Israeli government mistreats

By Jasir Ghanchi

Some articles in this publication have presented an unfair and biased view of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. Writers have urged readers to condemn the Palestinian people, who are already suffering from over five decades of illegal occupation, Israeli attacks, and abject poverty. The actions of the Israeli government, especially the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), are often justified on the grounds that they are fighting terrorism and, of course, the perennial excuse that Israel is a democracy and America’s ally.

Fighting terrorism is no excuse for states to engage in terror themselves. States have a responsibility to behave according to international law and commonly regarded principles of decency. Many of IDF’s actions in the occupied territories are acts of terrorism, pure and simple. Israel’s use of F-16s and high-tech American tanks against a starving homeless population armed with rocks will become a legend in the history of cowardice and oppression.

One can only imagine what treatment is meted out to the Palestinians if IDF has no regard for the life of Americans and Britons. The pro-Israeli media in this country has made sure that most Americans do not know that IDF killed in cold blood an American citizen, Rachel Corrie, in March this year. Israel demolishes Palestinian homes on a regular basis as a tactic of terror. Even squalid homes in refugee camps are made targets. On March 16, 2003, Corrie, a 23-year-old peace activist from Washington state, was run over by an Israeli bulldozer as she was protesting the demolishment of a Palestinian family’s home in Rafah. Eyewitnesses claim that she was visible to the bulldozer driver, who drove the bulldozer (which was ironically made in America) over Corrie’s body twice. Israel tried to call it an accident, and then had the audacity to lay the blame on Corrie. The American government remained silent over the murder of one its own citizens.

Just a few weeks later, in the same city where Corrie was killed, IDF murdered a British cameraman, James Miller, while he was making a documentary on Israel’s demolishion of Palestinian homes. Israel claims that Miller was caught in crossfire and that he was actually a victim of Palestinian fire. A post-mortem examination of Miller’s body showed that he had been shot in the front. The significance of this fact is that Israel claims that 34-year-old Miller was hit in the back–suggesting that he was shot by Palestinians. According to the BBC, another Briton who was accompanying Miller said they were quite clearly waving a white flag while approaching the Israeli vehicle when it opened fire on them. The International Federation of Journalists called Israel’s expressions of regret “callous” and “routine.” Miller was murdered on May 3, World Press Freedom day.

There are acts of terror committed by both sides, but the United States unconditionally supports only one—-Israel. The problem is that IDF gets its military hardware from the U.S. Suicide bombings are horrific acts of terror, and the U.S. government rightly condemns them. But the U.S. must act fairly and force Israel to abandon its policy of terrorizing the Palestinian people into submission. America’s unqualified support for Israel is condemned by the entire world, even the British.

In a letter to her mother three weeks before she was murdered, Corrie wrote, “The count of homes destroyed in Rafah since the beginning of this intifada is up around 600, by and large people with no connection to the resistance but who happen to live along the border. I think it is maybe official now that Rafah is the poorest place in the world…when I come back from Palestine, I probably will have nightmares and constantly feel guilty for not being here, but I can channel that into more work. Coming here is one of the better things I’ve ever done. So when I sound crazy, or if the Israeli military should break with their racist tendency not to injure white people, please pin the reason squarely on the fact that I am in the midst of a genocide for which my government is largely responsible.”