Rewarding Israel for its crimes

By: Dr. Mohammed Makram Balawi

When Palestinian boy Muhammad Aliwat, 13, from Silwan in occupied Jerusalem, shot at a group of five Israeli settlers recently he wounded two of them, one of whom was an off-duty paratrooper. A settler fired back at the boy and wounded him seriously. According to reports, before he took a bus to the location where the incident took place, the boy posted on Facebook, “Mom, please don’t be angry with me.” Israeli forces arrested the boy’s mother, father and his brother; destroyed the family’s furniture; and then sealed their home, most probably with the intention to demolish it at some time in the future.

Of course, from the mainstream media point of view, there is no need to mention the boy’s name or delve into his social background; no need to ask why he did what he did; and no need to highlight the context of the incident. Palestinians are inherently evil in the eyes of the media. The decades-old Israeli occupation will never be blamed, nor will its systematic racism; not even its apartheid policies which have been condemned by major human rights organisations.

According to the twisted pro-Israel narrative, Palestinians are either terrorists or potential terrorists, even if they are children. They will grow and may come to kill your son after 20 years, as far-right Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich tweeted in 2016 in support of his wife who objected to sharing a maternity hospital room with a Palestinian lady. Every attempt to explain any context is dismissed as “anti-Semitism” or a justification of terrorism and is duly condemned. US support for Israel is taken for granted; it’s no longer a surprise to hear Pentagon Press Secretary Pat Ryder saying that, “We are in close contact with our Israeli partners and stand firmly with them in the face of this attack.”

The most radical government in Israel’s history is turning occupied Palestine into a battlefield, ushering in an extended cycle of violence. It is fuelling a religious war through defiling the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque and has killed 35 Palestinians in the past month. Palestinian prisoners are being targeted and — you couldn’t make this up — the occupation state plans to strip Palestinians of their Israeli citizenship. Meanwhile, the ethnic cleansing continues in the occupied territories; dozens of Palestinian families have had their homes demolished for lack of permits, which are rarely granted to Palestinians in any case, while illegal settlements continue to expand on occupied territory. Whole Palestinian villages, such as Khan Al-Ahmar, are targeted for demolition. The viability of an independent Palestinian state has been destroyed by Israeli policies, while the Palestinian Authority exists solely to protect the occupation state and its settlers, who are armed to the teeth and attack Palestinians and their property with relative impunity.

While all of this is taking place, the US is paving the way for Israel across the Arab world. The Israeli foreign minister has been received in Sudan. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, the head of the military junta which currently rules the country, met Eli Cohen who announced last Thursday that the two have finalised the text of a peace agreement to be signed “later this year”. If that happens, then Sudan will join the US-sponsored Abraham Accords, intended to integrate Israel within the Arab world.

Israel delegation visits Sudan to discuss normalisation deal

Israel delegation visits Sudan to discuss normalisation deal

Also on Thursday, the head of another military junta, Chadian President Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, officially opened his country’s embassy in Tel Aviv,. “We are strengthening our common interests and friendship, and pursuing peace, security and prosperity,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the opening event. This is the same Netanyahu who refuses to make peace with the Palestinians through the moribund “peace process”.

When a member of the Bahraini parliament complained that national airline Gulf Air is flying to Tel Aviv at a financial loss because nobody in Bahrain wants to normalise with the “Zionist entity” and fly to Israel, the Speaker of the Parliament asked for “Zionist entity” to be omitted from the official record. This not only disturbed some MPs, who accused him of doing so after a nod from the legal advisor who is a foreigner, but also exposed the degree of US pressure on Arab countries to open their doors to Israel.

In America itself, House Republicans have voted to remove Minnesota Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar from the foreign affairs committee because of previous comments made about Israel and concerns over her objectivity. Omar first came under fire for comments about the occupation state in 2019 when she said, ” I want to ask why is it OK for me to talk about the influence of the NRA [National Rifle Association], of fossil fuel industries or Big Pharma, and not talk about a powerful lobbying group that is influencing policies?” This was a reference to the most powerful pro-Israel lobby in the US, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which defines its mission as, “To encourage and persuade the US government to enact specific policies that create a strong, enduring and mutually beneficial relationship with our ally Israel.” AIPAC takes pride on its official website — “Stand with those who stand with Israel,” it proclaims — of being “the largest pro-Israel political action committee in the country — supporting 365 candidates in 2022 with more than $17 million in direct support through AIPAC.”

Palestinians are not the only people targeted by official US hypocrisy; everyone who dares to speak up for Palestine, or demands justice for the Palestinian people, is a target. Lasting peace and justice in a land that has suffered for decades from settler-colonialism and imperialism — and continues to do so — always plays second fiddle to Israel’s corrupt “security and self-defence” narrative. This is how the world led by the US and other Western countries rewards Israel for its crimes.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

Source: MEMO