When CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an interview on Sunday what his exit strategy from Gaza is, Netanyahu replied: “Sustainable quiet. I mean we didn't seek this escalation, Hamas forced it on us. They started rocketing our cities, steadily increasing the fire”.
The implication here is clear. Netanyahu is saying that Hamas started the present round of violence between the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and Israel by lobbing rockets into Israel. The suggestion is that Hamas simply started firing rockets into Israel in order to provoke the Israelis – for some unexplained reason – into retaliation.
But this is not the case.
What Netanyahu – together with most of the Western media, conservative commentariat and other assorted Israeli apologists – have forgotten to mention is the months of indiscriminate shooting by IDF snipers of unarmed Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank that preceded the current crisis. Israel was not retaliating to unprovoked rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip but, rather, the Palestinians in the Gaza were retaliating to deliberate provocation by the Israelis who were murdering Palestinian civilians, one of whom was a mentally ill woman shot dead by an Israeli sniper. Others were farm and salvage workers who were in the open areas that were farmed and worked close to the Israeli security fence.
Israel’s claim that Palestinians had started this round of violence is a familiar refrain whenever there has been conflict between the two sides. However, when one examines the chronology of events that has led up to these conflicts, one finds that invariably it has been Israel that has been the provocateurs.
In just the first two months of 2014 alone, Human Rights Watch have documented four killings of unarmed Palestinian civilians by Israeli Defence Force snipers with another 60 having been wounded by shooting by the IDF firing from the other side of the border fence into the Gaza Strip. In order to deter the Israelis from shooting Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and also to encourage the Israelis to lift their crippling blockade of the enclave – which in itself is a form of provocation – Palestinian fighters have launched rockets into Israel. It has been just the kind of response the Israelis have been looking for as it provides them with an excuse to escalate by bombing and rocketing Hamas targets inside the Gaza Strip.
This method of quiet provocation then retaliation followed by a disproportionate counter-retaliation by the Israelis who would then claim to be the victims follows a very familiar pattern for which Israel has a long history. It was even used by the Israelis to kick start the 1967 Six Day War in which Israel ultimately occupied the Syrian Heights, which they later illegally annexed and renamed the Golan Heights, the West Bank, the Sinai and the Gaza Strip. History would have us believe, at least according to the Israelis, that it was the Syrians that started the 1967 war by lobbing artillery shells onto Israeli settlements close to the demilitarised zone on the border between Syria and Israel at the Syrian Heights. The reality, as General Moshe Dayan later confided to a reporter, was something quite different. As Dayan explained, it was the Israelis that deliberately provoked the Syrians by pushing bulldozers up the hills into the demilitarised zones in order to get the Syrians to open fire on them with their artillery pieces. This then provided the Israelis with an excuse to counter-retaliate by firing on the Syrian position using tank, artillery and aircraft. (1) As a result of these actions, the situation eventually escalated and resulted in the Six Day War.
As well as the killings by the IDF of civilians in the Gaza Strip, there have also been the killings of youths and children in the West Bank over the past 19 months or so. Some had been involved in stone throwing though they had never been any real threat to the heavily armed and protected Israeli occupying forces, but most had not been involved in protests or stone throwing at all and were innocent bystanders who were deliberately targeted by Israeli snipers. Some 16 of these killings of Palestinians by the IDF during 2013 alone have been documented. There were also the filmed killings of two youths shot by Israeli snipers on Nakba Day. Then there were the killings of several Palestinian youths latter when the Israeli occupying forces were searching for the kidnappers of the three Israeli settler youths who were latter found murdered. Few of these events get reported in the Western media but the Western media are quick to widely report any retaliation from the Palestinians presenting such actions as being unprovoked and therefore worthy of Israeli retribution as part of the Israeli right to defend itself. Little, if anything, is ever said about the Palestinians right to defend themselves.
Ever since the Israelis began taking lands from the Palestinians in 1947 until now they have always used provocation to justify their actions. The Western world has generally ignored their blatant crimes and has rarely insisted on the Israelis obeying the various UN resolutions that have been made against them. Slowly, though, the peoples of the Western world are becoming more aware of Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people and this is happening now because the media moguls that have control over the mainstream media do not as yet have control over the social media via the internet. While ordinary people are able to voice their views to a far wider audience than ever they did before, so the truth of what is really happening to the Palestinian people will be revealed. It’s just a matter of time before the Zionist Israelis will eventually have to answer for their crimes.
The world now knows exactly what the fascists of Israel are really up to. It’s not about defending themselves, it’s about creating a Greater Israel at the expense of the Palestinian people.
(1) Maoz, Zeev, Defending the Holy Land: A Critical Analysis of Israel’s Security and Foreign Policy. (Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 2009.) p. 84.