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Israel’s latest genocidal assault against Palestinians is nothing new

By Ashahed M. Muhammad -Assistant Editor- | Last updated: Jul 15, 2014 - 1:27:01 AM

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Israeli missiles hit tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, July 9. The Israeli army intensified its offensive on Gaza.

( - The launch of Operation Protective Edge by the Israeli Defense Forces July 8 represents only the latest genocidal aggression targeting the Palestinian people.

“The common narrative that Israel is responding in self-defense is totally misleading,” said Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Central Council and founder of the Palestinian National Initiative political movement. “Israel provoked the actions, Israel is the one who started the airstrikes on Gaza, Israel is the one when there was no response made sure to assassinate people so there would be a response. Israel must be restrained,” he added.

Palestinian medics treat children injured by an Israeli strike at the Shifa hospital in Gaza City, July 9.

Hamas is fighting back by sending rockets to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, but their weapons are no match for the bloody paralyzing military capabilities of the Israel Defense Forces. The Bonn International Centre for Conversion’s 2013 Global Military Index has Israel at the top of its list as the world’s most militarized country. The independent, non-profit policy organization uses several variables to determine the relative importance of the military apparatus to the society as a whole.

Attorney Tarek Khalil, a Palestinian activist, said the military mismatch is the main part missing from the Western and controlled media’s narrative and an important part of what is happening. “Palestinians are being killed by the Israeli government itself using a technologically advanced army. Whatever is done by Palestinians in response is a reaction to being attacked by the occupying forces of the Zionist government.

“It’s always presented as two sides with equal bargaining chips almost as if it is symmetrical and equal conflict between two sides who can equally defend themselves,” said Atty. Khalil. “Well, nothing could be further from the truth. It is absolutely ridiculous to even suggest that Palestinians are the aggressors. There is no such thing as aggression from victims,” he added.   

Many view Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as somewhat weak, however, he is the preferred choice of Israel and the United States when confronted with the specter of having to work with Hamas, which handily won democratic parliamentary elections in 2006 and still maintains significant support. Most recently, as they continue to seek international support for Palestinian statehood, it was announced last month that a unity government between Fatah and Hamas had been formed, much to the chagrin of Israel and the U.S.

“Everything started since the Palestinian consensus government was announced and since the reconciliation took place,” Dr. Barghouti explained. “It was clear since then that Israel was planning a huge operation with specific political aims.”

Palestinian relatives of the five members of the Hamad family who were killed in an Israeli missile strike grieve in the family house during their funeral in town of Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, July 9. Photos: AP/Wide World photos

Decades of state-sponsored terror

Israel has been an occupying force in the Palestinian territories for decades, and this is not the first time they have maimed and injured innocent men, women, and children, without being called to account for their actions. Dr. Barghouti also believes ground operations are imminent, tanks will be rolling in and more soldiers, which means a repeat of the bloody massacres that took place at the end of 2008/2009 and 2012 that resulted in heavy Palestinian civilian casualties.

According to analysts, Israel’s goals are several: to break the Palestinians will to reject a long-term apartheid system, to end the political isolation currently being experienced by Israel, and to break up Palestinian efforts at establishing unity.

“Israel will not achieve their political goals, but the price is going to be very heavy. We are talking about the loss of thousands of lives,” Dr. Barghouti said.

Numbers can be deceiving, but in this case, they tell an important aspect of the story infrequently analyzed. Israel’s political leaders and people fear the demographic threat posed by Palestinians. According to 2014 statistics from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the Palestinian population is estimated to be nearly 4.6 million. According to several human rights organizations operating in the area, nearly half of the  Palestinian population is under 20 years of age.

The recent actions of the Israeli military are “appalling” and suggestive of the type of imbalance that has occurred over the years, said Imam Sultan Rahman Muhammad of Mosque Maryam. Israel, by her actions, continues to make things worse, he noted.

“We’re looking at the Israeli government practicing what is known as collective punishment,” said Imam Muhammad. “The young Palestinians are growing up with revenge in their hearts, and we find that this is not bringing any resolution to the problem that has been existing since 1948, and the only type of resolution that can come is to stop the settlements and put an end to the apartheid type of government.”

Palestinians look at the damage of a destroyed house where five members of the Ghannam family were killed in an Israeli missile strike early morning in Rafah refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip on July 11.

The violence in the region did not begin with the deaths of three Israeli teens in June, nor is it a battle between two opponents of equal military strength. The United States of America supports reliably and delivers Foreign Military Financing to the tune of $3 billion annually, to bolster and maintain Israel’s quantitative and qualitative military advantage  in the region. A conservative estimate by the Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs found total direct aid to Israel topping $123 billion since Israel’s formation in 1948.

“There is no accountability in the Occupied Territories. Israeli officials and authorities operate with impunity,” said Brad Parker, staff attorney and international advocacy officer for Defence for Children International-Palestine, which promotes and protects global children’s rights in the Occupied Territories. According to the group, 14 children under the age of 18 have been killed. Two victims were 3-years old and two were only 1-year-old. When looking at the names and ages of the 227 who have been killed, many are in their 20s. No Israelis have lost their lives.

Israel’s threats and actions

Protest are being held in America and abroad challenging Israel’s brutal military occupation.

Shortly after it was publicly reported that the three missing Israeli teenagers, Gilad Shaer,16, Naftali Fraenkel, 16, and Eyal Yifrah, 19, had been found dead, instead of pleading for calm, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu whipped Israelis into an emotional frenzy using American-style dog whistle politics and calling for vengeance.

“Vengeance for the blood of a small child, Satan has not yet created. Neither has vengeance for the blood of three pure youths who were on their way home to their parents who will not see them anymore. Hamas is responsible and Hamas will pay. May the memories of the three boys be blessed. They were abducted and murdered in cold blood by human animals,” said Mr. Netanyahu.

His strategy likely helped lead hawkish and bloodthirsty supporters into vigilantism. The death of 15-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir soon followed. He was kidnapped, tortured and burned alive by his abductors. Six Israelis are being held in connection with the death.

Then in a tragically ironic twist, the next day, Tarek Abu Khdeir, a U.S. citizen from Tampa, Fla., and Mohammed Abu Khdeir’s cousin, was viciously beaten by Israeli police. Video footage of the brutal beating emerged and has spread throughout media networks worldwide. There have also been reports of other attempted kidnappings of Palestinians, and now, Israeli youth are menacingly prowling neighborhoods loudly chanting “death to Arabs.”

Shortly thereafter, bombing of Gaza began.

Israel’s government and military have advanced the narrative that Operation Protective Edge is needed to dismantle Hamas and Islamic Jihad, however the entire population of Gaza and the West Bank find themselves punished with few defenders.

“This is not an attack on Hamas, this is an attack on all of the Palestinian people in Gaza. Gaza is completely under siege,” said Dr. Barghouti.

“Who is going to defend the Palestinians from this rage from the Israeli terror?” asked Hatem Abudayyeh of the United States Palestine Community Network. Palestinians are not going to sit by—in the Middle East or America—and watch as their people are killed, he said. The U.S. government must act against Israel’s state-sponsored violence and further retaliatory bloodshed, said Mr. Abudayyeh.

Many have called for a ceasefire, but Israel typically violates the terms and never respects any agreements. Dr. Barghouti, who was among those who sat with members of Hamas to work out details of the unity government, said on July 9 President Mahmoud Abbas made an official request to the United States to talk to Israel. He called for a complete and immediate ceasefire. Israel refused.

“It is now clear that Israel is the one that is refusing to have any ceasefire,” said Dr. Barghouti. “If Israel stops its airstrikes and stops its invasion, there will be no rockets. There was a complete ceasefire and complete calm and Hamas was not only not shooting any rockets, they also restrained and prevented others from doing so,” he added.