Sunday, January 4, 2009

Gaza: Propaganda, Perception, and Reality - William Cook

Palestine Chronicle, January 2, 2009 - ....Consider the conditions on the ground, the reality not the propaganda, as Israel attacks the residents of Gaza: For the past two years Israel has put Gaza under constant siege closing all gates thus preventing egress and ingress; it has destroyed the infrastructure of Gaza including sewage, electricity and water; it has barred international shipments of humanitarian goods and fuel; and it has maintained, even during the agreed upon cease fire, constant daily incursions into Gaza killing randomly and destroying at will. (PCHRGAZA Weekly Reports). Little or none of this is reported in American papers or on TV news broadcasts, only reference to terrorists and rockets constantly threatening the existence of Israel.

Consider as well the irony of this situation not the propaganda offered by Israel apologists. The people of Gaza are collectively refugees of Jewish forces driven from their homes, like Ashkelon, that is now hit randomly by Gazan rockets. They fire at their own land, at homes they used to live in before well equipped and trained, “unofficial” military of the Jewish Agency during the Mandate years ethnically pushed them into Gaza. The Israelis, of course, do not mention that they stole Ashkelon from the very people who now send rockets into it.

Consider the reality, not the propaganda: the Palestinian people can go nowhere; they cannot escape through the Israeli controlled gates; they can not flee by car, rail, air, boat or on foot; they are caged in a steel enclosed land area blocked on the west by Israeli gunboats. This is comparable in its way to the “highway of death” that slaughtered thousands of Iraqis as they fled from Kuwait in the 1991 war, surrounded and at the mercy of those hurling missiles from the air and the hills that overlooked their death throes.....

And so we must ask, why? What drives this merciless military machine that is the government and armed forces of Israel? Can it be true as Livni attests that “Israel expects the support and understanding of the international community, as it confronts terror, and advances the interest of all those who wish the forces of peace and co-existence to determine the agenda of this region.” What is terror if not the forced imprisonment of 1.5 million people locked behind gates and walls of steel while a state of the art military including land, air and sea forces pummel the people day and night in a merciless barrage of devastation and mayhem? What civilized state in this community of nations could believe that Israel “advances the interest of all” by such devastation of a helpless neighbor? What civilized state could support, what Livni, without blushing, calls the “forces of peace and co-existence” that determine the agenda in the mid-east? Consider the reality not the propaganda.

Let me return now to the quote from Oedipus Rex that headlined this piece: “How dreadful knowledge of the truth can be.” The nations of the world are faced with a pulverizing public relations blitz by the Israeli government to justify its disproportionate destruction of the Palestinian people and their property. Silencing truth, the reality that exists behind a cloak of lies, destroys justice just as it destroys the people of Gaza. I look back at Hamas’ victory at the election booth, at their offer for peace following that election, both the Hamas offer to consider the Saudi Prince’s 2002 peace plan and Mahmoud Abbas’ offer for an International Peace Conference in Oslo, and realize that Israel and the United States ignored their offers, intentionally ignored their offers just as President Bush, earlier this fall, ignored, by refusing to reply, to a Hamas offer for an on-going ceasefire so that peace could be achieved. A different agenda is at work here, an agenda that seeks the total elimination of the Palestinian people as a people, subject to the authority and control of the Israeli government....Let’s hope reality overcomes deception.

William A. Cook is a Professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California and a senior or contributing editor at a number of Internet liberal publications.

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