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At every opportunity the supporters of Israel tell us that the real reason for the continued conflict in the Holy Land is the commitment of Islamists to the destruction of Israel and their continued hate speech towards all Jewish people. This narrative spin deflects all attention from the real historical roots of the conflict; a tactic mostly preferred by those who would rather that the past not be remembered and that the victims of that history are not allowed into our remembrance.

What gets sifted out of our media reports is that the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, belongs to a political party that rejects the right of Palestinians to a state and declares that Israel should take over all of Israel-Palestine and Jordan. The charter of the Likud party exists despite the fact that the Palestinians recognised the right of Israel to exist with safe and secure borders way back in 1993. Added to this is the racist indoctrination of Israeli children with regards to their Arab neighbours. the following article was written by Omar Barghouti and published on August 8th 2011.

Israeli textbooks portray Palestinians as ‘terrorists, refugees, and primitive farmers’

by Omar Barghouti on August 8, 2011

This insightful research by respected Israeli scholar Nurit Peled-Elhanan will confirm what Palestinian researchers have always known: Israel’s prevailing culture of racism, fundamentalism, support for war crimes, and apartheid against Palestinians is mainly a product of an educational system that indoctrinates Jewish-Israeli students with militant colonial values and extreme racism that turn them into “monsters” once in uniform.

Guardian: Academic claims Israeli school textbooks contain biasNurit Peled-Elhanan of Hebrew University says textbooks depict Palestinians as ‘terrorists, refugees and primitive farmers

“Peled-Elhanan, a professor of language and education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has studied the content of Israeli school books for the past five years, and her account, Palestine in Israeli School Books: Ideology and Propaganda in Education, is to be published in the UK this month. She describes what she found as racism– but, more than that, a racism that prepares young Israelis for their compulsory military service.

“People don’t really know what their children are reading in textbooks,” she said. “One question that bothers many people is how do you explain the cruel behaviour of Israeli soldiers towards Palestinians, an indifference to human suffering, the inflicting of suffering. People ask how can these nice Jewish boys and girls become monsters once they put on a uniform. I think the major reason for that is education. So I wanted to see how school books represent Palestinians.”

In “hundreds and hundreds” of books, she claims she did not find one photograph that depicted an Arab as a “normal person”. The most important finding in the books she studied – all authorised by the ministry of education – concerned the historical narrative of events in 1948, the year in which Israel fought a war to establish itself as an independent state, and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled the ensuing conflict.

The killing of Palestinians is depicted as something that was necessary for the survival of the nascent Jewish state, she claims.”

Those who see this as an aberration of Zionism seem to lack sufficient understanding of what Zionism really is and the central role it plays as a patently racist ideology in justifying ethnic cleansing and racist domination over Palestinians.

One should not wonder then why, at the height of the Israeli massacre in Gaza  2008-09, a Tel Aviv University poll (reported in the Jerusalem Post,  Jan. ’09) of Jewish-Israeli opinion showed a shocking 94% support for the assault, despite full knowledge of the enormous suffering this Israeli aggression had inflicted upon the 1.5 million Palestinians incarcerated in the Gaza “prison camp” and of the massive destruction of their civilian infrastructure.

As in every other colonial system, only sustained and effective pressure from within as well as from without can put an end to this downward spiral of criminality, impunity and unspoken racism. More BDS is needed to end Israeli occupation, colonialism and apartheid. Other than the obvious benefits to indigenous Palestinians, suffering more than six decades of this three-tiered system of Israeli oppression, an end to this system of oppression may well transform most Israelis from colonial “monsters” into normal humans.
(ed note: Nurit Peled-Elhanan is author of  Palestine in Israeli School Books: Ideology and Propaganda in Education. International publisher I.B.TAURIS description: “She analyses the presentation of images, maps, layouts and use of language in History, Geography and Civic Studies textbooks, and reveals how the books might be seen to marginalize Palestinians, legitimize Israeli military action and reinforce Jewish-Israeli territorial identity. This book provides a fresh scholarly contribution to the Israeli-Palestinian debate, and will be relevant to the fields of Middle East Studies and Politics more widely.”)

 

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Human Shields

In 1985 the British singer, Sting, released his now famous song, “Russians”. In it he claimed that our only hope back then was to understand that the Russians love their children just as we do. The concept was that if the Russians love their children as we do then they will finally come to their senses and move in a direction so as to avoid the mutually assured destruction of a nuclear World War III.

Sting’s conviction that the Russians must surely be just like us who love our children above all else is not entertained by Christian Zionists with regard to Arabs, with particular reference to Muslims and especially to Hamas. These forces of the anti-Christ do not have the normal emotions towards their children as we do.  They think nothing of forcing their women and children to take a bullet in the head for them, so they can live on to kill more Jews another day.

The issue of the use of human shields as a deterrent for hostile fire in armed conflict has raised its head again with the allegations that Osama Bin Laden’s wife offered herself as a human shield to protect her husband. The vast majority of the writing on the issue of human shields  in our media fails to recognise a large number of important facts.

Firstly, almost all the cases of the use of human shields involve armed combatants forcibly using civilians from the opposing side as a deterrent to enemy fire. The use of people as human shields from the same side is extremely limited and really occurs only in cases of asymmetric conflict where one side is forced to fight a guerrilla war against a much more militarily powerful opponent. The forcible use of civilians from one’s own side as human shields is virtually unheard of and extensive reports on this matter by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have found no evidence of the forcible use of civilians as human shields by militants on the same side as the civilians. This is true in the case of Hamas or any other militant faction of the Palestinian resistance.

Apart from the obvious ethical issues, the reason for this is simply that no guerrilla resistance force, particularly like Hamas which is trapped with the civilian population in Gaza, would risk a revolt from the 1.5 million strong , as is the case in  Gaza, civilian population that would inevitably ensue if Hamas embarked on a program of forcing Palestinian civilians, women and children included, to act as human shields. One must remember that Hamas, along with its independent and Christian candidates, were elected to power by the Gaza population in 2006 in elections that were considered free and fair by such international monitoring organisations as the Carter Center.

Secondly, over the last decade, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and B’Tslelm (an Israeli Human Rights group) have documented the widespread forcible use of Palestinian civilians as human shields in various military conflicts by the I.D.F. The evidence was so overwhelming that even the I.D.F. was forced to prosecute Israeli soldiers who were caught using Palestinian civilians in this manner. This behaviour of Israeli soldiers raises some questions about the use of Gazan citizens as human shields by Hamas. If Hamas militants are so indifferent to the lives of their fellow citizens of Gaza, then why would any Israeli soldier feel that a Gazan citizen would be an effective human shield against the attacks of Hamas extremists? If the Hamas militants are as evil and heartless as our media continually suggest, surely they would see a Gazan citizen being led in front of a group of Israeli soldiers as very little deterrent to them opening fire on the Israelis. If I were an Israeli soldier and I believed that Hamas are as evil as the media say they are, I would not be very confident in the ability of a Gazan to act as a deterrent to attacks by Hamas, yet the use of Palestinians as human shields by the I.D.F. has been documented as being widespread. Perhaps the Israeli soldiers aren’t really that convinced by the stories of Hamas being so indifferent to their fellow citizens.

Thirdly, what has been documented about the use of human shields by Hamas begins with an incident in November 2006,  when Palestinian women volunteered as human shields to protect Hamas gunmen  in Beit Hanoun in the Gaza Strip. A Hamas spokesman is alleged to have said that  a crowd of women gathered  in response to an appeal on the local radio station for women to protect the Hamas fighters. The tactic succeeded and it has been claimed that this inspired Hamas to use the tactic whenever there have been reports of imminent targeted assassinations of Hamas officials by the Israelis or in other situations where the I.D.F. threatened to attack. This tactic was a desperate last resort. Its success in that case has not deterred Israelis to any large degree since then according to the Israelis themselves. The I.D.F. has obviously decided to go ahead and kill Hamas militants even when they are surrounded by human shields. The Israelis claim that the high mortality count of Palestinian children as a result of I.D.F. attacks is due to the continued use of human shields by Hamas. Two things follow from this: the obvious ineffectiveness of the use of human shields by Hamas militants as a deterrent to Israeli fire has somehow evaded the notice of the Islamic militants in Gaza (its not working!) and the Israelis have decided to attack despite the use of human shields, willfully making the choice to kill civilians in Gaza (they “know” human shields are being used). The ethics of both sides should be challenged, not just Hamas.


Lastly, resistance to Hamas by Gazan’s is more common than represented by our media. The Goldstone report tells of a case where Hamas militants were chased away by Palestinian civilians when they noticed that the militants were planning to set up mortar fire against the Israelis in a position too close to the civilian’s home. Gazan Youth resistance groups have openly challenged Hamas on their websites. Hamas is not powerful enough to stifle dissent and resistance from all other Palestinian groups in Gaza.

Islamic militants were not the cause of the Israel-Palestine conflict; they are a product of it. The siege of Gaza is an ideal breeding ground for extremism and terrorism. The Israelis know this yet continue to provoke the Palestinians to resistance, legitimate or otherwise, in both the West Bank, with the continuation of settlement construction and a raft of illegal activities designed to confiscate land, and in Gaza in order to demonise the Palestinians  before the world and gain the approval of the western media in the Israelis program to deprive the Palestinian people of their basic human rights.

The violence in Israel-Palestine continues because of the age long habit of the west in placating the Zionist state of Israel. Palestinian resistance will continue until this habit is broken and justice is seen to be  done for all the victims of terror; Islamic or Zionist.

Jesus said, “If you, then,though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!” Matthew 7:11

Craig Nielsen

ACTION FOR PALESTINE

Israel-Palestine: A Christian Response to the Conflict

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