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17 May 2018

Blaming the victim

By: Daoud Kuttab
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It is hard to believe that anyone can simply put the blame on the Palestinian side for the mass killings of unarmed protesters by Israeli snipers. How is it the Palestinian fault for being shot. There is no report of a single Israeli soldier or civilian being hurt, yet the Israeli, and even American officials, repeat the very same argument. This reminds us of what Israeli prime minister Golda Meir once said, that she will never “forgive them [the Palestinians] for having forced us to kill their sons”.
 
The US and Israeli talking points are identical. This is a Hamas-provoked violence and that Israel acted in self-defence.
 
Let us break this down.
 
Hamas is not directly involved, although it can surely end the unarmed protests if it wanted, but then it will be called a regime that does not respect the right of people to protest. Also, there are no Hamas flags anywhere at the protests. Would not Hamas want to take credit for this if it owned the protests? One of the leading members of the higher national committee for the Great March of Return, Ahmad Abu Ratima, who is not a member of Hamas, wrote an opinion article in The New York Times titled “I helped start The Gaza protests and I do not regret it”, in which he explained the idea behind the march.
 
Another problem with the exact US/Israel narrative is that Palestinians are blamed for dying. It is the Palestinians’ fault for dying because all that Israel had done was in self-defence.
 
How are well-protected Israeli snipers, shooting unarmed protesters from hundreds of meters, is considered self-defence? If the Palestinians were violent, or if they had endangered the lives of Israelis, one would expect to see scenes of injured Israelis. How many Israeli soldiers were killed or injured? The answer is zero. How many Israeli civilians were killed or injured. Again, the answer is zero.
 
So, how is this Israeli war machine shooting at unarmed Palestinians, who have not put a single Israeli in danger, is justified. It is not. No wonder the UN Commission on Human Rights, UN peace envoy and leaders of important countries are denouncing the Israeli killings.
 
But as the famous T-shirt being sold in the allies of Jerusalem says, “Don’t worry US, Israel is behind you”.
 
This symbiotic relationship is so sickening.
 
Not only does the Israeli-US narrative is in need for debunking, but the narrative of many western media outlets is just as sickening. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and editor at large at the America Magazine — the Jesuit Review, tweeted that The New York Times talked about Palestinians dying as if they passed away due to an earthquake or a health epidemic, where the truth is Israeli soldiers “killed” them.
 
The movie about Mahatma Gandi recalls a similar killing scene, but there the reporter of The Chicago Tribune described in details the way British soldiers shot one protestor after the other without having the lives of the British in any danger. How much one wishes today for powerful American journalists who are willing and courageous enough to speak out the truth.
 
Israelis and their American backers are saying that what happened in Gaza has nothing to do with President Donald Trump administration’s decision on Jerusalem.
 
Again, this myth must be debunked.
 
When the state of Israel asked to be recognised as a member of the United Nations, they were asked how they stood on two important resolutions; the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine (resolution 181) and the right of return resolution 194. Israeli foreign minister at the time Moshe Sharett said that Israel will respect both resolutions. They have not. They have refused to deal with Jerusalem as a corpus separatum and they have totally rejected any effort to settle the Palestinian refugees’ right of return.
 
Palestinians in Gaza, and everywhere else, are the victims of this ugly massacre. Any attempts at blaming them for being killed falls clearly under the title of blaming the victims rather than blaming the war criminals who are perpetuating the killings.

* A Palestinian columnist based in Amman, Jordan. - dkuttab@ammannet.net



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