Bury my heart at Gaza City
Posted on November 21, 2012 by Akashma Online News
By Hisham Elkoustaf
Morocco World News
Orange County, California, Nov 21, 2012
This morning, as part of my quotidian perusal of international sources for honest journalism, I was intrigued by the following news headline, “America is with you.” I became very angry as I thought I was reading a statement from US Congress expressing solidarity with its Israeli masters. The language was actually a direct quote from President Obama during his speech at the University of Yangon in Myanmar (formerly Burma), where he encouraged Myanmar to continue the transition to democracy. Wait a second. Is this the same Myanmar that just a few weeks ago slaughtered thousands in Rohingya?
At a time when Palestinian civilians are being massacred by the Israeli military, President Obama and his Secretary of State were busy visiting Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia as part of America’s effort to exert greater influence in the Asia-Pacific region. As American-made weapons continued to destroy Gaza, President Obama added insult to injury when he boasted about the merits of American-style democracy, stating “It’s worked for us for over 200 years now, and I think it’s going to work for Thailand and it’s going to work for this entire region. And the alternative, I think, is a false hope that, over time, I think erodes and collapses under the weight of people whose aspirations are not being met.”
One thing that cannot be denied about President Obama is that he is a fantastic orator. But how could he utter such beautiful words in defense of democracy when he continues to bless Israel’s denial of the aspirations of Palestinians? How could he pay lip service to democracy when he insists on rejecting the will of the people in Gaza?
As President Obama continues to be missing in action, at a time when we need his strong and balanced leadership, America’s corporate media, which masquerades as a legitimate news outlet, is regrettably saturated with right-wing pro Israeli extremists who regurgitate the same false narrative: Israel is simply defending herself against Palestinian aggression. Are we to believe that Palestinian children, dug up from the rubble of homes destroyed by on-going Israeli air strikes, are aggressors? Are we to accept that eight members of the Dalou family, including four children aged between one and seven, killed when an Israeli missile struck their home, are “terrorists”? Are we to accept that this is a “war” and that the Israeli military is acting according to internationally accepted norms of “warfare”?
So in the absence of honest American journalism, and as a challenge to the arguments of the right-wing pro Israel sycophants, let us examine just two examples of the heinous record of the criminal, bloodthirsty and savage Israeli army as it continues to murder defenseless Palestinian civilians. According to indisputable evidence found by an Amnesty International fact-finding team, during the 2009 slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza, the Israeli army used, inter alia, white phosphorus, a weapon with a highly incendiary effect, in densely populated civilian residential areas of Gaza City. When white phosphorus lands on skin it burns deeply through muscle and into the bone, continuing to burn until deprived of oxygen. And the Israeli military does not discriminate when it comes to civilian targets. The 2009 naked aggression against Palestinian civilians included dropping a white phosphorus shell in the al-Quds hospital in Gaza City, causing a fire that forced hospital staff to evacuate the patients.
According to Global Research, a center for research on globalization, during Israel’s vicious assault on Lebanon in July 2006, the UN estimated that Israel used massive amounts of cluster bombs and rained down around four million bomblets – most US-supplied – onto south Lebanon when a ceasefire had already been agreed. De-miners clearing Israeli-dropped cluster bombs in south Lebanon turned up an average of 10 new sites per month. A single cluster bomb can disperse hundreds of bomblets.
More shocking was Israel’s refusal to provide data that would assist clearing the estimated one million unexploded bomblets, which continue to kill and maim civilians and decimate rural livelihoods. Dalya Farran, a spokeswoman for the UN Mine Action Coordination Centre for South Lebanon stated that all the weapons systems are computerized and grid references are entered before the bombs drop. Yet the shameless and arrogant Israeli military continues to deny the UN any information on the cluster bomb strike data arguing that the cluster munitions were fired at open and uninhabited areas in which no civilians were present. Sadly, around one million of the bomblets failed to explode on impact, leaving roads, schools, homes and fields littered with lethal explosives that detonate when touched, making them a danger similar to anti-personnel mines.
So as Israeli war planes continue their cowardly destruction of Gaza, the jury is still out on what sort of American tax-payer funded weaponry is being used on civilians. And as Palestinians continue to dig up bodies of women, men and children, President Obama maintains America’s modus operandi when it comes to policy on Israel: “do what you have to do and we got your back”. With powerful enablers such as America, the cowardly Israeli military has and will always enjoy complete impunity for its inhumane crimes.
This Thursday, millions of Americans unknowingly commemorate the Native American peoples’ genocide through massacres, forced relocations and years of warfare waged by the United States federal government. As part of a White House tradition, President Obama is scheduled to pardon one of two 19-week-old, Virginia-raised, 40-pound male turkeys, otherwise known as toms, or gobblers. If only the President was as committed to saving the lives of Palestinians as he is in saving fowl.
Hisham Elkoustaf is an attorney with over a decade of experience at the intersection of law, policy and international development. Hisham earned his B.A. in Political Science, Cum Laude, from Columbia University. He received an M.A. in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts University. He earned his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He is a member of Morocco World News’ editorial team.