‘There Are No Innocent People in the Gaza Strip’

"A Palestinian journalist shot Friday during clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces at the Gaza-Israel border died of his wounds later Friday night. The journalist, Yaser Murtaja, can be seen in photos soon after he was shot, wearing a protective jacket labeled PRESS. Four other journalists were injured by live fire during the demonstrations, one of them critically."
– Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, April 7, 2018

"The killing and wounding of yet more unarmed Palestinian protesters yesterday by Israeli forces in Gaza is an outrage . . . Firing live ammunition into crowds of unarmed civilians is illegal and inhumane and cannot be tolerated."
– British Political leader Jeremy Corbyn, reported in very few UK newspapers, April 7, 2018

"There are no innocent people in the Gaza Strip. Everyone’s connected to Hamas, everyone gets a salary from Hamas, and all the activists trying to challenge us and breach the border are Hamas military wing activists."
– Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Jerusalem Post, April 8, 2018

No criticism whatever about the killing of unarmed Palestinians by Israeli troops.

– British Foreign Minister, Boris Johnson

During the anti-Russia frenzy in the United Kingdom there has been a series of malevolent political attacks mounted against Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labor party in parliament. Politics being politics, such spiteful offensives are not unusual, but he has been declared by several newspapers to be a Kremlin Stooge because he cautioned against the hysterical reaction to the poisoning of British spy and former Russian citizen, Sergei Skripal, and had observed objectively that "To rush way ahead of the evidence being gathered by the police, in a fevered parliamentary atmosphere, serves neither justice nor our national security."

But McCarthyism flourishes in Britain, nowadays, and its Daily Telegraph newspaper, an unashamedly bigoted publication that used to be an admirable source of news and comment, Britain’s foreign secretary Boris Johnson wrote about Corbyn that "Truly he is the Kremlin’s useful idiot." The fact that Corbyn is being proved right should be embarrassing for such as Johnson, but it is irrelevant in today’s blinkered Britain where Johnson is a prime example of a useless idiot.

Several newspapers have mounted a vicious anti-Corbyn campaign, involving the tried and proven propaganda weapon of accusing a target of being anti-Semitic, a description that is intended to conjure up images of concentration camps, heaps of emaciated bodies, and hideously disfigured survivors of Hitler’s evil attempts to eradicate Germany’s Jews. This obscene and shameful ploy is usually successful.

It may be coincidence that the anti-Corbyn onslaught reached its publicity peak at the time when Israeli soldiers killed sixteen Arabs in the Gaza Strip (two more died later, and another 13 were shot dead in following days), and it is notable that UK media cover of the killings was modest and almost disappeared under the weight of anti-Corbyn diatribes. (And let me make it clear that I am no admirer of Corbyn : he’s a machine political figure whose scruffy appearance appalls me, although I do consider him one of the few UK politicians who sticks to his principles.)

In its excellent daily summation of UK newspapers’ news and opinion the BBC recorded on 30 March that there was not one front page headline about the Gaza slaughter. The papers concentrated largely on nationalistic trivia, and the deliberate killing of sixteen unarmed Arabs by Israeli soldiers scored but a few sentences. The opposition Labor Party, led by Corbyn, was pilloried for being anti-Semitic, and on April 1 "A number of leader columns discuss the anti-Semitism row that continues to trouble Labor — and none are kind. ‘Labor has become the nasty party,’ says the Telegraph . . . while the Sun insists the Labor leader ‘can’t erase his past’."

On and on went the propaganda tide with the anti-Semitic theme, while on and on went the little-reported slaughter, funerals and grieving in Gaza. There is no doubt that Israel’s military fired on and killed unarmed Arabs according to a long-standing plan. Indeed, even the Washington Post reported that "Israel’s defense minister said that the military will not change its tough response to Hamas-led mass protests near Gaza’s border with Israel, warning that those who approach the border are putting their lives at risk. Avigdor Lieberman spoke near Gaza, where 18 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire Friday."

The Israelis are determined to continue killing Arabs. On March an official Israeli website posted a video showing a young Arab shot in leg with the comment that "This is the least that anyone who tries to cross the security fence between Gaza and Israel will face."

As recorded by Human Rights Watch, "Footage of demonstrations published by the Israeli army includes no evidence of firearms," and HRW "reviewed footage it believes authentic based on an interview with the videographer that appears to show a demonstrator shot in the leg while praying and another video showing a man shot while throwing a rock. Other videos reviewed appear to show demonstrators shot while slowly walking toward the border empty-handed or holding only a Palestinian flag or retreating from the border."

These Israeli soldiers are murderers in uniform — but if anyone criticizes Israelis it is verging on the automatic they will be labeled"anti-Semitic." The dark shadows of the Holocaust are cast selectively.

Where is the criticism in the UK’s newspapers of the butchery in Gaza? Where, for that matter, is the criticism of Israel that should have been raised in Britain’s Parliament? And in the US Congress?

Reuters reported that "UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an independent, transparent investigation" into the Gaza slaughter, but a proposed statement by the Security Council that there should be "respect for international human rights law and international humanitarian law, including protection of civilians," was blocked by the United States, from which action it must be concluded that the administration in Washington does not believe in human rights law and protection of civilians.

Only one member of the US Congress criticized Israel for the killings. This isn’t surprising, because, as Foreign Policy Journal reported in 2016, at the "annual Policy Conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee" the speakers included "30 members of the US Congress, 25 of whom received 2016 contributions from pro-Israel PACs and individuals, averaging $36,000 per recipient ($908,000 in total) . . ."

In pristine Britain, the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI), a powerful and well-funded group of governing politicians, records with pride that "119 Conservative Members of Parliament, peers [members of the UK’s ridiculous Upper House of Parliament], senior party officials, and activists visited Israel with CFI between the May 2015 General Election and December 2017." In 2016 the Jerusalem Post reported the chairman of the Conservative Friends of Israel’s declaration that "Israel can rest assured that a UK led by Theresa May will be there in its moments of need." The British prime minister "has been a long-standing friend of Israel and the Jewish community," which explains a great deal, because there hasn’t been one word of criticism from her about the Israeli killings.

It is not surprising that the UK-US pro-Israel propaganda campaign is thriving, just as there is no doubt that the killing of Arabs will continue without criticism. If a government representative of almost any other nation but Israel declared that anyone approaching its border would be killed, there would be outrage in the West. But there are few innocent people in the governments in Washington and London, and the Zionists can get away with murder.

Brian Cloughley is a British and Australian armies’ veteran, former deputy head of the UN military mission in Kashmir and Australian defense attaché in Pakistan. He is author of A History of the Pakistan Army.