During the first intifada I had an epiphany. Having grown up in a moderate pro-Israel culture where Palestinians were reduced to the role of terrorists, news was supplied through traditional media of television, radio and newspapers. If the Internet was around, I doubt there would’ve been any realization. Social media, too often a poison on our humanity, doesn’t allow for reflection.
We were taught one of the clues indicating Palestinians still wanted to destroy Israel; the map of Palestine used in demonstrations. It was a map that included all of Israel. We equated it as wanting Israel to be wiped off the map, and it was usually prefaced with an, “Aha, you see!” because hey, it wasn’t there anymore.
The map of Israel I grew up with was identical.
There was no recognition of occupied Palestinian territories. If we thought they wanted to destroy us, they must think we want to destroy them.
Of course this could stem from the innocuous — it’s easier to draw a map of the whole than a map of the divided, which once done, frankly is an unappealing jagged mess.
The Israeli/Palestinian conflict is drowned in propaganda designed to get you caught in the weeds, but there are moments of clarity. Even as the events of Monday are analyzed and you decide which truth to believe (wait for it, the weeds are coming), an action took place that was undeniable.
A decision was made to shoot live rounds at demonstrators who were separated from soldiers by a fence (and not your common garden variety). It is a decision that was approved by Cabinet. A hardline, right wing Israeli Cabinet with a take no prisoners approach. An approach that doesn’t give a shit about lives lost because they can dismiss and objectify protestors as terrorists. It was simple for them. They had a prebuilt narrative.
And what of the live narratives? If you glance at headlines, a few sentences, let your ears pop at newscasts of traditional media or the web of mainstream and indie news, you’d draw a picture of unarmed civilians peacefully protesting being shot by IDF snipers in cold blood — and at one big protest.
A cursory glance at photos shows burning tyres, Molotov cocktails, and slingshots. They (Israelis) shot first are the claims, then the violence occurred. Who do you believe? What is appropriate force and where does peaceful cross the line? What level of violent protest is acceptable for a population trapped in an enclave such as Gaza, must they all be Gandhi before we make peace? The blockade of Gaza has driven Palestinians into the arms of Hamas, expecting them to vote for anyone "moderate" is fantasy (not that Gazan's can vote). Are you going to put Netenyahu on the ballot, do you want them to vote for him, because, essentially that’s what you’re saying if you do want them to change leadership.
Then it’s children. How can you shoot children, kill a baby, although it wasn’t shot. And what the hell was a baby doing there in the first place? It turns out the baby passed away because of a pre-existing condition. Was it dead before? Hamas admits to fifty of their members being killed, proof enough of terrorist activity claim Israel, but surely there’s a difference between a member protesting and a member engaged in terrorist activity (planting bombs, suicide bombs, launching rockets and opening fire on civilians)? There are reasons beyond the destruction of Israel to join Hamas. And how did the IDF know who were Hamas members when their snipers picked them off?
And on and on it goes. The questions. The theoretical. What is reasonable self-defence for Israel? Was this the best way, the only way?
Why not let them march to the fence? What’s the worst that could happen? Take them down then? Are the optics worse to have Palestinians lining up against the fence for miles rather than the melee which unfolded? Can we see them with the wire cutters and explosives as claimed — and not old or photoshopped pictures.
Has Hamas, with their we’re peaceful, no we’re not peaceful couched in anti-semitism bollocks just won a massive propaganda battle because of a blinkered Israeli government? Are Hamas on the precipice of losing this battle, a massive reverse, because most of the dead are their members? And Palestinians wonder why the world doesn’t give a shit.
And Israelis think the world cares more than it does.
All this now because the idiot president, a clueless goofball, decided to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem with all the sensitivity he’s shown to women, migrants, and minorities. He did it slap bang between Israeli Independence Day and the Naqba. And hey, I’m someone who believes it’s ludicrous to think anywhere but Jerusalem could be the spiritual home and capital of the one Jewish state on this planet. But equally, I recognize that official recognition and subsequent move of all embassies must be tied to a peace solution with East Jerusalem as capital of a Palestinian state. If you think anything different you are part of the problem (Jared Kushner). But hey, carry on if you do, because there are only two alternatives, a bi-national state or ethnically cleanse Palestinians from towns, villages and fields. Make life so difficult for them they’ll leave. Oh wait, that’s happening now.
And through all this hogwash, the sense that this was premeditated, another we all knew moment, I remind myself, on Monday people were unnecessarily shot, killed, or maimed because two nations are intent on destroying each other while being aided and abetted by a man who almost daily disgraces the Office of the President of the United States.
P.S. Consider yourself fortunate this a 900 word blog and not 9,000.