Palestine-Israel conflict: Injustice and unjust wars

PALESTINIAN-ISRAEL-CONFLICT-DEMO-OUTPOSTIrwansyah Mukhlis*

WHEN we see the news concerning Gaza, Israel, and Palestine most of our hearts will normally be touched by the unending conflict which happens there. The conflict seems to be perpetual and everybody seems to have already known or grown tired of the issue though some would remain ignorant while others would simply choose sides. Then if we keep on pursuing, we will see a whole group of government representatives speaking about the rhetoric and the obvious which do not seem to be really doing the victims on the ground any good. This could be clearly seen from their usage of the term “deplore, saddened, hope, wish” which does little to change the situation at hand, as most were not ready to confront the blatant power politics on display.

Perhaps, the term that is missing from the whole discussion of the conflict is “justice”. From the highest international authority standpoint such as the UN to each sovereign state, all seems to be unified in refraining from making the issue as a matter of injustice. Although it is hard to conceive the concept of justice and to apply it to the conflict as justice may come in different forms, or at least that is the impression that we get from the current international system, but like it or not the conflict in Palestine is nevertheless a problem of justice and not simply an issue of self-defence as what most have claimed.

Which concepts of justice shall we then apply to the conflict? Is it the universal conception justice (if there is one)? Or does the Islamic conception of an “eye for an eye” justice serve our purpose? The answer that seemed to be applicable to the Gaza conflict would be none of the above. The reason is simply because in order to apply all of these justice conceptions we will need to trace the very root of the conflict through a historical analysis which could date back all the way to the days of the Crusades, the Ottoman Empire, WWI and WWII. Besides, all the political propaganda coming from both sides have already done enough damage to obscure the objective reality or truth.
Then how shall we pursue with the effort to resolve the conflict without knowing which concept of justice to be applied? Although the question is valid one but it is not impossible to answer. The simplest form of justice that the world and government leaders need to consider now is through the numbers as it is the closest to reality. When the Israelis have taken out hundreds/thousands of Palestinian lives to compensate the loss of three or four Israeli lives then we all know that injustice has taken place. Even by legal and humanity standards such act is considered as “excessive”.

At the same token, when Israel as a lone state in the region was besieged and attacked by three of its neighbouring Arab states, this was also a sign of injustice by the numbers and should be dealt with immediately by the international authority if it was consistent with its mandate to prohibit any forms of state aggression.

Technically, by considering the concept of justice through the numbers, then the UN and governments should be able to make policies which could reduce the severity of the conflict. First, the UN should bring the “excessive” issue to UN General Assembly, UN Human Rights Council, and UN Security council to exert enough pressure on the perpetrator. Second, at the same time, before any of the conflicting side began on embarking on any self-defence scenario, the UN must act first. A late response by the UN would bear a high cost.

The three Arab-Israel major wars which happened earlier were basically due to UN weaknesses to protect Israel from its neighbours. The price paid was that Israel would begin on a self-defence rampage by arming itself through illegitimate and uncontrolled networks. The same can be said about Palestine. UN’s physical silence on Palestine’s woes will also unquestionably engender a future disaster as Palestine’s militant group which has a close relation with Islamic terrorist groups in the region will always be poised for attack if things stay the way they are.

But again what has been described earlier is a form of naivety which does not take into account the huge role that politics play in the conflict. We all know that the UN is most of the times be incapacitated by real politik of the great powers behind the conflict. Any condemnation by UN human rights agencies would fall to deaf ears if they fail to knock on the UN Security Council door. Even if they managed to get into the UN Security Council, a single veto by any of the former WWII winners would mean further misery for the victims. Hence the weaker side in this conflict, namely the Palestinian, will not benefit much from the status quo and once again the current UN weaknesses showed us how political interests managed to stomp international sense of justice.

Another obvious political manoeuvre in the conflict is the assigning of blame and threats. Israel, for example, had consistently called the Palestinian side as the Islamic extremist which demanded nothing more than the demise of Israel as a nation. What Israel fails to see was the fact that Yitzak Rabin, a former Israeli prime minister who won a Nobel Prize for world peace in fostering the Oslo peace accord with Palestine, was killed by Israeli’s own extremist who refuses to make peace a reality for both sides.

Meanwhile regarding threats, Israel for example had maintained that they will do whatever in their power to stop the Palestinian rockets from coming in, even if it had to obliterate the entire Palestinian state and the population. This simply shows Israel’s insolence of international law and Israel’s similarities with the Hamas group as violence seems to be only acceptable language in the conflict. Hence the two sides in this sense are quite right in their claims and yet quite guilty at the same time.

However, it is an error to think that “justice” will stay silent and submissive for all times, especially when we are facing our fellow human being which is capable of thinking and adjusting in a state of “unjust wars”. Here unjust wars refer more to the difference in the physical attributes of the military capabilities displayed in the conflict, as Israel with a far superior and advanced military attributes continues raking in Palestinian victims with the blessing of the US while the Palestinian side is far from having decent military equipment let alone a super power’s support.

But being inferior does not mean that it is helpless. The increasing number of terrorist networks and the uprising in many Islamic states is a clear indication that in an unjust war condition as displayed in the Israel-Palestinian unending conflict; justice will come in many faces, including the ugly and the unexpected ones.

Unconventional war method would also began to flare up as now pro-Palestinian forces seems to be also engaging in internet wars and be joined together with the existing terrorist war methods such as suicidal bombings, weapon smuggling, etc. Of course what the world does not want to see is the unification of all these pro-Palestinian forces with the existing Islamic terrorist networks as it would certainly be plentiful as little can be done about it and would have major repercussions for the world at large.

It is also certainly a common mistake by great powers and superior powers to think that crushing the enemies to the very root is an effective remedy for their interests. The US’s failing Afghanistan and Iraq anti-terrorist campaigns had clearly demonstrated that nothing can be crushed to the very root when we are dealing with fellow human beings. Instead by obscuring reality and putting injustice into a grey area, the world is now faced with further problems fuelled by these longing for justice. In short no peace can come out of injustice and whether we like it or not, the sense of justice that the international authority has shrugged off its shoulder must be brought forward or otherwise the hate that the victims’ sons and daughters carry will continue to be passed on to the next generation.

*The writer is a PhD candidate from Curtin University

Republika OL
Tuesday, 12 August 2014

http://www.republika.co.id/berita/en/speak-out/14/08/12/na67xo-palestineisrael-conflict-injustice-and-unjust-wars

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Time Israel is punished for Gaza war crimes

gaza protest1BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

AS PALESTINIANS prepare to approach the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutors for investigating Israeli war crimes in Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rushed to the United States to discuss ways of keeping the spotlight off its actions in Gaza, according to The New York Post.

Netanyahu met a delegation of US lawmakers and requested that the US must use all the tools it has at its disposal to make sure the world knows that war crimes were not committed by Israel.

This is not new as the entire world knows that for decades, the US has always protected Israel by its veto at the UN Security Council. The US, the greatest upholder of human rights and individual freedom, has always looked the other way when it comes to Israeli crimes.

Ramsey Clark, an American lawyer, activist and former public official, once said that the greatest crime since World War II has been US foreign policy.

What has happened in Gaza is the best example of this foreign policy. Instead of condemning, the Israeli crimes, the US officials and media like Joseph Goebbels, kept repeating lies of Israel’s right to defend itself but all their lies fell flat.

From President Obama to Secretary of State John Kerry to the lowest US foreign policy official, all did not mention the right of defenceless people of Gaza whose families, homes, schools, hospitals were wiped out by the Israel bombing.

What Israel has done in Gaza, if it had happened in any other part of the world, the US would have been the first one condemn it, impose sanctions and order punitive military strikes. The irony is that the entire US public relations machinery has been working overtime to defend Israeli crimes.

The US officials have not spoken a single word about the illegal blockade that Israel has imposed on Gaza for more than five years, reducing it to world’s biggest open jail.

This illegal and inhumane Israeli blockade in itself constitutes a permanent act of war.

According to the Nuremburg War Crimes Tribunal, this is the supreme crime that contains within itself every other crime, including terrorism.

But Kerry, in his interview to BBC Hard Talk, gave carte blanche to Israel by saying “the United States stands squarely behind Israel’s right to defend itself in those circumstances. Period”.

However when asked about the illegal Gaza blockade, like a seasoned diplomat, he refused to give a clear answer.

The hypocritical US human rights policy can be gauged from the fact that it has two policies – one for Israel and one for others.

But the Gaza war crimes is an open and shut case. One does not need any evidence as in this age of 24/7 television, the entire world witnessed Israeli war crimes in Gaza as it killed more than 2,000 defenceless Palestinians, including 400 children, injured more than 9,000 and made the Gaza residential areas look like Hiroshima.

It’s estimated that it will take 10 years and US$10 billion to rebuild the city.

Marjorie Cohn, a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, says for decades, Israel has slaughtered Palestinians with impunity, always protected by the US government and its veto at the UN Security Council.

But the latest bloody assault on Gaza has prompted more open talks about Israeli war crimes — and US complicity.

She says that by sending vast amounts of military aid to Israel, members of the US Congress, President George W Bush, President Barack Obama and Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel have aided and abetted the commission of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity by Israeli officials and commanders in Gaza.

Cohn says an individual can be convicted of a war crime, genocide or a crime against humanity in the International Criminal Court (ICC) if he or she “aids, abets or otherwise assists” in the commission or attempted commission of the crime, “including providing the means for its commission”.

It’s high time that Israel be taken to task for violation of human rights of Palestinians by the United Nations.

The US, which has always come to the rescue of Israel by using its veto power, cannot practice double standards on the issue of human rights.

If it allows Israel to get away with war crimes, then it will lose moral rights to preach others about human rights.

Israel is an illegal occupier of Palestinian lands and the US must recognise this fact. Unless Israel withdraws from Palestinian territories, the Middle East will remain in turmoil.

The US has to respect and acknowledge the Palestinian sovereignty over their land otherwise it will not be seen as an impartial arbitrator.

The Brunei Times/Editorial
Monday, August 11, 2014

http://www.bt.com.bn/opinion/2014/08/11/time-israel-punished-gaza-war-crimes

Israel loses war on all fronts

israel“WE MUST defeat Hamas – next time”, the headline in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz is the most serious indictment of the Zionist misadventure in Gaza. In fact, this has been Israel’s most self-defeating war. Backed by world’s most monstrous war machine, it has failed militarily, politically, strategically and on the diplomatic front it has been a disaster.

The main objective of the massive military operations was to reduce the resistance capability of Hamas and make it politically irrelevant. Exactly opposite of this has happened.

After relentless and indiscriminate military operation for more than three weeks, Hamas is very much there. In fact, it has emerged more powerful – both politically and militarily.

One of the most significant aspects of this Israeli misadventure is the heavy loss the Zionist army has suffered. So far Israeli death toll from 25 days of attacks at 66, Hamas says the number at more than 150.

Apart from inflicting heavy damage, Hamas has been able to wear down the Israeli army. Tired and humiliated, the Israeli army has already started withdrawing from the Gaza without diminishing the Hamas capability to hit Israeli cities. The Israeli narrative of “right to self-defence” has been completely rejected by the international community.

The biggest setback came when international airlines began cancelling their flights to Tel Aviv. Although the flight ban was for a short period, this had very telling effect on the Israeli psyche as for the first time they could sense international isolation and the fear that if the conflict spreads, they have no escape route.

On the other hand, Hamas has emerged the hero of resistance against Israel’s illegal war. Instead of weakening Hamas’ sovereignty over Gaza, the Israeli assault has consolidated Hamas’ political grip. In the end, it’s Israel which is the real loser, both on the war and diplomatic fronts.

The Brunei Times/Editorial
Tuesday, August 5, 2014

http://www.bt.com.bn/editorial/2014/08/05/israel-loses-war-all-fronts

http://www.ibtimes.co.in/israel-withdraws-ground-troops-gaza-calls-7-hr-unilateral-truce-605985

Muslim Filipino professionals join peace calls for Gaza

moroBong S Sarmiento
KORONADAL CITY, Philippines

A NETWORK of Muslim professionals in the Philippines has joined the global calls for the peaceful resolution of the Gaza conflict.

In a manifesto emailed to The Brunei Times this week, the Young Moro Professionals Network, Inc (YMPN) urged Israel and Palestine to avoid the path of violence and instead thread the peaceful way through dialogue.

A 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza negotiated by the United States and the United Nations took effect Friday morning, but was quickly brokened when the Israelis accused the Hamas of kidnapping one of their soldiers.

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators would meet in Cairo, Egypt for formal talks on how to end the conflict in the duration of the truce, reports said.

However, as soon as the truce took effect, Israel renewed shelling that killed at least 50 Palestinians and wounded 220 others, after Hamas reportedly captured an Israeli officer and killed two others.

“We call on the concerned parties, Israelis and the Palestinians, to resume the peace talks on an acceptable, fair and democratic resolution creating a genuine and far-reaching solution towards an end to the sectarian violence and sporadic armed confrontation,” the YMPN said.

It said the recognition of the Palestinians’ quest for their right to self-determination leading to a “two states” resolution or a federal government system “is seen as a viable resolve.”

“We support them as we the Bangsamoro people in southern Philippines (Mindanao) share the same aspiration for right to self-governance, justice, and peace through a genuine autonomous government,” the group said.

YMPN also commended the efforts of various organisations, government institutions and individuals who have given humanitarian aid and have called for a peaceful resolution in Gaza.

“It is a blunder to world peace if other nations play blind and deaf on the sufferings and anguish for peace and justice in the Israel-Gaza conflict,” it said.

For her part, National Commission on Muslim Filipinos Secretary Yasmin Busran-Lao said they are praying for the people of Gaza, and called on Israel to value the life of civilians and to uphold international laws.

“The State of Israel must stop the occupation of Palestine and the oppression of the Palestinian people,” she said.

Israel drew flak after it stepped up military offensives in Gaza starting last month, which sparked protests in different parts of the world.

Governor Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao also urged Israel to once and for all uphold international laws and stop escalating its “mounting war crimes, as its illegal occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people continue to fuel an endless cycle of violence.”

“The Moro people stand in solidarity with Gazans, all Palestinians and other innocent victims of war…Let us offer a prayer to those who have perished and to the parents who will never see or hold their children again,” he said earlier.

The Brunei Times
Sunday, August 3, 2014

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http://www.bt.com.bn/news-asia/2014/08/03/muslim-filipino-professionals-join-peace-calls-gaza

Aidil Fitri festival and the Palestinians’ fight for freedom

aqsaBANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THE noble and generous guest has left us and no one knows whether one will have the chance to meet it again next year.

Yes, Ramadhan, the month full of blessing, mercy and forgiveness, has left us and we are now in Syawal already.

After submitting humbly and sincerely to the will of Allah the Almighty by fasting for the whole month of Ramadhan, InsyaAllah we will gain the diploma of taqwa (god-fearing, piety) from the Ramadhan school.

InsyaAllah, with the grace of Allah, the Ramadhan training camp managed to transfom us into more pious personalities, more god-fearing and – conscious Muslims – the characters whose hearts and minds are always attached to and in the remembrance of the Creator the Sustainer.

Now, let’s not miss another big opportunity for generous reward Allah has promised for the true Muslims: fasting six days in Syawal.

So big is the reward that Allah’s Messenger, Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said in a hadith narrated by among others Imam Ahmad, Muslim, Tirmizi, Abu Dawud and Nasa’i: “Whoever fasts during Ramadhan, and then accompanied it with the fast of six days in the month of Syawal, his reward is similar to fasting the whole year.”

Who among us who do not want to reap this generous reward? If any of us still miss this golden opportunity every Syawal that means that we have failed to gain the best lessons Ramadhan school has taught us. Thus, we need to work hard to cleans the rust that has tainted our heart and reduced our sensitivity.

Islam urges the ummah (community) to continuously conduct good deeds and charity, no matter the amount, and to show solidarity to our brothers and sisters who are less fortunate. And, with the spirit of Ramadhan and Syawal, let us not forget our brothers and sisters who are facing hardship under the barbaric modern world colonisation and persecution.

As imams nationwide has reminded us in their Hari Raya Aidil Fitri sermons, we should not forget our Palestinian brothers and sisters who are now not only living in misery, but are also being bombed and killed by a vicious enemy of merciless soldiers who do not differentiate between women and children, and elderly.

At least 1,360 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed by the Zionist Israeli strikes on Gaza and 59 Israelis killed by Palestinian fighters until yesterday.

While we are enjoying ourselves celebrating the post fasting Aidil Fitri festival with luxury, “the Palestinians (especially those in Gaza) are currently in a state of uneasiness, fear, drowning in tears and drenched in blood because of the vicious attacks from the Zionist enemies who are inhuman without any remorse,” said the sermons.

Imagine the tears of the mother whose children died just the day before Aidil Fitri.

Imagine where will a family spend their Hari Raya when their home has been destroyed; when they have lost everything they ever owned.

Let us all supplicate Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala for help, so that our Muslim brothers and sisters in Palestine will be saved from the brutality and torture of the enemy that they have been facing, as quickly as possible. Aamiin.

Aidil Fitri is a day that marks the successful completion of the sacred month of Ramadhan. It is a festival that signifies the completion of an act of duty and devotion. It teaches us that real happiness results from performing one’s duty and making sacrifices for a noble objective.

We should thank Allah the Almighty, for He guided us to fasting in Ramadhan, to doing good deeds, and to reciting the Qur’an. We should thank Him, for He is the One who gave us the money we paid for zakat fitrah and other charities. Allah says in the Qur’an, “And (He desires) that you should complete the prescribed period and that you should glorify Allah for having guided you and that you may give thanks.” (Al-Baqarah 2:185)

To proof to Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala that we Ramadhan school have changed us for the better, let us continue (and improve) all the acts of worship that we have diligently done during the fasting month throughout the rest of the year until we meet the next Ramadhan.

And, if throughout the year we do not have the opportunity due to work, daily responsibilities ad other wordly affairs, this is the time we can re-strengthen our ties with neighbours, family and friends.

After graduating from the Ramadhan camp, it is time for us to unite and stand tall behind our leader, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, in support of the Syariah Penal Code Order 2013 that is prescribed based on the command of Allah, the Just Giver Who is Most Merciful and Most Gracious, to save us, His slaves, from hellfire. The Syariah is the law of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala that is relevant to all places on the Universe and to all times.

May Allah accept our good deeds and grant us His forgiveness and mercy. We also wish a happy Aidil Fitri to all Muslims, especially those who are a minority and being oppressed and becoming refugees in places like Syria, Myanmar, Central African Republic and Xinjiang (China). Aamiin.

The Brunei Times/Editorial
Friday, August 1, 2014

http://www.bt.com.bn/opinion/2014/08/01/aidil-fitri-festival-and-palestinians%E2%80%99-fight-freedom

Where’s rights champion when Israel kills Gaza children?

gazaBANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

IT IS heartening to see Bruneian Muslims flocking to mosques and prayer halls throughout the country on Mon-day, July 14, 2014, to pray for the safety and protection of the Palestinians, especially those in the blockaded and bombarded Gaza. People from all walks of life, from children to elderly, thronged the mosques for the special mass prayers for the plight of the Palestinians in response to the call from His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.

Muslims in the other parts of the world also performed prayers for the Palestinians and took to the streets to protest and condemn the brutal aggression of Zionist Israel. Protests were also staged by people of other religions in non-Muslim countries: a proof that people who truly have hearts and conscience are against the inhumane and barbaric acts of the Zionist Israel. If you don’t cry seeing the drama showing the innocent face of children, women and elderly people killed and homes razed to the ground by the Israeli bombardment of Gaza, there must be something wrong with your heart. At least 224 people, two-third of them civilians and most were children and women, and more than 1,500 injured until yesterday.

With utmost honesty and sincerity, we must salute the Palestinians, especially the Gazans, for their steadfastness and determination in resisting and fighting persecution by the Zionist Israel and their full confidence towards Allah the Almighty’s love and protection. Gazans have shown the world they are the toughest and bravest human beings on Earth.

They have been living under extreme hardship under the inhumane blockade by the Zionist government of Israel. In the middle of this fasting month of Ramadhan, the Zionists with their state of the art weapons, fighter jets and war machines launched strikes after strikes against people armed only with stones, mediocre arms and ineffective rockets. Gaza has no planes, no tanks, no latest technologies, no guided missiles, but, for sure, they have Allah’s protection.

Israel’s military has intentionally targeted civilians, especially children, in a war they claimed to defend themselves from the people they have been colonising for decades. Houses, schools and public facilities were destroyed in strikes they said to demilitarise Hamas. Hospitals are short of medicines and other supplies due to the blockade, which has got even worse with Egypt closing the Rafah border crossing, the only gate to the outside world.

We strongly condemned the Zionist Israel’s persecution, practice of apartheid system and attacks on the Palestinians. We are also deeply concerned with the deaths the Zionist military has caused on Gazans. Israel might think that the massacre would crush the fighting spirit of the Palestinians. No! It was a big mistake. They would only awaken the people they tried to crush. They would only invite a more massive resistance that sends the ghost of fear to the Israelis. By using more sophisticated wea-pons, the Zionist Israel, actually, only display their fear of the Palestinian fighters.

The more they attack Gazans, the bigger their spirit becomes. Death is something feared by the Israelis, but for Muslims in general and the Gazans in particular, dying in jihad, war against the enemy of Islam, will only make them syahid (martyr), the best death which true Muslims dream of.

Allah says in Al-Quran: “And say not of those who are killed in the Way of Allah, ‘They are dead.’ Nay, they are living, but you perceive (it) not.” (Al-Baqarah 154), and “Think not of those who are killed in the Way of Allah as dead. Nay, they are alive, with their Lord, and they have provision. They rejoice in what Allah has bestowed upon them of His Bounty, rejoicing for the sake of those who have not yet joined them, but are left behind (not yet martyred) that on them no fear shall come, nor shall they grieve.” (Ali Imran 169-170)

We need to clarify that Islam does not sanction waging war against the People of the Book as long as they do not stage aggression against Muslims or occupy their lands. But whenever any Muslim land is occupied by an enemy, just as the case with Palestine occupied by the Zionists who spread torture and violence on earth against the original inhabitants of the land, Muslims and Christians, rampaging through houses, raping women and killing innocent children, Jihad in this case becomes individually obligatory (Fardu `Ain) for all Muslims living in the occupied land, as well as for Muslims very close to them, to regain the land from the enemy.

Because the Israelis will not allow us to arm the Palestinians, we Muslims, as individuals and communities, are bound to do our best in this respect. The Quran says: “Allah puts no burden on any person beyond what He has given him.” (At-Talaq 65:7). We can offer many things to support our Palestinian brothers, including supplicating to Allah to help them because ‘supplication is the shield of a believer’. We can support them financially, as every one of us is asked to offer whatever amount of money we can in this cause as a sign of solidarity with these oppressed people. Also, we are to propagate their cause and make it known to everyone, especially as it is not the Palestinians’ own cause: it is the cause of Islam. May Allah hasten the victory of our beloved Palestinian brothers and sisters over the oppressors. Aamiin

We need to learn from our Palestinian brothers and sisters. Amid the hardship, living with very limited resources, under the cruel occupation and persecution, they have never given up. All the problems and difficulties only make them stronger and closer to their Lord the Creator. What makes the Gazans and Palestinian fighters so tough, headstrong and persistent? It’s because their strong love of the Almighty Allah, His Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), His Book and their motherland, and their persistence in performing their religious duties. Israel’s bullets and missiles can never kill this spirit and eternal love.

Now, amid the biased reports by wes-tern media on the plight of the Palesti-nians, where has the so-called human rights champion (especially the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights) gone? Where are you? You’re quick to condemn when one wants to implement the law of divine origin, Syariah, and no one was killed. When Gaza is being bombarded and children massacred under a systematic ethnic cleansing campaign by the Zionist Israel, what can you do? Don’t the UNHCR acknowledge the human rights of the Palestinians to live as free human beings?

Palestinians do not need your lip service. Ignoring the genocide in Gaza you only make UNHCR a joke to mankind.

UNHCR seems to have lost the high moral ground to lecture about human rights to anyone in the future.

The Brunei Times/Editorial
Fri, 18 July 2014

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http://www.bt.com.bn/opinion/2014/07/18/where%E2%80%99s-rights-champion-when-israel-kills-gaza-children

Western media and art of distorting narrative

gazAsif Ullah Khan
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

“ISRAEL under renewed Hamas attack”, says BBC while CNN headline is more dramatic “Rockets rain on southern Israel”. The front page of USA Today reads “Israel: rocket fired every ten minutes” and “How Hamas reached deeper into Israel”. The New York Times ran the headline “Israel vs Gaza: for now, it’s rockets vs interceptors”.

If this was not enough, doyen of broadcast journalism ABC News’ Diane Sawyer went overboard to paint Israel as the “victim”. She in her news programme says “We take you overseas now to rockets raining down on Israel today as Israel tried to shoot them out of the sky. Then she shows video footage of a Palestinian family gathering belongings in the smoking debris of a missile-hit home in Gaza. But Sawyer identifies it as “an Israeli family trying to salvage what they can.”

gazaSawyer then describes an image of a Palestinian woman surrounded by destroyed homes as “one woman standing speechless among the ruins,” with the implication that she is Israeli.

We must bear in mind that the above mentioned cases come not from right-wing Fox News but the mainstream news organisations which are not only known for their accuracy but also their balanced coverage, meaning showing both sides of the picture, in this case — the conflict.

gaza1The irony is that BBC, the epitome of fair and balanced journalism, has become a propaganda tool for Israel. Writing in The Guardian, Owen Jones says the macabre truth is that Israeli life is deemed by the western media to be worth more than a Palestinian life – this is the hierarchy of death at work.

Jones further says: But the media coverage hardly reflects the reality: a military superpower armed with F-15 fighter jets, AH-64 Apache helicopters, Delilah missiles, IAI Heron-1 drones and Jericho II missiles (and nuclear bombs, for that matter), versus what David Cameron describes as a “prison camp” firing almost entirely ineffective missiles. Twenty-seven Palestinians are reported to have died in Gaza – and, mercifully, no Israelis have been killed by Hamas rockets – and yet the BBC opts for the Orwellian “Israel under renewed Hamas attack”.

Jones goes on: And so it goes for the events surrounding the abduction and vile murder of three Israeli teenagers. What was not widely reported by the western media was that – in the raids that followed their disappearance – six Palestinians, including a child, were killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank. As Amnesty International put it, these were “blatant violations of international humanitarian and human rights law”.

gaza2Such concerted campaign against the Palestinians cannot be termed as an editorial oversight. As they say there is method in the madness. Israeli propagandists infiltrated into major news organisations have very sinisterly changed the narrative. Israel has become the “victim”. The Goliath of the Middle East armed with world’s most modern war machine has become David, defending itself against onslaught of rockets fired by Hamas.

The entire Western media is in sync as far as the narrative of the conflict is concerned. Israeli atrocities, its illegal expansion of settlements and denial of basic human rights to Palestinians do not find place in news headlines rather a new term has been introduced Hamas-run, Hamas-run hospital etc.

People are surprised how a journalist of Diane Sawyer’s calibre could commit such a silly mistake.

Sawyer is not new to the Middle East. She has extensively covered this region and even interviewed Yasser Arafat.

All this is the result of a powerfully sophisticated public relations strategy orchestrated by Israel and partially paid for by US tax dollars, which has even made inroads into BBC.

According to Redress Information & Analysis, an independent website dedicated to exposing injustice, disinformation and bigotry, Raffi Berg, the editor of the BBC News website’s Middle East section, has been sending his staff emails advising them to write more favourably about Israel. In one email, sent during Israel’s eight-day assault on Gaza in November 2012, which killed nearly 200 Palestinians, Berg asked BBC colleagues to word their stories in a way which does not blame or “put undue emphasis” on Israel for starting the prolonged attacks. Instead, he encouraged journalists to promote the Israeli government line that the “offensive” was “aimed at ending rocket fire from Gaza”.

The pro-Israeli media has not only distorted the reality but also changed the entire narrative of illegal occupation of the Palestinian land. The Israeli viewpoint is presented in such a way that it is divorced from the history of the conflict. Like the present situation, the main story is rockets fired by Hamas but the context and background of what Israel has done in Gaza is completely absent from the narrative and this is done with such finesse and subtlety that the aggressor and oppressor becomes the victim and real victims are portrayed as aggressors or attackers. Pictures of Palestinian children throwing stones at tanks are prominently shown to justify every killing by Israeli soldiers and bombing raids by F-16s. Words like Israeli war crimes, massacres, assaults, invasion, raids and offensives are not used while reporting Israeli aggression and any reference to previous Israeli killings or attacks is missing.

All Israeli bombings are referred to as a defensive measures or retaliation which can’t be any farther from the reality as it is the Palestinians who are resisting and taking defensive measures against the Israel aggression. No matter how many innocent civilians, including children, are killed, no matter how many homes are destroyed, the western media narrative remains pro-Israel, echoing the policies of their governments. One TV anchor has rightly called US journalists as stenographers for the US government.

The Brunei Times
Mon, 14 july 2014

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http://www.bt.com.bn/opinion/2014/07/14/western-media-and-art-distorting-narrative