US turns a blind eye to Israeli violence against Palestinians

US turns a blind eye to Israeli violence against Palestinians

US turns a blind eye to Israeli violence against Palestinians
Palestinian protesters take cover during clashes with Israeli security forces. (File/AFP)
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Last year was the deadliest for Israeli violence against Palestinians since 2014, when Israel invaded the Gaza Strip and killed more than 2,310 Palestinians, according to B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights watchdog.

Data that exposes Israel’s propaganda lies is one reason Israel wants to outlaw organizations such as B’Tselem.

Israel murdered 313 Palestinians in the occupied territories in 2021, while 895 Palestinians had their homes demolished by Israeli soldiers and armed Jewish settlers using US-made Caterpillar D9 bulldozers.

It is a staggering achievement for Israel, but not significant enough to get Israeli officials to acknowledge their government’s brutality.

Instead, most Israelis have been directing their anger this week at Emma Watson, the British actress best known for playing Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films. The cause of their outrage was Watson sharing an Instagram post with an image of a sign that read “Solidarity is a verb.”

Israel’s UN envoy Gilad Erdan said that Watson’s message was “fiction” like her films.

Former Israeli ambassador to the UN Danny Danon was more brutal, calling Watson an “antisemite.”

Any time Israelis murder a Palestinian civilian without first bringing them to a court of justice or applying the international rule that people are innocent until proven guilty, they deflect public outrage by declaring the murdered civilians “terrorists,” or accusing those who criticize Israel’s policies of being antisemitic.

Israelis seem to believe the public is more concerned about who is an antisemite than it is about who is a murderer and takes innocent civilian lives.

Lost in the fog of Israel’s propaganda war against truth are the details of death.

Of the 313 Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces, 71 were children. Israelis killed 236 in Gaza and 77 in the occupied West Bank, where it continues to build Jewish-only settlements on land owned by Christian and Muslim Palestinians.

Almost all of those killed in the West Bank were in clashes provoked by armed Israeli settlers who are rarely punished for their crimes. In fact, the settlers are celebrated and rewarded with funds to build more homes, provide recreational facilities and expand retail services, much of it thanks to $3.3 billion in US grants.

The B’Tselem report provides extensive information on the victims of Israeli brutality, details that rarely make it into either the Israeli or US media. The only time the media in Israel or the US is indignant is on the rare occasions when the victim is Jewish.

Even less attention is paid to the home demolitions that take place as Israel slowly, but steadily, annexes Palestinian lands.

B’Tselem reports that in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, 895 Palestinians were left homeless this year after 295 residences were demolished — the highest number since 2016. When a home is destroyed, the family is left homeless, harassed by the Israeli military, and often forced to flee not only their town but also their country.

Given that Danon knows so much about Harry Potter, it is strange that he did not find space in his social media comments to condemn his government, considering that 463 — more than half — of those left homeless were children.

In addition to the 295 homes destroyed and 895 people thrown on to the street, another 548 nonresidential structures were demolished, including cisterns, water wells, warehouses, agricultural and farming structures, businesses and Palestinian public buildings. This was the highest number since 2012.

Israel insists that its use of live fire to respond to protests, in one case killing a young Palestinian who was hunting birds “too close” to the fence built on the Gaza side of the border with Israel, is justified.

I am certain that the shocking B’Tselem report, which Israel hopes to bury by outlawing the human rights organization, will not make it into any major news report in the US media.

The US media would not want to embarrass Israel, and thereby embarrass themselves for having turned a blind eye to morality, ethics and human decency.

Can you imagine a major US newspaper such as The New York Times running a headline that reads: “Israel kills 313 Palestinians,” with the subhead “And libels Emma Watson as an ‘antisemite’ for suggesting Palestinians have rights”?

Does the term “antisemite” have any meaning now? Or has it been ground into insignificance by Israeli propaganda and anger?

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Ray Hanania is an award-winning former Chicago City Hall political reporter and columnist. He can be reached on his personal website at www.Hanania.com.

Twitter: @RayHanania

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