By Bill Fletcher, Jr.
When I read recently that an Israeli government investigation had concluded that the killing of four Palestinian children in Gaza by Israeli planes during the Israeli invasion of Gaza in 2014 had been regrettable but not a crime, I found myself thinking about a very dark and satirical line that circulated during the Palestinian’s Second Intifada.
In the face of repeated Israeli Defense Force killings of civilians – for which the Israeli government would regularly express regret and suggest had been unintentional – some unknown satirist suggested that the next time that Palestinians blew up a bus that they should apologize for the deaths of the passengers and point out that the actual target was the bus.
Nothing can be as cynical as the repeated Israeli government killings of Palestinian civilians only to hide behind the veneer of civilization. Having locked a segment of the Palestinian population into what much of the world describes as the largest open air prison on this planet – Gaza – cutting them off from acceptable interaction with the rest of the planet, the Israeli government always seems shocked when there is some sort of attack, legitimate or otherwise, launched by Palestinians. It is at that moment that the Israeli government, boasting one of the strongest military machines on Earth, smashes the Palestinians, always in the name of opposing terrorism. Never do they note that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, let along the blockade of Gaza, is internationally recognized to be illegal.
In the most recent case, the Israeli government admits that its planes killed the Palestinian children. They feign regret but they do not answer some very simple questions. Here’s one: Were the aircraft being fired upon by those children or anyone in the vicinity? Here’s another: With one of the most sophisticated and high-tech intelligence operations on the planet, are we supposed to believe that the Israeli Defense Force was unaware that these were children on the beach? Using that logic, how can the Israelis claim that missiles fired by Palestinians are being targeted at civilians and not accidentally falling on civilians?
We have reached a point when the arguments raised by the Israeli government must be understood to be the equivalent of those raised by European settlers in the Old West (the U.S.A.) against Native Americans. No matter what agreements Native Americans came to with the settlers, the Native Americans were always blamed for violence and treated as savages until they were either annihilated or locked up on reservations. Nearly all violence against Native Americans was treated as legitimate compared with any act by Native Americans to protect their own land.
It sure feels as if the Old West is alive and well and being played out in occupied Palestine.
Bill Fletcher, Jr. is the host of The Global African on Telesur-English. He is a racial justice, labor and global justice activist and writer. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and at www.billfletcher.com.