The Gaza Massacre is an example of victim-blaming at its worst, because people have died.
Yes, there is an active debate over the intentions behind the tragic events of Monday (May 14) – on both sides.
But does it really matter whether Hamas was stirring people up to bring weapons to the apartheid fence between Gaza and Israel? Do we know that any were brought, apart from slings and stones and other low-tech materials? No, we don’t. The only people firing guns were Israelis.
And this is what we get from the Board of Deputies of British Jews:
— Board of Deputies of British Jews (@BoardofDeputies) May 15, 2018
“No state could allow its borders to be breached by those who openly wish harm to its civilians. Israel is defending its people from repeated violent attempts at mass invasion.
“The responsibility for the violence lies with Hamas, a terrorist organisation with the explicit stated aim of murdering Israeli civilians and the ultimate destruction of the State of Israel.
“Hamas is cynical in the use of its population – including children – to join known terrorists in violent attempts to break through the border and kill Israeli citizens.”
Palestinians say their land has been stolen by Israel and this is true. I refer not to the land that was given to the State of Israel by treaty in 1948, but the land that has been taken by increasingly-aggressive Israeli force in the 70 years since. They were protesting against these thefts and demanding the right to have what is theirs returned to them.
Whatever Hamas said, no violence was carried out against Israeli citizens. In fact, where Palestinians and Israelis live in close proximity, they seem to get on perfectly well. The claim that the organisation desires the destruction of Israel is a wild accusation; everyone involved is reconciled to the fact that this would not solve the issues at hand.
And Hamas did not kill children – the IDF killed them.
The statement by the Board of Deputies has provoked fury – from British Jews, and others:
I am a British Jew. This statement by the Board of Deputies of British Jews does not represent me or I believe many British Jews.
There is no condemnation of the shooting dead of unarmed protestors by Israeli soldiers in what is correctly described as a massacre. It is shameful. https://t.co/cYZJipE97W
— Tom London (@TomLondon6) May 15, 2018
This is such a horrible statement. There is no excuse for the IDF shooting at unarmed protestors. The responsibility for the violence lies with those who killed innocent protestors. https://t.co/EwfJOGJ3IE
— aleesha (@a_leesha1) May 15, 2018
People & organizations who are issuing statements saying 'Hamas is to blame' for Israel killing Palestinian protesters, including kids, & who say nothing critical about Israel should never be taken seriously on any international issue again. Especially any human-rights issue.
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) May 15, 2018
Here’s a statement from the UK government:
Extremely saddened by loss of life in Gaza today. Concerned peaceful protests are being exploited by extremist elements. Urge restraint in use of live fire. Violence is destructive to peace efforts. UK remains committed to a two-state solution with Jerusalem as a shared capital.
— Alistair Burt (@AlistairBurtUK) May 14, 2018
Pathetic. Here’s Tom London again:
— Tom London (@TomLondon6) May 14, 2018
Thank goodness Jeremy Corbyn is Labour leader, and has more to say.
Mr Corbyn said in a statement that action was needed “to hold those responsible to account”.
“This slaughter follows weeks of killings of Palestinian civilians demonstrating for their right to return, most of whom are refugees or the families of refugees,” the Labour leader said.
“Coming on the day President Trump moved the US embassy to Jerusalem, it underlines the threat to peace posed by the continuing and intolerable injustices faced by the Palestinian people.
“The response from many western governments to this flagrant illegality, including our own – which bears a particular responsibility for a peaceful and just resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict – has been wholly inadequate.
“They should take a lead from Israeli peace and justice campaigners: to demand an end to the multiple abuses of human and political rights Palestinians face on a daily basis, the 11-year siege of Gaza, the continuing 50-year occupation of Palestinian territory and the ongoing expansion of illegal settlements.
Mr Corbyn added: “We cannot turn a blind eye to such wanton disregard for international law. That is why Labour is committed to reviewing UK arms sales to Israel while these violations continue.
“The international community must at last put its collective authority and weight behind achieving a lasting settlement that delivers peace, justice and security for both Israelis and Palestinians, who have waited so long to achieve their rights.”
That’s more like it.
Of course, we know why the Conservative government has so little to say against Israel. It’s all about money:
In 2017 the Govt approved £216m in arms sales to Israel, reportedly inc sniper rifles.
And it has been reported that unarmed demonstrators in Gaza were yesterday targeted by IDF snipers.
Today I asked if the Govt would suspend arms sales if UK arms had been used in the killings pic.twitter.com/lLWxZ6rVFN
— Marsha de Cordova MP (@MarshadeCordova) May 15, 2018
The full list of weapons sold by the UK government to Israel is available here.
Your silence is deafening, Prime Facilitator. $445m worth of arms sales to Israel from the U.K. – including snipers. pic.twitter.com/ci1zsb6LHo
— Radicals (@theradicals) May 14, 2018
Fortunately, the UN and at least one other country have made more muscular statements. Here’s UN human rights spokesman Rupert Colville:
"Enough is enough”
UN Human Rights spokesman Rupert Colville says Israel appears to have repeatedly ignored international law after troops killed more than 50 Palestinians at the Gaza border. pic.twitter.com/GjRUNBpJXV
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) May 15, 2018
And South Africa – a country that knows all about apartheid – withdrew its ambassador from Israel.
Literally from an actual people who lived Apartheid: South Africa withdraws its Ambassador from Israel.
“We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.” ~ Nelson Mandela
— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) May 15, 2018
Let us not forget that Israeli citizens are also furious at the actions of their government. The Netanyahu regime cannot claim to have been acting for all its people because it wasn’t.
Now: 500 demonstrators blocking Tel Aviv road in protest against Gaza killings and siege pic.twitter.com/2okqu6yjkh
— Haggai Matar (@Ha_Matar) May 15, 2018
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