Gaza and oversimplification in the Israeli media

July 25, 2014 9:51 am

Following a statement by Israeli prime minister, Netanyahu, that claimed the war in Gaza is proof why Israel can never leave the West Bank, Ynet news published an article. This article is an example of how Zionists within Israel interpret these statements, oversimplify them and willingly ignore context to paint a black and white picture.

The article is by Guy Bechor, the heading and sub heading is as follows:

Hamas teaching naïve dreamers a Middle Eastern lesson

Op-ed: When majority of State of Israel is targeted by missiles fired by a terror organization which took over a territory, how can anyone consider giving Palestinians more independent land?

The subheading in itself is without context, and context, especially in a conflict such as that of Israel and Palestine, is the most important thing. After the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian authority failed again and again – from Oslo and up to the present, and after the settlements continued to expand, after the building of the separation barrier, there was a frustration of both Palestinians and Israelis. And while the Israelis showed their frustration by voting in more and more right wing leaders, the Palestinians showed it by voting for Hamas. Hamas was elected in 2006.


Mahmoud Abbas

And who can blame the Palestinians? The security apparatus of the Palestinian Authority and Mahmoud Abbas is one provided by ex US general Keith Dayton. It is a security apparatus that is not only cooperative with the Israeli occupation, an illegal one at that, but also charged with keeping Mahmoud Abbas in power because he is the only “moderate” partner for Israelis. They do not serve the interests of the Palestinian people – and silencing the Palestinians for the sake of preventing another Israeli offensive in the West Bank is political blackmail.

Hamas was the only realistic option that could truly damage the stranglehold of Abbas and his Fatah party over the Palestinian Authority – and so many Palestinians who were not even Hamas supporters voted for Hamas tactically. Had the West not meddled in the security affairs of the Palestinians, and given them a voice, then this may have not happened – but the fact that Hamas was elected all the way back in 2006 is reflective of the frustration at the time. The election results today may differ, who knows? But for the Palestinians who have been living under occupation – whether its the farmer who can no longer access his land because of the separation barrier, the professor who is berated by young soldiers at checkpoints, the  East Jerusalem Palestinian who is either evicted from his house or forced to demolish it because he is worth less than a Jew, those living in Area C of the West Bank who can not even raise a tent without Israeli permission, or most important of all those languishing inside refugee camps within the West Bank – being refugees in their own “country”. Not a single word is mentioned about that, and that is only the tip of the iceberg that is the Israeli military occupation. Is it a surprise they will vote for a more radical government that is prepared to resist by any means?

“Isn’t it clear that no matter who rules this land, the terror will start launching missiles from there on Israel’s cities, and this time from the center of the Land of Israel?”

I love the phrasing, “the terror” – It is like “the darkness” from a fictional movie and that is because this is what is inside mister Bechor’s head – a fictional representation that is embarrassingly misinformed. The explanation for Hamas’ rise to power that I give does no justice to context, but it gives you an idea. However, as much as Hamas controlled the Gaza strip since 2006, they have not controlled its borders. In fact, on three sides (one by sea, and two by land) Israel has complete and total control. Fishermen are often driven back to the coast, while on the land is a large separation wall dotted with automatic motion sensing guns. The Egyptian side is not such good news either, considering the triangular partnership between Israel, Egypt and the USA which sits at the top. The Palestinians of Gaza were left trapped since then, with nothing going in or out except by the permission of Israel, there was a full on blockade. Even if Hamas wanted to build a “Palestinian paradise” it could not for lack of resources – why? Because they were under a blockade. And why were they under a blockade? Because they were willing to fully resist the Israeli occupation at every turn, no cooperation. I am by no means expressing support or commendation for Hamas, but that is what most frustrated Palestinians see in them. And that cannot be ignored.

“The IDF’s presence is the only thing preventing this threat today -”

Yes, combined with the cooperation of the Palestinian security force. But I believe otherwise. Even Hamas, like the Palestinian authority, is fighting for the same goal – for Israel to withdraw to the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as Palestine’s capital, no separation barrier that snakes into occupied Palestinian territory and no settlements. But because of an ongoing occupation, settlement expansion and the myriad of other things that come with a military occupation that comes with the presence of the IDF there will always be risk of some sort of resistance; peaceful or armed.

What I do find most strange is that despite their claims that Palestine (West Bank or Gaza) is simply a security buffer for Israel against Palestinian and other terrorists, they still insist on building settlements and shoving them full of civilians – according to their logic they are putting them in harms way. So what will it be Israel?

“The fairytale that dividing the territory will lead to peace is being proved as extremely dangerous. It will only lead to war and further misery for all sides.”

Another huge fallacy presents itself. Mister Bechor tries to separate the case of Gaza and the case of the West Bank. Even though they are not contiguous, they are both Palestine, full of Palestinians and fighting for Palestinian rights. Hamas does not only take issue with the siege that Gaza was imposed under as collective punishment, but with what goes on in the West Bank also, which I have mentioned above.

“The fairytale is also interrupted by stones. Finance Minister Yair Lapid keeps talking about “a peaceful divorce” from the Palestinians, “them and us” and “disengagement.” But last week it turned out that there is a problem with some of Israel’s Arabs too, not just with the Palestinians.”

Lapid speaks during a Yesh Atid party meeting, at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem

Finance Minister Yair Lapid

It is funny how this “problem” with Israeli Arabs (Palestinians, really) is not explained. But put simply, they are a significant minority that is not Jewish. And for a Jewish state, an ethnocracy with the interest of keeping it’s “Jewish character” – they will never be fully part of Israel’s society, they will never feel part of it and they will never be seen as part of it. It is not only their threat to the “Jewish character” of Israel, but because they are a remnant of the Palestinians that Israel expelled in 1948 and 1967 in order to create the “Jewish character” in the first place. They are a constant reminder of the moral price Israel paid to exist as a Jewish state.

“The fairytale is also interrupted by the Arab Spring, which is manifested both in Judea and Samaria and in Gaza. In Judea and Samaria we saw this month how Mahmoud Abbas can’t even control his own territory, surrounded by organizations which are hostile towards him and towards Israel.

 In Gaza it’s exactly the same situation: The political Hamas is challenged by the military Hamas, which is challenged by the Islamic Jihad, the Resistance Committees, the Popular Front, the Democratic Front – all of which are challenged by ISIS and the growing Salafis. Even they are incapable of making any decision, certainly not accepting agreements with their bitter enemy Israel.

Each of them is firing rockets at Israel and engaging in a debate with the other organizations, at the expense of Israel’s citizens. The Arab chaos teaches the naïve dreamers a Middle Eastern lesson.”

I don’t know if mister Bechor is willingly lying or there is a grammar/punctuation/typing error, but from this passage he makes the impression that Israel is under attack on all fronts. No it is not. The only source of rockets are from Gaza where the resistance committees, popular front, democratic front and Islamic Jihad are all located. Two were fired from Lebanon and that is it, and the Lebanese government has an interest in not getting into war with Israel. ISIS is not firing rockets at Israel, because being extremist Muslims they are doing what extremist Muslims do best…fight other Muslim sects.

As for Mahmoud Abbas and his control (or lack there of). If it is truly the case that Mahmoud Abbas is not under control, then I am absolutely surprised that not more Israeli settlers are being kidnapped and held hostage/or murdered, or more Israeli soldiers in the West Bank are being held hostage. I am not saying that it is right this should happen, but the frustration that Palestinians are going up against makes these events expected – and yet they are rare enough to cause a huge earthquake in Western media as a whole. Why? Either it is because Mahmoud Abbas has full control of the West Bank, or that Palestinians there, you know the ones getting arrested, tortured, detained, tear gassed, have resolved them selves to peaceful protests and activism. Either way, mister Bechor has to explain himself.

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