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Israel’s Mass Shootings

| May 20, 2018

A scene at the Gaza fence east of Gaza City in late April. (Muhammad Sabah, B'Tselem)

A scene at the Gaza fence east of Gaza City in late April. (© Muhammad Sabah, B’Tselem)

You can always depend on Israel periodically to mass-murder bunches of Arabs in proportions as lopsided and unforgiving as our own mass shootings in the United States, often more so. And as with mass shootings, which we now automatically blame on everything in the known and unknown universe but America’s rabid debasement for guns, you can always depend on the American public to scapegoat Israel’s war crimes, blame them on anything and everyone (terrorists, animals, Hamas ragheads, stone throwers and other synonyms for “Arab”) but Israel’s bigoted death machine.

pierre tristam column flaglerlive While Ivanka Trump was flashing the toothy grin of a flossed and fluorinated Marie-Antoinette at the opening of the American Embassy in Jerusalem this week, 60 unarmed Palestinians were getting massacred by the Israeli military a few miles away in Gaza. It was nothing new except for the scale of the massacre and its concurrence with Trump flipping the bird to anyone who still thinks Palestinian lives matter, or that there’s anything left of the two-state solution. The Israeli army has been murdering unarmed Palestinian protesters for months now without a peep from Trump, only encouragement. Sixty Palestinians were killed Monday, But 112 have been killed since protests at the so-called fence began in March.

Incredibly, the response from the United States has been either indifference or a defense of Israeli war crimes (it is a war crime for soldiers to kill unarmed protesters), using the sort of language last heard when white supremacists defended the massacres of black protesters and their supporters during the civil rights era. Blacks were compared to terrorists then, too. They were dehumanized, as they had always been, making killing them not only easier, but more desirable. So the killings went on until the sights of southern violence against non-violent protesters became too much for the nation’s conscience.

These days we hear that Palestinian protesters are violent because they throw stones or rush a fence built on their own lands. But in the words of the United Nation’s Michael Lynk, who reports on human rights in the Palestinian territories, the blatant, disproportionate use of force by Israel is “an eye for an eyelash.”

And what, exactly, is that fence? American audiences have been led to believe that it’s some sort of border, that by rushing or breaching it Palestinians are endangering Israelis on the other side. It’s nothing of the sort. The New York Times described it this way: “The fence is actually two parallel barriers built by the Israelis: a formidable one of barbed-wire within Gaza and a 10-foot-high metal “smart fence” packed with surveillance sensors along the Israel demarcation line. A restricted buffer zone as wide as 300 yards is between them. Israel has warned that people in the zone without authorization risk being subjected to deadly force.”

In other words it’s got more similarities with the East German army’s Berlin Wall–actually twin parallel walls–and its no man’s land during the Cold War. The difference is that first, the East Germans hadn’t stolen West German soil to build their walls. Both of Israel’s fences are on Palestinian land. Second, East Germans who approached the wall weren’t gunned down. Only those who went into the no-man’s land were. And in nearly 30 years of the Berlin Wall, 80 people were killed that way. Bad enough, but that’s barely a month’s tally on the Israeli army’s watch.

gaza fence

At the fence, 15 years ago. (Freepal)

Israel murders Palestinians who so much as approach the first fence. That doesn’t recall the Berlin Wall so much as Andersonville prison, the confederate death camp where the word “deadline” gained currency, because it marked the line, away from the prison fence, that marked the point where prisoners were killed the moment they crossed it. Keep in mind, no Palestinian breached either fence on Monday. They were shot only because they went too close, or tried to damage the first fence. No Palestinian came close to going into Israel because both fences are on Palestinian territory, And neither is a border fence, because Israel doesn’t recognize any border there. Which makes the Andersonville comparison even more apt, even if we assume every fence-rusher was Hamas: they were unarmed.

And in Gaza, the most ignored humanitarian disaster on the planet for the past two decades, 2 million Palestinians are held prisoner in the world’s biggest open-air prison–Gaza’s size is exactly that of Bunnell: 140 square miles–in endless poverty, without rights, without hope, and now without so much as the right to protest. When they do—and god knows why they should, ingrates–no rubber bullets for those animals, no water hoses, not even Bull Connor dogs or other non-lethal, slightly less barbaric means usually used against demonstrators. Only live bullets for that kind.

Of course it’s a propaganda coup for Hamas, of course Hamas is pulling strings, of course Hamas can be—though not with nearly the savvy, the firepower, the sheer bloodthirstiness—as cowardly as Israel’s military. But to indict the whole Gaza catastrophe as a Hamas job is just another way of demeaning Palestinians, of denying them an identity of their own, a longstanding Israeli specialty (Israel has been denying Palestinians’ right to exist since 1947). It’s another way of saying that Palestinians have no mind or humanity of their own separate from Hamas, as if a Palestinian girl could not possibly be growing up wishing she were not living in a mass prison, as if a Palestinian boy could not possibly have aspirations more lofty than staring at a fence, separate and independent from Hamas. Why should they? They’re not humans. They’re Hamas terrorists, or terrorists in the making. Of course it’s all Hamas. To humanize them would collapse the Israeli necessity of defining them exclusively as scum out to murder little Israeli boys and girls, whose individuality and innate virtue goes without saying.

The dehumanization of Palestinians rings true with a segment of the American audience because we saw this with Black Lives Matter. A human rights movement pleading for the safeguarding of young black men–our own Arabs, called much worse than ragheads to this day–was perverted in the lense of Fox-type fabricators into a mob of terrorists. All it took was the odd hothead who happened to be black whose criminal acts, however errant or isolated, could be turned into emblems of Black Behavior, since we know that what one black man does is automatically representative of what all blacks do from here to Somalia and back.

But have a mass of white supremacists marching down a University town, brandishing tiki torches and bellowing racist chants before actually murdering a counterdemonstrator the next day, and all of a sudden “some of them are fine people,” in the words of our own president. Well, of course all Israeli servicemen are fine people, not just some, and all Palestinians are Black Lives Matter terrorists in rag: The existence of Hamas proves it.

Apologists for Israel’s brutality immediately pull the “how many Israelis have to die” argument, as if Israelis have been dying in this one-sided fight. They haven’t. When Israel last clobbered Gaza, in 2014, 18,000 Palestinian homes were either demolished or damaged. In Israel? One home. More than 500 Palestinian children were killed. Israeli children? One. Since the protest at the fence began, 112 Palestinians have been killed. Israelis? Zero. As Marilyn Garson, who worked in Gaza for four years, wrote in Haaretz, the Israeli daily, this week: “Those ratios indicate that terms like ‘war’ poorly describe the nature of the violence that Gazans experience. ‘War’ suggests a reciprocal violence, tempered by mutual mortal risk. In Gaza, the violence, the mortal risk, and the damage are so one-sided that different language is needed to convey it. The actual ratios of loss convey that one side holds overwhelming power, and the other side lives with overwhelming threat.”

But we still buy into Israeli propaganda about the Palestinian “threat,” as if those demonstrators at the fence are like so many thousands of Dick Hickorys and Perry Smiths, the felons of Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood,” just waiting to break free and murder the Clutters beyond–as if the most powerful military in the Middle East wouldn’t slaughter them before they made it within miles of any Israeli home. As if the Israeli military didn’t do precisely that. Not that demonstrators were felons. Or armed. Or without 2 million reasons to demolish the fence. They were unarmed. And they were murdered.

Meanwhile we Americans applaud, plant a time bomb in the form of an embassy in Jerusalem, or look the other way. We are one with the murderers.

Pierre Tristam is FlaglerLive’s editor. Reach him by email here or follow him @PierreTristam. A version of this piece aired on WNZF.

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30 Responses for “Israel’s Mass Shootings”

  1. Linze says:

    Israel does not take the crap like the USA does
    When you democrats wakeup dead you will realize it is too late

  2. Monica says:

    Wow. Biased much?

  3. Long Live Israel says:

    One more time Lebanon boy…..They was NEVER a Palestine….EVER !!!! You hurl rocks at me and shoot Iranian missiles at my family, I would blow your sorry “RAGHEAD” ass away too.

  4. PTC Trader says:

    My comments remain the same… Pierre. Stick to Flagler County…. Israel is obviously out of your element of understanding. For thousands of years there has been conflict with the occupants of that region. Israel is our ally. Palestine has NEVER been our friend. Get over yourself.

  5. Richard says:

    Why is that people always want what others own but cannot have? Is it that they feel entitled to it? If the Palestinians would spend all of the time and energy building their country into one that is healthy and prosperous versus protesting maybe their life would be better and meaningful. Another propaganda article by Pierre.

  6. smarterthanmost says:

    “They were unarmed. And they were murdered.” Pure nonsense Pierre. The PLO and Hamas have been hiding behind their women and children for years.

  7. Howard says:

    pierre , I only wish I knew you some years back, I’d pay for a first class ticket for you aboard Flight 175 on September 11th. get off the soapbox moron and stop writing long boring diatribes trying to tell people how to think . ( idiot )

  8. Anonymous says:

    Gee, perhaps we should mention here the Palestinian’s unending “Days of Rage” and “Intifadas” and terror attacks…their repeated threats of subsuming Israel by force which underlies this supposed “March of return.” They have refused all entreaties to negotiate a peaceful end to the conflict and turned down every two-state offer ever put before them. They go after their stated goal of a completely Jew-free state (apartheid, anyone?) with wire cutters, explosives, stoning, grenades, kite bombs, knives, molotov cocktails, hatchets, burning tires…anything they can get their hands on—Thank God Israel prevents them fro getting their hands on more . By consenting to be used as human shields, “Pallywood” props and “terrorist test crash dummies”, the Palestinians provide cover to their Hamas masters while Hamas militants plant explosives at the borders. This is very helpful to Hamas militants who have not had the success they were hoping for with their underground terror tunnel system–Boo-hoo–we don’t need to wonder where all that “Palestinian humanitarian aid” money has been going. The Palestinians have now managed to blow up their own gas and fuel lines while “protesting non-violently.” Now doubt the resulting shortages and hardships that will result will be blamed on Israel, along with their critical lack of tires and the toxic effects of the hundreds of thousands of tires they have been burning and polluting the air with. The Palestinians managed to set Israeli crops and backyards on fire despite their avowed “peaceful conduct”–Gee, I wonder how THAT happened. The fact is, a majority of the casualties so far have been Hamas and other assorted Islamic militants–a fact that Hamas officials admit –boast about, in fact, on their own website. The “Palestinian sob sister” media persists in repeating a story about how Palestinian child was killed by Israeli tear gas despite the fact that Doctors in the Gaza Strip, who not only examined the child during the incident in question but had treated her previously, stated that a pre-existing condition actually caused her death. Which begs the question: What kind of parent or loving family member brings such a vulnerable child to a riot scene where tear gas is being used and bullets may be flying? ANSWER: A Palestinian who expects to be feted by their society and by other “Anti-Zionists”–and who may, not so coincidentally, get paid for said child’s presumed “martyrdom” afterwards. No American or other civilized nation would put up with, for five minutes, what the Israelis have to defend themselves against every minute of every day–the constant threat of, and calls for, their total extinction.

  9. Fredrick says:

    “Of course it’s a propaganda coup for Hamas, of course Hamas is pulling strings”……. This statement from your editorial says it all. When will the Palestinians use that “mind or humanity of their own” that you say they have, and do something about used by Hamas and being sent to slaughter? Being sent to slaughter so they can get on the news.
    “The dehumanization of Palestinians rings true with a segment of the American audience because we saw this with Black Lives Matter.” You error here is you are trying to compare a race of people and an organization. If you substitute Hamas for Palestinians then maybe you have two organizations which perhaps at one time were peaceful, but they were taken over by radicals to push their own agenda. People who try to push a narrative of “hands up don’t shoot” or shout “pigs in a blanket fry’em like bacon.

  10. hawkeye says:

    Israel should kill more palestinians

  11. john says:

    Excellent article Pierre, on the absolute systematic dehumanization and imprisonment of the Palestinians by the Israelis. I am proud that Flagler Live is willing to devote space to covering such an important issue for so many. All I have to say to those who defend Israeli’s aggressive actions is to place yourself in the Palestinians shoes and see how long you could resist the urge to retaliate while suffering so much loss, because these people have been doing so for decades.

  12. Another Ritchie says:

    Next time you bring up this issue, you need to line up the 750,000 Palestinians that were thrown out in 1948, 1949 to make room for the State of Israel to say something each. Even then you might not have strong enough of an argument.

  13. BlueJammer says:

    Amazing article. Thank you for your courage.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Alas “Frederick”–Hamas has always been a terrorist organization, even back during their sojourn in Egypt, when they called themselves “The Muslim Brotherhood.” Egypt kicked them out and they found a nice comfy niche in Gaza, once the Gaza trip was handed over to the Palestinians by Israel in 2005 , lock, stock and barrel. Israel even left the incoming Palestinians state of the art greenhouses to get a leg up on their much vaunted grand “resettlement” plans. Too bad the Palestinians never got around to making those plans a reality. Too bad they smashed up the greenhouses left to them, the same way they smashed up the remains of all the synagogues in the area–You see, Israel had taken care to evacuate all the Jewish settlers from the region (as well as uprooting and relocating all the Jewish, lest they be vandalized) before handing the whole kit and kaboodle over to the Palestinians. There has not been one Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip since. The Palestinians responded to being given the Gaza Strip to populate and control by raining rockets in Israel’s backyard and committing more terror attacks than ever before. Anyone who wants to know the nauseating truth about Hamas need only read their charter. The Gazans elected Hamas to lead them forth in all their hopeful genocidal glory in 2007. Care to take a guess how much humanitarian aid money has gone into building up the infrastructure of the Palestinian territories in total, let alone the Gaza Strip in particular, as opposed to paying terrorist stipends and constructing underground terror tunnels? That’s besides the vast amounts that have found their way into the ever-expanding Swiss Bank Accounts of Senior PA and Hamas officials.

  15. Brandon says:

    This is of course the same Michael Lynk who three days after 9/11 blamed the West for provoking the attacks on the World Trade Center ?

  16. Brian says:

    Hey Pierre – your beloved Hamas were using the “massacred” Palestineans as human body shields. And your snide and snarky remarks about people such as Ivanka Trump don’t work for you any more (see the majority of above comments.) Ever think about moving to Sacramento and wallowing with Jerry Brown? Flagler doesn’t need you.

  17. Rick Kang says:

    Remember on Memorial Day that on June 8, 1967 the Israeli Defense Force ATTACKED the USS Liberty(three times) in international waters! 34 Killed and 171 Wounded Americans must NEVER forget them! Time for a Memorial for these Brave Americans in Palm Coast. Time for the Palm Coast City Council to SUPPORT the USS Liberty Memorial and SUPPORT the naming of a NEW USS Liberty!

  18. RickG says:

    Once again the US has shown its the whore of the Israeli government.

  19. Bc. says:

    Pierre they are terrorist they teach there kids starting in the first grade how to hate and become terroist and to hate all Jews they deserved what they got. It sounds like to me you need a trip back to your home land for a visit. Also a one sided dumb ass article

  20. Pogo says:

    @Pierre Tristam

    All true. Add this:

    Per Google, the population of Gaza is 1.816 million and the population of the United States is 325.7 million: 325.7 divided by 1.816 equals 179.35. If Americans lost people in the same proportion as the 60 people killed in a day – the toll would be 10,761.

    There must be a better way.

  21. ken says:

    Very sad that Flagler’s best source of local news is used by Pierre for his anti-Israeli, anti-American views.

  22. Bill says:

    Might the most biased and idiotic column ever written. flaglerLive should be embarrassed for publishing such drool.

  23. Outsider says:

    I recall a period not long ago where Arabs and Israelis lived together peacefully in Israel. Then the intifada started when a Palestinian used his freedom to walk into a Pizza Hut and blow himself up. The Israelis were forced to throw the Palestinians out and build a wall for their own protection. The Israelis later gave the Palestinians the West Bank and Gaza as a two state solution trial, where the Palestinians would prove they could live peacefully alongside Israel. They failed the test and started launching rockets and attacks into Israel. The Palestinians vote for Hamas leaders who are bent on destroying Israel. The only obstacle to peace and a two solution is the Palestinians.

  24. just me says:

    of the “March of the Return.”

    By: United with Israel Staff and PMW

    Two Palestinian Facebook pages and a forum directing rioters in Gaza gave explicit instructions to murder and kidnap Israelis on Monday, May 14, the day the US embassy opened in Jerusalem, as well as suggestions on how to accomplish this goal.

    It is not clear if Hamas itself was the group sending these messages. What is critical is that Gazans were encouraged to bring weapons to the demonstrations and use these weapons to either murder or capture Israelis.

    The detailed instructions recommended bringing weapons to the supposedly peaceful demonstrations on the Gaza border fence, murdering “soldiers and settlers,” and kidnapping Israeli citizens for use as bargaining chips to impose conditions on Israel

  25. Edith Campins says:

    Good article as always, Pierre. Also, well said John. Sad to see all the hateful comments from the rest.
    Perhaps they should research their history before commenting. How would they feel if a foreign power brought a bunch of people over, dumped them on their land and told them they didn’t own the land anymore, it now belonged to the newcomers? Would they react peacefully and simply move away? Would they fight to their last breath to get their land back?

  26. Jw says:

    No comment on article really.

    United States First!!!!

  27. Sara says:

    Very courageous article. Shows humanity still exist despite multiple inhuman and indifferent comments posted here

  28. Anonymous says:

    @Edith Campins says–Actually, Edith, if you look at the REAL history of the region and study actual facts, they ARE getting “their land back.”

  29. Sherry says:

    The ignorant hate filled rants from our local “racists” were quite predictable.

  30. Mark Taylor says:

    Courageous and much needed column. Truth can hurt those who hurt others. The racism that has overtaken Israeli (and American) policy regarding the Palestinians is a blot on both countries. Anyone who could watch images of the recent slaughter and callously call it justified have something missing in their souls. The institutional racism of the Israelis toward the Palestinians feeds groups like Hamas. The hateful bile displayed by many of the comments on this forum says all that needs to be understood about the racism behind the recent slaughter on the border. What the Israelis simply don’t seem to grasp is they are — justifiably — losing legitimacy in the eyes of the civilized world. This is a tragedy for the Israelis themselves.

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