Friday, 14 May 2021

What the Media Doesn't Tell You About Palestine

Imagine, for a moment, you're putting your children to bed in your room tonight because you know none of you might wake up in the morning, and that at the very least, you wish to die together. That is what many Palestinian parents are doing tonight in Gaza. An Israeli invasion is coming and they are trapped, they are not allowed to flee, not allowed to become refugees, because they are contained within the world's largest open air prison with over two million other innocent people.

Just imagine that for a second. Imagine you're a regular Palestinian civilian, you've never done a thing wrong in your whole life, but you're trapped inside an open air prison, knowing that bullets or bombs could end your life at any second. This is real life for two million people.

Whatever you think of the alleged crimes of Palestinian "militants," Palestine is a country with no military, no airports, no control of its borders, limited access to clean water and only a few hours of electricity a day. Almost every aspect of Palestinian life is controlled by the occupying force of Israel. And international law states you are allowed to defend yourselves from an occupying force.

Most Palestinians don't defend themselves, of course, but they're still punished for the actions of those who do. And how do these people defend themselves exactly? By firing rockets over a concrete border wall, 99.9% of which are either intercepted by Israel's iron dome or land in the desert. 

The pictures you see on TV are usually no more than a fireworks display, but on those rare occasions an Israeli is hurt or killed by a rocket attack, my heart truly bleeds for them. My instinct is to say all violence is wrong, and I hate to see any human being suffer, but then I see Palestinians defending themselves the only way they can. It's an impossible moral dilemma.

Let's not forget that in the UK, our last resort is a Trident missile system that could literally cause a nuclear apocalypse. Israel's last resort is much the same. The next time you applaud a British politician saying they would be prepared to drop a nuke in defence of our country, consider Palestinians are currently using their last resort. And it's a fireworks display that rarely results in casualties.

I must emphasise that all casualties are tragic and peace must always be the goal, but context is important.

Whatever you think about the founding of Israel, that is not something I am going to get into now. What I am going to say is that since the original borders between Israel and Palestine were established in 1967, Israel has stolen more Palestinian land, year on year. It has either demolished Palestinian homes or simply taken them over. It has taken water supplies and farm land and other resources. And it has taken away Palestinian statehood in order to deny Palestine its legally defined right to self-defence.

Most people in the UK have no idea about most of this, of course, because we've been so heavily propagandised into a simplistic idea of Palestine being inhabited by Muslim terrorists and savages. The Palestinian people have been dehumanised to a shocking degree and the world has looked the other way as a genocide has taken place.

The greatest lie we are told is that to call this ethnic cleansing is antisemitic, that it somehow means discriminating against all Jews, but this logic would mean not only condemning Palestinian supporters like the late Nelson Mandela, not only condemning international organisations like the United Nations, but also condemning many Jews around the world who say the occupation must end. Jews like Noam Chomsky or Andrew Feinstein (who tragically lost 39 family members in the holocaust).

So that is the background of what is happening today, and it is a context the media deliberately leaves out when it propagandises you with footage of a fireworks display of rockets intercepted by the iron dome.

The media seem reluctant to discuss the forced evictions that have taken place recently and the shocking attacks on the Al Aqsa mosque and other places. They seem to play down the fact that among recent Palestinian casualties are nine children. And they never tell you that when reporting injuries to Israeli children, they apparently include "anxiety" as an injury. That is the double-standard we are seeing.

If anxiety is truly an injury, then every person in Palestine has been injured. Theirs is a constant state of anxiety tinged with a very real fear of death. Israeli soldiers are a constant sight, Palestinian infrastructure is largely in ruins, bullet-riddled buildings are everywhere, and no matter what the Palestinians do, Israel never stops taking their land.

Palestinians peacefully protest and they get shot dead by snipers.

Palestinians report what is happening and their media offices are blown up.

Palestinians try to flee for sanctuary and they are told they can't.

Palestinians try to raise awareness on social media and they get censored.

Palestinians defend themselves and they get called terrorists.

The land grabbing continues. The forced evictions continue. The murders and imprisonments continue. And those imprisonments include children as young as four. Yes, really. So the next time you are being propagandised by the media, please put yourself in the Palestinians' position and ask yourself what you would do in their shoes. You will quickly find there are no answers.

Ask yourself what you would do when soldiers arrive at your home which your family has lived in for generations, demanding you move out at gunpoint because an Israeli family is taking your house now. You and your children are expected to be destitute.

Ask yourself what you would do when Israeli soldiers arrive at a primary school to arrest your child without your knowledge. Ask yourself what you would do when journalists and aid workers are shot dead, simply for trying to ease the plight of your people.

Ask yourself what you would do when a rocket is flying through the sky and you're trying to flee in your wheelchair among a crowd of kids and you are all blown to pieces. Because this actually happened. This all happens and it keeps on happening. And the silence of world leaders is deafening.

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