Since the attacks of 11/September/2001 on the USA, terrorism has been presented in the West as the most immediate danger to the globe. You cannot read an “unbiased” newspaper, watch an “informative” news bulletin, or listen to an “honest” politician without the subject of terrorism coming up. Almost always, terrorism is used to refer to the savage brutal acts that are carried out by Muslim individuals and groups. In addition to its savagery, this racist definition is the most conspicuous aspect of the “terrorism” that is the subject of continuous debate in the West.
Thankfully, there is a small but growing group of brave and honest politicians and media people who are willing to break this silence and talk about the longest and most gruesome terrorism on this planet: Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, the people whose land it stole.
We are living today, during this holy month of Ramadhan, another bout of intensification of this 64-year old terrorism. When this campaign of killing more Palestinians and destroying the already ruined lives of many more of them is finished — and it will finish at some point — there will not be peace or justice for the victims. The situation will just switch back to the standard daily lower-level terrorism. This is how terrible the situation is, and this is how shameless those silent politicians and media are.
The new intensified campaign of terror was triggered by the killing of three kidnapped Israeli teenagers. This murder is a brutal and coward act; there can be no justification for it. Shortly after they were killed, a Palestinian teenager, 17-year old Mohammed Abu Khedeir, was abducted and burned alive. But this retaliation of terror was not enough for the Israeli government and its supporters. The problem is not that “they killed three, we killed one,” but the fact that killing and torture is supposed to be done by one side in this ongoing genocide: the occupying Israelis, both the army and militant civilians — the settlers on stolen Palestinian land.
As soon as the news broke out about confirming the death of the three Israeli victims, Western politicians and media, led by the uncompromising Zionist lovers of the Jewish state in America, started to express their outrage at what happened. On the face of it, this is the right reaction. After all, this was a heinous murder. But this reaction looks completely different when one takes into account that the ongoing murders of Palestinians are treated with complete silence. The news about the savage killing of the Israeli teenagers prompted President Obama to issue a statement in which he described it as a “senseless act of terror.” When Abu Khedeir’s murder was announced, the White House press secretary condemned it as a “despicable act.”
David Cameroon, the latest British PM to take pride in being an American pawn, issued a statement in which he described the killing of the Israeli teenagers as an “appalling and inexcusable act of terror perpetrated against young teenagers.” Rightly so. So how did he react to the killing of the Palestinian boy who was burned alive to death? Cameroon managed a tweet in which he said he was “appalled” by the killing.
So here you have, it is “terror” when the victim is Israeli and it is condemned by the President and the Prime Minister, but it is something else when the victim is Palestinian. When there is an Israeli victim, a formal statement is necessary, but when the victim is Palestinian, a tweet would do. After all, everyone knows that the killing of Palestinians is not news. It is something that is known to happen everyday. This has been the case for decades.
Furthermore, what Obama, Cameroon, and others did not consider worth mentioning is the five Palestinians that Israel killed when searching for its kidnapped teenagers, i.e. before Israel confirmed they were dead. Abu Khedeir earned a mention only because his killing followed the killing of the Israeli victims and in revenge for their murder. A Palestinian victim may be acknowledged only in the context of a bigger acknowledgement of the loss of an Israeli life. This is how fair and justice-seeking those pathetic politicians are.
Another appalling aspect of how the brutal occupation of Palestine and torture of its people are treated by Western politicians and media is their attempt to look “even-handed” when responding to or reporting on events. If we get someone who knows nothing about the history of Israel in Palestine to listen to the BBC, for instance, they would think that this is a “conflict” between two more or less equal adversaries. They would not know that what we are talking about is simply an “occupation” in which land, houses, rivers, trees, and sky were stolen from a people that continues to be terrorised by the huge military machine of its occupier.
A BBC report last night gave yet another example of this farcical journalism. In order to treat both sides of the “conflict” equally, the BBC had to show us the impact of the latest escalation in violence on the Israelis and Palestinians. They broadcast scenes of how sirens went off alerting Israelis of the possible landing of a Hamas rocket. One result of this was that a stylish wedding party had to be temporarily abandoned as the newly-wed and the guests had to scramble to the shelter. The camera then switched to the other side, and here we saw buildings completely destroyed by bombs, dead bodies being carried or retrieved, and a chaos in which most of those on screen are covered by blood, dust, or both. This is obviously fair reporting! We are now well-informed that not only massacres of people are taking place, but that also wedding parties are being put at risk of being suspended for a few minutes. The violence is affecting the lives of people of both sides is the informative message of this impartial reporting by the venerable BBC.
That “both sides” should show “restraint” is one of the most heard comments by Western politicians on the Israeli-Palestinian “conflict.” This deliberately misleading advice treats stone throwing and deadly bombs and heavy weapons alike, one of the most powerful armies and militias with limited capabilities the same, the occupying and the occupied equally.
I have always supported a two-state solution to end this ongoing terror. This means giving the Palestinians a viable state, justice, and protection. Tolerating, let alone protecting, the occupation and keeping silence will not gradually drive the Palestinians out of history or the world.
What has been happening in Palestine has long gone well beyond diplomacy and pretending that appeasing the Israelis is necessary. Claiming impartiality is a false name for tolerating the continuation of the terrorism of Israel against the Palestinians. One either supports this terror or stands against it. There is no position in the middle. The politics of silence or so-called even-handedness is nothing short of complicity. Unfortunately not only for the Palestinians but the whole world, the West is full of complicit politicians and media.
As the Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko once wisely and beautifully said: “When truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a lie.”