On June 1 there were many newsworthy incidents around the globe. Trawling the web’s news sites and international newspapers, you could see what was being brought to the attention of the world at large.
There were reports on the US-sponsored shambles in Ukraine, the savagery in Iraq and Syria, the British prime minister making a fool of himself yet again, Pakistan’s military operations against the militants in North Waziristan, the disgrace of a formerly popular Australian entertainer, a bomb killing 20 people in a Nigerian market, fraud in the Afghan presidential election (surprise, surprise) and a multitude of other reports on all sorts of remarkable occurrences.
And the event that received most cover was the funeral of three Israeli teenagers who had been murdered.
We should not be surprised about this, because anything that upsets Israel is automatically headline material, and reportage was intriguing in its support of the Tel Aviv regime.
Now don’t get me wrong: nobody in their right minds could possibly approve of the wicked murder of three perfectly innocent teenagers of any nationality, anywhere in the world. The people who committed this horrible crime should be hunted down and dealt with. And by that I mean killed, because they are the lowest of the low and do not deserve to live. But the Israeli blitz bombing of Palestinian Gaza in retaliation is not justice – any more than was the useless firing of rockets by Hamas.
For once I agreed with the venomous, brutal and amoral prime minister of Israel, the hideous Benjamin Netanyahu, when he declared that the three boys were “cut down by the hands of evil men.” But then Netanyahu went into the realms of fantasy in declaring that “a broad moral gulf separates us from our enemies. They sanctify death, we sanctify life. They sanctify cruelty, and we mercy and compassion. That is the secret of our strength.”
For Netanyahu to claim that he is in any way familiar with “mercy and compassion” is utterly bizarre. This is the man who ordered air strikes on Gaza in November 2012 that killed dozens of children. In one of these atrocities “Five women, including one 80-year-old, and four small children were among the dead.” Even Ha’Aretz newspaper recorded that “More than one-third of the Palestinian civilians killed during Israel’s operation in the Gaza Strip last November were under the age of 18,” as recorded by the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. The secret of Israel’s strength lies not in mercy and compassion but in brutality and world-tolerance of its relentless suppression of Palestinians.
Netanyahu is a murderous fanatic who will not rest until the last Arab is driven from the land that was Palestine and is now occupied by Jewish ‘settlers’ whose illegal colonies are forbidden by UNSC resolutions. These resolutions are ignored with contempt and impunity by Israel which is regarded as being above the law.
If any other country behaved like Israel in regard to its ethnically separated and persecuted majority population there would be international condemnation. But there isn’t a hope of that because there is oleaginous US endorsement of all that Israel does to maintain its military dominance over lands it continues to occupy illegally.
Take, for example, the reaction of prominent American politicians to the deaths of the three Israeli teenagers. New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio was “deeply saddened and outraged by news of the tragic murders” and declared that “New York City mourns them together with their families.” Does it really? The whole of New York is in mourning for the death of three young Israelis? Well maybe it is. Because the Governor of New York State Andrew Cuomo said that he was “deeply shocked and saddened.” He added that “our thoughts and prayers are with their families and the state of Israel.”
Can you imagine the mayor of, say, Oslo, Manila or Tokyo commenting in such a fashion about the deaths of three Israelis? Would the governors of the states of Queensland, Bavaria or Uttar Pradesh consider it necessary to commit their citizens to pray for the state of Israel?
The crime was terrible but the circumstances are opaque. There is no proof that members of Hamas, the ‘Islamic Resistance Movement’ in Palestine, were guilty of the murders. This is not to say that Hamas extremists were not responsible for the killings. It is certainly likely that some Hamas thugs killed three young innocent defenceless boys. It’s just their style, in fact.
But there is a thing called due process of law. And Israel is supposed to be a country in which there is attention to proper legal process. It is proper that even in Israel a person accused of a crime should be held to be innocent until proved guilty. This happened, for example, in the case of the recently-disgraced former prime minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert, who was recently convicted of corruption. He was obviously guilty of massive venality over many years but until the evidence was produced in court there was no question of condemning him in public. So why, without evidence of any sort, does Netanyahu declare that “Hamas is responsible, and Hamas will pay”?
Netanyahu threatened to “vigorously strike” in Gaza and the occupied West Bank and then ordered over 30 air attacks, saying “if need be, we will expand the campaign.” His foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, was quoted by Israel Radio as saying that reoccupation of Gaza would be more convenient than “small-scale operations,” but Amnesty International’s Philip Luther, condemning the murders, made the point that “justice will not be served by Israel seeking revenge by imposing collective punishment, or committing other violations of Palestinians’ rights.”
Then things became even worse when a Palestinian boy aged 16 was murdered in occupied Jerusalem – and suddenly Netanyahu changed his tune. Obviously fearing retaliation, he said, far too late, that justice should be done and declared that “Israel is a law-abiding state and everyone is obliged to act according to it.” But justice will not be done, because Israel is not a law-abiding state. It is a country built on stolen land and it refuses to obey resolutions of the UN Security Council to return the stolen land to its rightful owners. It refuses to obey resolutions forbidding it to build more ‘settlements’ on the land. And it need not fear any action to force it to obey international law.
The mayor of New York and the governor of NY State have demonstrated that US support for Israel is total and that the Israelis can get away with anything. All US administrations are committed unconditionally to the state of Israel, whose impunity is absolute. But if Washington continues to endorse Israel’s contempt for international law, and the Palestinians are denied justice, the outcome will be catastrophically brutal.