Israel’s PR machine has successfully controlled media coverage of the Gaza invasion by preventing journalists from entering Gaza and even preventing U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory, Professor Richard Falk from entering the country. Instead of exposing Israeli restrictions, our media is parroting Israeli government talking points and broadcasting video supplied by the Israeli military. There is also no shortage of local Zionists to spin and justify every Israeli crime.
The media makes it seem that the conflict started two years ago with the election of Hamas or that the current onslaught in Gaza is first time Israelis are massacring Palestinians. The reality is that Israel has been killing Palestinians since 1948, 40 years before the founding of Hamas and 75 years before it was elected in a free and fair election. Witness the massacre of Deir Yassin and Tantura (1948) and the many atrocities documented by Israeli historian Ilan Pape in his book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.
The media may have forgotten that most of the inhabitants of Gaza are refugees who were driven out of their homes inside Israel 60 years ago. Did they also forget that the Jenin massacre of April 2002? Hamas wasn’t elected yet.
Before Hamas came to power, Arafat, was the excuse for attacking, murdering and abusing Palestinians? Arafat, the first Palestinian leader to recognize Israel and enter into a peace accord with it, saw Israel bomb his own compound and was put under house arrest until he was airlifted unconscious to die in a Paris hospital. With all the talk about his successor as a moderate, the hapless Abu Mazin can not leave Ramallah without an Israel permit, can not prevent Israeli military from assassinating and kidnapping Palestinian leaders, bombing and killing his own police force in the West Bank, the land theft and colonization, the encirclement of Bethlehem and Qalqelia, the frequent Israeli military incursion into Nablus or the current assault on Hebron Palestinians by paramilitary Jewish settlers.
Fast forward to few months ago, when the Israelis were violating the cease fire by continuing their blockade of Gaza, by assassinating Palestinians and by killing Gazans slowly, especially the sick and elderly, by withholding food, fuel and medical treatment.
Everyone knows there is no Hamas inside Israel, yet this did not stop Israel from demolishing the homes and villages of non-Jewish Israelis in the Negev and the Galilee. The Zionist drive started in 1948, to clear and Judaize the entire area of historic Palestine, is still unfolding.
It is time the media tells it like it is and for people of conscience to reflect on the meaning of “never again.”
Kensington resident Hassan Fouda is board director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolition (www.ICAHDUSA.org).