what the Israeli government is willing to sacrifice – namely, one or two Israeli civilians – to obtain a pretext for its larger, planned invasion of Gaza intended to, in Richard Goldstone’s words, “terrorize the civilian population” and “diminish its local economic capacity both to work and to provide for itself, and to force upon it an ever increasing sense of dependency and vulnerability.”
Racism as a Tool
Israel encourages the racist grouping-together of all Palestinian resistance organizations.
Dr. Finkelstein notes this issue, remarking that Hamas is simply “used… as short-hand for all Palestinian armed groups”.
The way Israel groups vigilantes in with the government of Gaza is the equivalent of saying that the Israeli terrorists who recently burned a Palestinian boy to death are part of the Israeli government, and using that as a justification to invade Israel and kill members of the Israeli government. It is a false claim and thus a false justification, but by Israel’s logic, Hamas could use it, invade Israel, and kill members of the Israeli government.
Even the argument that Hamas members should be killed because they have committed human rights violations (they have) is also ridiculous. So have Israeli government members, to a far greater extent (the European Union views nuclear Israel as the greatest threat to world peace), as have US government members and many, many others, also, obviously, to far greater extents than Hamas.
To say that because government members have committed human rights violations means that their countries can be invaded and they can be killed is to declare open season for every country to invade every other country and start slaughtering government officials. Since Israel knows only it can do that to Hamas and not the other way around – because Israel is the fourth largest military in the world and Hamas has next to nothing – Israel is simply asserting the right of the strong to dominate and repress the weak, a theme espoused by the strong once or twice before in human history.
Dr. Norman Finkelstein on the contemporary equivalent of Native Americans shooting arrows out from European-imposed concentration camps:
“Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel appear to be indiscriminate or targeted at civilian population centers,” Human Rights Watch’s first press release stated, “which are war crimes.” On this point, Amnesty concurred. But are projectile attacks by Hamas (used here as short-hand for all Palestinian armed groups) war crimes or even illegal? In fact, the law is more ambiguous than often allowed.
International law prohibits an occupying power from using force to suppress a struggle for self-determination, whereas it does not prohibit a people struggling for self-determination from using force.
Human Rights Watch has argued that, even if its [Palestine’s] civilians are being relentlessly targeted [by Israel], a people does not have a legal right to carry out “belligerent reprisals”—that is, to deliberately target the civilians of the opposing state until it desists. “Regardless of who started this latest round, attacks targeting civilians violate basic humanitarian norms,” HRW’s Deputy Middle East and North Africa director stated in the first press release. “All attacks, including reprisal attacks, that target or indiscriminately harm civilians are prohibited under the laws of war, period.” Not so. International law does not—at any rate, not yet—prohibit belligerent reprisals.The United States and Britain, among others, have staunchly defended the right of a state to use nuclear weapons by way of belligerent reprisal. By this standard, the people of Gaza surely have the right to use makeshift projectiles to end an illegal, merciless seven-year-long Israeli blockade or to end Israel’s criminal bombardment of Gaza’s civilian population. Indeed, in its landmark 1996 advisory opinion on the legality of nuclear weapons, the ICJ ruled that international law is not settled on the right of a state to use nuclear weapons when its “survival” is at stake. But, if a state might have the right to use nuclear weapons when its survival is at stake, then surely a people struggling for self-determination has the right to use makeshift projectiles when it has been subjected to slow death by a protracted blockade and recurrent massacres by a state determined to maintain its occupation.
One might legitimately question the political prudence of Hamas’s strategy. But the law is not unambiguously against it, while the scales of morality weigh in its favor. Israel has imposed a brutal blockade on Gaza. Fully 95 percent of the water in Gaza is unfit for human consumption. By all accounts, the Palestinian people now stand behind those engaging in belligerent reprisals against Israel. In the Gaza Strip, they prefer to die resisting than to continue living under an inhuman blockade. Their resistance is mostly notional, as makeshift projectiles cause little damage. So, the ultimate question is, Do Palestinians have the right to symbolically resist slow death punctuated by periodic massacres, or must they [as all colonizers want their victims to do] lie down and die?
When we look back on what was done to Native Americans, we don’t focus all of our attention on how horrible the natives were for brutally resisting dispossession and extinction and exhibiting racism against the white colonizers. We mainly focus on the horror of what the invading colonizers did, and virtually universally accept that it was very wrong.
Israeli massacres against Palestinians are now, and will continue to be, studied with horror and revulsion, as are the European massacres of Native Americans such as Wounded Knee and the Trail of Tears.
Nat Turner’s slave uprising killed many white civilians who were part of the slave-owning society. Though this was horrible and probably hurt the slaves’ cause, we don’t look back and focus as much condemnation on slave rebellions as we do on the far greater violence and repression committed by the slave-owners, for obvious reasons.
When Israel complains about the “rockets”, it is like slave plantation owners crying about slave uprisings. Israel, embarrassingly, creates self-sympathy campaigns such as this one to show the world how ruthlessly the savages fire the rockets at poor Israel. The plantation owners wallow in self-pity and lament their plight and victimization by keeping a log, in front of the plantation, to track how long it has been since the last traumatizing slave uprising, and publish pieces in newspapers to tell everyone how hard it is to have slaves who don’t passively accept their lot in life.
As son of an Israeli General Miko Peled has suggested, when we hear Israelis moaning about the horrible “rockets”, we should ask them what they are doing to pressure their government to decolonize and de-occupy Palestine and end its macabre blockade of Gaza, a blockade Amnesty International refers to as a “flagrant violation of international law.”
It might be said that, even if Israel cannot use force to suppress the Palestinian struggle for self-determination, Hamas’s use of indiscriminate projectiles and its targeting of Israeli civilians still constitute war crimes. Here, it is useful to first recall another instance of HRW’s [Human Rights Watch’s] egregious double standard. In 2008, HRW issued a report entitled Flooding South Lebanon: Israel’s use of cluster munitions in Lebanon in July and August 2006. The report found that Israel dropped as many as 4.6 million cluster munitions on south Lebanon during the 2006 war. It was, in HRW’s words, “the most extensive use of cluster munitions anywhere in the world since the [US use of cluster bombs in the] 1991 Gulf war,” while relative to the size of the targeted area the density of the attack was historically unprecedented. Some 90 percent of these cluster munitions were dropped during the final three days “when Israel knew a settlement was imminent” (HRW), the UN ceasefire resolution having already been passed but not yet gone into effect. But, although finding that Israel committed “extensive violations” of the laws of war, HRW did not go beyond stating that Israel’s massive resort to cluster munitions was “in some locations possibly a war crime.” Yet, the evidence HRW itself assembled showed that cluster munitions are indiscriminate weapons; the cluster munitions carriers used by Israel were, on HRW’s own terms, indiscriminate; and the cluster munitions were fired indiscriminately and deliberately targeted civilian population centers.
Israel is also currently firing flechette dart explosives in Gaza, which is illegal to do there, according to Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, because of the dense population and the indiscriminate nature of the weapon.
Above: the darts that explode out from Israel’s flechette bombs
Palestinians do not have the technology of discriminate weapons, for an alternative to rudimentary projectiles, that they can shoot out from their ghettos to resist Israeli occupation, colonization, and terror, and Israel is not going to give them to them, nor is Israel or the US going to give Palestinians a multi-billion dollar “Iron Dome” system like Israel has to help protect Palestinians from Israeli rockets.
What Israel wants for the Palestinians is the same thing European colonizers wanted for the Native Americans: for them to be helpless, hopeless, and unable to resist, so that they will accept being conquered and dispossessed, or will simply go away, i.e., assist in their own ethnic cleansing.
Statements by Hamas and other groups are used to conclude that Hamas uses the unguided projectiles to intentionally target civilians.
But statements (and actions) from Israelis illustrate directly that this is what Israel does.
- Israeli Reserve Major General Oren Shachor: “If we kill their [Palestinian] families, that will frighten them.”
- Israelis refer to their attacks against Gaza as “mowing the lawn”. Since when you mow a lawn you cut every blade of grass, not individual blades, this is another clear call for terrorism against a civilian population, and possibly genocide.
- In 2009, Israel sprayed UN humanitarian relief centers with lethal white phosphorous. They did this after the UN provided the Israeli army with the GPS coordinates of the center, and while the UN was on the phone with the Israeli army telling them not to bomb the center because civilians were sheltering there and there were no militants present. Human Rights Watch confirmed that there were no militants present. For details on this, see “Rain of Fire: Israel’s Unlawful Use of White Phosphorous in Gaza“, by Human Rights Watch.
- Israel also sprayed several other civilian shelters, including hospitals and schools, with white phosphorous, and Human Rights Watch likewise confirmed that no militants were present.
- White phosphorus burns at 1,500 degree Fahrenheit. Imagine turning an oven to five hundred degrees, then increasing that threefold to 1,500, and gripping the red-hot coil.
- This was part of what Richard Goldstone described as Israel’s operation to “terrorize the civilian population” of Gaza.
Israel also says that civilian homes of Hamas members and members of the families of Hamas are legitimate targets. But every Israeli has to serve in the military. By Israel’s admission, then, all Israeli homes and all Israelis are legitimate targets, thus there are no civilians for Hamas to target, if that is their goal. That is, unless Israel simply intends its statements as a double standard that only applies to the savages.
More on Racism
While Israeli propagandists and their supporters want all of our attention on racist rhetoric issued by their victims, Israeli society is virulently racist.
Few US citizens realize that Israeli youth are imbued with, and exhibit, vicious racism, all of them are required to serve in the military, and many are sent into Gaza to slay Gazans, including civilians. Israeli Reserve Major General Oren Shachor: “If we kill their [Palestinian] families, that will frighten them.”
This boiling racism by Israelis helps explain such highly frequent occurrences as when, the other day, Israelis looked through their top-of-the-line, US-provided optical gear, saw four fleeing Palestinian ten year-olds alone on a beach, and blew them away with giant guns, chasing the kids with multiple shots until they were all dead.
It also explains why Israelis enjoy watching footage of Gaza being indiscriminately bombed, and why Israelis want to use white phosphorus chemical explosives to target UN shelters for Palestinian civilians.
These are the type of terrorist massacres that were perpetrated by European colonizers against savage native babies, whose skulls the colonizers split open with axes and hatchets.
Oh, but the colonizers, the poor things, could barely go a day without the savages harassing them unmercifully, for what reason, god only knew.
The Israelis, as did the Europeans colonizers, indoctrinate themselves into self-perception as victims, while the occupied Arabs are viewed as inhuman monsters.
Israelis, also like the European colonizers, sometimes delude themselves into believing that what they are doing is good for, or desired by, the savages.
This delusion is nothing new. Japanese imperialists, who killed about 20 million people in China, including in the Rape of Nanking, said, in internal Japanese documents, that they were bringing “Earthly paradise” to China.
Although both sides in the conflict exhibit racism, only one side is being illegally occupied and colonized. Although both sides endure terrible violence, it is overwhelmingly and disproportionately endured by the Palestinians, at the hands of Israeli state terrorists and occupiers.
Who Uses Human Shields?
Remember, Israel lies about Hamas using human shields. In Israel’s 2008/09 massacre in Gaza, Israel said Hamas used human shields, but the human rights organizations and missions found that Israel, not Hamas, used human shields.
Using Palestinian civilians, including children, as human shields is a regular practice for Israel that continues.
Dr. Finkelstein (at 6:20) on Israel’s 08/09 Gaza massacre:
As everybody knows, the main claim that Israel is making in defense of its attacks in Gaza… was the claim that Hamas was using human shields. And that became almost an accepted wisdom of what happened in Gaza. So, just allow me to quote from Amnesty International that addressed in great detail this question of the human shields. It says: “Contrary to repeated allegations by Israeli officials of the use of human shields, Amnesty International found no evidence that Hamas or other Palestinian fighters directed the movement of civilians to shield military objectives from attacks. It found no evidence that Hamas or other armed groups forced residents to stay in or around buildings used by fighters, or that fighters prevented residents from leaving buildings or areas which have been commandeered by militants. Amnesty International delegates interviewed many Palestinians who complained about Hamas’s conduct, and especially about Hamas’s repression and attacks against their opponents, including killings, torture, and arbitrary detentions, but did not receive any accounts of Hamas fighters having used them as human shields. In the cases investigated by Amnesty International of civilians killed by Israeli attacks, the deaths could not be explained as resulting from the presence of fighters shielding among civilians as the Israeli army generally contends.” And it goes on at some length.
Finkelstein then notes that the Amnesty report is remarkable because, just a few years ago, Amnesty International refused to utter “one critical word about Israel”, even though everybody knew what it was doing.
The Amnesty quote is from Amnesty’s report, 22 Days of Death and Destruction, on Israel’s massacre in Gaza, page 11.
In the report, Amnesty condemns Hamas for putting civilians at risk by operating out of cities. However, the Israeli army also keeps installments and headquarters in populated Israeli areas such as Tel Aviv, thereby, by Israel’s own admission, using its civilian population as human shields for legitimate military targets.
If Palestinians had the ability to target those military installments with multiple-thousand pound bombs and flechette explosives, as Israel uses in densely populated Gaza, then Amnesty could likewise condemn Israel for putting civilians at risk by operating out of densely populated civilian areas in Israel.
And also remember, it is Israel, not Palestine, that far more often breaks the ceasefires and starts rounds of violence, often with the intention of trying to create a pretext for a broader operation of terrorism.
Virtually the entire world, including all major human rights organizations and the highest court in the world, demands that Israel immediately and completely withdraws from and ends its illegal blockade of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, which is:
- The area compromising the OPT [Occupied Palestinian Territories] is made up of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip – areas that Israel occupied in 1967 and has continued to control during the more than four decades since then.
- Source: “Trigger Happy – Israel’s Use of Excessive Force in the West Bank“, by Amnesty International, February, 2014, page 6
The UN vote affirming all of this every year usually goes about 165 to 2, the world against the US and Israel.
We must keep in mind that shows such as this one on RT that offer one or two voices defending Palestine and counter it with one or two voices defending Israel’s presence in the OPT are imbalanced, and present a false depiction of reality. To correctly portray the actual balance on the issue, one would have to have 165 defenders of the world consensus for every two defenders of Israeli occupation and colonization of Palestine.
This is similar to the issue of reporting on climate change. Since 1991, there have been about 13,950 peer-reviewed articles published that affirmed human-caused climate change, and only about 24 that tried to deny it.
Thus, the BBC was recently criticized by British MPs for presenting a fifty-fifty balance on the issue, which is, as in the case of the Israel/Palestine conflict, an incorrect portrayal of reality, both in terms of the global consensus on resolving the Israel/Palestine issue and the amount of violence perpetrated, which is disproportionately and overwhelmingly carried out against Palestine by Israel.
All of the above having been said, please sign this petition to help Amnesty International bring about a UN-imposed, comprehensive arms embargo on Israel and Palestine. Dr. Finkelstein also supports the comprehensive embargo against both sides.
The way our society treated Native Americans was wrong and horrid. Let’s stop repeating our mistake by enabling Israel to do the same thing to the Palestinians. Another disproportionate, horrific, Wounded Knee-like massacre is being committed by Israel in Gaza at this very moment, with 608 Palestinians, mostly civilians, killed, as well as 27 Israelis killed, all but two of them soldiers.
For more information on this issue, see:
Israel v. Gaza: The Big Picture – by Washington’s Blog