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Israel’s absurd war rhetoric

April 27, 2014 at 3:26 pm

Israel’s outrageous attacks on the Palestinians in Gaza are now resonating internationally, gradually wiping out all hopes for humanity. As I write, the death toll has hit 1361 innocent souls and social media is buzzing with the very public disgrace of the Israel “Defence” Forces. The world watches as UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness breaks down in tears live on air over the shameful international disregard for Palestinian rights, while we see children massacred.

The US, meanwhile, confirms that it has re-armed Israel to support the onslaught with, apparently, “no need for approval by the White House”. This “arrangement” was made under the so-called “War Reserves Stock Allies-Israel” (WRSA-I) whereby munitions have been stored in Israel for US use but which Israel is welcome to tap into, in emergency situations. Despite the fact that no such “emergency” has been declared by Israel, the IDF still made use of the generous US supplies for their “unwanted” Operation Protective Edge.

As this is happening, the dismal Israeli rhetoric which claims “self-defence” has reached new heights, or lows. The dehumanisation of Palestinians, branded indiscriminately as “terrorists”, is now more than ever considered an essential cog in Israel’s war machine. Given that a significant number of the victims of Israel’s bombardment are women and children, this label ridicules not only Israel’s dismal “mission”, but also its attempts to justify it. It has reached such a state that we can only hope that it is just the Zionists, the skin-flashing IDF Facebook supporters and low-cerebral recipient news-stations like Fox News would approve. As we have already seen, the US-voted “Number one cable news channel” (slogan: “Balanced and Fair”) sees a frightening doubling or tripling of its substantial viewing figures with every Israel-friendly Middle East conflict coverage. Fox maintains the hard-line Israeli “self-defence” claim, reporting the minimum about Palestinian casualties but covering every twisted ankle of Israeli soldiers.

As Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland send millions of dollars’ worth of humanitarian aid to help the Palestinians, they continue to support the EU paradigm of peace with minimal political involvement. As Europe watches the Palestinian tragedy unfold in Gaza, with Israel’s mind-boggling brutality, Israeli and American news institutions find their way onto the main European news providers; their dissonance puts a gloss on European impartiality, which is so fatal to Palestinian advocacy.

This constant denial of Palestinian rights and Israeli occupation has dangerous consequences for official international positions on the conflict. The Palestinian struggle is often misrepresented in Western media discourse; Hamas is said to be too stubborn to accept a ceasefire even though it wasn’t even consulted on the terms. This narrative is supported by the repeated political denouncement of the resistance group as a terrorist organisation, responsible for killing its own people.

Israel’s self-declared but legally invalid claim of “self-defence” eases the collective conscience of its international supporters as they witness the horrors of Gaza. In a recent interview in Democracy Now, Professor Noam Chomsky explained that the Israelis’ “right” to self-defence should be exercised by them leaving the occupied territories. Just as the British in the American colonies in 1776 had no right to use force to defend themselves against George Washington’s army, “because they had no right to be there” in any case, he argued, the Israelis have no right to be occupying Palestine and so should defend themselves by leaving, not by using force.

The media has more or less ignored the ceasefire terms proposed by Hamas, which were rejected by Israel. Turning a blind eye to decades of Israeli occupation and oppression of the Palestinians and their rights, the US backs Israel and thus backs the extermination of the Palestinian people. The dehumanisation of the victims of Israeli state terror by designating them as “terrorists” helps to speed up Israel’s colonial expansion in the occupied territories.

Arguably the most astonishing misrepresentations of the Israeli aggression in Gaza come from the Twitter account and press releases of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF). According to IDF tweets, the “terrorists” of Gaza are making plans to abduct and murder Israelis, through tunnels underneath the border.

(insert imageIDF ‘4)

“Attack tunnel” destroyed in celebration on Twitter

(insert imageIDF’3)

According to this Tweet, Hamas is the real evil of its people in Gaza

(insert imageIDF’2)

Another morbid Tweet suggests that followers should entertain themselves by witnessing the IDF storming of a Palestinian home.

(insert image IDF’1)


A noteworthy detail of this discourse, is the fact that during the IDF’s brutal attack on the civilians of the Gaza Strip, the Israeli media, despite the force used in the assault, sustains a victims’ discourse, claiming that the massive bombardment is merely “retaliation”. As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put it on Tuesday, “We are not eager for battle, but the security of our citizens and children takes precedence over all else.” This is absurd logic, for Israel has been the aggressor all along simply by dint of its continued brutal military occupation.

In line with the Tweets above, another Israeli official was quoted by the Jerusalem Post, moaning that “Hamas ‘opted’ for escalation”; the official added that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas could not “influence his Hamas partners to exercise restraint and stop kidnapping and murdering Israeli teenagers and sending rocket barrages into Israel.”[1] This ignores, conveniently, the fact that even Israelis themselves have acknowledged that those responsible for the killing of the teenagers were not linked to Hamas. Moreover, the international media repeated the Israeli spin without question.

In fact, the countless misrepresentation of the crisis has prompted the Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem to petition the High Court of Justice (HCJ) for the Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA) to be obliged to acknowledge what is happening in Gaza with radio announcements of at least some of the 200+ Palestinian children killed since the onslaught started almost a month ago. The IBA has refused to do this on the grounds of it being “controversial”, “not balanced” and possibly “provoking public controversy over the military operation.” Israel’s absurd war rhetoric continues unabated.

[1] Source: Netanyahu: IDF operation against Hamas in Gaza ‘may take time’


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