Contrary to western media, the latest outbreak of violence in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict did not start with three slain Israeli teenagers
Another day, another assault on Gaza. You would think it’s an election year in Israel. The Corporate media, at least in North America has been quick to label the death of three Israeli teenagers as the genesis of the latest violence in Palestine. While anyone can make the argument that the violence predates the Israeli occupation (or the creation of Israel for that matter), the truth lies in what occurred back in the months of April and May.
We all know by now that in the middle of June, three Israeli students; Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Frenkel were kidnapped. In an effort to find the teenagers, the Israeli military initiated operation “Brother’s Keeper.”
In the 11 days that followed, Israel arrested 350-600 Palestinians, including nearly all of Hamas’ West Bank leaders. Five Palestinians were killed during the military operation. The mass arrests and Palestinian deaths prompted rocket attacks from Gaza (there had been no rockets fired from Gaza for a year and a half).
Upon the discovery of the dead students last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed revenge, but half a dozen Israeli settlers beat him to it. Three of the settlers admitted to burning 16 year-old Palestinian Mohammed Abu Khdeir alive.
Soon after, Israeli soldiers were caught on tape severely beating Mohammed’s American cousin. Before the New York Times reported the beating, Israeli police officials had said the video was edited and biased.
Now, if you follow western media, it’s easy to see why you would think the kidnapping of the three Israeli teenagers set the current events in motion. Not one reporter in our corporate controlled media has bothered to ask why the three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and murdered in the first place.
A month earlier, on a Nakba Day of protest, Israeli soldiers shot and killed two Palestinian teenagers who were nowhere near the protests and not a threat to the soldiers. One of them was shot in the back. The shooting was caught on cameras positioned atop a Palestinian-owned store where the incident took place. A spokesperson for the IDF said the tape was edited and biased. Sound familiar?
The shooting of these two teenage Palestinians made little news in North America. Instances like this happen often in the occupied territories, but are seldom caught on tape and are quickly dismissed by Israeli authorities unless the victim happens to be American, like Tariq Abu Khdeir. Only then does it get media attention, otherwise it’s just another day in Palestine.
Palestinians however, see these incidents fairly regularly and since this one was caught on camera, it was well known. Because violence goes tit for tat in the region, it wouldn’t surprise me if the kidnapping was actually an act of revenge for the murder of these two teenage Palestinians.
Netanyahu was extremely quick to place the blame for the kidnapping and murders on Hamas. Netanyahu has yet to provide any proof that Hamas ordered the kidnapping and Hamas for its part, along with any group associated with them, have not claimed responsibility.
Either way, the situation is playing right into Benjamin Netanyahu’s hands. He’s been looking for a reason to punish Palestinian leaders for announcing the formation of a Fatah/Hamas unity government back in April. Looks like he didn’t have to wait long. Given that Hamas’ leadership just signed a deal with Mahmoud Abbas (the deal was signed in early June), someone universally seen as a man seeking peace, it is highly unlikely that Hamas is responsible for the kidnapping.
So now we find ourselves in the midst of another Israeli offensive and possible ground invasion of Gaza. If ground forces move in, it will mark the third time in six years that Israel has invaded. While the kidnapping may be seen as the pretext for the offensive, the real motive is likely to divide the newly formed unity government. In order to occupy a territory, you must continue to divide and conquer.
Prime Minister Netanyahu was quick to condemn Mohammed Abu Khdeir’s murder, calling the crime “horrific”, kudos to him. Apparently, when settlers commit murder it’s considered horrific, but when it’s carried out by the Israeli Military, it’s just fine.
So far, 61 more Palestinians have been killed since Israel began operation “defensive edge”. Twenty of them civilians. Thousands of IDF troops are gathering at the Gaza border as a ground assault looms. Why? If you believe the western media it’s because three Israeli teenagers were murdered. In reality, it is the day to day violence Palestinians see in the occupied territories and the fact that Netanyahu can’t cope with a Palestinian unity government.
So long as there is a conservative hawkish government in Israel, peace will never come.