Israel; Always the Victim – Not even close!

Israel has successfully portrayed itself as the victim with the duty to defend its people, but the reality is that everyone has the right to defend its people and to live in security. These are not luxuries to be enjoyed by Israelis alone in the Middle East.

The Israelis insist that the latest violence began when Hamas “ended” a six month truce. I didn’t know there was a truce.

During this six-month truce, the International Middle East Media Center (a collaboration of international and Palestinian journalists) reported that the Israeli army killed 23 Palestinians, wounded 62, and kidnapped 38 residents in the Gaza Strip.

Truce? What truce?

In terms of the daily life for Palestinians in Gaza, Israel has been blocking medical supplies, food, and fuel on a regular basis for the past two years. Prior to the latest attacks, many have died from treatable illnesses due to the blocking of medical supplies. A Reuters article (12/30/08), citing research from Save the Children (UK), noted that 70% of Palestinian children already had a vitamin A deficiency and almost half of children under age two were anemic due to the border blockade. Early last year, a Toronto Star article (2/11/08) featured Palestinians from Gaza who have been driving on cooking oil due to fuel shipments being blocked.

What would Israel’s response be if the situation were in reverse?

Sadly, our media has not covered these tactics. Instead, it has generally chosen to publicize the Israeli spin of victimhood.

Israel. Always the victim.

Even with the Israeli Army’s revelation in a January 4, 2009 Haaretz article that they overestimated Gaza’s rocket severity, Israel won’t give up its victimhood card. The bombing continues, as does the self-righteousness that comes with it.

Perhaps, Israeli historian Ilan Pappe put it best in his recent article, “Israel’s righteous fury and its victims in Gaza.” He wrote, “The self-righteousness is a powerful act of self-denial and justification. It explains why the Israeli Jewish society would not be moved by words of wisdom, logical persuasion or diplomatic dialogue.”

Israel. Always the victim.

Though we live in the 21st century, it seems that maybe our Western world (specifically the US) has been caught in a time warp. There are those who actually think that it can atone for the crimes of WWII by giving Israel the green light to commit more crimes against humanity. But ignoring Israel’s embargo of food, medicine, fuel, and the killings of Palestinians actually dishonors the memories of those who were murdered for who they were during WWII.

Just because there are no ovens or gassing in the current conflict doesn’t mean that it is less of a genocide or holocaust. And when Israel intentionally blocks humanitarian goods and aims to make life so miserable that Palestinians will want to leave all the while dehumanizing them in the process, Israel is committing genocide.

Article II of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide does not make exceptions for motive. In other words, using Hamas as an excuse is unacceptable. The Convention discusses “Deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to destroy a group includes the deliberate deprivation of resources needed for the group’s physical survival, such as clean water, food, clothing, shelter or medical services. Deprivation of the means to sustain life can be imposed through confiscation of harvests, blockade of foodstuffs, detention in camps, forcible relocation or expulsion into deserts.”

It is what it is and whitewashing it doesn’t change the reality, regardless of the Israeli spin.

In recent days, the inter-active forums on the internet have been filled with pro-Israel posts referring to Palestinians as vermin who should be exterminated. These Hitleresque statements, of course, are said within the context of self-righteousness and victimhood.

Israel. Always the victim.

At some point, I have to believe that even those who have abused this card will tire of it.

Someday.

For now, the words of respected journalist and media reform advocate, Bill Moyers, come to mind. “Democracy without honest information creates the illusion of popular consent at the same time that it enhances the power of the state and the privileged interests that the state protects.”

We need to think about that as our corporate media becomes more of a mouthpiece for the government and less interested in hard reporting and truth-telling.

Israel. Always the victim? Not even close.

Ref: PalestineChronicle.com.
– Sherri Muzher J.D. with emphasis in International Law. She contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.

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