Top 10 myths about Israel's attack on Gaza
By Juan Cole | Friday, 11.23.2012, 11:19 PM |   (16 views)

These misconceptions are spread by the American media.
1  Israeli hawks represent themselves as engaged in a ‘peace process’ with the Palestinians in which Hamas refuses to join. In fact, Israel has refused to cease colonizing and stealing Palestinian land long enough to engage in fruitful negotiations with them.  Tel Aviv routinely announces new, unilateral house-building on the Palestinian West Bank. There is no peace process. It is an Israeli and American sham. Talking about a peace process is giving cover to Israeli nationalists who are determined to grab everything the Palestinians have and reduce them to penniless refugees (again).
2 Actions such as the assault on Gaza can achieve no genuine long-term strategic purpose. They are being launched to ensure that Jewish-Israelis are the first to exploit key resources. Rattling sabers at the Palestinians creates a pretext for further land-grabs and colonies on Palestinian land. That is, the military action against the people of Gaza is a diversion tactic;  the real goal is Greater Israel, an assertion of Israeli sovereignty  over all the territory once held by the British Mandate of Palestine.
3  Israeli hawks represent their war of aggression as in ‘self-defense.’ But the UK Israeli chief rabbi admitted on camera that  that the Gaza attack actually ‘had something to do with Iran.’
4  Israeli hawks demonize the Palestinians of Gaza as “bad neighbors” who don’t accept Israel. But 40% of the people in Gaza are refugees, mostly living in refugee camps, from families in pre-1948 Palestine that had lived there for millennia. They were expelled from what is now Israel in the 1948 Zionist ethnic cleansing campaign. Israelis are now living in their homes and farming their land, and they were never paid any reparations for the crimes done to them. “Israel’s failure to provide reparations to Palestinian refugees over the past six decades is in blatant violation  of international law.” Israel does not accept Palestine’s right to exist, even though it is constantly demanding that everyone, including the displaced and occupied Palestinians, recognize Israel’s right to exist.
5 Israeli hawks and their American clones depict Gaza as a foreign, hostile state with which Israel is at war. In fact,  the Gaza strip is a small territory of 1.7 million people militarily occupied by Israel (something in which the UN and other international bodies concur). Israelis do not allow it to have a port or airport, nor to export most of what it produces. Palestinians cannot work about a third of its land, which is reserved by Israel as a security buffer. As an occupied territory, it is covered by the Hague Regulations of 1907 and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 on the treatment of occupied populations by their military occupier. Indiscriminate bombing of occupied territories by the occupier is clearly illegal in international law.
6 Israeli hawks see themselves as innocent victims of bewildering Palestinian rage from Gaza. But Israel not only has kept Palestinians of Gaza in the world’s largest outdoor penitentiary, they have them under  an illegal blockade  that for some years aimed at limiting their nutrition without altogether starving them to death. I wrote earlier:
“The food blockade had real effects. About ten percent of Palestinian children in Gaza under 5  have had their growth stunted by malnutrition. A recent  report by Save the Children and Medical Aid for Palestinians found that, in addition, anemia is widespread, affecting over two-thirds of infants, 58.6 percent of schoolchildren, and over a third of pregnant mothers.”
If any foreign power surrounded Israel, destroyed Haifa port and Tel Aviv airport, and prevented Israeli exports from being exported, what do you think Israelis would do? Oh, that’s right, it is rude to see both Palestinians and Israelis as equal human beings.
7 Israeli hawks demonize the Palestinian residents of Gaza as followers of Hamas, a party-militia of the Muslim religious right. But half of Palestinians in Gaza are minors, who never voted for Hamas and cannot be held collectively responsible for that party.
8 Israeli hawks justify their aggression on the Palestinians on grounds of self-defense. But Israel is a country of 7.5 million people with tanks, armored vehicles, artillery, helicopter gunships and F-16s and F-18s, plus 400 nuclear warheads. Gaza is a small occupied territory of 1.7 million which has no heavy weaponry, just some old guns and some largely ineffectual rockets. (Israelis cite hundreds of rockets fired into Israel from Gaza in 2012; but until Israel’s recent attack they had killed not a single Israeli, though they did wound a few last March when fighting between Palestinians and Israelis escalated.) Gaza is a threat to Israel the way the Transkei Bantustan was a threat to Apartheid South Africa. As for genuine asymmetrical threats from Gaza to Israel, they could be dealt with by giving the Palestinians a state and ceasing the blockade imposed on them, or in the worst case scenario counter-terrorism targeted at terrorists rather than indiscriminate bombing campaigns.
9 Israeli hawks maintain that they were provoked into the attack.  But actually Ahmad Jabari, the Hamas leader the Israelis assassinated earlier this week, had been engaged in talks with the Israelis about a truce. Assassinations achieved by the ruse of openness to peace talks are guarantees of no further peace talks.
10 Although most American media is a cheering section for the Likud Party, in fact the world is increasingly done out with Israel’s aggressiveness. Boycotts and sanctions will likely grow over time, leaving Israeli hawks with a deficit… .
Juan Cole is a professor of History at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. Taken from his popular blog, titled ‘Informed Comment.’

By Juan Cole

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